Fund Discovery Research

Federal Funding Opportunities

Your group can help researchers find funding opportunities for discovery research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) is available for research that may be too high-risk for other types of federal grants. 
    • Intended to fund exploratory, studies that break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications, as well as high-risk high-reward studies that may lead to a breakthrough in a particular area.
    • Non-renewable grant funding up to $275,000 over a 2 year period with no more than $200,000 in 1 year. 
    • Applications can be submitted 3 times per year. Check the Application Due Dates
    • Interested investigators are encouraged to contact participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) prior to applying to make certain the project and scope are a good fit for the R21: Contacts and Special Interests
    • Non-participating ICs may offer R21 grant opportunities through specific funding announcements which would be listed on the individual IC websites and on the NIH Grants and Fundings Find Funding Search Tool (check R21 in Activity Code to narrow your search results).  
  • Americas Seed Funds offered by NIH ICs allow U.S.-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. 
    • The programs are broken into Three Phase Programs:
    • The NIH offers special technical assistance programs to help small businesses in all 3 phases of the programs.
    • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program funds early stage small businesses that are seeking to commercialize innovative biomedical technologies.
    • Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is similar to the NIH SBIR program, but requires that small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II.
    • The SBIR|STTR America Seed Fund website provides information about the differences between the grants and how to apply.
    • It is important to contact the NIH SBIR/STTR Program Officer for the specific IC prior to submitting an application: HHS SBIR/STTR Agency Contact Information
  • Parent Announcements (For Unsolicited or Investigator-Initiated Applications) lists other broad funding opportunities.  
    • Research grants include the R Series, K99/00, and U01: Types of Research Grants
    • Not all NIH ICs participate in all parent announcements, so it is important to check the ICs that may be associated with your disease about other possible  research grant opportunities.
  • Find Funding Search Tool within NIH Grants and Fundings lists all available grant opportunities. The filters on the left of the page narrow the search results. 
  • The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) provides support for research projects, core facilities, scientific resources and tools, scientific conferences, and collaboration opportunities for small businesses, and other partners as well as grants programs and in-kind services: Funding and Notices
  • NCATS has additional programs listed in Discovery: Understand Discovery Research Tools.  
  • Other NIH resources:
    • NIH Tips for Applicants (2010) is a short video containing tips for grant applicants from reviewers and staff at the National Institutes of Health.
    • NIH Grants YouTube Page (updated periodically) is a page containing videos published by the NIH about a variety of topics related to NIH grants. There is a short Welcome Video on the homepage that introduces the organization of the content. 
    • NIH Grants Process Overview (updated periodically) is a webpage providing the steps required for the planning and submission of an application through to award and closeout.
  • The Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD), a program of the FDA, offers 2 grants:
    • OOPD Pediatric Device Consortia Grant funds consortia capable of providing expert advising and support services to innovators of children’s devices through all stages of development. 
    • Orphan Products Natural History Grants support targeted studies that advance rare disease therapy development through characterization of:
      • The natural history of rare diseases/conditions.
      • Identification of genotypic and phenotypic subpopulations.
      • Development and/or validation of clinical outcome measures, biomarkers and/or companion diagnostics.


Federal Funding Opportunities
Grants and Funding Application Due Dates National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
R21 Contacts and Special Interests National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
Find Funding: NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
SBIR|STTR America Seed Fund National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
HHS SBIR/STTR Agency Contact Information National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
NIH Types of Research Grants National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
NCATS Funding and Notices National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) (link)
NIH Tips for Applicants National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
NIH Grants YouTube Page National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
NIH Grants Process Overview National Institutes of Health (NIH) (link)
OOPD Pediatric Device Consortia Grants U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (link)