University Research Services

University Research Services
University Research Services

National Institutes of Health

Jump To: Quick Intro | Important Information | Understanding Opportunities | How to Find Opportunities | Deadline Dates | Application Content & Submission | Contact Info

Queen's can be involved in NIH grants in either of two ways: i) Queen's can lead the application (depending on the eligibility criteria); or, ii) Queen's can be involved as a 'sub-recipient' (i.e., the proposal is led by another university). This webpage provides basic information on understanding NIH programs - e.g., understanding funding opportunities, how to find opportunities, and which deadlines apply. For detailed information on the documentation required for NIH grants and how they are submitted, please see the following pages:

Quick Intro


Important Information

  • Contact URS as Soon as Possible: If you are working on an NIH application, please contact University Research Services as soon as possible. If you will be the grant's PI, we recommend that you contact URS 2-3 months in advance of submission. If Queen's will be a sub-recipient (i.e., the proposal is being led by another university), we recommend that you contact URS at least 3 weeks in advance of the deadline. NIH programs and requirements are complex. Jenny or Andrea will be able to meet in person with your team to discuss the NIH requirements, help you ensure that your application matches NIH guidelines, work with the Research Services offices of any of your partner universities to complete required documentation, and provide an administrative review of your application, as needed. The earlier you let URS know about your application, the more we can help!
  • Institutional Requirements: Queen's already meets the institutional requirements for participating in NIH grants (i.e., Queen's has a DUNS number, EIN number, and is registered in SAM). Queen's researchers DO NOT have to register as individuals in any of these systems.
  • Budget Requirements: The NIH budget must include funds for both the direct costs of research AND indirect costs (i.e., funding to support shared university services). The NIH indirect cost rate is 8% of the total direct costs.
    • For example: $21,000 (MSc stipend) + $100,000 (consumables) + $4,000 (travel) = $125,000 (total direct costs). Indirect costs = 8% of the total direct costs = $10,000. The TOTAL budget request = $135,000.


Understanding NIH Funding Opportunities

  • Types of Funding Opportunities: There are three types of funding opportunities at NIH:
    • Parent Announcements: These are broad funding opportunities that allow applicants to submit investigator-initiated applications. They follow the standard NIH due dates each year. 
    • Program Announcements: These are funding opportunities issued by one or more of NIH's Institutes and Centres to address a particular area of scientific interest. They are usually ongoing (3 years) with standard due dates.
    • Requests for Applications: These are targeted funding opportunities by one or more of NIH's Institutes or Centres aimed at accomplishing specific program objectives. They normally have a single due date and do not reoccur.
  • Activity Codes: NIH uses different kinds of activity codes to differentiate between their programs (e.g., R01 = research project grant; R21 = exploratory/developmental grants). Foreign organizations CANNOT apply to programs with some codes (e.g., R13, K99/R00, amongst others).
  • Understanding Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs): The FOA will cover important information such as which NIH Institutes are supporting the funding call, NIH notices associated with the call, eligibility information, due dates,  application requirements, and review criteria. See this annotated FOA (PDF, 224 KB) for an explanation of each section of the FOA. IMPORTANT - Always check the eligibility information to make sure that foreign (i.e., non-US) organizations are eligible to apply.
  • Clinical Trials Definition: Each FOA will specify whether or not clinical trials are eligible under the opportunity. Applicants should review the NIH clinical trials definition to determine if their project is eligible.


How to Find NIH Funding Opportunities

There are normally > 1,000 open NIH funding opportunities at any given time. There are a few different ways to find NIH funding opportunities specific to your research program.

  • has an online database of all funding opportunities from US federal agencies. To only see NIH opportunities, applicants need to do a narrow database search.
    • Step 1. Go to the main search page
    • Step 2. On the left side of the webpage, scroll down to the box marked 'Agency'. Within that box, scroll down to the "Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]". Click on the expandable box and scroll down to click on "National Institutes of Health [NIH]. Now, only NIH opportunities will be shown. 
    • Step 3. To narrow your results, scroll back to the top of the webpage. In the top left corner, enter one or more search keywords (e.g., cancer). Keywords can be combined to further narrow the search scope (e.g., "lung cancer" AND therapeutics) (see search tips).
  • NIH Funding Opportunities webpage: This NIH webpage lists all active NIH funding opportunities, with an ability to refine the results using keywords. Search results can also be exported as an Excel table.
  • NIH Institutes: The NIH Institutes list the funding opportunities they're participating in online (e.g., this NIMH page). Applicants can review the information provided by Institutes whose mandates align with their research interests. 
    • Applicants can subscribe to an Institute's newsletter to receive information specific to that Institute or Centre. For example, the Fogarty International Centre's funding newsletter includes information on global health funding opportunities. The newsletter differentiates between opportunities for domestic applicants and those that international applicants can apply to.
  • Subscribe for Weekly Updates: You can sign-up to get a weekly digest of all new NIH funding opportunities and announcements by following the instructions on this webpage. An example of the weekly listserv notice is available here.


NIH Deadlines

  • Funding Opportunity Information: The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will specify the deadlines associated with a particular NIH funding opportunity (for example, see this annotated FOA [PDF, 224 KB]). 
  • 'Standard Dates': Some NIH FOAs will not specify a particular deadline but will instead say that "standard dates apply". The NIH 'standard dates' are available online. To figure out which dates apply to your program: 
    • Step 1. Review the FOA to identify which activity code it falls under (e.g. R01, R21).
    • Step 2. On the standard dates webpage, enter the activity code in the search bar. NIH has multiple submission periods per year, called Cycle 1, Cycle 2, and Cycle 3. Please note that:
      • Different deadlines will apply for new applications vs. renewals, resubmissions, and revisions, and;
      • Different dates will apply for AIDS-related applications.


Application Content & Submission

Queen's can be involved in NIH grants in either of two ways: i) Queen's can lead the application ; or, ii) Queen's can be involved as a 'sub-recipient' (i.e., the proposal is led by another university). For detailed information on the documentation required for NIH grants and how they are submitted, please see the following pages:


Contact Information

URS Contact

Jennifer Robinson, Ph.D.
Research Projects Advisor (Health Sciences)
University Research Services / Faculty of Health Sciences

Phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 32944


Andrea Hiltz
Research Projects Advisor (Health Sciences)
University Research Services 

Phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 33108


Last Updated: August 2, 2018