Guide to NIH R01 grant tips and resources

by Tom Hollon

Here are links to 22 topics related to winning NIH R01 grants.

Review them to see what’s new that might give you an edge in winning or keeping funding. Whether you’re a R01 oldtimer or writing your first R01, NIH has more useful information about R01 funding sources, forms, instructions, and requirements than you may know.

1. NIH R01 grant submission deadlines for 2013

Your R01 submission due dates depend on whether:

  • you’re a new investigator
  • you’re submitting a new grant
  • you’re submitting a renewal, resubmission, or revision
  • your R01 is AIDS-related

You can find your R01 submission dates here:

Standard due dates for competing applications

If you’re a new investigator, see this notice (and its updates) about NIH’s policy of shortening the review cycle for new investigators. The intent is to “to allow new investigators to have the option of submitting a resubmission/amended R01 application for consecutive review cycles, saving four months.”

Shorter NIH R01 review cycles for new investigators

2. NIH R01 parent announcement (PA)

The current PA for NIH R01s runs until September, 2014

3. For new investigators…

Introduction to NIH R01 grants

NIH policies for new and early-stage principle investigators

4. SF424 (R&R) application and electronic submission info for R01 grants

NIH’s guide for writing your R01 is called the “Application Guide SF424 (R&R)”. Download it along with other useful R01 application forms here:

Download page for SF424 application guide and NIH R01 grant forms

(Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see explanatory notes NIH adds whenever new versions of the SF424 application guide  appear.)

5. Annotated tips for NIH SF424 (R&R) form set

Click below to download NIH PDFs “with field-by-field tips to avoid common errors and ensure successful submission of your application.”

PDF of annotated SF424 (R&R) form set

Text only PDF of SF424 (R&R) form set

NOTE NIH’s warning about these tips: “These documents are supplemental resources only. When preparing an application, applicants MUST follow the instructions in their Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Application Guide.”

6. NIH FAQs for application resubmissions

Two dozen questions answered on resubmitting your grant

7. General NIH grant FAQs

Topics include applications, progress reports, human subjects, data sharing, salary cap, etc.

NIH FAQs on general NIH grant topics

8. Sample funded NIH R01 grants and summary statements

Even if you aren’t applying to NIAID, one of the quickest ways to improve your own grant writing is to study the successful grants of others. Currently NIAID offers for downloading 4 funded R01 applications, 6 funded R21s, and 1 funded R21/R33; summary statements included.

Sample funded NIH R01 grants from NIAID

9. Advice from NIH on R01 grant writing

NIH’s advice on R01 grant writing

NIH grant writing tips sheets

10. Table of page limits by NIH grant activity code

As a grant consultant, when I forget which grant has which page limit I go to here for a reminder.

NIH grant page limit table

11. NIH’s “All about Grants” podcasts

Grant tips for your iPod or iPhone: More than 20 Mp3 recordings (and transcripts) mostly about writing a successful grant and how grant review works. This podcast series began in 2010 when NIH switched to a new R01 research plan format that cut the old page limit in half. Mp3s last 5 to 20 minutes.

All About Grants podcasts from NIH (plus transcripts)

12. Reviewer guidelines for R01s and other R-grants

Highly recommended reading; this page is gold. The better you understand what reviewers are looking for, the better you can give it to them.

Here are NIH’s general and specific instructions to reviewers on study sections. Specific instructions include criteria for scoring R01, R03, R15, R21, R34, and R25 applications. General instructions include NIH’s guidance to reviewers on NIH’s research plan scoring system, human subjects protections, budget information, application resubmissions, the difference between significance and overall impact, and other matters.

Guidelines for reviewers on NIH R01 grants, R21 grants, etc.

13. NIH study section video

This short video from NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) is a reminder that the work of reviewers is to boil the research plan you labored and sweated blood over down to a couple of sentences — their opinion of its probable overall impact. And then, finally, they boil it down to a number, your score. Here is a warning not to take lightly the difficulty of using nothing but pen and paper (or monitor and keyboard) to convince people of different viewpoints to see it your way.

15-min NIH grant review video includes a mock study section meeting

14. CSR’s Roster Index for Regular Standing Study Sections

Table of NIH standing study sections

15. Funding Opportunities and Notices for R01s and other grants

Active RFAs and PAs and recent notices suitable for R01s and other grants.

Currently active NIH FOA, PA, and RFA funding sources

16. FOA vs RFA vs PA vs PAS vs PAR vs RFP vs Notice

Announcements of R01 funding sources come in many forms. If you’re scratching your head over the difference between FOAs and RFAs and all the rest, here’s how NIH sorts them out.

NIH R01 funding sources explained

17. NIH’s weekly email update on new R01 funding sources

At the end of each week NIH sends out an email summary of the latest new RFAs and PAs relevant to R01 funding. Here’s how to subscribe:

Listserve for weekly updates on NIH R01 funding sources

18. NIH RePORTER grants database of funded NIH awards

Want to know what extramural funding there’s been on a particular research topic? The NIH RePORTER is the place to look. This public NIH grant database contains years of records on all kinds of research grants and contracts funded by NIH, including R01s, R21s, and all the other R-grants. The NIH RePORTER replaced NIH’s old CRISP grants database and is better by a mile.

NIH RePORTER funded grants database

19. Glossary of NIH grant terminology and list of NIH acronyms

NIH grant jargon is well nigh endless. When I run into a stumper, here’s where I go to decrypt:

NIH grant term glossary

NIH acronyms

20. Advice for electronically filing your NIH R01

Resources for electronic filing of NIH grant applications

21. R01 grant writing resources from NIAID

Even if your source of funding isn’t NIAID, this may be useful.

NIH R01 grant writing resources from NIAID

22. NIH grants listed by Activity type

In NIH lingo, R01 is what’s called an activity type. If you’d like to see all of NIH’s grant activity types, just in case there’s a kind of grant you can apply for that you didn’t know about, here are two links that may help.

NIH grant programs listed by Activity type

Activity Codes search result




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