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NIA new deadlines: Awaiting Receipt of Application (ARA) for large budget grant applications

Dr. Ken Santora
Kenneth SANTORA,
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)

For investigators who plan to submit a grant application with direct costs greater than or equal to $500,000 in any one year of support, NIH requires investigators to seek prior approval from the institute or center (IC) in the form of an Awaiting Receipt of Application (ARA). This NIH policy applies to new (Type 1), competing renewal (Type 2), competing revision (Type 3), and amended/resubmitted applications (A1). The policy does not apply to applications submitted in response to Requests for Applications (RFAs) or other funding opportunities with specified budget limits. Unanticipated requests for high amounts of direct costs are difficult for NIH ICs to manage regardless of the merit of the grant application or the budget justification. ARAs help NIH consider research projects with large awards as early as possible in the budget and program planning process.

Given the importance of continually reviewing and prioritizing NIA’s research funding decisions, NIA will implement a revised policy to evaluate ARA requests. NIA will establish three dates within a fiscal year, coinciding with each National Advisory Council on Aging round of applications, for receipt and evaluation of ARA requests. The new NIA policy will go into effect for grant applications with receipt dates on or after Jan. 25, 2024 (for FY25 awards). Program directors/principal investigators are required to submit complete ARA request forms for this submission cycle by Dec. 7, 2023. Deadlines for the subsequent submission cycles will occur approximately six weeks prior to the first receipt date of each cycle. Specific dates are posted on the NIA website.

Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact an NIA program officer (PO) at least 10 weeks prior to the ARA submission due date to obtain assistance in submitting an ARA request. A PO can be identified by reaching out to the NIA scientific/research contact listed at the end of Section VII of the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The PO will discuss the project, provide access to the ARA Over the Cap Request Form, and offer further guidance.

Please note that submitting an ARA request does not ensure its approval; it only ensures the request will be reviewed internally at NIA. Failure to seek ARA approval for a large budget grant application prior to submission will result in the application not being accepted for review and a delay in consideration until the next ARA receipt date.

Of particular importance to NIA’s new policy for submitting ARA requests is the increased scrutiny of ARA requests with respect to the inclusion of underrepresented populations in NIA clinical studies. NIA is deeply committed to supporting and conducting research on aging that improves the health and well-being of all people and that prioritizes the advancement of science that appropriately represents, in terms of race, ethnicity, sex, age, and comorbidity, the population affected by the condition being studied. Moving forward, NIA will prioritize ARA requests that 1) include proposed planned enrollment tables representative of the population affected by the disease/condition, and 2) are appropriately inclusive of racial and ethnic minority groups; participants across the lifespan; as well as other populations experiencing health disparities, including sexual and gender minority or socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.


Submitted by MPANDE JORAM on November 07, 2023

Greetings from Uganda. I have vast experience in conducting participatory research with emphasis on Capacity Assessment of Older Persons Associations in Uganda. Please advise whether this makes me eligible to apply.

Submitted by Ken Santora on November 27, 2023

In reply to by MPANDE JORAM

Thank you for your comment.  Your area of expertise may be of interest to NIA, however, remember that all grants from the NIH are to institutions, not individual researchers.

Eligibility starts with whether the NOFO will accept applications from foreign institutions. See for more information. You can always talk with the program officer found at the end of any specific NOFO for which you may be interested in applying.

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