Successful funding applications start by selecting the appropriate funding opportunity, grant type, and grant program.
Types of Funding Opportunities
Investigators propose research projects in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement, usually either Program Announcements (PAs) or a Request for Applications (RFAs):
PAs describe broad research areas of particular interest to NIDA, and applicants compete for available funds. PAs are valid for several years, and applications can be submitted at any time.
Request for Applications
When NIDA issues RFAs, the Institute has set aside funds for applications focused on a specific research area, and applications are due relatively quickly after RFAs are issued. A Letter of Intent may be required before a complete application can be submitted.
International research can be supported through several types of grants from NIDA, including these two options:
Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component
Most international research is supported by Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component, which enable U.S.-based principal investigators to conduct cooperative international studies with foreign partners. The foreign component is part of the grant; the entire application is scored competitively.
Direct Foreign Grants
These are grants awarded directly to institutions outside of the United States. These grants allow researchers from outside the United States to compete for funding within the NIH system. The actual research is conducted outside the United States. For a grant to be awarded to a foreign institution, the principal investigator must demonstrate a special opportunity to further drug abuse research through use of expertise, resources, populations, or environmental conditions not readily available in the United States.
Most grants fall into one of three programs:
Research Project Grants, R01s
Provide 3 to 5 years of support to investigators who have preliminary data.
Small Grants, R03s
Provide up to 2 years of funding to obtain preliminary data that support a hypothesis that will likely lead to a major Research Project Grant.
Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants, R21s
Support 1- or 2-year exploratory research to test a hypothesis that could yield a significant breakthrough.