Glossary

C

Clinical Trial

A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

See Common Rule definition of research at 45 CFR 46.102(d)

See Common Rule definition of human subject at 45 CFR 46.102(f)

The term "prospectively assigned" refers to a pre-defined process (e.g., randomization) specified in an approved protocol that stipulates the assignment of research subjects (individually or in clusters) to one or more arms (e.g., intervention, placebo or other control) of the clinical trial.

An intervention is defined as a manipulation of the subject or subject's environment for the purpose of modifying one or more health-related processes and/or endpoints. Examples include, but are not limited, to: drugs/small molecules/compounds, biologics, devices; procedures (e.g., surgical techniques); delivery systems (e.g., telemedicine, face-to-face); strategies to change health-related behavior (e.g., diet, cognitive therapy, exercise, development of new habits); and, treatment, prevention, and diagnostic strategies.

A health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome is defined as the pre-specified effect of an intervention on the study subjects. Examples include positive or negative changes to physiological or biological parameters (e.g., improvement of lung capacity, gene expression); psychological or neurodevelopmental parameters (e.g., mood management intervention for smokers; reading comprehension and/or information retention); disease processes; health-related behavior; and, well-being or quality of life

Biomedical clinical trials of an experimental drug, treatment, device, or behavioral intervention may proceed through four phases:

Phase I. Tests a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people (e.g. 20-80) for the first time to determine efficacy and evaluate safety (e.g., determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects).

Phase II. Study the biomedical or behavioral intervention in a larger group of people (several hundred) to determine efficacy and further evaluate safety.

Phase III. Study to determine efficacy of the biomedical or behavioral intervention in large groups of people (from several hundred to several thousand) by comparing the intervention to other standard or experimental interventions as well as to monitor adverse effects, and to collect information that will allow the interventions to be used safely.

Phase IV. Studies conducted after the intervention has been marketed. These studies are designed to monitor the effectiveness of the approved intervention in the general population and to collect information about any adverse effects associated with widespread use.

Contact PD/PI

When multiple PD/PIs are designated, NIH requires that the applicant organization identify one of the PD/PIs as the Contact PD/PI to serve as a primary point of contact. Serving as Contact PD/PI confers no special authorities or responsibilities within the project team. The Contact PD/PI must meet all eligibility requirements for PD/PI status. However, as with the single PD/PI model, if the Contact PD/PI is not an employee, the applicant organization must have a formal written agreement with the Contact PD/PI that specifies an official relationship between the parties. (See NIH Grants Policy Statement: 9 Multiple Program director/Principal Investigator Applications and Awards)

E

Early Established Investigator (EEI)

A Program Director / Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who is within 10 years of receiving their first substantial, independent competing NIH R01 equivalent research award as an Early Stage Investigator (ESI).

Early Stage Investigator (ESI)

A Program Director / Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award. A list of NIH grants that a PD/PI can hold and still be considered an ESI can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/list-smaller-grants.htm.

Early Stage Investigator ESI

An Early Stage Investigator is a Program Director / Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award.  See our list of NIH grants that a PD/PI can hold and still be considered an ESI. For more information, please click here.

F

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year is the accounting period for the federal government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012 and ends on September 30, 2013. Congress passes appropriations legislation to fund the government for every fiscal year.

G

Grants.gov

Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/) has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget as the single access point for all grant programs offered by 26 Federal grant-making agencies. It provides a single interface for agencies to announce their grant opportunities and for all applicants to find and apply for those opportunities.

H

Health Professional School or College

In the context of NIH's R15 program, health professional schools and colleges are accredited institutions that provide education and training leading to a health professional degree, including but not limited to: BSN, MSN, DNP, MD, DDS, DO, PharmD, DVM, OD, DPT, DC, ND, DPM, MOT, OTD, DPT, BME, MSEE, MS-SLP, CScD, SLPD, AuD, MSPO, MSAT, and MPH. Eligible health professional schools/colleges may include schools or colleges of nursing, medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, public health, optometry, allied health, chiropractic, naturopathy, podiatry, rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, orthotics & prosthetics, kinesiology, biomedical engineering, occupational therapy and psychology. Accreditation must be provided by a body approved for such purpose by the Secretary of Education.

I

Impact Score

The impact score is the rating which is assigned to an individual application by an SRG, and designates the reviewers' assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of established review criteria. The impact score is one mechanism by which the SRG makes a recommendation to the funding component concerning the application's scientific and technical merit. Impact scores may be numeric (10 – 90) or alphabetical (ND, for example).

Institute or Center (IC)

The NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC" or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award.

Acronym Full Name Organizational Code
CC Clinical Center CC
CSR Center for Scientific Review RG
CIT Center for Information Technology CIT
FIC John E. Fogarty International Center TW
NCATS National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) TR
NCCIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health AT
NCI National Cancer Institute CA
NCRR National Center for Research Resources (dissolved 12/2011) RR
NEI National Eye Institute EY
NHGRI National Human Genome Research Institute HG
NHLBI National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute HL
NIA National Institute on Aging AG
NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism AA
NIAID National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases AI
NIAMS National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases AR
NIBIB National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering EB
NICHD Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development HD
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse DA
NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders DC
NIDCR National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research DE
NIDDK National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases DK
NIEHS National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ES
NIGMS National Institute of General Medical Sciences GM
NIMH National Institute of Mental Health MH
NIMHD National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities MD
NINDS National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke NS
NINR National Institute of Nursing Research NR
NLM National Library of Medicine LM
OD Office of the Director OD

M

Mechanistic Study

A mechanistic study is designed to understand a biological or behavioral process, the pathophysiology of a disease, or the mechanism of action of an intervention.

N

NRFC

An application may be designated Not Recommended for Further Consideration (NRFC) by the Scientific Review Group if it lacks significant and substantial merit; presents serious ethical problems in the protection of human subjects from research risks; or presents serious ethical problems in the use of vertebrate animals, biohazards, and/or select agents. Applications designated as NRFC do not proceed to the second level of peer review (National Advisory Council/Board) because they cannot be funded.

P

PECASE

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers - The Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Public Access Policy

The NIH policy designed to ensure that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research.

R

Research & Development

All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by HHS award recipients. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. "Research" is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. "Development" is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

S

SBIR

Small Business Innovation Research: A program designed to support small business concerns conducting innovative research

Scientific Rigor

The strict application of the scientific method to ensure robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results.

Specific Aims

A component of an application's Research Plan which describes concisely the goals of the proposed research and summarizes the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved.. Includes the specific objectives of the research proposed (e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology).

Streamlined Review

In the peer review process, applications not considered by the Scientific Review Group to be in the more meritorious half are 'streamlined' and designated Not Discussed. Streamlined applications are not discussed at the review meeting and will not be assigned a numerical overall impact/priority score, but the applicants do receive the reviewers' critiques. Streamlined applications will receive criterion scores from the assigned reviewers in addition to the reviewers' critiques to help applicants assess whether or not they should submit a resubmission application.

STTR

Small Business Technology Transfer: A program designed to support cooperative research/research and development with potential for commercialization, through a formal cooperative effort between a small business and a U.S. research institution.

T

Training Awards

Awards designed to support the research training of scientists for careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, as well as help professional schools to establish, expand, or improve programs of continuing professional education.
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Form Approved OMB# 0925-0648 Exp. Date 06/2024