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Guidelines for Support of Scientific Meetings by NCCIH: Use of R13/U13 Mechanism

Updated June 2016

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is charged with the mission of defining, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health approaches and their roles in improving health and health care.

Our Center’s strategic framework includes three scientific and two cross-cutting objectives. The scientific objectives are to advance fundamental science and methods development, improve care for hard-to-manage symptoms, and foster health promotion and disease prevention. The cross-cutting objectives are to enhance the complementary and integrative health research workforce and to disseminate objective evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health interventions. In pursuit of these objectives, NCCIH supports research on mind and body interventions, practices, and disciplines; research on natural products; and studies of “real world” patterns and outcomes of use of complementary therapies. Studies may range from basic through translational, clinical, epidemiological, and health services.

In addition, NCCIH recognizes the value of supporting scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public health. Support of these meetings is contingent on NCCIH's interests and priorities, as well as the level of financial investment that NCCIH determines is appropriate.

The guidelines presented here are general guidance for the development of applications requesting NCCIH support for scientific meetings. This document only applies to those conferences, workshops, or scientific meetings supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R13 grants or U13 cooperative agreements. It does not apply to those conferences, workshops, or scientific meetings sponsored or initiated by NIH and funded by contracts or by direct operating funds, or workshops conducted as an adjunct to scientific peer review group activities.

General Procedures

A scientific meeting is defined as a symposium, seminar, workshop, or other organized, formal conference assembled to coordinate, exchange, and disseminate new scientific information or to explore or clarify a defined scientific research problem.

Organizers of scientific meetings must comply with the Guidelines on Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in NIH-Supported Conference Grants. Women, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science must be appropriately included in all aspects of planning, organization, and implementation of NIH-sponsored and/or -supported meetings. “Appropriate” means representation based on the availability of scientists from these groups known to be working in a particular field of biomedical or behavioral research. If appropriate representation is not apparent, no award will be issued until program staff is assured of concerted efforts to ensure such representation.


A U.S. institution or organization, including an established scientific or professional society, is eligible to apply. An individual is not eligible to receive an award for the support of a scientific meeting.

Both domestic and international meetings may be supported; however, an international meeting can be supported only through the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society.

Application Instructions

Advance Permission:

R13 applicants must have received NCCIH permission to submit an application prior to the receipt date/deadline. The request for permission to submit an application should include the dates, location, audience, speakers, budget (see Budget Guidelines), goals, and topics to be covered, and must be received at least 6 weeks in advance of the application receipt date to allow for staff evaluation and discussion of the programmatic relevance of the conference to NCCIH's mission. This information must be submitted to:

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director
Division of Extramural Research
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans with the appropriate NCCIH program director well in advance of the submission of their application and to officially request permission to apply.

After permission to apply is granted, the applicant will receive official communication from the R13/U13 Program Contact. If accepted for submission to NCCIH, this communication must be included with the cover letter of the application.

Preapproval is not required for R13/U13 applications on which NCCIH has secondary assignment. Applicants may designate NCCIH for secondary assignment in their cover letter. Please note that the extent to which NCCIH might co-fund a given R13/U13 application would depend upon the extent to which it includes scientific objectives that align with NCCIH's mission.

Receipt Dates/Deadlines:

All applications must be submitted at least 9 months prior to the meeting. Applications will be received on the three standard Center for Scientific Review (CSR) receipt deadlines for R13/U13 applications (April 12, August 12, and December 12) only.

All applicants must use the SF424 electronic grant application form.

Budget Guidelines

NCCIH's practice is to provide partial support for all conference grants depending on the degree of relevance to current program priorities at the following three levels:

  1. Applications directly relevant to the Center's mission, where the prominent focus is on complementary and integrative strategies (as determined by the NIH multiple-step peer review process), and NCCIH is the primary awarding institute/center (IC)—a maximum level of support up to $30,000 per year
  2. Applications highly relevant to and emphasizing the Center's mission, where NCCIH's role is designated as secondary or other assignee—a maximum level of support up to $15,000 per year
  3. Applications deemed moderately relevant to the NCCIH mission—support up to $5,000 per year. Criterion 3 also applies to conference grants cofunded with another IC.

A special interest of the Center is to support financial hardship considerations for registrants, presenters, and experts who are financially disadvantaged. Typically, these costs will be used to pay registration fees, travel, and accommodation costs for complementary health care trainees and practitioners, as well as conventional medical trainees who have demonstrated a commitment to the complementary health field, but are unable to afford the cost of attending the meeting or conference.

