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National Institutes of Health

FY 2009 Funding Strategy for Research Grants

Grants Funding Policy:

For research grants awarded during the period October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will use the following guidelines for the payment of grant awards:

Non-Competing Continuation Grants

The FY2009 appropriation level provides an overall 3 percent inflation allowance to non-competing research grant awards as announced in NIH Guide notice NOT-OD-09-066.  Non-competing awards will be funded at the most recently committed levels.  Non-competing awards previously issued in FY2009 at reduced levels will be revised to restore funds to the level indicated above.

New, Competing Renewal, and Competing Supplement Grants

In general, NIMH assumes that research applications that fall below the 20th percentile are scientifically meritorious and that sufficient funds are available to support up to 80 percent of these new and competing research applications. Council and program staff may selectively recommend payment of grants that fall in this range, as well as beyond, based on: 1) Institute and division priorities; 2) balance in the existing research portfolio; 3) new investigator status (see below); and 4) availability of funds.  Additional priorities include: first time grantees applying for their first renewal with the goal of avoiding serious attrition or closure of new laboratories; and, established grantees with insufficient other support with the goal of avoiding the loss of outstanding laboratories.

Non-modular competing awards may be reduced on average by 10 percent from Initial Review Group (IRG) recommended levels in an effort to fund the most number of applications possible. This is an average total reduction to all grants funded: not an across-the-board reduction to each grant funded, so some grants could be reduced by more or less than this amount. This general policy for reductions does not apply to modular competing awards, Research Career (K awards), Research Fellowship (F awards), Research Training Grant (T awards), SBIR, or STTR awards, although these awards may be reduced on a case by case basis as recommended by Council or program staff.

New Investigators and Early Stage Investigators

NIMH is committed to supporting new investigators and facilitating the independence of emerging scientists. The Institute considers new investigator status as a priority in funding decisions. This means that a research grant from a new investigator may be funded out of order and at percentile scores the same or higher than grants not selected for payment from established investigators. We strongly encourage new investigators and early stage investigators to contact a program officer in their area of research to receive technical assistance with their proposal prior to submission.

Research Training and Career Development Awards

NIMH is committed to research training that prepares junior and early-to-midcareer scientists to conduct innovative multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in areas of program relevance. Given the lower rate of increase in the research budget compared to recent years, NIMH has determined that it is important to strike a strategic balance between building the pipeline of potential new investigators and maintaining a viable pay line to support research projects. We will continue to invest significant funds to train investigators in areas highly relevant to the Institute's mission. If the number of incoming applications remains stable in FY 2009, the success rate for institutional training grants (T32) will remain about the same as in FY 2008. The success rate for career development awards (K-awards) and individual fellowships (F30, F31, F32) also will remain about the same as in FY 2008. For more details, please see NIMH Training.

NIH Policy for Large Grants

NIH requires pre-approval for single applications or for multi-site collaborative studies requesting $500,000 or more in annual direct costs in any year. Applicants are encouraged to interact with NIH staff before starting to write a very large grant. Some large grant applications are not accepted. Applicants planning large grants should request approval from NIH staff at least six weeks in advance of the planned receipt date.

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more must include a cover letter with their application stating the name and institute of the program officer who pre-approved the receipt of the application.

NIMH reserves the right to fund large grants as cooperative agreements (U01s) instead of R01s.

For additional information, please review the NIH "Revised Policy On The Acceptance For Review of Unsolicited Applications That Request $500,000 Or More In Direct Costs" (NOT-OD-02-004).

Stimulus Funds

Information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and NIMH’s role can be found on the NIMH Recovery Act Homepage.

More Information

For information about NIMH and its programs, please e-mail, write or phone us.

NIMH Public Inquiries
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663 U.S.A.
Telephone: (301) 443-4513
Fax: (301) 443-4279