Learn the steps to successfully plan, write, and submit an NIH research application, and find out what happens during the review and post-award process. The grants process overview from the NIH Office of Extramural Research will also help you with the entire grant process, from planning and submission to award and closeout.
Step 1: Get Started
Learn the Basics
Plan Your Application
Find funding opportunities, get to know the submission process, and learn tips and strategies for planning and organizing your application.
- Understand the NIH
- Use RePORTER To Help Identify Where Your Research Fits
- Contact NIH Staff
- Find a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
- Determine Application Submission Date
- Plan Within Your Organization
- Obtain Any Prior Approvals From the NIH
- Get To Know the NIH Peer Review Process & Criteria
- Consider These Additional Application Elements
- Organize Your Time To Complete the Application
Step 2: Apply for Funding
Prepare To Apply
Six to eight weeks before submission, make sure you have met all of the registration requirements, review the different types of FOAs and applications, and choose the most appropriate submission option.
Write Your Application
Contact NIH Staff
No matter your career stage, we strongly encourage you to communicate with NIH staff throughout the life cycle of every grant. The best people to talk with about the scientific, review, or administrative information in your application or award are in the NIH Institute or Center that may fund the grant. Learn about the different NIH staff roles and how you can contact the right person at each phase of the application and award process.
Submit Your Application
Submit your application at least 2 days before the due date to make sure you have time to review it and correct any errors. Track and view your application to confirm it has been received and is correct.
Step 3: Application Referral and Review
Application Referral & Review
Most applications are assigned to the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) study sections for review, while about 30% of the applications are reviewed by review groups organized by an NIH Institute or Center. Learn how you can request a specific assignment, as well as what happens to your application after it is received.
Grant applications are reviewed through a rigorous two-stage process. The first level of review is primarily done by non-federal scientists, while the second level of review is performed by Advisory Councils or Boards.
- First Level of Review – Scientific Review Groups
- Second Level of Review – Advisory Council/Board
- Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants
- NIH Peer Review Briefing for Basic Research Applicants and Reviewers (Video)
- NIH Peer Review Revealed (Videos)
- Eight Ways To Successfully Navigate NIH Peer Review and Get an R01 Grant (Video)
- Eight Ways To Successfully Navigate NIH Peer Review and Get a Fellowship Grant (Video)
Step 4: Pre-Award & Award Process
Pre-Award & Award Process
If you score well in peer review, your application is reviewed by the Advisory Council of the Institute or Center (IC). You may be asked to submit additional information, just in time for the award. After that, final administrative reviews are conducted and Notice of Award documents are sent to successful applicants.
Post-Award Monitoring & Reporting
The NIH monitors grants carefully. Active monitoring includes reports and correspondence from the grantee, audit reports, site visits, and other information.