R15: Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA)

Most recent NIDDK funding announcements: PA-18-504 (no clinical trials) and PA-18-495 (clinical trials)

The R15 at NIDDK

NIH established the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) 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. NIDDK considers AREA applications for research in all scientific areas related to its mission.

The objectives of the AREA program are to

  • provide support for meritorious research
  • strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support
  • expose available undergraduate and graduate students 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
  • similar discrete research projects that demonstrate research capability


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.



Only domestic institutions that offer baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health-related sciences are eligible. However, there are additional eligibility requirements based on the NIH support that the institution has received over the last 7 years. Visit NIH’s AREA Program Institutional Eligibility for more information.

Principal Investigator

Principal investigators are expected to conduct most of their research at their own institutions, although limited access to special facilities or equipment at another institution is permitted.

Principal Investigators

  • must have a primary faculty appointment at an AREA-eligible institution
  • cannot be the PI of an active NIH research grant at the time the AREA grant is awarded
  • cannot be awarded more than one AREA grant at a time

If multiple PD/PIs are proposed

  • each must have an appointment at an AREA-eligible institution
  • none may be the PD/PI of an active NIH grant at the time of award of an AREA grant


AREA applications are often reviewed as group for consistency. View the R15 Guidelines for Reviewers (PDF, 31 KB) for instructions given to reviewers.


The NIH’s Office of Extramural Research offers frequently asked questions for AREA grants.

Staff Contact

Non-clinical trials applications

Karl Malik, Ph.D.

Clinical trials applications

Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases
Henry Burch, M.D.

Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
Aynur Unalp-Arida, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases
Tracy L. Rankin, Ph.D.