NIH Research Grants – Digital Media Kit

NIH Grants to Research Institutions

The National Institutes of Health is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $39.2 billion a year to enhance life, and reduce illness and disability. NIH-funded research has led to breakthroughs and new treatments helping people live longer, healthier lives, and building the research foundation that drives discovery.

More than 80% of NIH's budget goes to more than 300,000 research personnel at over 2,800 universities and research institutions throughout the U.S. and internationally. This research support is managed by NIH’s extramural research program and is funded primarily through grant awards to research organizations.

Pie chart of NIH extramural and intramural funding.

NIH Funding Process

Organizations all over the world submit applications for research projects to the NIH.  Applications undergo a two-step peer review process to assess scientific merit of the proposed research. The first level of review is carried out by Scientific Review Groups (SRG) composed primarily of non-federal scientists who have expertise in relevant scientific disciplines and current research areas. The second level of review is performed by Institute and Center (IC) National Advisory Councils or Boards. These advisory councils are composed of both scientific and public representatives chosen for their expertise, interest, or activity in matters related to health and disease. Only applications that are favorably reviewed by both the SRG and the Advisory Council may be recommended for funding. Each Institutes and Center, using feedback from the peer review process and their own programmatic staff, decides which research applications to support weighing review scores, research priorities, public health need, scientific opportunity, and availability of funds.

NIH grants support a wide array of biomedical and behavioral research projects, from basic science through clinical research. Grants also support research training and career development, ensuring the future of U.S. competitiveness and innovation through strengthening the biomedical research workforce.

More on the grants process.

Grants Data

NIH RePORTER is an electronic tool that allows users to search a database of NIH-funded research projects and award data. Users can search project titles and descriptions (abstracts), view award amounts, and search by many other criteria, including: research organization, lead principal investigator (PI), city, state, and congressional district. Information on outcomes from grant awards (e.g., research publications) is also available. Other tools include maps and other data visualizations. NIH provides a number of tools to help the public find information about grant funding through our RePORT website. In addition to providing access to a variety of Institute and topic-specific strategic plans, as well as detailed data and reports on NIH grant funding, RePORT includes the following tools and information: 

NIH Data Book provides summary information on grant applications & awards as graphs and data tables.  The data book also includes summary statistics related to small business awardees, the peer review process, and the NIH-funded and broader biomedical research workforce for example, data by gender, and by career stage.

RCDC (Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization) displays total NIH funding for a particular research, condition or disease category by Fiscal Year. The categorical spending table provides the annual level of funding for 285 research, condition, and disease categories. NIH implemented the RCDC process in 2008 to provide better consistency and transparency in reporting funded research areas.  Importantly, NIH does not expressly budget by category and the research categories are not mutually exclusive (i.e., individual research projects can be included in multiple categories).

NIH Awards by Location & Organization provides information on funding amounts for organizations, funding mechanisms, locations, and more by Fiscal Year.     

Federal RePORTER is a database that makes scientific research award information from 18 federal agencies searchable in a transparent matter. With data updated annually, users can search across multiple fields, such as by agencies, fiscal years, project leaders, award titles, research terms, and abstracts. 

Grants Success Rates

NIH reports on the percentage of reviewed grant applications that receive funding on an annual (fiscal year) basis.  These “success rates” are calculated and published after the close of the fiscal year. For more information on the NIH success rate calculation, read the NIH Success Rate Definition.

Graphs of success rates are available in the NIH Data Book

Research Project Success Rates by NIH Institute and Center and by Type and Activity are available for each Fiscal Year starting in 1997. 

NIH also has information on success rates for specific program types on the NIH Success Rates page, including data from 1970 to present.

 Images

funding mechanisms, intramural research, and staff/operating expensesPercentages of NIH’s FY 2018 budget for extramural research funding mechanisms, intramural research, and staff/operating expenses.

Budget by mechanism

Percentages of NIH’s FY 2018 budget for extramural research funding mechanisms, intramural research, and staff/operating expenses.

Percentage of R01-equivalent applications that receive funding on a fiscal year basis, by gender

Success rates by gender 

Percentage of R01-equivalent applications that receive funding on a fiscal year basis, by gender.

Percentage of NIH’s FY 2018 budget for extramural research funding versus spending at NIH.

Spending

Percentage of NIH’s FY 2018 budget for extramural research funding versus spending at NIH.

Percentage of reviewed grant applications that receive funding on a fiscal year basis, and number of applications and awards

Success rates and funding rates

Percentage of reviewed grant applications that receive funding on a fiscal year basis, and number of applications and awards.

This page last reviewed on March 20, 2019