What to know about the Predoctoral Process - Pre-application


Who do I call to apply for a grant for undergraduate or graduate research training?

Research Training Committee Contact List

How do I know if NIDA is interested in my research area?

You may know that NIDA supports a broad array of research on drug abuse and addiction, but you may not be sure whether we support research training on questions of interest to you. You may also wonder how your research area fits into the funding priorities of NIDA and who at NIDA has a research training portfolio in your research area. You can learn more about NIDA's mission by reading the Strategic Plan. You can view NIDA's organizational structure and look at the mission statements of specific divisions and branches of NIDA at the Organization page. And you can learn about important research priorities set by the Director of NIDA. If you think there may be a possible fit or you are still unsure, please contact us.

How do I know if I am eligible for a NIDA grant?

See https://grants.nih.gov/grants/about_grants.htm​ for a description of eligibility criteria. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact a NIDA Program Official for advice. If the NIDA Program Official is unable to make the determination, he or she may ask you to contact the NIDA referral officer.

How do I apply?

Initial application forms and instructions for predoctoral grantees can be found at the following web address: https://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/416/phs416.htm.

I am a U.S. citizen at a foreign institution. What do I need to know to apply from a foreign institution?

Information that addresses what is required for a foreign application can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/about_grants.htm​. Here are the things you must do:

  1. Get the Entity Identification Number (EIN Number) for your foreign institution, which will go on the face page of your application. Ask your sponsor or see the question immediately above. Start inquiring early, since if one is not already assigned, the process can be long and could delay your eligibility for funding.
  2. Provide in your application a detailed, justification as to why the resources of the foreign institution are unique and not available in the US. This is critical. The justification needs to address: the sponsor; the human and material resources; the environment; accessibilty of study populations; and anything else that you think sets your proposed institution apart from those in the US.
  3. Look carefully at the various assurances - human, animal, responsible conduct of research, etc. - at the web site given immediately above and find out exactly what you must do. Start to collect information and complete any processes to resolve human, animal and responsible conduct of research issues before you apply for the individual predoctoral grant. As an applicant from a foreign institution, you may have to complete some aspects of your application that are usually handled at the institutional level in the US. Therefore, begin early so that your eligibility for funding is not delayed.
  4. Be aware that proposals from foreign institutions tend to provide less detail in many aspects of the proposal than those from US institutions do, and sketchier proposals fare more poorly in review. Therefore, make sure that your proposal in all of its aspects from all of its contributors is thorough, detailed and specific.
  5. Contact persons you will ask for letters of reference (who will send their applications under separate cover from your application), get information on how to get official academic transcripts (sent under separate cover from your application), find out if you have taken the tests they require you to report on (Graduate Record Examinations (GREs) etc.) or if you have taken or can take a foreign equivalent - and if an equivalent, provide documentation to allow the reviewers to evaluate your test performance. Provide test results (GRE or equivalent) in the same section as your academic grades (by institution and year, with class title), but have them also sent by an official source under separate cover and indicate this in the academic report section.

How do I find out the kind of grants I may apply for?

The following Program Announcements are available for individual predoctoral applicants seeking funding by NIDA.

When can I apply?

Individual predoctoral NRSA grant applications that go through NIDA's regular review process are received on April 8, August 8, and December 8. Individual predoctoral NRSA grant applications responding to the diversity announcement are received on April 13, August 13, and December 13. These are the postmark dates. It is recommended that you use a trackable shipping method, such as FedEx. Look for instructions for electronic submission in the latter half of 2007.

Dissertation Research Award applications are received on February 16, June 16, and October 16 for new applications, and March 16, July 16, and November 16 for renewals, revisions, and resubmissions. Dissertation Research Award applications will be accepted in electronic format only. For general information on SF424 Application and Electronic Submission, see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm and https://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/.

When will I be reviewed?

For individual predoctoral grant applications that are reviewed in the NIDA-K study section, using the program announcement for the F30 for medical students in the MD/PhD program or using the program announcement for the F31 for graduate students in the PhD program:

  • Receipt date - April 8, Review - June/July
  • Receipt date - August 8, Review - October/November
  • Receipt date - December 8, Review - February/March

For individual predoctoral grant applications that are reviewed in the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) study sections, using the F31 for graduate students in the PhD program responding to the diversity program announcement:

  • Receipt date - April 13, Review - June/July
  • Receipt date - August 13, Review - October/November
  • Receipt date - December 13, Review - February/March

For Dissertation Research Award new applications that are reviewed in a NIDA study section:

  • Receipt date - February 16, Review - June/July
  • Receipt date - June 16, Review - October/November
  • Receipt date - October 16, Review - February/March

How will I know how my grant did in review?

