National Institutes of Health Guide

National Institutes of Health

The College of Liberal Arts departments and programs frequently submit grant and funding applications through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CLA Research Development Team is available to assist with proposal preparation, online applications, and final proposal submission. Complete the Intent to Submit form to connect with the Research Development Team as early as possible prior to an NIH deadline. 

Search NIH Grants and Funding
    Types of NIH Grant Programs
    Active Grant Opportunities
    Discover How Your Research Fits


NIH Grant Basics

The NIH provides financial support in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to support the advancement of the NIH mission to enhance health, extend healthy lives, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. It encourages submission of unique projects of high scientific caliber.

Who is Eligible

Each type of NIH grant program has its own set of eligibility requirements. Applicants can find eligibility information in Section III of each funding opportunity announcement (FOA). 

Types of Grant Programs

The National Institute of Health provides a search tool to help you explore the types of grant funding that they offer, from research grants to career development awards, research training and fellowships, center grants, and more. 

NIH uses activity codes (e.g. R01, R21, etc.) to differentiate the wide variety of programs they support. NIH institutes and centers may vary in the way they use activity codes; not all Institutes and centers accept applications for all types of grant programs or they apply specialized eligibility criteria. Look closely at the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to determine which institutes and centers participate and the specifics of eligibility. 
Active Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH eRA Commons Account

In order to submit an NIH application, the primary investigator (PI) must have an eRA Commons ID:

To use the NIH eRA Commons, all PIs submitting to NIH will need an active account with a username and password.

To activate your account, email or call (612) 624-5599 and reference "NIH eRA Commons." You will be referred to a SPA staff member who will create your account while you are on the phone. This process takes only a couple of minutes, during which the staff member will ask for your:

First name, middle initial, and last name
University email address

Once your eRA Commons account has been set up, NIH will send you an email within three days that contains your user name and a temporary password.

NIH requires that you complete your registration two to four days prior to any submissions. If you are planning to submit an NIH proposal and have not registered for an eRA Commons account, they suggest you do so immediately.

Visit Sponsored Projects Administration’s web page for additional details.

Determine a Timeline
Every NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will have a submission deadline for grant applications. This date varies depending on the activity code, specific program, or FOA. 

Plan on contacting the Research Development Team six weeks in advance of your intended submission deadline. If you intend to submit an application with less than a six-week notice, contact the Research Development Team to verify that staff will be available.

If you do not believe you can develop a strong and complete application by the FOA deadline, consider delaying your application to the next submission deadline. NIH reviewers “will point out when they feel an application is premature because of inadequate development and presentation, including a poorly conceived budget.” (source)
Create a BioSketch 
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) ScienceExperts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv) as an approved format for submission of biographical sketches. 

The CLA Research Development Team can assist you in developing your budget. Before connecting with the team, be sure to verify which type of budget will be required for your FOA. NIH uses two different formats for budget submissions: 

R&R Budget Form
Use when applying for more than $250,000 per budget period in direct costs
View the R&R Budget Form template

PHS 398 Modular Budget Form 
Use when applying for less than $250,000
View the PHS 398 Modular Form sample

You can also view NIH’s guidance on developing your budget.

Be sure to connect with the CLA Research Development Team as soon as possible to let them know of your intent to submit an application. This notification will ensure staff availability to assist you in creating a budget that is compliant with the University of Minnesota’s policies. 
Budget Justification
A budget justification is used to provide additional information regarding each budget category requesting funds as well as to explain any exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation. A budget justification is required for both types of NIH budgets. 

Please note, a separate additional budget justification is required if an application includes a sub-award/consortium budget.  

R&R Budget form 
G.310 - R&R Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

 Modular Budget Form 
G.320 - Modular Budget Form

The budget section includes a budget justification narrative. 
(Check FOA for budget justification page limitations).

Personnel – salaries/wages, time commitment and fringe benefits of PI, coPIs, senior associates, and graduate and undergraduate researchers. See current fringe benefit rates
Consultant – consultants usually provide advice, but should not make decisions for the direction of the research. Typically, consultants will charge a fixed rate for their services that includes both their direct and F&A costs
Equipment – an item of property with acquisition cost of $5,000 or more. View the facilities, equipment, and other resources.
Travel – all foreign and domestic travel (airfare, transportation, lodging, food)
Patient Care Costs – costs of routine and ancillary services provided by hospitals to individuals participating in research programs
Other Direct Costs – publication costs
Consortium/Contractual Costs – amount should include the partnering institutions F&A
Indirect costs – F&A rates
Total Directs

See NIH’s guidance on developing your budget and Modular Budgets.

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