International Activities

The NINDS Office of International Activities (OIA) supports the coordination and development of programs and initiatives that foster international research, training and collaborations relevant to the institute’s mission. We identify significant global health issues, seek opportunities, and develop creative approaches promoting international research, training, and collaborations in neuroscience. See Table 1 for complete information. Foreign institutions and international organizations, including public or private non-profit or for-profit organizations, are eligible to receive most research project grants from NINDS. Foreign institutions and international organizations are not eligible to receive Institutional National Research Service Awards, Career Development Awards, program project grants, center grants, resource grants, and SBIR/STTR grants. In addition, all eligible foreign applications must meet the review criteria outlined below. Expanded Grants.gov registration instructions for foreign organizations are available on the eSubmission website.

Application Review Criteria for Grant Applications for Foreign Institutions and International Organizations

When applying from a foreign institution, both electronic and paper applications have a checkbox for foreign institutions and domestic institutions with a foreign component. In addition, there are special budget requirements for applications from foreign institutions. For more information visit the August 23, 2006 Guide Notice. Foreign postdoctoral fellows may work on NIH-funded research grants, but they may not work on a National Research Service Award fellowship or training grant. According to the NIH Grants Policy Statement, PIs and other personnel supported by NIH research grants are usually not required to be U.S. citizens, though some programs have citizenship requirements. Check the program announcement or request for applications to be sure. When applying electronically, foreign organizations must obtain a NATO Commercial and Government Entity code. NIH does not require international organizations to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for application submission. International organizations may use 44-4444444 for the Employer Identification field in the SF424 (R&R) Cover Component of the application package. For more information on registering, see the Grants.gov Registration Instructions for Domestic and Foreign Organizations.

In addition, the following will be assessed as part of the review process and award decision:

  • Whether the project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions in other countries that are not readily available in the United States or that augment existing U.S. resources.
  • Whether the proposed project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of NINDS and has the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the United States. Note: These criteria are not applied to applications from domestic institutions with foreign components.

Research grant applications from foreign or international organizations must be discussed and recommended for funding by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council (NANDS Council) and are ineligible for expedited review. In addition, foreign companies are not eligible for Small Business Innovation (SBIR) grants. To be eligible for an SBIR grant, a company must have majority ownership by U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, and conduct all the research funded by the grant in the U.S. This condition makes subsidiaries of foreign companies ineligible unless they are majority owned by U.S. citizens. For more information on small business funding opportunities, see the NINDS SBIR and STTR Program.

Change of Grantee Organization

Prior NINDS approval is required for the transfer of a grant-supported project or activity from one entity to another before the expiration of the approved project period. Please note that a change of grantee status that involves the transfer of a grant to or between foreign institutions or international organizations must be approved by the NINDS Advisory Council subject to the additional review criteria for foreign applicants (see above). Investigators considering a move to a foreign institution should consult with their Program Director early in this process because approval of transfers is not automatically given.

U.S. Affiliation or Citizenship

You do not need U.S. affiliation or citizenship to become a grantee. If you are working at a U.S. institution that is receiving the award, you have to remain there long enough to finish your project.

If you do not have a permanent visa, state in your application that your visa will allow you to remain in the U.S. long enough for you to be engaged on the project.

• Your institution ensures that you have an appropriate visa. You will need U.S. affiliation or citizenship to be a trainee on a training grant or receive a career award or fellowship with a couple of exceptions: the Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) and the International Neuroscience Fellowship (F05). For most other career development and training awards, you must be a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, or a permanent resident with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (i.e. Green Card) at the time of award.

Domestic Institutions with a Foreign Component

Some mechanisms may support projects awarded to a domestic institution with a foreign component. For purposes of this policy, a "foreign component" is defined as performance of any significant element or segment of the project outside the United States either by the grantee or by a researcher employed by a foreign institution, whether or not grant funds are expended. Activities that would meet this definition include:

  • The involvement of human subjects/or animals.
  • Extensive foreign travel by grantee project staff for the purpose of data collection, surveying, sampling, and similar activities (Note: Foreign travel for consultation is not considered a "foreign component").
  • Any activity that may impact on U.S. foreign policy through the involvement of grantee project staff in the affairs or environment of the foreign country.

For more complete information on NIH awards to foreign institutions and grants involving foreign components, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement and the NIH’s Office of Extramural Research website. Additional information on International FOAs supported by NINDS can be found on the Find Funding Opportunities page.