Working with and Developing Proposals for the
Health Resources and Services Administration
and the National Institutes of Health
Troy State University
February 24-25, 2005
Grants Resource Center
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Mimi Tangum, Director
Ariel Herman, Program Advisor
Health Resources and Services
• Supports education & training programs that promote a
health care workforce with competencies & skills needed to
deliver cost-effective quality care; education programs to meet
the needs of vulnerable populations;
• Seeks to improve cultural diversity in the health professions,
& to monitor relevant systems of health professions
education in response to changing demands of the marketplace.
• Five Bureaus at HRSA (Health Professions (includes Division
of Nursing); Maternal and Child Health; Primary Health Care;
HIV/AIDS; and Special Programs)
HRSA Bureaus Most Likely to Fund
Bureau of Health Professions (BHP)
– Mission: Improve the health status of the population by providing
national leadership in the development, distribution and retention
of a diverse, culturally competent health workforce that provides
the highest quality care for all.
– Improve access to a diverse and culturally competent and sensitive
health professions workforce.
Maternal and Child Health Bureau MCH)
– Supports programs to improve access to comprehensive, culturally
sensitive, quality health care for all women, infants, children,
adolescents and their families, including fathers and their children
with special health care needs.
BHP Funding Opportunities (Nursing)
Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Grants
– Supports projects that strengthen & enhance the capacity for nurse
education, practice & retention to address the nursing shortage.
Preference given to projects that will substantially benefit rural or
underserved populations, or help meet public health nursing needs
in state or local health departments. In FY 05, up to $16.72 million is
available to fund an estimated 66 awards. Last deadline: 12/3/04—
usually same each year
Nursing Workforce Diversity Grants
– Grants awarded to increase nursing education opportunities for
individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing student
scholarships or stipends, pre-entry preparation, & retention
activities. Eligiblity; schools of nursing, nursing centers, academic
health centers, & other public or private non-profits. In FY 05, 33
grants will be awarded, averaging $273,000. Last deadline: 12/3/04
BHP Funding Opportunities (cont’d)
Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)
– Supports public & private non-profit health professions
schools & training programs that provide students from
disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to develop
the skills needed to become professionals.
– Projects can include: identification, recruitment, &
selection efforts; facilitation of entry into training; counseling,
mentoring & other services; pre-entry training; financial aid
outreach, scholarships & stipends; & work/study with
community-based primary care providers (last deadline:
2/21/05—usually same time each year).
BHP Funding Opportunities, cont’d
Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum
– Supports continuing education/training for practicing
health care providers and enhancement of curricula in
health professions schools to equip a healthcare
workforce to deal with bioterrorism events. Special
consideration given for using distance learning
methodologies/telehealth. In FY 05, 35 awards
– Deadline: 4/5/05
– For More Information: Lynn Wegman, 301-443-1648,
BHP Funding Opportunities, cont’d
Allied Health Project Grants
– Supports health professions schools, academic health centers, &
other public or private non-profit entities to establish or expand
allied health training programs.
– Projects focus on disciplines in short supply or high demand for
elderly people; rapid transition training for people with bachelor’s
degrees in health sciences; career advancement for allied health
professionals, and student training in community-based settings
in rural or other underserved areas.
– In FY 05, $2.3 million available to make about 18 awards
– deadline: 1/25/05—deadline usually around same time each year
MCH Funding Opportunity
Maternal and Child Health Research Program
– Supports maternal & child health research relating to services
which show promise of contributing to new knowledge &
will result in health status & service improvements in states
& local communities. Funds applied research projects, not
basic research, that are intended to improve health care
delivery systems for mothers & children. In FY 05, $2.8
million is available to make about 10 awards.
– Contact:Hae Young Park, 301-443-2207,
– Two deadlines a year: 3/1/05 and 7/29/05
National Institutes of Health
Most biomedical research in the United States is
supported by the Federal Government, and
primarily by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
• Comprised of 27 institutes/centers that fund basic biomedical and
behavioral research in specific disease-related areas, such as
cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and infectious diseases.
• Institutes and centers also support research relating to a particular
focus, such as aging, child health, mental health, nursing,
environmental health, or drug abuse/alcohol abuse prevention.
• While all institutes/centers support research in the social and
behavioral sciences, some do more than others, such as the
Institutes on Aging, Child Health and Human Development,
Mental Health, Drug Abuse and Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
National Institute of Nursing Research
• Individuals encouraged to contact NINR
extramural program staff to discuss
proposed areas of investigation.
