U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2011 Award Funding Policy

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports basic and clinical research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health.

NIDDK extramural research is organized into 3 programmatic divisions: 

  1. Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases;
  2. Digestive Diseases and Nutrition; and
  3. Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases.

The Institute supports basic and clinical research through investigator-initiated grants, program project and center grants, cooperative agreements, career development and training awards, and contracts.

Budget Data

Current Appropriation

NIDDK’s appropriation for fiscal year 2011 is $1.792 billion. This is a reduction of 0.9% (approximately $16 million) from NIDDK’s appropriation in fiscal year 2010.

Funding Strategy

NIDDK is committed to supporting as many meritorious competing research grant applications as possible. Consistent with NIH policy (see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-11-068), particular priorities for NIDDK include 

  1. enhancing the ability of new investigators to compete for support in these difficult financial times, and 
  2. protecting our investment in well established investigators with little or no other significant support.


To maximize our available resources, all grant awards will continue to be subject to programmatic adjustments from the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDK) Advisory Council approved levels. These adjustments take into consideration the overall scientific and technical merit of the grant application, the cost of the proposed research, and other resources available for related research projects

Funding Guidelines

Non-competing (Continuation) Awards

Consistent with the NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards - FY2011 (NOT-OD-11-077) non-competing (Type 5) modular and non-modular grants of the following mechanisms - R01, R03, R21, R33, R34, R35, R37, P01, U01, U19, U24, and U34 awards as well as Roadmap RPG awards - will be issued 1% below the FY 2010 award level. Non-competing fellowship/training (Fs & Ts), career development (Ks) and SBIR/STTR (R41/R42) awards will generally be issued at the levels committed for FY2011.

Competing Awards

For FY 2011 NIDDK is establishing a nominal “payline” for new (Type 1) and renewal or competing continuation (Type 2) R01 applications of 15th percentile (17th percentile for New Investigator applications). Most R01 applications which have a primary assignment to NIDDK and which request less than $500,000 direct cost per year and score at or better than the 15th percentile will receive an award (applications which have NIDDK as a secondary assignment do not benefit from this payline). However, NIDDK will exercise discretion and consider portfolio balance, programmatic importance and a number of other factors in determining precisely which applications are awarded. In addition, all grant awards will continue to be subject to programmatic adjustments from the NDDK Advisory Council approved levels. It is important to note that these funding levels are applicable for applications to be paid in FY 2011. Many applications submitted in FY 2011 will not be eligible for funding consideration until FY 2012. The funding levels for FY 2012 cannot now be reliably predicted.

The FY2011 NIH fiscal policy includes the provision of 2% escalation for future years on competing non-modular Research Project Grant (RPG) awards (see NOT-OD-11-068). Applicants for modular awards are understood to have included inflation in their cost before selecting an appropriate modular total.

New Investigators

Fostering the success of new investigators establishing careers in biomedical research is a high priority of the NIDDK and NIH. The NIDDK emphasis on new investigators is exhibited in the special consideration given in determining both funding priority and period of support. NIDDK routinely considers new investigator applications for payment, including those that score outside of the normal funding range. Consistent with NIH guidelines articulated in NOT-OD-11-068, NIDDK will strive to support new investigators on R01 awards at success rates equivalent to those of established investigators submitting new R01 applications. In addition when possible and appropriate the full period of support recommended for funded new investigator grants will be awarded.

Bridge Support

In cases where a competing renewal application falls near but beyond the nominal payline, NIDDK will continue to consider interim support on a case-by-case basis and provide limited, support in selected cases. The goal is to preserve essential research resources pending the re-review of a revised application. NIDDK can choose to award a one- or two-year R56 grant to an R01 application scored outside the payline. These awards provide support for investigators to collect preliminary data and used these data to revise and improve their R01 applications.

Duration of Grant Support

Competing awards are adjusted to achieve a 4 year average duration for research project grants. Nevertheless, applications from new investigators, initial MERIT awards, MERIT extensions, program project grants, and clinical trial grants are generally awarded for the full length of their recommended project period.

NIDDK Exploratory Research Grant (R21) Program

In response to the advice and recommendations of the NDDK Advisory Council, NIDDK refocused its R21 program in FY 2007 and this focus will remain unchanged in FY 2011. NIDDK uses R21 grants to support projects within its research mission that are:

  • Innovative, high pay-off, paradigm-shifting projects
  • Novel technology and tool development
  • Applications of existing methods, technologies, or conceptual approaches from outside biomedical science to a problem in the NIDDK mission
  • Pilot clinical trials or clinical studies

Most projects are not suitable for the R21 mechanism. In considering whether to submit an R21 application investigators should consider the following:

  • Projects of limited scope or cost that use widely accepted approaches and methods within established fields are NOT appropriate for an R21 application.
  • A proposal designed to generate preliminary data for a longer-term project in a well-established research area is NOT appropriate for an R21 application.
  • Applications from new investigators to gather preliminary data for a standard R01 are NOT appropriate for the R21 mechanism.
  • R21 proposals submitted by new investigators will NOT be given special priority for funding. The NIDDK believes new investigators are better served by the R01 award for which they are given special priority. Please see New and Early Stage Investigators FAQs.

The NIDDK will support highly risky projects if the proposed research holds promise for a major advance in biomedical research. Although preliminary data are not required, the applicant should provide evidence of his/her ability to carry out the proposed research project. The success rate of NIDDK R21 applications in the past has been highly variable and differs from the success rate for obtaining R01 awards. Potential applicants are strongly advised to discuss a prospective proposal with a member of NIDDK Program Staff in order to determine whether it is appropriate to submit as an R21 application.

Program Project (P01) Grant Applications and Applications with budgets greater than $500K

NIDDK has adopted a more stringent funding practice for awarding program project (P01) grants and investigator-initiated grant applications with budgets of $500,000 requested direct costs in any one year. Prior approval is required before submitting an application for review that requests $500,000 or more in direct costs in any one year. The request to submit such applications must be received at least three months prior to the proposed submission date. Prior approval is required for renewal and revised applications as well as new applications. Please consult with the appropriate NIDDK program staff and visit the following site for information on research areas supported by NIDDK: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/research-programs​

New (Type 1) program project (P01) applications may request a maximum of $6.25 million in direct costs over five years, exclusive of the subcontract Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs. Renewal (competing continuation [Type 2]) program project applications may request up to $6.25 million in direct costs over five years, exclusive of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs associated with the subcontract(s). In addition to the caps on the amount requested, P01 awards are subject to administrative adjustment from the Advisory Council approved levels. Additional information regarding the P01 applications and their receipt dates can be found: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/ac_search_results.htm?text_curr=p01&Search_Type=Activity.

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