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Frequently Asked Questions About Funding & Research

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How does NIH fund research?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an organization that includes 27 Institutes and Centers (IC) to support biomedical research over a range of areas. The major portion of our annual budget is used to fund grants to institutions and organizations (called Grantees) for projects directed by scientists (called Principal Investigators or PIs) at universities and medical schools throughout the United States. The Office of Extramural Research (OER) web site has more information on NIH research grant policies, guidelines, and funding for extramural researchers. Visit:

Scientific and fiscal management of grant awards is typically handled within each IC. The scientific administrator is often called a Program Officer and the fiscal administrator a Grants Manager.

How can I find out whether NIDCD is the right place for my project?

For a general description of NIDCD’s mission areas, you can review the material provided on our Funding for Research page. This page provides links to descriptions of the different Program Areas of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language. This page also provides links to past and present Funding Opportunity Announcements from NIDCD, which will allow review of scientific areas that have received special emphasis in the recent past. The links provided under Types of Funding will guide selection of an appropriate funding mechanism for your project. You are also encouraged to use the Staff Contacts for research funding to find the appropriate Program Officer to resolve any remaining questions.


How can I apply for funding for my biomedical or biobehavioral research?

As a first step, visit:

If you are a young investigator or at an early stage of your research career, then visit NIDCD and Your Career for background information.

Most NIH-funded research is investigator-initiated: scientists from universities and laboratories around the country apply for funding of projects arising from their own ideas and unique insights. Ideas for a research project are proposed by writing a grant application and submitting it for review of scientific merit by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR). The CSR site provides links that describe how the review process works, including a video that provides an inside look at the CSR review process.

Funding Opportunity Announcements are published notices of initiatives calling for applications to address specific scientific topics. Visit:

Please note: NIH will soon require all research grant applications to be submitted electronically through the web portal of Please read more about the phased conversion to this new process and the new forms here: Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.


What is “peer review?”

Peer review is the process of scientific review and evaluation of an application by a group of experts in the field. It is used by many granting agencies to ensure that the highest scientific standards are met when selecting applications for funding by taxpayer-supported dollars. NIDCD grant applications undergo a highly competitive two-step review. Most reviews for NIH are performed by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). You can read more about the peer review process by visiting their web site.

A second step of review involves the meeting of the Advisory Council for NIDCD. This group is composed of distinguished members from the scientific community in all of the areas covered by NIDCD, including some lay public members with an interest in NIDCD’s work. This Council approves applications that are most appropriate for funding, based on NIDCD’s mission and budget.

Can I sign up to receive notices about new funding opportunities?

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts is the official publication for NIH medical and behavioral research grant policies, guidelines, and funding opportunities. To receive a weekly Table of Contents by email, sign up for the NIH Guide Email List.


How can I find out about research currently being conducted at or funded by NIDCD?

Information about research conducted at NIDCD (intramural research) and research sponsored by NIDCD (extramural research) is available on the Research section of our site. To learn about biomedical research projects currently funded by NIDCD, you can search the CRISP database (select NIDCD from the Institute and Center dialog box).

How can I reach an NIDCD staff member who can answer my questions?

The NIDCD web site provides contact information for the following staff:

Research funding
Scientific faculty
NIDCD organizational directory

How can I find out more about resources available to NIH intramural scientists?

The Research Training and Scientific Resources section of the NIH web site provides information about campus and laboratory resources, scientific interest groups, library resources, and much more.


National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Celebrating 20 years of research: 1988 to 2008