Research Project Grants

There are several mechanisms that could be used to support individual or small teams of investigators seeking to support investigator-initiated research projects via “Parent” Funding Opportunities (NOFO). The most appropriate mechanism depends on many factors including the scope, breadth, career stage, institution, and other factors. Learn how to identify the best mechanism for your research project grant.

Common Research Project Grant Mechanisms

Identify a mechanism below that best fits your project scope and goals. Then use the NINDS Find Funding Opportunities page and filter by "Grant Mechanism" to find active funding opportunities for that mechanism that NINDS participates in.

R01 The most commonly used grant mechanism by most investigators. An R01 provides support for up to 5 years and funding sufficient to conduct an independent research project. Also note that R01 and R01 equivalent mechanisms are the only mechanism where Early-Stage Investigator status and benefits apply.
RF1 Is an R01 that has been multi-year funded, meaning that several years (usually 3) worth of funding has been awarded all up front in the first year, with additional years to be awarded later pending sufficient progress. Investigators do not apply for an RF1. Rather, if your R01 application is funded via multi-year funding, the mechanism of your award will automatically be switched to RF1.
R35 The NINDS Research Program Award aims to support the NINDS-related research of an investigator's laboratory or research group for a sustained period of up to 8 years. The award is intended to increase funding stability, reduce the time investigators spend writing grant applications, and facilitate a more flexible research environment. Note that each NIH institute and Center’s R35 mechanism may work differently, so please review the NINDS-specific information closely.
R37 NINDS Javits Award. Investigators do not apply for a Javits Award. Rather, nominations for this award are made by NINDS staff and by members of the NANDS Council. These nominations are then reviewed by the Director, NINDS and the NANDS Council. All Javits nominations must be approved by the NANDS Council prior to their award.
R03 The NIH Small Research Grant Program supports small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources. This program supports different types of projects including pilot and feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology; and development of new research technology.
R21 The NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant program supports exploratory and foundational research projects that fall within the scientific mission of the NINDS. **NOTE: NINDS does NOT participate in the Parent R21 NOFO. You must apply to the NOFO titled "Joint NINDS/NIMH Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant." Awards will provide support for the early/preliminary and conceptual stages of these projects. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to breakthroughs in important areas of neuroscience, or to the development of novel techniques, reagents, methodologies, or models, of high value to the neuroscience community.  Support is capped at 2 years.
R15 The R15 mechanism is intended to support small-scale research projects at 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. R15s come in two forms: AREA and REAP.
R16 The R16 is comprised of the SuRE and SuRE-First awards. Both support investigator-initiated research projects at institutions that receive limited NIH research support and serve underrepresented students.
R41, R42, R43, R44 See the Small Business (SBIR) webpage for more information.


Other Research Project Mechanisms

NINDS uses additional mechanisms to support individual or small teams of investigators via solicited notices of funding opportunities. These can include: 

  • R61/R33 
  • U01 
  • UH2/UH3 
  • UG3/UH3 

For more on these mechanisms, review the specific notice of funding opportunity. All active NINDS-related NOFOs can be found in the NINDS NOFO Guide.


Mechanisms for solicited NOFOs
View a list of active NINDS-related NOFOs for mechanisms associated with a specific call for applications or solicited NOFOs.
Team or multi-component projects
Learn about the multi-component or team-based mechanisms that NINDS supports and find the one that best fits your project.
Want to contact NINDS staff?
Please visit our Find Your NINDS Program Officer page to learn how to find and when to contact a Program Officer, when to contact a Grants Management Specialist, and to learn more about Program Officers and Health Program Specialists.