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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

FAQ Pages - Applying For a Grant

Q: I know my impact score, how can I tell if my application will be funded?
A: Generally speaking, applications receiving impact scores between 10 and 30 will be the first to be considered for funding. Depending on availability of funds, their relevance to NLM priorities, New/early stage status of the investigator, and the balance of NLM's grant portfolio, some applications with scores in the 31-35 may be funded.  NLM grant funding plan for the current fiscal year is available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ep/Payplan.html.

Q: When will I know if I'm going to be funded?
A: The time from an application deadline to a funding decision is at least 9 months. For example, an application submitted February 1 will receive first level review in mid June. At that time, you will know your impact score. About 3 months later, in September, the second level of review will be completed. Final funding decisions are made 1-2 months after the 2nd level review.

Q: Can I send additional materials after the deadline?
A: Every effort should be made to submit a complete, intact application, including letters of support. Applicants have an obligation to check the submitted version of their grant applications to ensure completeness and correctness, and are provided a two business day application reviewing window to check the assembled application image in the NIH eRA Commons. During the initial peer review phase, acceptance of additional materials is at the discretion of the NLM Scientific Review Officer (SRO). Applicants should contact the SRO if they wish to submit additional materials before peer review. NIH policy on Submission of Additional Grant Application Materials can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-082.html.

Q: Where can I get a sample of a successful grant?
A: You should start by searching NIH RePORTER at http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm, which will provide the abstract for the application, and other information. If you require more information, you may request a copy of a successful grant application under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Contact NLM grants management staff to initiate a FOIA request. NIH requires that personal salary information and other proprietary information be removed from any grant application provided in response to a FOIA request.

Q: How do I cite my grant in a publication or website?
A: The citation should include the grant number and the awarding Institute or Center, followed by a disclaimer. Some examples:

  • This publication [or web site] was partially supported by Grant Number R01 LM1234 from the National Library of Medicine, NIH.
  • The project described was supported by Grant Number GO8 LM1234 from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

A standard disclaimer should follow, such as:

  • The contents of this report [or web site] are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Library of Medicine or NIH, DHHS.

Q: What kinds of grants does NLM fund?
A: NLM awards grants for research, resource development, training, career development and small business research and development . All NLM grants focus on use of computers and information sciences to improve the access, storage, retrieval, management, dissemination and use of biomedical information.

Q: Who can apply for an NLM grant?
A: Eligibility requirements for each grant program are spelled out in its program description, available on NLM's Extramural Programs web site at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ep/.

Q: Will you accept an application from foreign (non-US) institutions?
A: Generally speaking, NLM research grants are available to foreign institutions. However, a pplicants whose grant proposals are from foreign institutions or contain a significant foreign component are encouraged to contact NLM p rogram staff (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ep/Staff.html) responsible for the grant program before applying.

Q: Can a for-profit institution apply for a grant?
A: For-profit institutions can apply for SBIR/STTR grants and most NIH research grants. See the eligibility criteria in each funding opportunity announcement for further information. For resource grants, for-profit institutions can be involved as consultants and sub-contractors.

Q: What application form do I use to apply for an NLM grant?
A: See Section IV of a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the form and the instructions. Forms and instructions for completing them are available for download at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms.htm.

Q: Will NLM review a draft of my project plan?
A: Time permitting, an NLM grant program officer will review an abstract, outline or concept paper to help assess the responsiveness of a proposed project to the mission of NLM, and give general advice about features of a successful application. Such review should be requested well in advance of the grant deadline. Each grant program description provides contact information for the program officer who can answer your questions.

Q: Can I use grant money to reimburse purchases made before the grant was awarded if they are grant-related?
A: Grant funds can be used to cover grant-related expenditures made up to 90 days before an award was issued. However, if your grant is not awarded, you are responsible for these expenditures. Questions about financial aspects of your application should be directed to your sponsored business official or NLM Grants Management staff.

Q: Are there budget caps or ceilings for different kinds of grants?
A: Each NLM grant program description describes the budget restrictions that apply. This information can be found in Section II of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). If you submit an application whose budget is above the recommended guideline, there is no assurance that you will receive the amount you request. Budget requests in excess of $500,000 per year will not be accepted without prior approval by the head of NLM’s Extramural Programs Division. For details, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-004.html.

Q: What are requirements for Data Safety and Monitoring Plans?
A: If you seek funding from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for a research project that involves a clinical trial, your application must include a Data Safety and Monitoring (DSM) plan. The purpose of this plan is to assure (1) safety of participants and (2) validity of the data. (See NIH Guide http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html). Instructions on preparing a DSM Plan are provided in section 4.1.5 of the SF424 (R&R) Supplemental Grant Application Instructions at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SupplementalInstructions.pdf. Review of the DSM plan will be part of the initial merit review of your application. The DSM plan should also be part of the research protocol submitted to your local IRB. Some institutions have developed standard monitoring policies. These may be used in place of an investigator-defined plan if they fit the project's needs.

A clinical trial is a prospective study involving human subjects, which is designed to answer questions about the effects of a biomedical or behavioral intervention. This includes interventions whose goal is to initiate or change behavior in a target population (such as physicians or consumers) by introducing information resources and services. A decision tree for determining whether you need a DSM plan is available from NIAID at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/sci/human/decisiontrees/pages/datasafety.aspx. An observational study, or a study that does not test an intervention, is not a clinical trial and does not require a DSM plan.

The monitoring of a clinical trial should be commensurate with risks and the size and complexity of the trial. For example, in a clinical trial which involves only a small number of human subjects and low risk, close monitoring by the study investigator may be adequate, while a multi-site or large clinical trial might require a central reporting entity; for more details, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-038.html).

The essential elements of a Data Safety and Monitoring plan are:

  • Monitoring the progress of trial and the safety of participants
  • Description of the mechanism for reporting adverse events to the IRB, FDA and NIH (that is, to the NLM program official responsible for the grant)
  • Plans for assuring data accuracy and protocol compliance.

Instructions on preparing a DSM Plan are provided in section 4.1.5 of the SF424 (R&R) Supplemental Grant Application Instructions at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SupplementalInstructions.pdf.

Any investigator who plans to seek NLM funding for a clinical trial, should consult with the appropriate NLM grant program official to discuss the Data Safety and Monitoring plan and frequency of reports to NLM before the grant application is submitted.

Q: What are requirements for Human Subjects Research?
A: Federal regulations (45 CFR 46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained.