Funding Opportunity: Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program


I’m pleased to share that the Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15) funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have been reissued (PAR-21-155 and PAR-21-154). The FOAs continue NIH efforts to support small-scale research grants at institutions that do not receive substantial funding from NIH. The grants emphasize providing biomedical research experiences for undergraduate students and enhancing the research environment at grantee institutions. Eligible institutions must award baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences, have a greater undergraduate student enrollment than graduate student enrollment, and must not have received more than $6 million per year of NIH support (total costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. Health professional schools are not eligible for this FOA and are not included in the $6 million eligibility calculation. There is another series of FOAs focused on health professional schools and graduate schools (PAR-19-134 and PAR-19-135).

Please refer to the FOAs for specifics. Highlighted changes of the FOAs include:

  • Clarification on when to use and include preliminary data. Scientific foundation for the proposed research should be established using preliminary data (if available) and/or published data.
  • An added requirement for student compensation through salaries or course credit for their participation in the lab’s research. Stipends are not allowed.
  • The required provost letter being moved to the Other Attachments section of the application. This letter verifies the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission according to the eligibility criteria.
    • For multi-investigator applications, a provost letter certifying eligibility is required for each PI.

First application due date: June 25, 2021
Earliest start date: April 2022

If you have questions, email the program area contacts listed in the FOAs and visit NIH’s R15 webpage.

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