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Funding Strategy: Fiscal Year 2021

NCCIH Funding Strategy Fiscal Year 2021


In general, grants will be funded in priority score or percentile order. Additional considerations will include program relevance and need, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) strategic priorities, duplication of ongoing research, availability of funds, and recommendations by the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health (NACCIH). NCCIH will give additional consideration to applications from first-time R01 investigators (“new” and “early stage” investigators as defined by the National Institutes of Health [NIH]).

Future Year Commitments of FY 2021 New and Competing Renewal Awards

NCCIH’s funding policy is to award competing research project grants (RPGs) in accordance with the NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards—FY 2021 (NOT-OD-21-058) and in compliance with the Notice of Legislative Mandates in Effect for FY 2021 (NOT-OD-21-056).

Duration of NCCIH’s Grants

For research project grants (e.g., R01), competing awards are often adjusted to achieve a 4‑year average duration. Grants to early stage investigators, program project grants (e.g., P01, P50), and clinical trial grants (regardless of activity code) are usually funded for the full length of their Council-recommended project period.

New and Early Stage Investigators

NCCIH will continue to help new and early stage investigators by seeking to equalize the success rates between new/early stage investigators and established investigators for new competing (Type 1) R01 and first renewal (Type 2) applications, in accordance with NIH guidelines as described in the Notice of Fiscal Policies in Effect for FY 2021 (NOT-OD-21-058) and the Policy Supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative.

Research Funding Guidelines

NCCIH will use the following guidelines for funding research project grants:

  • New, Competing Research Project Grants
    NCCIH policy for new, competing grants is to award them at the NACCIH-recommended level, except for specific programmatic, budgetary, and/or administrative adjustments. Typically, investigator-initiated, R01-equivalent awards* will have a 15 percent reduction of the award, including the out-year commitments. All applications that do not exceed $250,000 in direct costs in any given year of support in the recommended competitive segment will be awarded under the modular concept. Applications requesting direct costs that exceed $250,000 in any year of support in the recommended competitive segment will be awarded with categorical budgets.
  • Program Project Grants (Type 1 and Type 2)
    Type 1: The direct cost award will not exceed $1,250,000. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs associated with first-tier subcontracts are not included in the direct cost ceiling. Annual increases for recurring costs in noncompeting years are not allowed.

    Type 2: Direct costs will be awarded up to an increase of 10 percent of the amount shown on the Notice of Award for the last noncompetitive segment (i.e., last Type 5 award). This dollar cap for the direct cost increase is exclusive of any consortium/subcontractual component of F&A costs, which may appear as direct costs in the budget of the applicant organization. For example, the increase in budget could be due to the purchase of updated equipment, an increase in number of study participants, an increase in personnel effort, and/or an increase in total number of personnel. As with new awards, annual increases for recurring costs are not allowed.
  • Modular to Modular
    For competing renewal and Method to Extend Research in Time  (MERIT) extension grants that were modular awards in the preceding competitive segment and will be no more than $250,000 in direct costs in any given year of the recommended competitive segment, NCCIH will award at the NACCIH-recommended direct cost amount except for specific programmatic, budgetary, and/or administrative adjustments. F&A costs for first-tier consortia are not considered in the direct cost base when calculating the maximum that can be requested.
  • Continuation Awards (Type 5 Noncompeting Renewal)
    NCCIH will award Type 5 research and non-research grants in FY 2021 at 100 percent of the commitment level. Awards previously issued will be revised in accordance with this policy. Noncompeting awards will be issued without cost-of-living/inflationary adjustments in FY 2021; however, adjustments for special needs (such as equipment and added personnel) will continue to be accommodated. This policy applies to both modular and nonmodular grants.
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA)
    Fellowship awards will be made consistent with the annual Federal appropriations. The full range of current stipend levels is described in Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2021 (NOT-OD-21-049).

* “R01-equivalent awards” – NIH defines this to include the following activity codes:  DP1, DP2, DP5, R01, R37, R56, RF1, RL1, U01 and R35.