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Program Project (P01) Policies and Guidelines

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA): PAR-19-314

As the FOAs instruct, use the ASSIST technology to submit applications. The ASSIST site provides extensive training materials and a detailed user guide to help submit the application. Plan to submit well ahead of the deadline because the deadline is exactly that and the later the application is submitted the less chance there is to overcome glitches or fix errors. That buffer time is especially important for complex applications such as program projects.

In a change from recent program project guidelines NIA now accepts all versions of program projects (new (Type 1), continuing (Type 2), resubmissions, revisions) at all three submission deadlines – September 25, January 25 and May 25, or the first business day following these deadlines if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday.

As stated in PAR-19-314, NIA rarely funds program project awards with any annual budget of more than $2 million, in direct costs (F&A costs of subcontracts excluded). Budget increases in non-competing years will reflect NIH policy in effect for the year of the non-competing continuation and may be requested to reflect an anticipated inflationary 3% annual increase only. P01 applications requesting more than $2 million in any year must be nominated for acceptance by an NIA program division and approved by an NIA senior committee to be accepted.

Revision applications may request costs that would increase the total direct costs of the awarded P01 to more than $2 million in a single year. Revision applications may be submitted only after the parent P01 has been awarded and may not propose costs beyond the end of the parent award.

NIA has implemented cost control measures for applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in a single year.

It is particularly important for applicants considering program project submissions to contact program division staff as early as possible in the development of the project and at least six weeks before the intended submission.

Note on differences between U19 (Complex cooperative agreement awards) and P01 (Program project awards) at NIA

The U19 and P01 funding opportunity announcements (FOA) are causing some confusion in the research community. Program projects remain opportunities for multiple complementary individual projects to collaborate around a common theme. A distinguishing feature of program projects is that individual sub-projects can frequently stand alone and sometimes are submitted separately as independent research grants. The NIA U19 FOA is designed for complex projects with highly integrated components. These components are building blocks of the overall enterprise rather than stand-alone projects. The loss of any of these components would be critical. These integrated components would not stand alone as independent projects.

Because of the complexity of these projects we are using a cooperative agreement mechanism (U19) to support them. A cooperative agreement necessitates a role for an NIA staff member to serve substantively on the project. It is important for investigators planning a U19 award to obtain the agreement of a staff member to serve in that substantive role prior to submitting the application. It is expected that most of the U19 applications would request a Direct Costs budget of $500,000 or more and NIH policy requires applicants who seek research support of at least $500,000 (direct costs) in a single year to seek permission to submit the application from an Institute or Center at least six weeks before the intended submission date. Also, NIA policy limits the proportion of the competing budget that may be awarded to large grants.

NIA expects to make only a small number of U19 awards.