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Program Project Grants (P01)

The program project grant (P01) is more complex in scope and budget than the individual research grant. While individual research grants are awarded to support the work of one principal investigator who, with supporting staff, is addressing a scientific problem, program project grants are available to a group of several investigators with differing areas of expertise who wish to collaborate in research by pooling their talents and resources. Program project grants represent synergistic research programs that are designed to achieve results not attainable by investigators working independently.

The program project grant is organized around a set of closely related projects bearing on a well-defined scientific problem. Normally, three to five projects are involved, with one scientist designated by the applicant institution as the principal investigator who bears responsibility for the scientific and fiscal management of the program project grant.

It is expected that each of the collaborating scientists responsible for the individual projects will be an independent investigator. Investigators from more than one department, administrative unit or institution may be represented.

The program project grant is not intended to be a vehicle for departmental support, nor is the research support of one senior investigator and several postdoctoral- and research associate-level scientists appropriate under this mechanism. In addition, the program project and the individual components must represent a significant effort on the part of the participating scientists and should be distinct from their other funded efforts. Furthermore, the need of a group of investigators for a major piece of equipment or a core facility does not in itself provide justification for a program project grant. However, equipment and other core resources necessary for the accomplishment of the objectives of a program project grant may be requested. For current applications, there is an upper limit of $6,500,000 direct costs (exclusive of subcontractual indirect costs) for the entire 5-year project period that may be requested in a competing program project grant application to the NIGMS. If fewer than 5 years are requested, the limit is prorated accordingly. Applications that exceed this limit will be returned without review.

With approval by NIGMS staff in advance of submission, funds may be requested for major pieces of equipment. In compliance with NIH policy, a grant application that requests more than $500,000 (direct costs) in any 1 year will not be accepted without prior approval from the Institute.

Although program project grants are investigator-initiated, they are very competitive. Because of budgetary constraints, these grants may be restricted to areas of special interest to the individual NIGMS divisions. Applicants are urged to consult with NIGMS staff prior to submitting a program project grant application. Requests for details about the research areas supported by NIGMS and inquiries exploring the suitability of the program project grant mechanism to fund a particular group of studies should be addressed to the NIGMS staff listed below.

The individual projects within a program project grant, as well as the program project grant as a whole, must meet the same standards of scientific merit as those required of regular research project grants. In order to ensure that a program project grant application receives the best possible review by appropriate peers of all the participating investigators, the scientific merit of each component project is assessed in a manner comparable to the assessment that an individual research project grant receives, with the potential importance of the project to the success of the total effort also taken into account. The scientific merit of the program project grant application as a whole and its coherence as a program are also assessed. In addition, the total support of the principal investigator, the group of investigators as a whole or any individual investigator may be considered in funding the entire program project or any of its parts.

For more information, applicants are urged to contact the following NIGMS staff members:

Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology

Dr. Amy L. Swain -- 301-451-6446

Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics

Dr. Catherine Lewis -- 301-594-0828

Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology

Dr. Susan Haynes -- 301-594-0943

Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry

Dr. Michael E. Rogers -- 301-594-3827

For general information, applicants should contact:

Dr. Ann A. Hagan -- 301-594-4499

For additional information concerning NIGMS program project grants, see the NIH Guide funding announcement for unsolicited NIGMS P01 applications available at

Policies related to NIGMS program project receipt, review and funding are available at

This page last reviewed on January 2, 2013