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):
- Program Announcements
PAs describe broad research areas of particular interest to NIDA, and applicants compete for available funds. PAs are valid for several years, and applications are usually due three times each year.
- 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.
Foreign institutions are eligible to apply for many NIDA funding opportunities. The "Eligibility Information" section of every funding opportunity announcement will state whether or not foreign institutions are eligible to apply.
Although some international researchers receive NIDA support through a Direct Foreign Grant, most international research is supported through a Domestic Grant With a Foreign Component. In both cases, NIDA support is provided to the principal investigator’s institution, not directly to the individual researcher. To identify a potential U.S. research partner, consult the online database of research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), RePORTER.
- Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component
Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component 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. Direct Foreign 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.
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.
Generally, any researcher will be more successful by first applying for one of the smaller grant programs (R21 or R03). You can then use the preliminary data from that grant to apply for a larger R01 grant.
Special Requirements for Research Conducted in Other Countries
Every NIDA grant application for research conducted outside of the United States must establish that the proposal offers a special opportunity to further drug abuse research by:
- Taking advantage of unusual opportunities outside the United States to access talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions not available domestically
- Demonstrating specific relevance to the NIDA mission and objectives
- Describing how the research will significantly advance US health sciences.