Instructions for phs 398 and sf 424(R&R) Form Approved Through 08/31/2015

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4. General Information

4.1 Research Grant Activity Codes

The following tables summarize the major activity codes NIH uses to fund research grants. For more detailed information, visit the OER Web site

NIH continues to transition applications from the PHS398 to the SF424 (R&R) and electronic submission through by grant activity code. Some of the activity codes described in the chart below have already transitioned; others will transition in the near future. Applicants should refer to the Timeline to determine when a particular activity code has transitioned to the new form and electronic submission:

For more information on NIH’s transition plans, see the Web site for Electronic Submission of Grant Applications:

Research Grants

type (activity code)


Basic Research Grant (R01)

Basic Research Grants are awarded to eligible institutions on behalf of a principal investigator to support a discrete project related to the investigator's area of interest and competence. These grants make up the largest category of NIH funding.

Small Research Grant (R03)

Small Research Grants support small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources for projects such as pilot or feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology and/or development of new research technology. Not all awarding components accept investigator-initiated R03 applications.
Applicants interested in the small research grant program of PHS-awarding components other than NIH should contact an official of the appropriate PHS-awarding component (See Part I, 1.4, of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.)

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) (R15)

Academic Research Enhancement Awards provide support to scientists at eligible domestic institutions for small-scale health-related research projects, such as pilot research projects and feasibility studies; development, testing, and refinement of research techniques; and similar discrete research projects that demonstrate research capability. This award is directed toward those smaller public and private colleges and universities that provide undergraduate training for a significant number of the U.S. research scientists.

Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21/R33)

Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants seek to broaden the base of inquiry in fundamental biomedical research by encouraging applications for research projects that involve an especially high degree of innovation and novelty. NIH provides pilot-scale support for potentially ground-breaking ideas, methods, and systems that meet the following criteria: they lack sufficient preliminary data for feasibility to be established, their successful demonstration would have a major impact on biomedical research, and they fall within the areas supported by the awarding I/C. Not all awarding components accept R21/R33 applications.

Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR: R43/R44)

Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR: R41/R42)

SBIR and STTR grants are made to eligible domestic for-profit small business concerns conducting innovative research that has the potential for commercialization.

SBIR/STTR awards are intended to stimulate technological innovation, use small business to meet Federal research and development needs, increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development, and foster and encourage participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation.

Program Project Grant (P01)

Program Project Grants are more complex in scope and budget than the individual basic research (R01) grant. While R01s are awarded to support the work of one principal investigator who, with supporting staff, is addressing a scientific problem, program project grants are available to a group of several investigators with differing areas of expertise who wish to collaborate in research by pooling their talents and resources. Program project grants represent synergistic research programs that are designed to achieve results not attainable by investigators working independently. Not all awarding components accept P01 applications.

Research Center Grant (P50/P60)

Research Center Grants serve varying scientific and IC-specific purposes, but they have elements in common. The grants are multidisciplinary in scope and may focus more on an area or discipline of science than on a specific theme or goal. Independent investigators direct the projects and cores. Center grants offer a greater opportunity for scientific interactions and overall progress than with individually-funded projects. Not all awarding components accept P50/P60 applications.

Scientific Meeting Support (R13)

Most NIH ICs provide support for scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission. Any U.S. institution or organization, including an established scientific or professional society, is eligible to apply. For more information and guidelines, see Applicants must obtain IC approval prior to submission.

Training, Fellowships and Career Development Programs

type (activity code)


Institutional Research Training Including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (T32/T34/T35)

These awards are made to domestic institutions that have the facilities and faculty to provide for research training programs in scientific specialties. Grant funds may be used for personnel, equipment, supplies, trainee stipends (both pre- and postdoctoral), and related costs.

Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowships) (NRSA: F30/F31/F32/F33)

These fellowships are awarded to qualified individuals at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, or senior investigator level to pursue full-time research training in designated biomedical or behavioral science areas.

Career Development Award (K Award)

Among NIH components, several types of career development awards are available to research and academic institutions on behalf of scientists who require additional independent or mentored experience in a productive scientific environment in order to further develop their careers in independent biomedical or behavioral research.

Applications Available from Other Offices



Nonresearch Training Grant Application (PHS 6025)

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
(301) 443-6960

Health Services Project Application (5161-1)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

(301) 436-8451

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