National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary U.S. federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. The NIH invests nearly $30.1 billion annually in medical research. More than 80% of the NIH's funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants. The success rate for NIH applications in 2016 was 19.1%.

To realize its mission of extending healthy life and reducing the burdens of illness and disability, the NIH funds grants, cooperative agreements and contracts supporting the advancement of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems. With 27 Institutes and Centers, the NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in the United States and around the world, including Canada. There are 3 standard application cycles for NIH grants, one in the winter, spring, and fall.

The common types of NIH applications are as follows. Please visit our Funding Deadlines Calendar for information on current competitions.

For more information on NIH, please contact nihgrant@ucalgary.ca

***Important Notice on Deadlines***

When planning a University of Calgary-led NIH application, please take special note of the difference in internal Research Services deadlines between single-site (i.e., projects in which the University of Calgary is to be the sole institution conducting the research) and consortium (i.e., projects in which the University of Calgary is to conduct a portion of the research and subgrant NIH funds for work done at ≥1 "sub-site" institutions) proposals. Complete and final single-site applications are to be made available for review (e.g., within ASSIST) by Research Services no later than 12pm noon (MT) 2 business days in advance of the NIH deadline. (Previously 4 business days, being shortened on a piloted basis).

Conversely, for consortium application: 1) the subsite supporting documents are to be sent 2 weeks in advance of the agency deadline and 2) the complete and final ASSIST/Workspace application is to be made available for review by RSO no later than 12pm noon (MT) 1 week in advance of the NIH deadline. The additional time for consortium applications is to accommodate the complexity of coordinating review across multiple institutions and research offices (e.g., consortium applications necessarily involve multiple site-specific budgets and supporting documentation) and to ensure error-free submission of the application through the relevant submission portal.

R01 – Research Project Grant

  • Used to support a discrete, specified research project
  • NIH’s most commonly used grant program
  • Budget – costs appropriate for the project, typically <$500,000 per year
  • Generally awarded for 3-5 years

R21 – Exploratory/Development Research Grant Award

  • New, exploratory & development projects, supports early stages of project
  • Limited to up to two years of funding
  • Budget for direct costs for the two year project period up to $275,000

U01 – Research Project Cooperative Agreement

  • Supports discrete, specified projects to be performed by investigator(s) in an area representing specific interests and competencies
  • No specific dollar amount – amount and years specified in FOA

Human subjects and clinical trials

Beginning on January 25, 2018, all NIH applications will use revised application packages, which include the Public Health Service Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form. This form requests human subject and clinical trial information at the study level in order to identify proposed research projects as clinical trials, given the NIH definition of a clinical trial. More specifically, this form will require you to answer the below four questions.

  1. Does the study involve human participants?
  2. Are the participants prospectively assigned to an intervention?
  3. Is the study designed to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the participants?
  4. Is the effect that will be evaluated a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome?

If your answer is “yes” to each of these four questions, the proposed research will be classified by NIH as a clinical trial. In this case, the Calgary Centre for Clinical Research (cccr@ucalgary.ca) is available for guidance on budgeting, registration, regulatory, and other clinical trial-specific considerations.

Financial Conflict of Interest Disclosure

A Financial Conflict of Interest disclosure is required by all Investigators (and key team members) who hold or are applying for Public Health Services (PHS) funds including NIH. Investigators and team members are required to complete the University’s disclosure form which is reviewed by the University’s FCOI Review Committee to determine the existence of a Financial Conflict of Interest.

Investigators must submit Financial Interest Disclosure Forms at the following times:

  • At the time of any application for PHS funding, whether directly from PHS or through another institution as a subaward;
  • At minimum, annually, within the term of an existing grant or subaward;
  • Within thirty (30) days of any new Significant Financial Interest or change in status of any Investigator’s financial interests within the term of an existing grant or subaward;

Click here for further information on the UofC’s compliance with this policy.

For questions regarding FCOI disclosure, please contact:

Neil Campbell, Senior Legal Counsel, Research 
Email: neil.campbell@ucalgary.ca