First, you will receive a notice stating the priority score. The priority score ranges from 100 to a 500. Lower numbers reflect higher technical merit and a greater likelihood of funding. Note that if your grant application went through NIDA's regular review process, your application will not receive a percentile score because there is only one review study section. Later, you will receive a summary sheet. The summary sheet provides detailed comments by the reviewers, a summary of the discussion, and alerts you to anything you need to handle before an award could be considered. It is not a guarantee of award.

Who should I call to discuss my review?

You should call the person whose name appears in the upper left-hand corner of your summary sheet. This is your Program Official, also known as your Project Officer. This person is your primary contact in the Government.

When should I call to discuss my review?

You should call as soon as you receive the summary sheet.

When can I be funded?

For individual predoctoral grant applications, which go through NIDA's regular review process:

  • Receipt date - April 8, Approximate Start Date - September
  • Receipt date - August 8, Approximate Start Date - January
  • Receipt date - December 8, Approximate Start Date - May

For individual predoctoral diversity applications, which go through CSR's review process:

  • Receipt date - April 13, Approximate Start Date - September
  • Receipt date - August 13, Approximate Start Date - January
  • Receipt date - December 13, Approximate Start Date - May

For new submissions of Dissertation Research Award applications, which are subject to a secondary level of review by the National Advisory Council rather than the Research Training Committee:

  • Receipt date - February 16, Approximate Start Date - April of following year
  • Receipt date - June 16, Approximate Start Date - July of following year
  • Receipt date - October 16, Approximate Start Date - December of following year

How do I know if I have been funded?

The only guarantee of funding is your Notice of Research Fellowship Award, also known as the Notice of Grant Award or the NGA. The NGA is sent to you and to your university business official directly via e-mail.

What should I do if it seems late and I still haven't received an award?

First check the earliest date of award immediately above according to the receipt date for which you submitted your grant. If the earliest date of award has passed, contact the person whose name appears in the upper left-hand corner of the summary statement from your grant review. This person is your Program Official. Your Program Official can let you know if final funding decisions have been made, since timing varies a little from year to year. If the institute was unable to fund your grant this time, you may want to ask your Program Official about submitting a revised application. If your timetable or other considerations do not allow you to revise and resubmit, you may want to explore with your Program Official other kinds of NIH grants to pursue now or in the future.

How do I know if I have time to prepare a revised application?

Identify a NIDA Program Official in the appropriate division of your research interest who can lead you through this process. Determine how much time you have left until you complete your PhD. Take into account other NIH training support you have received at the predoctoral level. The individual predoctoral awards for the MD/PhD (F30) and the PhD (F31) as well as the institutional research training grant (T32) all constitute Kirschstein National Research Service Award, also known as NRSA, training. The total number of years of eligibility for NRSAs will be calculated from five years of total eligibility for PhD predoctoral training minus the number of years of NRSA training already received. The total eligibility for the MD/PhD is six years, minus the number of years of NRSA training already received.

Can I be funded on an individual predoctoral grant if I am already on an Institutional Training Grant?

Check with your Program Official to determine your Grants Management Specialist. Then contact your Grants Management Specialist who will tell you what to do in your individual case.

When should I terminate from my existing NRSA grant?

If you are currently being funded on a NIH institutional training grant (T32) or on a NIH individual predoctoral grant (F30 or F31), you are on a Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). Contact your Grants Management Specialist (see above) who will assist you with termination procedures. However, for issues concerning the timing of termination, speak with your Program Official.

How do I prepare a revised application?

After you've spoken with your Program Official to discuss the review, see the instructions, including notes for revised applications: Form 416 Instructions (PDF, 721KB). Note the table that shows page lengths for various items, including "The introduction to the revised application." The introduction is a key part of the revised application and is one page long. In the introduction, you will list the reviewer's criticisms and your responses to them accordingly. The application form, known as PHS 416-1, is at the following address, and the form is only available electronically: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/416/phs416.htm. Please see other frequently asked questions in this research training series for other information pertinent to revised applications.