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Submitting Your NIH Proposal

Review Groups

When you send a grant to the NIH, someone needs to decide which review group and institute (such as, the NIDA) would be most appropriate to evaluate and possibly fund your project. Either you can recommend a review group yourself, or administrative officers at the NIH can make that decision for you once they receive your grant. You are completely within your rights as a researcher to recommend a review group and an institute to review your proposal. The best way to do this is to write a cover letter stating your institute recommendation.


Cover Letters

In general, it is a good idea to include a cover letter with your grant application. A cover letter attached to your grant application can state your Institute recommendation. Your cover letter can also include a suggestion for a review group, indicate individuals or organizations that would present a conflict of interest if they were to review your grant, and discuss areas of expertise appropriate for your applicationís review. While the staff at the NIH are not under any obligation to follow your recommendations, it certainly canít hurt to make suggestions for your grantís review, especially if you have particular recommendations in mind.

Another way to ensure that your proposal arrives in the right place is to include keywords (such as, “Drug Abusers”) in the title. Such keywords will help the NIH staff in assigning your proposal to the proper Institute.


Institute Budgets

Remember, not all institutes are operating within the same budgetary constraints; some institutes simply receive a larger annual budget than others. For example, the 1998 annual budget for the National Cancer Institute was $2,321 million, while the National Institute of Nursing Research received $58 million in annual funds While the most important factor is your topic's consistency with the institute's mission, it may be prudent to keep these figures in mind when recommending a funding institute for consideration of your research.


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Last updated: August 12, 2003.