Finding Out About New Funding Opportunities!
October 13, 2022
Navigating the grants environment at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be challenging, especially if you are a new or early-stage investigator. As part of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) effort to help researchers, Debbie Chen, chief grants management officer in the Office of Grants Management, answers a few questions.
Where can I find NIH/NCCIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs)?
There are multiple options:
1) Grants.gov is the Federal Government–wide portal. All NIH funding opportunities and those from other agencies will be posted on this website. You can start here if your research topic may be relevant to multiple agencies.
2) For opportunities specific to NIH, your best option is the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (NIH Guide). You can search by keyword; specific Institutes, Centers, and Offices; and/or types of funding opportunities. In addition, you can:
- Save your search and receive updated search results on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Subscribe to a weekly email of funding announcements and policy updates.
- Follow @NIHFunding on Twitter.
3) For NCCIH opportunities, visit NCCIH’s Funding Opportunities webpage. Search by keyword or grant type. You can also subscribe to the NCCIH Update, our biweekly e-newsletter that includes news on funding opportunities and events, and messages from NCCIH staff.
Since some opportunities are open for a limited time (e.g., 60 to 90 days), seeing an FOA early gives you more time to plan. This may lead to more successful applications.
Do I have to wait for a funding opportunity to submit my idea to NIH?
No. If you have an idea for a research project that aligns with NIH’s mission and scientific priorities, you can submit an application anytime through the investigator-initiated program announcements (called parent announcements). To learn more about NCCIH research priorities, read our current strategic plan and get to know what NCCIH funds.
How can I learn more of the “alphabet soup” of grant acronyms?
We know what you mean about the soup! RFAs, as one example, are requests for applications for targeted initiatives that are of high priority for the Institute or Center (IC). They may only have a single receipt date, and the IC has set aside a specific amount of money to support the initiative. You can find out more about grant acronyms related to funding opportunities in the Description of the NIH Guide.
Who receives the funding if the project is awarded?
All NIH awards are institutional (i.e., are made to an organization, not to you directly). Even for fellowships and career awards, you need to submit your application through the organization that will provide the infrastructure for your research. Your institutional officials will approve and submit your application to NIH and may also be able to assist with grant-related questions. It’s worthwhile to get to know them!
What if I have additional questions?
Each FOA has an “Agency Contacts” section listing staff assigned to, e.g., the peer-review, scientific, or administrative aspects of the announcement. NIH staff are here to help; learn the different roles of staff and when it’s best to contact them.
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