Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant to provide general guidance. Instructions and procedures outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement and SF424 Application Guide take precedence over any information provided on this page and should be referred to for complete and comprehensive directions.

Application Process


Follow the Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the Research Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement to do otherwise. When the Funding Opportunity Announcement provides instructions that differ from the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the instructions given in the Funding Opportunity Announcement take precedence and should be followed.

All attachments should be formatted according to NIH format standards.

Adherence to the application requirements is mandatory and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may not be accepted for review.

Required Forms

Refer to the Funding Opportunity Announcement and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for complete instructions.

SF424 (R&R) Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Agency Routing Identifier

Enter Science Area Designations in the Agency Routing Identifier. Designate two scientific areas (a primary and secondary) from the list below. For each area, enter the one-digit code and abbreviation (e.g., 1 BSS).

1 BSS - Behavioral and Social Science
2 CB - Chemical Biology
3 CTR - Clinical and Translational Research
4 IDI - Infectious Diseases and Immunology
5 IE - Instrumentation and Engineering
6 MCB - Molecular and Cellular Biology
7 NS - Neuroscience
8 HIB - High-Throughput and Integrative Biology
9 BCB - Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Important: For each of the two science area designations, enter the one-digit code followed by one space and then the corresponding abbreviation. Enter the primary area first and secondary area second. Separate the two entries by a semicolon.

Correct Example: 1 BSS; 7 NS

The areas of science listed above are very broad and frequently overlapping. New Innovator Award reviewers are chosen for their breadth of knowledge and expertise and will be able to review a broad range of applications. Choose the two science areas that are most appropriate for your proposed project.

The scientific areas are used solely to aid in the assignment of panel reviewers and does not affect an application’s funding potential. Application requirements and instructions are identical for all the science areas. All applications are reviewed at the same time, by the same panel, and compete for a single source of dedicated funds.

Note: The science area designations (two one-digit codes with abbreviations) must also be included at the beginning of the Research Strategy essay.

Type of Application

Must be "New."

Proposed Project

The start date should be September 1, 2022, and the end date should be August 31, 2027.

Cover Letter Attachment

The Cover Letter Attachment must include the names of any known project personnel and/or collaborators. The cover letter is for internal NIH use only and will not be shared with peer reviewers. It is used by NIH staff to plan the review and avoid conflicts of interest.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

R&R Other Project Information Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with additional instructions for the Facilities & Other Resources section outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Project Summary/Abstract

There is a limit of 30 lines of text.

Project Narrative

There is a limit of three sentences.

Bibliography & References Cited

Do not use. Provide essential reference citations in the essay.

Facilities & Other Resources

Upload a brief statement (one page maximum) of the facilities to be used for the conduct of the research.


Do not use.

Other Attachments

Do not use.

Other Tips
  • For more help on human subjects, visit the NIH Grants & Funding website.
  • Foreign components are defined as the performance of any significant scientific element or segment of a project outside of the United States, either by the recipient or by a researcher employed by a foreign organization, whether or not grant funds are expended. It is crucial that you disclose all foreign components, which include foreign collaborations that will result in co-authorship. See the definition of Foreign Components for more details.

Project/Performance Site Location(s)

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

R&R Senior/Key Person Profile Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modifications:

  • Profile - Project Director/Principal Investigator: Attach a list of current and pending support from all sources, including current year direct costs and percent effort devoted to each project.
  • Profile - Senior Key Person 1: Do not use. Submit information only for the PD/PI. Information on collaborators or other key personnel is not required but may be included in the Research Strategy essay.
  • Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) - Additional Senior/Key Person Profile(s): Do not use. Only the PD/PI may serve as senior/key personnel.
  • Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) - Additional Biographical Sketch(es): Do not use. Only the PD/PI may submit a Biographical Sketch.

R&R Budget Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with additional instructions in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Although annual budgets are required in the application, the funding will be in two multi-year segments. A three-year Multi-Year-Funded award (9/1/2022 – 8/31/2025) will be issued just prior to the beginning of the project period. Near the end of the third year, a two-year Multi-Year-Funded award will be issued for years four and five of the project period (9/1/2025 – 8/31/2027).

The budgets have the following two important constraints: For the first segment ((9/1/2022 – 8/31/2025), the total direct cost must not exceed $900,000. For the second segment (9/1/2025 – 8/31/2027), the total direct cost must not exceed $600,000.

Itemized budget information is not required and will not be accepted. Instead, a total requested direct cost amount for each annual budget period, including requests for equipment purchase, is required.

