Introduction to NIDA Funding for International Researchers

Successful funding applications start by selecting the appropriate funding opportunity, grant type, and grant program.

Types of Funding Opportunities

Investigators propose research projects in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement.

  • Notice of Special Interest (NOSI)
    NOSIs succinctly highlight a specific area of research and direct applicants to one or more active funding opportunity announcements.
  • Program Announcements (PA)
    PAs describe broad research areas of particular interest to NIDA, and applicants compete for available funds. PAs are valid for several years, and applications are usually due three times each year.
  • Request for Applications (RFA)
    When NIDA issues RFAs, the Institute has set aside funds for applications focused on a specific research area, and applications are due relatively quickly after RFAs are issued. A letter of intent may be required before a complete application can be submitted.

Foreign institutions are eligible to apply for many NIDA funding opportunities. The “Eligibility Information” section of every funding opportunity announcement will state whether or not foreign institutions are eligible to apply. 

Grant Types

Although some international researchers receive NIDA support through a Direct Foreign Grant, most international research is supported through a Domestic Grant With a Foreign Component. In both cases, NIDA support is provided to the principal investigator’s institution, not directly to the individual researcher. To identify a potential U.S. research partner, consult the online database of research projects supported by the NIH, RePORTER.

  • Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component
    Domestic Grants With a Foreign Component enable U.S.-based principal investigators to conduct cooperative international studies with foreign partners. The grant is awarded to the U.S. partner, who will share funds with the foreign principal investigator according to the agreement spelled out in the application.
  • Direct Foreign Grants
    These are grants awarded directly to institutions outside of the United States. Direct Foreign Grants allow researchers from outside the United States to compete for funding within the NIH system. The actual research is conducted outside the United States. 

Grant Program Activity Codes

Most grants fall into one of three programs:

Generally, any researcher will be more successful by first applying for one of the smaller grant programs (R21 or R03). You can then use the preliminary data from that grant to apply for a larger R01 grant.

Special Requirements for Research Conducted in Other Countries

Every NIDA grant application for research conducted outside of the United States must establish that the proposal offers a special opportunity to further drug use and addiction research by:

  1. Taking advantage of unusual opportunities outside the United States to access talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions not available domestically
  2. Demonstrating specific relevance to the NIDA mission and objectives
  3. Describing how the research will significantly advance U.S. health sciences

To determine whether your research plan is relevant to the NIDA mission and objectives, review the NIDA Strategic Plan and a summary of NIDA’s international research priorities

NIDA Resources

Other NIH Resources