Submitting FOIA Requests

FOIA requesters interested in obtaining information on federally funded biomedical research projects should consult the NIH RePORT (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools) website. RePORT provides access to a variety of reporting tools, reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities. One of the tools available on the RePORT site is the RePORTER (RePORT Expenditures and Results) module. RePORTER is an electronic tool that allows users to search a repository of NIH-funded research projects and access publications and patents resulting from NIH funding. This will enable requesters to identify the grant number and the component funding the research in their FOIA request. RePORTER also provides links to PubMed Central, PubMed and other helpful information.

In 1999 the Office of Management and Budget issued final revisions to Circular A110 to provide for access to data produced under grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health and other federal awarding agencies. To the extent you are interested in requesting data produced under a National Institutes of Health grant pursuant to the provisions of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Revised Circular A110, please understand that the provisions of Revised Circular A110 apply to data:

  • first produced under a new or competing continuing grant awarded after the Department of Health and Human Services amended 45 C.F.R. 74 to incorporate the changes mandated by the Revised Circular (April 17, 2000); and
  • cited publicly and officially by the Federal Government in support of an agency action that has the force and effect of law.

In addition, if the data you request are already available to the public through an archive or other source, we will not process your request under the FOIA. In that situation, we will refer you to the archive or other source.

More information: NIH implementation of Revised Circular A110 from the NIH Office of Extramural Research

With all FOIA requests, if the information you are interested in is not in the public domain, please follow the suggestions listed below when preparing your FOIA request:

  • identify the records requested (be as specific as possible, i.e., describe the subject matter of the records, and, if known, indicate the dates of the records, the places where they originated, and the names of the originating persons or offices);
  • state that the records are requested under the Freedom of Information Act;
  • include daytime telephone numbers in case additional information is needed before answering requests; and
  • forward all requests either to the appropriate FOIA Coordinator or to the NIH FOIA Office by one of the methods listed below:
  • if you are requesting data produced under an NIH grant, include the following information in your request:
    • the federal regulation or administrative order that cited the data being requested;
    • the publication and/or reference cited in the federal regulation;
    • The grant number under which the data were produced (this information can be obtained from the RePORTER module on the NIH RePORT (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools) website.
    • a description of the data sought; and
    • a statement that the data are being requested under OMB Revised Circular A110.
  • Mail the request (mark the outside of the envelope, "FOIA Request") either to the appropriate FOIA Coordinator or to the NIH FOIA Office:

    Freedom of Information Office, NIH
    Building 31, Room 5B35
    31 Center Drive, MSC 2107
    Bethesda, MD 20892-2107

  • OR Fax the request to the FOIA Office at (301) 402-4541;
  • OR email the request to the FOIA Office at nihfoia@mail.nih.gov.

If the requester knows which component has responsive documents, the FOIA request should be sent directly to the FOIA Coordinator for that component. A list of the FOIA Coordinators for NIH components and their addresses is included at this site.

Individuals with questions concerning their requests may contact the FOIA Coordinator to whom they sent their request or the NIH FOIA Office at 301-496-5633. Requesters may also contact the appropriate FOIA Requester Service Center or FOIA Public Liaison with questions or for a status update of their request.

Requests for Grants and Contract documents

If you are requesting a copy of a funded grant application or an awarded contract with associated documents, you should understand that NIH routinely redacts certain information from those documents before we release them. More information about these routine redactions can be found at this site. Just click on the type of document that interests you: grants or contracts.

This page last reviewed on April 4, 2016