Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities describes the research agenda of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) and the financial assistance mechanisms used for research projects. The focus is primarily on opportunities for investigator-initiated research grants, but brief information also is included on contracts.

Information and Applications / Introduction / Research Agenda / Financial Mechanisms / Grants Process /
Contracts / AHRQ Policies

Information and Applications

Individual announcements may be accessed online; a menu of titles is provided under Grant Announcements.

The Grant Application Form (PHS-398) is available online from the National Institutes of Health Grants Web site at the following URL:

PHS 398 forms and instructions are available in Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format. The revised PHS 398 form is only available online. Applicants are encouraged to access the instructions and forms via the Internet because they provide valuable links to current policy documents and allow easy navigation of the instructions. PHS 398 application kits cannot be faxed to applicants.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, is the Federal Government's focal point for research to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services and access to those services. AHRQ accomplishes these goals through the establishment of a broad base of scientific research on the organization, financing, and delivery of health care services, and through the promotion of improvements in clinical practice.

Research Agenda

AHRQ's research projects examine the availability, quality, and costs of health care services; ways to improve the effectiveness and appropriateness of clinical practice, including the prevention of disease; and other areas of health services research, such as services for persons with HIV infection. AHRQ uses mechanisms of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to carry out research projects, demonstrations, evaluations, and dissemination activities.

AHRQ also supports small grants, conference grants, and training through dissertation grants and National Research Service Awards to institutions and individuals.

The vast majority of AHRQ grants and cooperative agreements are investigator-initiated. Areas of specific interest for grants and cooperative agreements are announced in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. These may be areas of ongoing interest identified in program announcements (PAs) or targeted one-time activities identified in requests for applications (RFAs).

Financial Mechanisms

Public and private nonprofit entities and individuals are eligible to receive AHRQ grants (and both nonprofit and for-profit organizations may apply for cooperative agreements). A grant is a financial mechanism for providing discretionary funds and/or direct assistance to carry out approved research activities.

When a grant is awarded, no substantial Federal involvement with recipients is anticipated during performance of the research activity. A cooperative agreement is a type of grant; however, with this mechanism, a substantial Federal scientific and programmatic involvement with the awardee(s) is anticipated during performance of the project.

AHRQ also awards contracts for specific research activities. A contract is an agreement, initiated by the Government, that is used to acquire an identifiable product or service, under specified terms.

Grants Process

AHRQ announces research grant opportunities through program announcements (PAs) and requests for applications (RFAs). A PA is a formal statement that invites applications on new or ongoing research activities, usually with multiple application receipt dates. An RFA is a formal statement that invites grant or cooperative agreement applications in a well-defined scientific area, with one application receipt date.

Grant applications are reviewed for scientific and technical merit by a peer review group with appropriate expertise. Funding decisions are based on the quality of the proposed project, availability of funds, and program balance among research areas.

Select for a list of current AHRQ Research Grant Opportunities, including program contacts. Potential applicants should refer to the relevant announcement(s), or contact the appropriate program contact, for information such as eligibility requirements, mechanism of support, research objectives, application procedures, and review considerations.

The AHRQ Grants Management Officer is responsible for all aspects of business management related to the award and administration of research grants. Inquiries should be directed to:

Mable L. Lam
Grants Management Officer
Telephone: (301) 427-1448

AHRQ awards disability and minority supplements to ongoing grants that have at least 2 years of committed support remaining in the project period. These supplements are used to train and provide health services research experience to persons with disabilities or to minorities, or to work on minority health issues. For more information, principal investigators should contact their Federal project officer, or the Grants Management Officer.


AHRQ awards contracts to carry out a wide variety of directed health services research and administrative activities. The availability of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for AHRQ contracts is announced in Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), published by the U.S. Department of Commerce to announce Federal contract opportunities and awards. In most cases, RFPs are released 15 days after the date of the announcement in the CBD. Potential offerors normally have 45 to 60 days to prepare and submit proposals.

Proposals received in response to these RFPs are peer reviewed for scientific and technical merit by a panel of experts in accordance with the evaluation criteria specified in the RFP. Additional information on AHRQ's contract program is available from:

Jackie Carey
Office of Management
Telephone: (301) 427-1780

AHRQ may use contracts for activities such as outcomes studies, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (formerly the National Medical Expenditure Survey), information dissemination, and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

AHRQ's solicitation for SBIR proposals is included in a Public Health Service-wide RFP, "Solicitation of the Public Health Service for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract Proposals," administered by the Research Training and Special Program Office of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

To receive the SBIR RFP, contact:

NIH Special Program Office
Building 31, Room 5B44
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-1968.

Further information on AHRQ's SBIR program is available from:

Bonnie Campbell
SBIR Coordinator
Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy
Telephone: (301) 427-1554

AHRQ Policies

Inclusion of Women and Minorities in Research Study Populations Involving Human Subjects

It is the policy of AHRQ that women and members of minority groups be included in all AHCPR-sponsored research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification are provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy resulting from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43) supercedes and strengthens NIH's previous policies (Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations), which were in effect since 1990 and which AHRQ had adopted. The new NIH policy contains provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research," which has been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513), and printed in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts of March 11, 1994, Volume 23, Number 10. AHRQ follows the revised NIH Guidelines, as applicable.

Applicants may obtain copies of the Guidelines from those sources. AHRQ program staff also may provide information concerning this policy.


The Public Health Service (PHS) strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities in which regular routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people. AHRQ program staff also may provide additional relevant information concerning this policy.

Copies of recent grant announcements are available online.

AHRQ Publication No. 00-P031
Replaces AHCPR Publication No. 97-P070a and b
Current as of May 2000

Internet Citation:

Funding Opportunities. AHRQ Publication No. 00-P031, May 2000. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Funding Opportunities
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