Key dates for National Institutes of Health

Key dates should be checked carefully for each Funding Opportunity Announcement. In many cases, standard due dates will apply. For new applications, the standard dates for the main activity codes are:

  • R01 - 5 February, 5 June, 5 October
  • R03 - 16 February, 16 June, 16 October
  • R21 - 16 February, 16 June, 16 October

All standard due dates are listed on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website or contact your Research Administration Officer (RAO) in the Office of Sponsored Research for assistance.

Overview

The NIH is a medical research agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. Through its extensive grant programs, the NIH provides support for research grants to career development awards, research training and fellowships, center grants, and more.

Eligibility for Australian researchers

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides important details including due dates, award budget and duration and the eligibility of non-U.S. organisations to apply, as the prime (administering) organisation or a subaward component on a U.S.-led application. It is important to always check eligibility on a FOA as non-U.S. organisations are often not eligible to apply. If you are unsure about your eligibility, contact UQ Research and Innovation (UQR&I) for further advice. 

When eligible to apply, additional requirements apply to non-U.S. organisations. A foreign justification must be submitted as part of a non-U.S. lead application to enable reviewers to assess whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and either are not readily available in the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.

Establishing and managing awarded projects

Grant establishment

Once all required ethics approvals have been provided to UQR&I and the necessary collaborative agreements have been executed, a Grant Record Letter (GRL) will be issued by UQR&I. The GRL formally establishes your project in the University’s Research Management System (RMS) and allows grant expenditure to officially commence. If variations to your grant are required please contact your RAO in the Office of Sponsored Research for further information. 

Reporting requirements

Progress reports are required for each year of the project other than the final year, which is subject to a close-out process. Only the first year of funding is approved by the NIH in the initial notice of award. Future years are awarded on an annual basis after submission and approval of the progress report.

Reports are submitted to the NIH by the lead institution. On subaward grants, UQ investigators are required to provide a report to the lead institution. 

Collaborative agreements 

For UQ-lead grants, a subcontract is required between UQ and all other collaborating institutions with key personnel on the grant. It is used to govern the disbursement of NIH grant funding between the collaborating institutions. This subcontract will require modification with each year of the grant as annual funding is awarded by the NIH after approval of the progress report.

For non-UQ lead grants, a subcontract is required between UQ and the lead institution to disburse NIH grant funds to UQ. This subcontract will require modification or renewal with each subsequent year of funding granted to UQ.

Financial Conflict of Interest policy

As an institution receiving or applying for NIH funding (either as the lead institution or a sub-recipient), the University is required to comply with the NIH Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) policy. As part of this policy, UQ has a number of responsibilities that include informing all Investigators of both NIH and UQ internal policies governing FCOI, ensuring all Investigators complete the NIH training model regarding the NIH FCOI Policy, and managing, reducing and reporting any Investigator’s Significant Financial Interests.  

If you are intending to apply for NIH funding, please review the following links to NIH and UQ policies and undertake the NIH Policy Tutorial. Once you have completed the Tutorial, email a copy of the certificate to your RAO in the Office of Sponsored Research. This training only needs to be renewed every 4 years.

If, once you have reviewed the policies and undertaken the NIH Policy Tutorial, you consider you may have a Significant Financial Interest to disclose, please contact your RAO in the Office of Sponsored Research to determine what steps may need to be taken.

How to apply

UQ-lead application

Most NIH funding opportunities use the standard SF424 (R&R) application package. This is a fillable PDF form, with sub-forms and PDF attachments.

  1. Read the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and check the eligibility of non-US organisations to apply.
  2. Download the PDF and application instructions - use the ‘Apply for Grant Electronically’ button in the FOA or contact UQR&I for assistance. UQR&I can provide the expanded SF424 (R&R) form, with sub-forms uploaded and ready for completion.
  3. Key personnel on the application will require a user ID on the eRA Commons system. If any UQ-based applications require these, contact UQR&I to request these. Investigators from other institutions should contact their institutional Research Office.
  4. Email the complete PDF form, with all attachments, to UQR&I for review at least two weeks prior to the external close.
  5. Once finalised, UQR&I submits the application package via Grants.gov.

Non-UQ-lead application (UQ subaward)

The lead institution is responsible for submitting the application via Grants.gov. UQ researchers will be required to complete a set of documents related to the UQ component of the project, which the lead institution will collate into the application before submission. Documents commonly required are: 

  • PHS398 Face Page - signed by UQR&I
  • Letter of Intent/Subaward commitment form - initiated by the lead institution and then signed by UQR&I
  • NIH Biosketch for all key personnel
  • Budget and Budget Justification
  • Scope of Work for the UQ component of the project
  • For assistance with non-UQ lead applications, contact your RAO at UQR&I.

Types of funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States federal government that supports health and biomedical research. Situated within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH is the largest source of funding in the world for medical research. Its mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behaviour of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. In support of this mission, the NIH conducts and funds research in: 

  • the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure of human diseases
  • the processes of human growth and development
  • the biological effects of environmental contaminants
  • the understanding of mental, addictive and physical disorders
  • directing programs for the collection, dissemination, and exchange of information in medicine and health, including the development and support of medical libraries and the training of medical librarians and other health information specialists.

Funding Activity Codes

NIH funding is categorised into activity codes to differentiate the wide variety of its research-related programs. The main activity codes for research project funding opportunities relevant to Australian researchers are R01, R21 and R03. 

The NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01) is used to support a discrete, specified research program and is the grant program most commonly used by the NIH. R01 grants are usually awarded for three to five years and have no funding limit. It is equivalent to an NHMRC Project Grant in the Australian context. 

The NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) is intended to support early stages of project development and exploratory studies that may involve considerable risk. Applications for projects designed to increase knowledge in a well-established area will not be considered for R21 awards. Grants are limited to two years and funding is usually limited to USD $275,000 in direct costs. 

The R03 program is the NIH Small Grant Program, which is limited to two years of funding, and up to USD $50,000 per year in direct costs.

Funding Opportunity Announcements

The NIH calls for applications via different types of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA).

Parent Announcements allow researchers to submit investigator-initiated applications with rolling deadlines throughout the year. Applications can be submitted on any aspect of health and medical research relevant to the mission of the NIH.

The NIH also issues Requests for Applications (RFAs) to address specific research questions and topics. These, and other calls for funding, are listed in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Eligibility must always be checked carefully as non-U.S. organisations are not eligible to apply for all opportunities.

Key documents

NIH

UQ

For UQ-lead applications, contact your RAO in the Office of Sponsored Research for a checklist to assist with completing the SF424 (R&R) application package

Rejoinders and rebuttal

Responses to assessor comments are usually not allowed during the assessment process. However, assessor comments can be addressed in the resubmission of an unsuccessful application. The NIH permits one resubmission of an unsuccessful application, which must be made within 37 months of the unsuccessful application.

Workshops and information sessions

Details of the UQR&I scheme information session are as follows:

  • Date: TBA
  • Time: TBA
  • Venue: TBA

Download a copy of the presentation.