- How do I know if my institution is eligible to apply for an AREA grant?
- What academic disciplines are considered "health-related sciences"?
- How are "health professional schools and "other academic components"defined?
- Whom should I contact regarding questions about Institute/Center research interests?
- Where can I get help preparing my application?
- How many pages are allowed for the Research Plan?
- How do I determine what Facilities and Administrative cost rate (formerly called indirect costs) to use?
- Will Modular Grant guidelines apply to AREA applications?
- What are the electronic receipt dates for the AREA application?
- What should I put down on my application as a start date?
- Where will my application be reviewed?
- How is the study section assignment made?
- Where can I find the study section rosters?
- Do reviewers give special consideration to AREA applications?
- How important are the AREA specific programmatic features in an application?
- How important is education of students?
- Is it a good idea to have a collaborator or consultant?
- What is a fundable score for an AREA application?
- Is there a separate budget allocated for the AREA grants?
- When are awards announced?
- Can AREA grants apply for supplemental funds?
- What reports are required?
- Can an AREA grant be transferred to another institution?
- What should I do if I don't get funded?
- Where do I respond to the comments of the reviewers? May I pick the comments to discuss?
How do I know if my institution is eligible to apply for an AREA grant?
All health professional schools/colleges and other academic components of domestic institutions offering baccalaureate or advanced degrees in the sciences related to health are eligible, except those that have received research grants and/or cooperative agreements from the NIH totaling more than $3 million per year (in both direct and facilities and administrative costs) in at least four of the last seven years (note that eligibility is determined at the time of application). For a list of ineligible schools see: Schools/components that are ineligible for AREA (Excel - 58 KB)
What academic disciplines are considered "health-related sciences"?
All disciplines that fall within the NIH congressional mandate are considered "health-related sciences".
NIH's program activities are carried out by its Institutes and Centers (ICs). These are listed, along with a brief overview of each one's essential mission may be found at: http://www.nih.gov/icd/
How are "health professional schools and "other academic components"defined?
"Health professional schools" (schools or colleges of medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, pharmacy, nursing, veterinary medicine, public health, optometry, allied health, chiropractic and podiatry) means an accredited public or non-profit private school that provides training leading to a degree granted by that school (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., M.P.T., or equivalent degree).
"Other academic components" means all schools, departments, colleges, and free-standing institutes of the institution EXCEPT the health professional schools listed above, taken as a single component.
Whom should I contact regarding questions about Institute/Center research interests?
Names of phone numbers of Institute and Center contacts can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area_contacts.htm
You may also look at the research areas of interest in the home pages of the Institute/Center. Many of these will have a list of the program directors with their phone numbers and research areas.
Where can I get help preparing my application?
It is helpful to be proactive, talk to program staff and talk to successful grantees. In addition, many NIH Institutes put out guides and tip sheets on their Web sites. Additional useful resources include:
SF424 (R&R) Application and Electronic Submission Information
Also, your school probably has an Office of Sponsored Programs or Office of Research Development that can assist you with developing your application.
How many pages are allowed for the Research Plan?
Do not exceed 25 pages for the Research Plan (items 2-5 of PHS 398 Research Plan component): 2. Specific Aims; 3. Background and Significance; 4. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report; and 5. Research Design and Methods.
How do I determine what Facilities and Administrative cost rate (formerly called indirect costs) to use?
Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A) reimbursement is calculated using the institution's facilities and administrative rate as negotiated with HHS. The applicant institution's Office of Sponsored Research or Business Office can provide this information. If an institution does not already have a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-negotiated rate, refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Part III - Division of Cost Allocation (DCA)
Will Modular Grant guidelines apply to AREA applications?
Yes. $25,000 is considered one module.
What are the electronic receipt dates for the AREA application?
The dates for the applications are February 25, June 25, and October 25th. The dates for the AIDS related applications are May 1, September 1 and January 2. The same dates are applicable to resubmitted applications. Whenever a receipt date falls on a weekend or holiday, the application should be submitted by the following business day.
What should I put down on my application as a start date?
There are 3 cycles per fiscal year so depending on when you submit, there are corresponding dates for the earliest project start, as indicated below and in the NIH web site:
||Scientific Merit Review
||Earliest Possible Start Date
|Feb 25, May 1
|June 25, Sept. 1
|Oct 25, Jan. 2
Where will my application be reviewed?
AREA applications are reviewed by scientific review groups (SRA) administered by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and are evaluated for scientific and technical merit. NCCAM applications are reviewed by SRAs established for this purpose.