• Current Research Areas of interest:
– Chronic Illness and Long Term Care
– Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
– Cardiopulmonary health and critical care
National Institute of Nursing Research, cont’d
• Current Research Areas of interest:
– Neurofunction and Sensory Conditions
– Immune Responses and Oncology
– Reproductive Health and Child Health
– End of Life and Environmental Contexts
Important Fact #1: To Get Funded, You Must
Know your Funding Source (NIH) Inside Out
• NIH says, ―To write a successful NIH
grant application, you'll need to
understand the NIH granting
• NIH funding derives from Congress, so
it is important to understand NIH’s
current budget priorities
• Health Disparities
• Heart Disease
• Child Health
Applications Submitted to NIH
Approximately 50,000+ grant applications
are submitted to NIH each year,
25-30% are funded
Competing grant applications are received
for three review cycles per year
Typical Timeline for a New Individual
Research Project Grant Application (R01)
There are three overlapping cycles per year:
Cycle 1---- Cycle 2---- Cycle 3----
–Submit in February June, October
–Review in June October, February
–Council in September January, May
–Earliest award December April, July
How Research Priorities are Set at NIH
• Often explored through workshops at NIH.
• If the consensus is to further explore an existing area of
science, then a program announcement (PA) for research
applications is developed. It will be published in the NIH
Guide, stay open for three years, and usually will have
the standard NIH deadlines (Feb 1, June 1 and Oct 1)
• Alternatively, funds may be set aside for ―hot topic‖
research areas. A request for one-time only applications
(RFA) will be published in the NIH Guide with specific
• However, most research applications submitted to NIH
are investigator initiated, and do not reference any PA or
Important Fact #2: NIH Says It Will Fund Any Area of
Biomedical/Behavioral Science, But…
• Since NIH is open to new ideas in all areas of biomedical and
behavioral science, a good idea is always worth talking to NIH
• Can be submitted for funding as an ―unsolicited‖ application.
• However, NIH institutes and centers identify priority research
areas as either:
• Program Announcements
• ―suggests‖ applications in ongoing research interest for next 3 years, or
• Requests for Applications
• ―solicits‖ applications for one-time only ―hot‖ topics, has specific
deadlines, which are then published in the NIH Guide to Grants and
Before You Contact NIH…
• Check out what NIH has already funded in your area(s) of
• CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific
Projects), a searchable database of abstracts of all research
funded by NIH (http://crisp.cit.nih.gov/ ).
• Talk to recent awardees.
• Usually generous with their time and ideas;
• Can share their respective funded proposals.
• GRC can facilitate those connections.
Important Fact #3:
Always Contact NIH
• Check NIH institute or center web pages
(http://www.nih.gov/icd/ ) for the full range of program areas
and program contacts.
• Pay attention to National Advisory Council information--future
research agenda often discussed.
• Establish a dialogue with NIH program staff—
• They want to talk with you.
BEFORE You Contact NIH:
• What is an NIH grant mechanism?
– F-Fellowships; K-Career Development; N-
Research Contracts; P-Program Project &
Research Center Grants;R-Research Project
Grants (good proportion of NIH’s budget); S-
Research-Related Programs; T-Training Grants;
U-Cooperative Agreements; and Y-Interagency
• Good descriptions of these mechanisms:
New Investigators at NIH
• Encouraged to submit traditional research project grant (R01) applications,
identifying themselves on the application face page as a new
investigator—and also in biosketch.
• Reviewers will specifically be asked to consider:
– Approach: reviewers will place more emphasis on how applicant demonstrates
that techniques/approaches are feasible
– Investigator: reviewers will place more emphasis on applicant’s training and
research potential, rather than track record and number of publications
– Environment: reviewers will look for evidence of institutional commitment
(space and time) to perform the research
AREA: Academic Research Enhancement
• For institutions receiving less than $3 million per
year (over last 7 years) from NIH
• Recognizes role of teaching institutions in education
of future researchers and practitioners
• Seeks to strengthen undergraduate experience
• Supports meritorious research for new knowledge
and teaching vitality
• Small award--$150,000 total for up to three years
• Applications due 1/25; 5/25; and 9/25
AREA Review Criteria
• AREA uses same review criteria and two-stage peer
review process as other NIH programs.
• Special considerations regarding the investigator and
environment are unique to AREA.
• PI’s experience must be appropriate for supervising
students who are conducting research.
• Applicant’s school or academic component must be
suitable for an award in terms of likelihood for
strengthening the research environment and
exposing more students to research.
