U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

R15

A​cademic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)

NIH established the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA, R15) to stimulate research at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate training for a significant number of the nation's research scientists but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.  The objectives of the AREA program are to (1) provide support for meritorious research, (2) strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support, and (3) expose available undergraduate and graduate students in such environments to meritorious research. 

The award provides funding for small-scale, new or ongoing health-related research projects, including pilot research projects and feasibility studies; development, testing and refinement of research techniques; secondary analysis of available data sets; and similar discrete research projects that demonstrate research capability. NIDDK considers AREA applications for research in all scientific areas related to its mission.

Institutional Eligibi​lity

Only domestic institutions of higher education that offer baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health-related sciences are eligible.  In addition there is an eligibility requirement based on the NIH support that the institution has received offer the last 7 years.  A prospective applicant who wishes to know if his or her institution is eligible for the AREA Program should check the list of institutions that are ineligible for AREA grants on the NIH web site and/or inquire of the institutional sponsored research office.

Principal Investi​gator Eligibility

The PI on an AREA application must have a primary faculty appointment at an AREA-eligible institution and may not be the PI of an active NIH research grant at the time the AREA grant is awarded.  The PI may not be awarded more than one AREA grant at a time.  If multiple PD/PIs are proposed each of them must have an appointment at an AREA-eligible institution and none may be the PD/PI of an active NIH grant at the time of award of an AREA grant.  Principal investigators are expected to conduct the majority of their research at their own institutions, although limited access to special facilities or equipment at another institution is permitted.

Limitations on Award Am​ount and Period of Support

Applicants may request support for up to a total of $300,000 in direct costs (plus applicable indirect costs) for a period of up to 3 years.

Additional information for AREA applicants

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with appropriate NIDDK program staff when considering an AREA application.

  • Most of the details of the AREA program are available at the AREA Parent program announcement: PA-13-313​.

  • Applicants can find past funding levels and success rates for AREA applications at the various NIH Institutes within the Success Rate section of RePORT. AREA Grant information is file #5 under the Research Project Grants section.

  • AREA applications are often reviewed together so that the review criteria are applied in a way that more consistently aligns the review with the objectives of the program.  The objectives of the AREA program are to (1) provide support for meritorious research, (2) strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support, and (3) expose available undergraduate and graduate students in such environments to meritorious research.  To view the instructions given reviewers of AREA applications go to:
    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/r_awards/R15_Guide_for_reviewers.pdf (PDF, 63 KB)

  • The AREA grants page of the OER web site contains a lot of useful information.

  • OER also has a ‘frequently asked question’ page for AREA grants.

  • NIAID has a site that provides samples of several kinds of grant applications including a sample AREA grant application.