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Step-By-Step Grant Help
Become familiar with grant funding mechanisms.

NIH uses numerous grant mechanisms (e.g., R01, R03, R21, R43) to support unsolicited and solicited (RFA or PA) research. Table 1 lists the most frequently used subset of the 59 available funding mechanisms.

Table 1. Description of Grant Mechanisms

Grant Activities Description Amount Timeline
R01 0Traditional Research Project Grant <$500K/ year† 3-5 years
R03 Small Research Grant <$50K/ year 3 years
R21 NCI Exploratory/ Development Research Grant $100K 2 years
R13 Scientific Meeting Support Average $10-15K variable
R43/ R44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 $100,000 6 months
    Phase 2 $750,000 2 years
R41/ R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1 $100,000 1 year
    Phase 2 $750,000 2 years
  • Traditional Research Project Grant (R01): awarded to eligible institutions on behalf of a principal investigator to support a discrete project related to the investigator's area of interest and competence. These grants make up the largest category of NIH funding.

  • Small Research Grant (R03): supports small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources. Examples include pilot or feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; development of research methodology and/or technology.

  • Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21): seeks to broaden the base of inquiry in fundamental biomedical research by encouraging applications for research projects that involve a high degree of innovation and novelty. NIH provides pilot support for potentially ground-breaking ideas and methods that: lack sufficient preliminary data to establish feasibility; could have a major impact on biomedical research if successfully demonstrated; and fall within the areas supported by the awarding IC.

  • Scientific Meeting Support (R13): NIH provides support for scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission. Any U.S. institution or organization, including an established scientific or professional society, is eligible to apply.

  • Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR: R43/R44) and Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR: R41/R42): made to eligible, domestic, for-profit small businesses that are conducting innovative research with potential for commercialization.

†Special action is required if the grant is to exceed $500K for any given year.

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Last Updated: July 19, 2012

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