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NINDS Grant Mechanisms

The grant mechanisms supported by NINDS are described below. Each funding mechanism and program title is accompanied by a brief General Description of each mechanism, followed by NINDS Specific Instructions (if any), and Link to Program Announcements (PA) & Requests for Application (RFA). For additional, specific information regarding eligibility for Non-U.S. scientists and U.S. scientists at foreign Institutions, please see NINDS Grants Information for Non-U.S. Scientists and U.S. Scientists at Foreign Institutions.

Table of Contents

Research Project Grants

Center Grants

Cooperative Agreement Awards

Conference Grants:

Small Business Grants:

Institutional Training Related Programs:

Individual NRSA Predoctoral Fellowships:

Individual NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Mentored Research Career Development Awards:

Independent Scientist Career Development Awards:

Additional Information Links


Research Project Grants

  • R01 Research Project Grant
    A Research Project Grant supports a focused research program conducted by a principal investigator with or without collaborators, postdoctoral trainees, graduate students and/or technicians. Also supports Pilot Clinical Trial Grant for Neurological Disease to gather preliminary data and the conduct of clinical studies to support the rationale for a subsequent full-scale clinical trial of intervention to treat or prevent neurological disease.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: Research Project Grant (R01) Guidelines

    Link to PAs and RFAs: See NINDS Funding Opportunities

    Important: As of the September 25, 2011 receipt date, all applications must conform to the NINDS Policy for the Requirement of Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use an Investigational Drug, Biologic Product or Device in a Clinical Trial Prior to Submission of an Application (NOT-NS-11-018).

  • R03 Small Grant Program
    Supports new research projects that: 1) lead to a defined product, resource or "deliverable" that has inherent value to the neuroscience community; 2) regardless of whether they are hypothesis-driven, will generate an important and potentially publishable unit of information or dataset; or 3) focus on secondary analysis of clinical data sets. Priority will be given to research proposals that include a detailed plan for the sharing of resources and data generated under this award.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: NINDS Small Research Grant (R03) Program Guidelines

    Link to PAs and RFAs:PA-13-304

  • R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)
    The purpose of this program is to stimulate research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. These grants are intended to create a research opportunity for scientists and institutions otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH programs to support the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research effort.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS

    Important: As of the October 25, 2009 receipt date, the R15 funding limit was increased to $300,000 in direct costs.

    Link to PAs and RFAs: PA-13-313

  • R21 Exploratory/Developmental Grant
    Supports new research projects that: 1) assess the feasibility of a novel avenue of investigation; 2) involve high risk experiments that could lead to a breakthrough in a particular field; or 3) demonstrate the feasibility of new technologies that could have major impact in a specific area. Proposals submitted under this mechanism should be limited to those with the potential for truly ground-breaking impact. Also supports projects in translational research intended to discover potential targets for therapeutic intervention, to identify candidate therapeutics, or to develop assays, animal models, devices, or technologies for screening or developing therapeutics. Does NOT support R21 applications that include clinical trials or other clinical studies of potential therapies.

    For further details regarding the R21 mechanism see the NINDS website: Applicants are encouraged to contact appropriate program staff within NINDS for advice about potential R21 proposals. A complete listing of program director contacts may be found at:

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) Program Guidelines

    Link to PAs and RFAs: PAR-13-023, PA-13-303

  • R25 Research Education Grants
    The purpose of these Education Projects is to enable the grantee organization to provide research and related experiences for undergraduate, graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows and other junior scientists to broaden their skills and enhance their career development opportunities in order to contribute significantly to basic, clinical or translational neuroscience research. Funding support should lead to increased recruitment, mentoring, and training in the scientific and technology workforce.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS

    The NINDS currently participates in the three following programs:
    1. NINDS Research Education Programs for Residents and Fellows in Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropathology and Neuroradiology.

      List of currently active R25 programs

  • P01 Research Program Project Grant
    Grant to support a multi-investigator research program with a well-defined research focus or objective. All subprojects must be united in a common theme and be interdependent.

    Link to PAs and RFAs: PAR-14-183



Center Grants

  • P30 Center Core Grant
    The purpose of this program is to advance the NINDS mission to promote understanding and treatment of neurological disorders by providing core research facilities that are not otherwise available. Each Center Core Grant supports shared resources and facilities used by investigators with research projects funded by NINDS. An institution is eligible for a maximum of one NINDS Center Core Grant. These awards will support basic, translational, and clinical research, but will not be used to support clinical trials or to provide patient services.

