Rules and Policies for Funding Consideration

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There are a number of NIH and NINDS funding policies that recipients should be aware of. Learn more about each policy.

Administrative Budget Cuts

To maximize the number of grants NINDS can fund, the Institute reduces non-modular R01s by 17.5%.  No administrative budget cuts are made on modular R01 applications (see NOT-NS-21-053). 


Inflationary Increases

Inflationary increases for future year commitments are not permitted. The NIH escalation policy applies to all cost categories (e.g., salaries/fringe, supplies, travel). Any justified reason for year-to-year increases within a budget category should be explained clearly in an applicant's budget justification.

Salary Cap

Congress restricts the amount of direct salary paid to an individual under an HHS grant, cooperative agreement, or contract. Salary cap information for investigators and National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend information for trainees can be found on the salary cap page. It is important to consult the latest salary cap and stipend levels when you prepare your grant application or contract proposal budget.

Your institution may only pay you beyond the NIH salary cap using non-federal funds. For historic levels, see NIH’s Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990-Present).


Effort Requirements and Expectations

NINDS generally expects a minimum effort of 2.4 calendar months (or 20% effort) on an R01 or R01-equivalent Special Council Review (SCR) application. For multiple principal investigator (MPI) applications, effort is typically divided equitably among the PIs or in a manner that is appropriate for each PI's contribution to the project. The combined efforts of the PIs should meet or exceed 2.4 calendar months.

For some grant mechanisms such as the R35 and some K mechanisms, NINDS has specific expectations for the level of effort level required.  Review the NOFO you are applying to (particularly section III) for any eligibility requirements.

For more information, visit the Usage of Person Months FAQs page.

Overlap: Types and Resolution

During the JIT Process, NINDS staff will review applications and JIT materials for the following kinds of overlap:

Overlap Type Occurs When

Scientific Overlap

Substantially the same research is proposed in more than one application or is submitted to two or more funding sources for review and consideration. 

A specific research objective and the research design for accomplishing the objective are the same or closely related in two or more applications or awards, regardless of the funding source. 

Budgetary Overlap Duplicate or equivalent budgetary items (e.g., equipment, salaries) are requested in an application but are already provided by another source. 
Commitment Overlap Personnel commit more than 12 Calendar Months of total Other Support. 

Resolution of overlap normally occurs at the time of award in conjunction with applicant institution officials, the principal investigator, and NINDS staff. NINDS staff review Other Support and budget justifications (for modular applications) to determine if any overlap exists. If part of your research plan or scientific effort has already been paid for by NIH or another organization, NINDS will reduce the funding level accordingly.

Special Council Review

For investigators who currently have $2 million total cost or more in funding, your pending applications will have to meet additional requirements. For additional information, visit the NINDS page on Special Council Review.