• Collaboration acceptable if majority of research is
conducted at an AREA eligible institution
AREA Review Criteria (cont.)
• Reviewers will consider two factors to
determine if a fitting research environment
• Documentation of the availability of well-
qualified students to assist with the proposed
• Evidence that students have pursued, or are
likely to pursue, meaningful careers in the
biomedical and behavioral sciences.
NIH Small Grant Program (R03)
• Faculty from all types of institutions are eligible to apply.
• Call before submitting: some NIH institutes/centers do NOT
accept R03 applications.
• Provides limited funding (usually not more than $50,000) for a
short period of time.
• Examples of the types of projects:
• Pilot or feasibility studies
– Secondary analysis of existing data
– Small, self-contained research projects
– Development of research methodology
– Development of new research technology
Grant Award (R21)
• Intended to encourage new, exploratory and
developmental research projects by providing support
for the early stages of development:
– Such as projects to assess the feasibility of a novel area of
– Or an experimental system with potential to enhance
• Combined budget for direct costs for 2-year project:
Career Development Awards
• Research training grants for:
• Scientists with a research doctorate, or
• Those with a health profession doctorate
• Opportunities from postdoctoral to independent scientist
• Career Award Wizard is designed to help identify an
Individual NIH Career Award that might be right for the
What is a Modular Budget?
• The Modular Grant format replaces the regular research
application format for requests up to $250,000 direct costs
– NOT a grant program. It is a revised application and award
process for R01, R15 and other kinds of awards.
– Applicants request total direct costs in modules of $25,000,
reflecting appropriate support for projects
• Typical modular grant application will request the same
number of modules in each year.
• Categorical dollar information should NOT be provided in
the application; however, the responsibilities for the Principal
Investigator and all key personnel must be specifically
• Use PHS-398 (modular budget instructions on p. 13)
• NIH’s application form used for all research project
grants and career awards (K awards)
• If responding to a specific request for applications
(RFA) or program announcement (PA), contact NIH
for additional instructions.
• The instructions in the RFA or PA may differ from
the general instructions in PHS-398; if so, they will
supersede the general.
• Additional Questions?
E-mail: GrantsInfo@nih.gov or 301/435-0174
What Happens to Your Application?
Important to understand the two-step peer review process at
NIH—very different from other federal agencies
• Step One: Peer review study sections are managed by Institute or Center
administrators--list of 140 standing study sections appears at
• Each study section has between 12-24 members who are primarily from
• 60-100 applications reviewed at each study section meeting
Important: Always submit a cover letter with your application:
• Suggest the Integrated Review Group (IRG) study section(s) best able to
assess your proposal’s merit,
• State Institute or Center most likely to fund it;
• Cite whom at NIH you have been talking to.
PEER REVIEW AT NIH
• Peer review is the ―essence‖ of what NIH is all about
• New video on peer review at NIH
• After initial review, a second level of peer review is
done by NIH Institute or Center (National Advisory
• Final decisions depend on Institute’s or Center’s total
research portfolio, type of grant, grant size, and
grantee (newer investigator, minority, woman, etc.).
NIH Review Criteria
• Significance: Does the study address an important problem?
How will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced?
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts,
methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative
interventions that drive this field?
• Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design,
methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well
reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant
acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
• Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For
example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or
clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical
barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or
employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or
technologies for this area?
NIH Review Criteria (ctd)
• Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately
trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the
proposed work appropriate to the experience level of
the principal investigator and other researchers? Does
the investigative team bring complementary and
integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?
• Environment: Does the scientific environment in
which the work will be done contribute to the
probability of success? Do the proposed studies
benefit from unique features of the scientific
environment, or subject populations, or employ
useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence
of institutional support?
Scientific Review Group or
Study Section Actions
Scored, Scientific Merit Rating
1 (best) to 5 (poorest) and percentiles
Unscored (lower half)
STUDY SECTIONS JUDGE
Scientific and Technical Merit
Institute staff use the evaluations as part of
the process of considering the relevance of
applications to the Institute’s mission,
research priorities and portfolio of existing
STUDY SECTIONS DO NOT FUND !
SOURCES FOR TIPS
Other Helpful NIH Web sites
• NIH Grants Policy Statement
• Success Rates by Institute and Award
• Forms and Applications
• Electronic Applications (not quite there yet!)
Grants Resource Center
of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities
1307 New York Avenue, NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20005-4701
202 293 7070
Office of Sponsored Programs