I find that few of my clients are even aware of the R15 grant application. Apparently they are not alone. CSR recently took it upon themselves to remind reviewers what the R15 was:
“NIH recently posted a reviewer’s guide to R15 grant applications to help reviewers fully appreciate the unique goals and policies that govern this grant program. The “Academic Research Enhancement Award” (AREA) grant program was designed to support small-scale research projects at educational institutions that have not been major recipients of NIH grants but provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of students who may become research scientists. In addition to the usual goal of supporting meritorious research, this program was designed to strengthen the research environment and expose students to research at these targeted institutions. Applications should include plans to expose students to research but should not include training plans like traditional training or fellowship applications. Enhancing research environment and student exposure to research currently are not specific review criteria, but reviewers are asked to consider these issues when they assess “overall impact” and the “investigators” criterion.
“AREA grants are limited to institutions that receive a total of $6 million or less in research and training grants in 4 of the last 7 years. Awards are limited to 3 years and $300,000 in direct costs over the entire project period.”
NOTE that I do know of one client who was told this spring by a program officer that she was eligible for an R15– her academic institution does not fit the criteria, but her particular school within that institution did. As always, check with your program officer as such interpretations of these policies may vary from IC to IC.
Click HERE to learn more about the review of R15 applications by viewing the R15 Guide for Reviewers on the NIH Web site.