The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $32 billion a year to enhance life, and reduce illness and disability.

The information and links below provide information for UHT researchers, and introduce the three most common NIH funding programs: the Research Project Grant Program (R01), Small Research Grant Program (R03), and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (R21).


As a foreign applicant, NIH requires that an attachment entitled Foreign Justification be attached. This justification must describe how the proposed project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of the NIH and has the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the US; whether similar research is being done in the United States and whether there is a need for additional research in this area. This justification will be assessed on whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through unusual talent, resources or characteristics of the research project (e.g., human subjects, animals, disease, equipment, techniques, environmental conditions) that exist in other countries and either not readily available in the US or augment existing US resources.

See our intranet page on NIH Funding Basics for DUNS and EIN numbers. Click Here for a step-by-step guide on how to externally access internal documents.

Research Project Grant Program (R01)Small Research Grant Program (R03)Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants (R21)
Funding ObjectiveHealth-related research and development based on the mission of the NIHSmall research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resourcesExploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development
ScopeUsed to support a discrete, specified, circumscribed research project. Most often investigator initiated in response to either the R01 Parent Announcement or a Program Announcement highlighting particular scientific areas. NIH still welcomes unsolicited, investigator-initiated applications.• Pilot or feasibility studies
• Secondary analysis of existing data
• Small, self-contained research projects
• Development of research methodology
• Development of new research technology
• Break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications.
• High risk high reward studies that may lead to a breakthrough, or result in novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models.
• Distinct from those supported through the R01 mechanism.
• No preliminary data is generally required
Funding Duration1-5 yearsUp to 2 yearsUp to 2 years
Budget RequestNo limit (unless specified in funding opportunity announcement); Advance permission required for $500K or more (direct costs) in any year projectDirect costs generally up to $50,000 per year Direct costs up to $275,000 for the project period (max $200,000 in any single year)
RenewRenewable by competing for an additional project periodNot renewableNot renewable
Re-submissionOnly one resubmission of a previously reviewed R01 application may be submittedOne resubmission (A1) is allowedOne resubmission (A1) is allowed
Deadlines - New Applications3 competitions per year (February, 5, June 5 and October 5)3 competitions per year (February 16, June 16 and October 16)3 competitions per year (February 16, June 16 and October 16)
Deadlines - OtherConsult NIH’s Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications web page or the applicable RFA for more information