NIGMS Funding Policies

The goal of NIGMS funding policies is to maximize the scientific impact of investments in investigator-initiated biomedical research to drive fundamental scientific discoveries that advance understanding of human health and disease. To address this goal, the Institute strives to support a broad portfolio of research grants of high scientific and technical merit, as determined by peer review, in its mission areas.

However, in deciding to fund any application, NIGMS staff also considers other factors, including:

  • the breadth of the Institute’s research portfolio, approaches, and investigators;
  • the total amount of funding available to the investigator;
  • the priority of the research area for the Institute’s mission;
  • Early-stage investigator status;
  • At-risk investigator status​;​
  • and whether the PI would have more than one NIGMS funded R01​ or R21 (including multi-PI R01s).
Because these factors are considered, NIGMS does not have a “payline” or strict cutoff in scores that it will fund.

It is important to understand that even applications with outstanding scores might not be funded if the investigator already has substantial other support.

Because NIGMS prioritizes funding for meritorious investigators who otherwise would not have support over providing additional grants to already well-funded investigators, the Institute is unlikely to award more than one NIGMS R01 or R21 to a PI (including multi-PI R01s)​.

In accordance with our Strategic Plan [PDF], NIGMS generally prioritizes funding the MIRA program over R01 awards.

In calculating budgets for grants, NIGMS staff considers each budget carefully and takes into account the science being conducted, the other support for the PI’s lab, the Institute’s budget, and other factors. PIs should not assume that they will be awarded the amount recommended by the study section. To fund as broad ​a portfolio of meritorious investigators as soon as possible and to improve overall returns on investments, NIGMS pays close attention to budget levels and gives large budget increases only in highly compelling cases.

Applicants are encouraged to contact NIGMS program staff with questions.