Funding for early-career NIH grantees experiencing critical life events

If you have (or are applying for) an NIH individual K award or your first NIH R01 (or R01-equivalent), you should know about this pair of funding opportunities!

Transitions from K to R and from first R01-equivalent to first renewal or second award are pivotal moments for NIH-funded investigators. But life events don’t take a break for academic funding timelines. NIH offers administrative supplements to help investigators at these stages maintain productivity while dealing with “critical life events” during the project period. These events include:

  • high-risk pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • adoption
  • serious personal health issues, illness, or debilitating conditions
  • primary caregiving responsibilities for an ailing spouse, child, partner, parent, or member of the immediate family

The awards provide up to $70,000 direct costs for one year. Funding cannot support salary of the parent award’s PI, but otherwise the budget offers flexibility. Funds can support supplies, equipment, additional scientific staff effort, and more.

One caveat: The parent award typically has to be active (not in no-cost extension) at the time of award.

However, because these funds are distributed as administrative supplements, the review process is much faster than the usual NIH grants process. Applications are reviewed internally by the Institute/Center (IC) rather than sent out for external peer review. Decisions are often made within 2 to 3 months.

Each IC has its own specific guidance (links to tables in the notices). Talk to your IC’s program contacts! Some ICs accept applications on a rolling basis, whereas others have 2 or 3 receipt dates per year. Note that, if a critical life event is pending, you can apply in advance.

You can find more information in the Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) for the supplements:

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