Research Grants Through the NIH


Daniel Bednarik

Scientific Research

The National Institute of Health offers a wide variety of research grants for different purposes. Some commonly searched for grants include the NIH research project grant program, the NIH small grant program, NIH support for conferences and scientific meetings, and the NIH academic research enhancement award. Figuring out what grant is best to apply for can be confusing, so here is a break down of the most common grants and what each provides:

NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01)

The NIH research project grant program, or R01, is “used to support a discrete, specified, circumscribed research program” and is the most common grant program used. There is not a specific dollar limit to the grant but advance permission is required for $500K or more in any year. This grant is typically rewarded for 3-5 years and can be renewed by competing for an additional project period.

NIH Small Grant Program (R03)

This grant provides funding for a short period of time in order to support numerous types of projects. These projects include but are not limited to: pilot or feasibility studies, collection of preliminary data, secondary analysis of existing data, small, self-contained research projects, and development of new research technology. This grant is limited to two years of funding and is not renewable. The grant allows for a budget for direct costs of $50,000 per year.

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13)

The NIH support for conferences and scientific meetings grant offers “support for high quality conferences/scientific meetings that are relevant to NIH’s scientific mission and to the public health.” This grant requires advance permission from the funding Institutes and Centers. The institution or organization applying for the grant cannot be foreign and cannot be a specific individual.

NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15)

This grant supports small research projects in the biomedical and behavioral sciences conducted by students and faculty in health professional schools. The program is meant to expose students to research and strengthen the research environment of the institution. The project is limited to three years, direct costs are limited to $300,000 over the project period, the grants are renewable, and preliminary data are not required. The institute must be domestic and must offer baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health-related sciences.

For more information and specifics on how to apply, visit this page.