    Each Center Core is composed of one or more research cores, each of which enriches the effectiveness of ongoing research, and promotes new research directions. A Center Core supports individual neuroscience research projects by providing necessary resources and performing required services that would be difficult or impractical to provide in individual labs. Center Core Grants foster a cooperative and interactive research environment through which multidisciplinary approaches to neuroscience problems, and joint research efforts are stimulated. It is strongly recommended that applicant institutions consider a plan to co-fund the Center Core, in order to maximize its utility and effectiveness.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: See RFA-14-013 (below)

    Link to PAs and RFAs: RFA-14-013
  • P50 Center Grant
    To support any part of the full range of research and development activities comprising a multidisciplinary attack on a specific disease entity or biomedical problem area.


Cooperative Agreement Awards

  • NINDS Cooperative Small Business Awards In Translational Research (SBIR/U44)
    The purpose of the NINDS SBIR Cooperative Agreement (U44) mechanism is to provide support for Phase II, and Fast-Track projects that directly address identification and pre-clinical testing of new therapeutics.

    NIH Information: NINDS Small Business Program and Funding Opportunities; NIH Small Business Funding Opportunities

    Link to PAs and RFAs: PAR-12-054, PAR-11-345
  • U54 Specialized Center - Cooperative Agreement
    A Specialized Center Cooperative Agreement will support any part of the full range of research and development activities that comprise a multidisciplinary attack on a specific disease entity or biomedical problem area. The center includes substantial involvement of NINDS staff, and may serve as a regional or national resource for special research purposes.

    Link to PAs and RFAs: See NINDS Funding Opportunities
  • U01 Research Project - Cooperative Agreement
    A research Project Grant supports a focused research program conducted by a principal investigator with substantial involvement by NINDS staff in the research activities.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: Currently being developed

    Link to PAs and RFAs: See NINDS Funding Opportunities
  • U10 Cooperative Clinical Research Grant
    To support clinical evaluation of various methods of therapy and/or prevention in specific disease areas. There is substantial involvement by NINDS staff in research activities.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: Currently being developed

    Link to PAs and RFAs: See NINDS Funding Opportunities

    Application Kit: SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide

  • U24 Resource-Related Research Project - Cooperative Agreement
    A Resource-Related Research Project contributes to improvement of the capability of resources to serve biomedical research. The project includes substantial involvement of NINDS staff, and may serve a local, regional, or national user group. The project will normally include shared resources, technical expertise, and scientific expertise.

  • UH2 Exploratory/Developmental Cooperative Agreement Phase I
    To support the development of new research activities in categorical program areas. (Support generally is restricted in level of support and in time).

  • UH3 Exploratory/Developmental Cooperative Agreement Phase II
    The UH3 award is to provide a second phase for the support for innovative exploratory and development research activities initiated under the UH2 mechanism. Although only UH2 awardees are generally eligible to apply for UH3 support, specific program initiatives may establish eligibility criteria under which applications could be accepted from applicants demonstrating progress equivalent to that expected under UH2.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: The mechanism is being used by the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network and CREATE programs. See

    Link to PAs and RFAs: See NINDS Funding Opportunities


Conference Grants

  • R13 Conference Grant
    Conference grants support recipient sponsored scientific meetings and conferences that may facilitate advancement of NINDS mission objectives.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: NINDS supports conferences in part or in full and participates in co-funding with other Institutes. Awards are typically under $10,000, but larger awards are sometimes made. Discussions with program staff are especially important if larger amounts are requested.

    NINDS Guidelines for Conference Grant (R13, U13) Applications  

    NIH Information: Guidelines for Support of Scientific Meetings by NIH*

    Link to PAs and RFAs: PA-13-347

    Dr. Ernie Lyons
    Telephone: (301) 496-9223, Fax (301) 402-0182

  • U13 Cooperative Conference Grant
    The difference between the R13 and U13 mechanisms is that in the case of U13, NINDS Program staff will be substantially involved in the planning and conduct of the meeting, assisting the Principal Investigator according to specific Terms and Conditions.

    Instructions Specific to NINDS: If an NINDS Program staff member will provide substantial assistance to a PI and that it is anticipated that assistance exceeds the traditional role of the staff member as Program Administrator, the appropriate support mechanism is the U13 cooperative agreement. Examples of NINDS Program staff involvement after award include, but are not limited to, development of an agenda, selection of speakers, organization of the conference or workshop, and/or post-meeting publications.



Small Business Grants





Last updated November 5, 2014