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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ Pages

The Federal DUNS Number Application Requirement

Q: When am I required to get a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number for submission with my grant/cooperative agreement application?

A: On or after October 1, 2003, grant and cooperative agreement applications received at the NIH will be required to have a DUNS number when applying for funding support.

Q: What is a DUNS number?

A: A DUNS number is provided by Dun & Bradstreet and is a nine-digit number that uniquely identifies a business entity.

Q: How do I acquire a DUNS number for my application submission? What information do I need to obtain a DUNS number? How long does it take to get a DUNS number? What is the cost?

A: A DUNS number can be acquired by calling toll-free (8:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m. local time within the 48 states):


Special Note: Always identify yourself as a Federal grant/cooperative agreement applicant/prospective applicant.

Applicants/Prospective Applicants must provide the following:

  • Legal Name
  • Headquarters name and address for your organization
  • Doing business as (dba), or other name by which your organization is commonly recognized
  • Physical Address, City, State and Zip Code
  • Mailing Address (if separate from Headquarters and/or physical address)
  • Telephone Number
  • Contact Name and Title
  • Number of Employees at your physical location

Q: What if my organization is part of a larger organization?

A: Organizations with multiple DUNS numbers may request a free family tree listing from Dunn & Bradstreet to help determine what branches/divisions have a number and whether the information is current. It is recommended that requests submitted provide a single point of contact for organizations with multiple DUNS numbers.

Q: What about my organization being placed on a Dun & Bradstreet Marketing List?

A: If you do not want your name/organization included on Dun & Bradstreet's marketing list, request to be de-listed from Dun & Bradstreet's marketing file when you are speaking with the Dun & Bradstreet representative during your DUNS number telephone request.

Q: If I am submitting a grant application from a foreign institution am I required to obtain a DUNS number?

A: A DUNS number is not required for foreign institutions.

Q: If I am an individual submitting a grant proposal do I need a DUNS number? What if I am submitting my application as an individual but have incorporated as a small non-profit or for-profit business concern? If I am an individual fellow, am I required to have submitted a DUNS number with my application submission?

A: Unaffiliated individuals are not required to submit for, or include, a DUNS number with their grant application. Individuals who have incorporated, or are part of a for-profit or non-profit business concern, are required to include a DUNS number for their company. Individual fellows who are hosted or sponsored by an organization must include that organization's DUNS number in their application submission.

Q: Is there a dedicated website to submit for a DUNS number?

A: There is currently a dedicated website to request a DUNS number however, it is not applicable to NIH grant/cooperative agreement submissions. This website is established for commercial vendors and requires more information to obtain a number than cited above in the Q & As.

Q: What is the difference between an EIN (Entity Identification Number) and a DUNS number?

A: The NIH requires, for grant award payment, both the EIN and a DUNS number prior to the issuance of a funding award. The EIN base for the organization is the IRS Tax ID number, for individuals it is their social security number, both of which are nine-digit numbers. Organizations and individuals submitting their applications must correctly identify the EIN from the DUNS since both are 9-digit numbers. If these numbers are not correctly identified in the application, this may result in a delay in the issuance of the funding award and/or incorrect payment to the grantee organization.

Q: Is the DUNS number required in submitting my annual progress report (non-competing application — Type 5)?

A: NIH does not require a DUNS number with the submission of annual progress reports.

Q: Where can I find the policy directive in support of this administrative requirement?

A: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued this policy directive in the Federal Register/Vol. 68, No. 124/Friday, June 27, 2003.