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Research Grants (R series)

Research grants make up the largest category of funding and support by the NIDCD. These grants may be awarded to universities, medical and other health professional schools, colleges, hospitals, research institutes, for-profit organizations, and government institutions that sponsor and conduct biomedical research and development. Research grants may provide funds for salaries, equipment, supplies, travel, and other allowable direct costs of the research as well as for indirect costs to the sponsoring institution or organization.

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Research Project Grant (R01)

Investigator-initiated Research Project Grants (R01) make up the largest single category of support provided by the NIDCD and by the NIH. The R01 is considered the traditional grant mechanism. These grants are awarded to organizations on behalf of an individual (a principal investigator, or PI) to facilitate pursuit of a research objective in the area of the investigator's research interests and competence.

NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15)

The NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15) program supports small-scale research projects at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the nation’s research scientists but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. The goals of the R15 are to support meritorious research, expose students to research, and strengthen the institution’s research environment.

This program replaces the NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Parent Announcement, which expired on January 7, 2019, and will not be reissued. The R15 activity code now includes two programs:

For more information, see:

Please contact the NIDCD’s R15 program coordinator, Susan Sullivan, Ph.D., with any questions about this program.

Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (R21)

The Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) program is intended to encourage exploratory and developmental research projects by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of these projects. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area or to the development of novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models, or applications that could have a major impact on a field of biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research.

Early Career Research (ECR) Award (R21)

The NIDCD Early Career Research (ECR) Award (R21) replaced the NIDCD Small Grants (R03) program on December 11, 2015, and was reissued on December 11, 2017. The NIDCD Small Grant R03 program no longer exists, and new or resubmission applications for it will not be accepted.

The NIDCD ECR R21 Award is intended to support both basic and clinical research from scientists who are beginning to establish an independent research career. It cannot be used for thesis or dissertation research. The research must be focused on one or more of the areas within the biomedical and behavioral scientific mission of the NIDCD: hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, or language. The NIDCD ECR Award R21 grant mechanism supports projects including secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology; translational research; outcomes research; and development of new research technology. Irrespective of the type of project, the intent of the NIDCD ECR Award R21 is for the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) to obtain sufficient preliminary data for a subsequent R01 application.

While the purpose of the NIDCD ECR R21 Award is identical to the former R03 program, applicants should read the NIDCD ECR R21 Award announcement carefully because it contains some modifications, e.g., regarding Program Director/Principal Investigator effort. The NIDCD ECR R21 Award should not be considered a form of the NIH-wide parent R21 program listed above.

Individuals who had intended to prepare a resubmission application for the NIDCD Small Grant Program (R03) must instead submit a NEW application in response to the NIDCD Early Career Reseach (ECR) Award (R21) announcement, and must adhere to the guidance in Reminders Related to the NIH/AHRQ Policy for Application Submission. Individuals who are beyond the 7-year eligibility period must contact the NIDCD's Bracie Watson, Ph.D. to obtain written eligibility confirmation that must be included with the application.

Staff contact for questions on the NIDCD ECR R21 Award:

Bracie Watson, Ph.D.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
(301) 402-3458

Last Updated Date: 
January 16, 2019