U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Logo
Skip to Main Content
Grants Process & Data
Grant Application Basics
Grants Process Overview
Types of Grant Programs
How to Apply
Peer Review Process
Award Management
NIH Financial Operations
Award Information & Data
Electronic Grants
Electronic Research Administration (eRA)
eRA Commons
Applying Electronically
Global OER Resources
Glossary & Acronyms
Frequently Used Links
Frequent Questions
NIH Academic Research Enhancement
Award (AREA) Grants - (R15)


AREA grants support small research projects in the biomedical and behavioral sciences conducted by faculty and students in health professional schools, and other academic components that have not been major recipients of NIH research grant funds

  • Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) - NIH Guide Program Announcement (Funding Opportunity Announcement)

    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.


Currently, NIH considers the following to be health professional schools/colleges:  School/College of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Podiatry, Nutrition, Dentistry, Osteopathy, Pharmacy, Public Health, Optometry, Nursing, Chiropractic Medicine, and Allied Health.  All other NIH funding is considered “Other Academic.”
The list of eligible and ineligible schools/colleges/components is provided below and is updated annually. Eligibility is determined at the time of application.

Area Grant Information
  • AREA contacts - Persons to contact regarding AREA funding opportunities and questions about IC research interests.

  • AREA Grant Research Objectives (MS Word - 58 KB)

  • AREA FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research - Principal Investigators holding an active Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) Grant also may apply for a supplement under this program. Grantees must check with the appropriate awarding component before an application for a supplement is submitted.

  • 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.

  • Submission Date Schedule

    • Standard application deadlines: February 25, June 25, and October 25
    • AIDS-related research deadlines: January 7, May 7, and September 7

  • NIH will require Electronic Submission of the SF424 (R&R) form through Grants.gov for all AREA grants (R15).

  • Registration – The NIH electronic submission process requires institutional registration in two separate systems: Grants.gov and eRA Commons. Principal Investigators also must be registered in eRA Commons. These registration processes can take up to four weeks (possibly longer for new organizations) to complete. All registrations must be in place prior to application submission. For additional information on preparing for electronic submission to NIH please visit: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm.
Historical PHS 398 References
  • Program Guidelines - Notice published in the NIH Guide (01/09/2003) describing features of the AREA program, including research objectives, eligibility criteria, application and review procedures, award criteria, contact persons. These guidelines are effective for applications submitted for the May 25, 1999 and subsequent receipt dates until further notice.

  • April 23, 2001 NIH Guide Notice - Clarification of Current Public Health Service Grant (PHS 398) Form Instructions for the Academic Research Enhancement Award Program (AREA) Applicants

For specific questions regarding NIH Institute and Center (IC) AREA (R15) funding opportunities and questions about IC research interests.
See: AREA contacts

For general questions about the NIH AREA (R15) program:

Denise Russo, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
6705 Rockledge Drive
Rockledge I Building, Room 3524
Bethesda MD 20892
ph: 301-451-7972
fax: 301-480-0146
email: drusso1@mail.nih.gov

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, RealPlayer, Video or Flash files, see Help Downloading Files.