How is the study section assignment made?
Applications are assigned to the most appropriate study section on the basis of the scientific emphasis of the application and the NIH Referral Guidelines. The assignments are made by NIH Referral Officers, senior science administrators who have had research and scientific review experience. An applicant may suggest, in a study section in the application, (up to three study sections) that are considered appropriate to review the application. The cover letter may also request assignment to a specific Institute.
Where can I find the study section rosters?
Rosters of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) study sections are available at http://www.csr.nih.gov/Committees/rosterindex.asp. The CSR website also has descriptions of the scientific areas covered by each study section: http://www.csr.nih.gov/review/irgdesc.htm
Do reviewers give special consideration to AREA applications?
Review Criteria for AREA Applications - AREA applications are evaluated using the standard NIH review criteria for unsolicited research grants. Reviewers will assess the AREA-specific programmatic features of an application under the Investigator and Environment criteria. Please see the following website for a discussion of the criteria: Significance, Approach, Innovation, Investigator, and Environment. http://www.csr.nih.gov/guidelines/areaR15.htm
How important are the AREA specific programmatic features in an application?
They are extremely important. The experience of the investigator in working with students, the suitability of the institution for an award, and the impact of an AREA grant on the institution are part of the review criteria on investigator and environment. Failure to discuss these criteria will lower the enthusiasm of the reviewers.
How important is education of students?
The three goals of the AREA program are: to support meritorious research, to strengthen the research environment of the institution, and to expose students to research. Students will benefit from participating in meritorious research and will be encouraged to continue studies in the biomedical sciences. The AREA or R15 grant is a research award and not a training award, so the focus is not on course work but on hands-on meritorious research.
Is it a good idea to have a collaborator or consultant?
Since one of the review criteria is the investigator, the reviewers will determine if the investigator is appropriately trained and whether the applicant has the expertise necessary to accomplish the proposed aims. If the applicant does not have the essential expertise, then either a collaborator or consultant along with a letter confirming the role of the collaborator are highly recommended. Usually, a consultant will provide advice or service for a fee to the applicant on a method or assay, etc, while a collaborator is a key personnel with significant input into the experimental approach and data analysis.
What is a fundable score for an AREA application?
There is no predetermined fundable score for an AREA application. Each Institute or Center has the authority and responsibility to make funding decisions based on priority score, program balance and program priorities.
Is there a separate budget allocated for the AREA grants?
No, in Fiscal Year 2002, the funds for the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program were moved from the Office of the Director to the various ICs.
When are awards announced?
Although NIH has shorten this time interval, the time from submission to award is about 9 months. During this time, your application is received, assigned to an institute and referred to a study section for the first level of review. After it is scored, it undergoes the second level of review by the Institute/Center Council. Program staff then makes funding recommendations and work with grants management staff to issue the award.
Can AREA grants apply for supplemental funds?
An AREA grantee may be eligible for an administrative supplement to support a high school or undergraduate student who is a member of an under-represented minority or who is an individual with disabilities. There must be at least one year remaining on the AREA grant at the time of the supplement award and only one supplement at a time is allowed.
What reports are required?
The Annual Progress Report is required. This report should be submitted by the anniversary date of your award. Submit the report by e-mail or on plain white paper to your Program Director at the awarding Institute. The letter requesting this report can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area_progress_rpt_ltr.pdf (PDF - 38 KB).
The final progress report is due within 90 days of the end of grant support. The final progress report should include, at a minimum, a summary of progress toward the achievement of the originally stated aims, a list of the results (positive or negative) considered significant, and a list of publications.
Can an AREA grant be transferred to another institution?
AREA grants can only be transferred to another AREA eligible school/college or other academic component. However, there are many other factors that must be considered in the geographic relocation of a grant. If you are considering such a transfer, please contact your Program Director early in the relocation process.
What should I do if I don't get funded?
Be prepared to revise and resubmit your application. Revising is your opportunity to respond to the criticisms of the Scientific Review Group and use their comments to improve your grant application. First, talk with your Program Director to review your summary statement and to obtain advice. It is also wise to ask someone experienced in grantsmanship and not involved in your proposed research to review your application, summary statement, and revision plans.
Where do I respond to the comments of the reviewers? May I pick the comments to discuss?
You should respond as thoroughly as possible to comments of the reviewers in a section called INTRODUCTION. This section is only used for revised or supplemental applications. In addition, the changes in the Research Plan must be clearly marked by appropriate bracketing, indenting, or changing of typography.
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