The Center enthusiastically endorses supporting the attendance of new investigators, women investigators, minority investigators, and investigators with disabilities.

Note: Due to budgetary constraints, the Center's highest priority will be to provide funds for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and/or newly appointed faculty members to participate in meetings. In most cases, no funding will be provided for room rental, publication costs, and speakers' fees or expenses.

Multiple-Year Applications

Applications for multiple-year awards may be submitted when a series of annual or biennial meetings is proposed by a sponsoring organization. The primary focus of a proposed meeting must be on the presentation of original scientific findings. The application should demonstrate plans to secure commitments from additional non-Federal funding sources.

For applications requesting multiple years of support, the following additional information must be provided for each future year requested, in as much detail as possible:

  • Meeting topic
  • Tentative dates, locations, and participants
  • Contingency plans for future meetings dependent on, for example, outcome of the first year's meeting or developments in the field

For awards covering multiple-year conferences, a shift in conference focus will preclude funding in subsequent years. This policy will be incorporated into the Terms and Conditions of all grant awards issued for multiple-year conferences.

Multiple-year awards require an annual progress report in the format of a Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) submitted prior to the next scheduled meeting. The PHS 2590 Grant Progress Report instructions and forms are available online at The PHS 2590 should include a progress report on the previous meeting, as well as a full description of the specific plans for the next award period and all information requested in the competing Notice of Grant Award Terms and Conditions. NCCIH program staff will evaluate these reports and plans in approving annual non-competing continuation awards.

The following terms will be stated on the Notice of Grant Award as applicable.

NCCIH Conference Grant Terms of Award

Conference Grant Information (R13):

The organization receiving an award assumes legal and financial responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and also for the performance of the supported activity. NCCIH does not intend to restrict the grantee to any set plan in developing meetings.


NIH policy requires the submission of the following reports to the awarding component within 90 days after the completion or termination of this grant:

  • Final Expenditure Report (SF-269) and Audit: An expenditure report is required from the grantee (usually the treasurer or other financial officer of the grantee organization). The grant account must be maintained separately, either on different ledgers or on different parts of ledgers, with substantiating invoices, receipts, and payrolls readily available at all times for Government audit. All records shall be retained for audit purposes for 3 years after audit is completed and all resulting questions are resolved, whichever occurs first.
  • Terminal Progress Report or copies of proceedings/publications: A report of the meeting must be prepared and submitted to the awarding unit that supported the meeting within 90 days after the termination of the grant. The report should include (1) the grant number; (2) the title, date, and place of the meeting; (3) the name of the person shown on the application as the conference director, principal investigator, or program director; (4) the name of the organization that conducted the meeting; and (5) a list of the individuals who participated as speakers or discussants in the formally planned sessions of the meeting and their institutional affiliations. Copies of proceedings or publications resulting from the meeting, including items (1) through (5) listed above, may be substituted for the final progress report, with approval of the NIH awarding unit.

Failure to submit these required reports when due may result in the imposition of special award provisions or the withholding of support for other eligible projects or activities involving the grantee organization or the individual responsible for the delinquency.

Conference Grant Information (R13): Multiple-Year Application

The organization receiving an award assumes legal and financial responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and also for the performance of the supported activity. NCCIH does not intend to restrict the grantee to any set plan in developing meetings.

This award includes a funding commitment for future years. A shift in the conference focus will preclude funding in subsequent years. Future-year NCCIH support for this conference is contingent upon demonstration of successful performance.


A non-competing application must be submitted no later than 2 months prior to the scheduled renewal date of the non-competing award, which typically will be scheduled to be four months prior to the next planned meeting date. The application should include a report on the previous meeting supported by the current grant award, as well as a full description of the next planned meeting including (1) meeting topic; (2) proposed dates, locations, and participants; (3) outcomes from the first year's meeting or development in the field; and (4) demonstration of commitments from additional non-Federal funding sources.

Failure to submit these required reports, when due, may result in the withholding of support, imposition of special award provisions, or the withholding of support for other eligible projects or activities.

NCCIH Conference Grant Contacts

Discussions concerning potential NCCIH interest in sponsoring a conference, guidance regarding information required by NCCIH to approve an application, guidance regarding applications, and other inquiries should be addressed to the NCCIH program director responsible for the scientific area of the conference.

Permission to submit an application must be obtained by a letter from:

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director
Division of Extramural Research
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475

Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Shelley Headley
Chief Grants Management Officer
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Phone: 301-594-3788