Pre-Application Considerations

Before you try to apply for funding, you should determine whether you are eligible for any of the awards offered by NINDS. Your research must fit the NIH and NINDS mission and goals, and your institution must also qualify for support. NIH has many types of awards for scientists at various career levels with different research needs.

For detailed information on all grants offered by NIH, explore NIH Research Training and Career Development.

For an overview of the grant cycle at NINDS, listen to season 1 of the Building Up the Nerve podcast.

Am I Eligible for Support?

NINDS supports awards for investigators at different career stages.

Eligibility rules can be complicated and differ from Institute to Institute and grant to grant. Carefully read the “Eligible Individuals” section of the funding opportunity announcement and contact the listed “Scientific/Research Contact(s)” with any questions before you start your application.

For training and career awards, eligibility is determined primarily by career stage. Many mechanisms also have restrictions related to the training timeline such as how long you have been in a mentor’s lab or how recently you have completed your degree. In addition, most training and career awards have citizenship requirements and some awards are diversity-targeted. 

Diversity funding opportunities and initiatives are focused on enhancing diversity of the NIH-funded workforce and target individuals from groups identified as nationally underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences (see NOT-OD-15-053 for categories and definitions).

Does My Research Fit with the NINDS Mission?

NINDS supports basic, translational, and clinical research, including clinical trials, related to fundamental neurological processes and hundreds of neurological disorders.

Although the research interest of NINDS is very broad, there are other institutes and centers at NIH that also support neuroscience research Whereas there is some overlap, most often your research will fit best within the mission of one institute. Please contact a Program Director at one or more institutes to discuss your research interests before preparing your application. This will not only help target your application to the appropriate institute, but will help you with your preparation of the grant.

A good first step is to use the NIH RePORTER Matchmaker search function. Copy and paste a description of your research or your specific aims into Matchmaker and it will return a list of 100 similar projects funded by NIH, including the Institute that funded the project. This can help you narrow down the Institutes to contact.

If you think NINDS may be a good fit, find the NINDS Program Director whose interests appear to most closely match your own. The best way to contact a Program Director is via email as many questions can be answered quickly and effectively this way. If you have a more complicated issue that requires a phone conversation, or would just like to speak by phone, please indicate this in your email and a Program Director will contact you. In any event, please include a phone number in your email.

Is My Institution Eligible for Support?

In general, domestic or foreign, public or private, non-profit or for-profit organizations are eligible to receive NIH grants. NIH may limit institutional eligibility for certain types of programs, such as limitations on the participation of foreign entities or programs for which only small businesses are eligible to applicants. For example, many career awards are open to U.S. domestic institutions only, but there are exceptions (see the K43 Emerging Global Leader Award). Learn more about foreign institution eligibility.

When you select a funding opportunity, check the “Eligible Organizations” section of the opportunity’s NIH Guide notice to confirm that your institution qualifies. For most grants, NIH has eligibility requirements for the institution only, but fellowships and career awards include eligibility requirements for the individual.