Some basic information must be completed for NIH to successfully process the budget form. For each of the five annual budget periods:

  1. Select the appropriate Budget Type.
  2. Provide the Budget Period Start Date and End Date – September 1 of one year and August 31 of the next calendar year, respectively.
  3. Section A: Senior/Key Persons provide an entry for the PD/PI, including the appropriate level of effort, and enter $0 for Requested Salary and $0 for Fringe Benefits. Entering $0 does not imply that the PD/PI will not receive any salary or fringe benefit support from the grant.
  4. In Section C: Enter budget request for equipment. Provide justification using the Budget Justification.
  5. In Section F: Other Direct Costs add a line item titled ‘Requested Direct Costs’ and provide the total direct cost request for that budget period. If equipment is requested in Section C, do not add the equipment budget in Section F.
  6. Ensure that the two budget constraints described above are met.

Budget Justification: Use to provide justification only for requested equipment. Provide a description of the equipment and its intended use in the research project.

R&R Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form

Do not complete the SF424 R&R Subaward Form. All budget information should be provided in the R&R Budget form.

PHS 398 Research Plan Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with additional instructions in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Specific Aims

Do not use.

Research Strategy

The Research Strategy essay is the major component of the application and is limited to ten pages. The essay should address:

  • The significance and potential impact of the project
  • What makes the approaches exceptionally innovative
  • How risks and challenges will be addressed
  • The applicant’s qualifications for the award

The essay should include the following sections with headings, in order, and within the ten-page limit:

  1. Project Science Areas: Provide the 1-digit code and abbreviation for primary and secondary science areas at the beginning of the essay. See "Agency Routing Identifier" information above for codes and format.
  2. Project Description: The description of the scientific plan should be written at a level appropriate for reviewers who are broadly knowledgeable but may not be topic experts in the proposed area of research. Do not provide a detailed experimental plan, and do not structure the proposed research as a series of specific aims. The focus should be on the goals of the New Innovator Award and the review criteria. Preliminary data are allowed but not required. The project description should:
    • Describe the scientific challenge or opportunity that will be addressed, its importance, and how addressing this would have a major impact on a broad area of research relevant to NIH.
    • Provide scientific context by summarizing the current landscape of the field and how your research, if successful, would substantially extend beyond current boundaries.
    • Describe the overall approach to be taken.
    • State prominently that to comply with instructions in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, a detailed experimental plan and extensive preliminary data are not being provided. While details and preliminary data are not required, reviewers should still get a clear sense of what is being proposed and why and be convinced that the research will be performed in a robust and rigorous manner.
  3. Innovativeness: Given what is considered state-of-the-art in the field, state clearly and concisely what makes the project unusually innovative. And since the approaches may be highly innovative and risky, what will be done if these approaches are not successful?
  4. Investigator Qualifications: Provide evidence to support your claim of innovativeness and creativity in your prior research. For example, what personal qualities and experiences demonstrate your inclination to question paradigms and work with intellectual uncertainties, develop unique collaborations, integrate diverse sources of information, or develop novel approaches when new challenges or opportunities arise?
  5. Suitability for the New Innovator Award Program: Why is the planned research uniquely suited to the New Innovator Award rather than a more “traditional” grant mechanism?
  6. Statement of Research Effort Commitment: Include a statement affirming that if you are chosen to receive an award, you will commit a minimum of three person-months (25%) of research effort to the New Innovator Award project.

Additional Notes:

  • All bibliographic citations must fit within the ten-page limit. The most critical citations should be included to aid in the assessment of scientific rigor.
  • Figures and illustrations may be included but must fit within the ten-page limit.
  • Letters of collaboration will not be accepted. Information on collaborators may be included in the essay and their names and affiliations should be listed in the PHS Assignment Request Form.
  • Applicants considering clinical trial research are strongly advised to discuss their research with the most scientifically relevant NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) to ensure the research conforms to the clinical trial research policies of those ICs. Funding of applications involving clinical trials is contingent upon conformance to the policies of the IC administering the award. A list of IC contacts are on our website.
Consortium/Contractual Arrangements

Do not use.

Letters of Support

Do not use. Letters of support from collaborators are not allowed.

Resource Sharing Plan

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, but Resource Sharing Plans will be expected as Just in Time information if an award is being considered.


Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. Limited materials are allowed.

PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Assignment Request Form

Follow all instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, but do not request an assignment to a particular review panel (integrated review group) or awarding component (NIH Institute or Center). All applications are automatically received as "Office of the Director" applications and reviewed by a single Special Emphasis Panel convened by the Center for Scientific Review.

Since letters of collaboration and biosketches of collaborators are not allowed, provide the names of collaborators and their institutional affiliations. Also, if you wish to request that certain individuals not review your application, list their names, institutional affiliations, and the reasons why they should not serve as reviewers. NIH will consider this request but is not obligated to accept it.



More questions? Contact us at NewInnovatorAwards@mail.nih.gov.

This page last reviewed on May 24, 2021