NIH Grants

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers a variety of grants for researchers to obtain funding.  Review the content below to learn more about each type of NIH grant and how it applies to researchers in the Emory Department of Medicine.

    F Series - the Individual Training Grant

    • F30: for pre-doctoral MD/PhD candidates
    • F31: usually for pre-doctoral PhD candidates
    • F32: for post-doctoral fellows

    In the Emory Department of Medicine, most post-doctoral fellows, regardless of their respective terminal degree, are eligible to apply for the F32. This is an individual training grant and in many ways works in exactly the same way as the T32 but the difference is the trainee writes the grant as the principal investigator with significant guidance from his or her mentor. These grants must include a training plan, a short research proposal, and plans for instruction in ethics of research as well as courses the University may offer at the graduate level that you may wish to take that will enhance your research training. These grants are submitted three times per year. Receiving one is an excellent benchmark in the trainees’ curriculum vitae as it marks the very beginning of independence as an investigator. These grants are not renewable, and are limited to 3 years. 

    Note: it is extremely important to check with the individual branches of the NIH (PDF) because these applications are reviewed by them and NOT by a central office like the R series grants.

    Applicants are cautioned that not all NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) participate in F32 program, and that consultation with relevant IC staff prior to submission of an application is strongly encouraged. The participating ICs have different emphases and program requirements for this program. Therefore, a prospective applicant is urged to consult the Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts to determine whether the planned research and training falls within the mission of one of the participating NIH ICs.

    T Series - the Institutional Training Grant

    T-series training grants are institutional grants and junior faculty almost never write them. However, post-doctoral fellows may be placed on a training grant in the department (usually for one to two years, but can be for up to three years).

    Post-doctoral fellows are not considered an employee and receive a stipend.  Eligibility to receive a stipend to conduct research as a trainee depends on whether a program director in the department has open positions.

    Training grant appointees must be either US citizens or permanent residents (green card holders).

    The NIH has a loan deferment program for candidates who want to pursue a full-time career in basic or clinical research.

    Updates are found at the Program Announcement Site

    Currently active T32 Grants in the Department of Medicine

    Division Name of Program Contact Person Website
    Endocrinology Endocrinology, Metabolism
    and Diabetes
    Jackie Strom
    Renal Nephrology Institutional
    Training Grant

    Jeff Sands
    Russ Price
    Douglas Eaton

    Cardiology Research Training in
    Academic Cardiology
    n/a n/a
    Training a New Generation
    of Vaccinologists
    Dianne Miller
    Click for
    Pulmonology Training Program in
    Academic Pulmonary
    Dean Kleinhenz

    R Series Grant

    The most common grant application received by NIH is the R series. The major R series for individual faculty include the R01, the R21, and the R03. Today most R03 grants are written by Career Development Award holders in the third or fourth year of their K-series award. This grant provides two years of support during the final phase of career training (somewhere between $50K and $75K/year) so that the new investigator may hire a technician or study nurse, or increase his/her productivity to provide enough data to apply for an R01.

    Before reviewing the R01, the R21 mechanism is a 10 page application, formatted just like an R01, with the exact dates of submission. Also both the R01 and R21 usually go to standing study sections that is administered by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

    The major difference between the R series grants (R01 and R21) is that the investigator must be independent with a track record of conducting studies with an underlying theme—a body of knowledge. As such these applications require considerable data and careful attention to experimental design. Collaborators are often helpful. The Department has seminars about how to write these applications. Click here for the R01 website.

    NIH Career Development Awards

    Most of these grants have a "K" in front of them but NOT all K-type grants are for early stage faculty. The K02 and K24 are mechanisms that fund more senior investigators with salary support and are based on their productivity and their ability to mentor others in their respective fields. In this section, we focus on the K08 (for MD or MD/PhD faculty) and the K01 (for PhD faculty).

    Like the F series grants, it is best to contact the individual NIH agency (PDF) because the agency handles the review and awarding process.

    These grants are for faculty members and not post-doctoral trainees. They can be submitted three times per year. You must have a mentor or two who will assist you in writing the training program that is similar to what is required in the F series awards.

    This mechanism for career development provides significant salary support as well as fringe benefits for the principal investigator. The grants can last from four to five years and they are NOT renewable. K-awardees are expected to progress to R-series awards.

    This application is twenty-five pages long but half of the application has to deal with the continued training as an early stage investigator, the need for excellent mentorship, participation in coursework and a guarantee by the department that 75% of the principal investigator’s time will be protected to conduct his/her research.

    See the above agency websites for more information. Not every agency of NIH supports these mechanisms. Also please contact the program official in the area in which you will apply as oftentimes a prolonged post-doctoral training program will render you ineligible. In general, these applications are reviewed by the same panels that review the F32. Once a score is assigned, the reviewers’ comments are assembled and placed on the eRA commons website—this is the NIH portal that is essential in doing business with the NIH and any grant. (Note: you must have a user ID to begin to use this site. Your RAS team can help you obtain one.)

    These grants are more competitive than the F series grants; however, obtaining such an award from the NIH is an excellent sign that investigators in your field believe you have potential and are in the right academic environment to learn the skills necessary to become an independent investigator. Most faculty are either instructors or assistant professors when holding this type of grant.

    Finally, there is a recent mechanism, the “K99” Pathway to Independence Award, which includes the typical components of the K series, that is career development, but also is a transitional grant that functions like an R01 in which the investigator is believed to be talented enough with strong preliminary data and training that he/she would be highly likely to become independent.  The grant funds 1-2 years of post-doctoral training and 3 years of independent funding as a faculty membe