Direct Costs of
$500,000 or more in any one year
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
Revised: December 12, 2012
This document describes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) implementation of the NIH policy requiring all applications that request $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year to be accompanied by a letter from the Institute stating that it will accept the application.
This policy applies to any investigator-initiated new, renewal (competing continuation), resubmission (amended), or revision (competing supplement) application requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year. First-tier consortium or contractual facilities and administrative (F&A) costs do not count against the direct cost limit.
Additional policies apply to program project grant applications. (See
Additional policies apply to Phase III clinical trial grant applications. (See
Additional policies apply to multiple PI grant applications. (See
Additional policies apply to resource-related research (R24) grant applications. (See
Additional policies apply to research training (T32, T35) applications. (See
Additional policies apply to program project grant applications in response to
PAR-09-185: "Translational Programs in Lung Diseases (P01)." (See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-185.html).
In the process of submitting an application with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any given year, three letters are generated and are defined below.
The initial letter generated is the letter of request, which is submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) to the Director of the NHLBI extramural program Division whose research mission is most relevant to the proposed topic. The purpose of this letter is to request permission to submit an application with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any given year.
A letter of acceptance may be received by the PI from the Director of the NHLBI extramural program Division whose research mission is most relevant to the proposed topic. This letter giving the PI permission to submit the application is generated after the PI has had discussions with program and review staff and after a letter of request to submit an application with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any given year has been received by NHLBI. A letter of acceptance must accompany every submission of an application with direct costs greater than $500,000 in any given year. The letter of acceptance is valid for two years from the date approved by NHLBI.
A letter of intent is submitted by the PI to an appropriate Program Officer and the Director, Office of Scientific Review prior to the submission of a resubmission application. The letter conveys basic information regarding the application and allows NHLBI and CSR to plan for receipt, referral, and review of the application.
Resubmission (Amended) Applications
NHLBI agreement to accept an application includes a statement that the Institute will automatically accept a single resubmission (amended) application (i.e., an "A1" application) provided that the proposed research plan remains unchanged, the total direct costs per year do not exceed the amount specified in the original letter of acceptance from NHLBI, and the resubmission occurs within two years from the date of the letter of acceptance. However, if a resubmission application has a budget greater than originally specified in the letter of acceptance, a new letter of request must be submitted to the Director of the NHLBI extramural program Division whose research mission is most relevant to the proposed topic.
A letter of intent is required for the submission of an A1 application; the letter of intent should be sent by email to the Program Officer with a separate copy to the
Director, Office of Scientific Review. The letter of intent should include:
- Descriptive title of proposed research
- Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
- Names of other key personnel
- Participating institutions
- Number and title of a funding opportunity announcement
- eRA Commons userid of the PI or the contact PI.
This policy does not apply to:
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications [R43
- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications [R41
- program project grant renewal (competing continuation) or resubmission
(amended) applications [P01]
- applications submitted in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that includes specific budgetary limits. [FOAs that do not have budgetary limits will contain language instructing the applicants to follow the procedures for applications greater than $500,000 or more in direct costs in any one year.]
E. Timing of Submission of Requests from Investigators
The timing of letters of request seeking permission to submit grant applications of $500,000 or more in any year varies with the amount of money requested:
- If the amount requested in any year in a new grant application is
in excess of the program project grant cap, then requests to submit must be made by two specific deadlines in each calendar year (see paragraph 1 below for more details).
- If the amount requested in any year in a renewal grant application is
in excess of the program project grant cap, then requests to submit may be made at any time during the year (see paragraph 2 below for more details).
- If the amount requested in any year in a new grant application is
less than or equal to the program project grant cap, then requests to submit may be made at any time during the year (see paragraph 2 below for more details).
It is NHLBI policy that requests to submit new applications with direct costs in excess of the allowable requested direct cost for program project grants in any year (see Allowable Requested Direct Costs For Program Projects for limits) will be considered by the NHLBI twice a year. Full and complete requests, including budgetary information, must be received by the Institute by November 15th to be considered for submission for the following February 5th receipt date or by May 15th to be considered for submission for the following October 5th receipt date. The application receipt dates shown below
only apply to regular research project (R01) grant applications. Receipt dates for other grant mechanisms can be found at the “Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications” Web site at the following link: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm.
Request submitted to NHLBI
Application Receipt Date
Requests to submit:
- competing continuation applications with direct costs that are equal to or greater than $500,000 in one or more years
- new applications with direct costs that are equal to or greater than $500,000 in one or more years but do not exceed the allowable requested direct cost for program project grants in any year
will be considered by the NHLBI at any time, subject only to the requirement noted above that a request must be received by the NHLBI no later than 6 weeks prior to the standard NIH receipt date for which a proposed application would be submitted.
Individuals interested in submitting an application covered by these guidelines are strongly encouraged to begin informal discussions with NHLBI scientific staff as early as possible in the process of planning their research application.
To obtain NHLBI acceptance of an application, an applicant must:
- discuss the proposed research project with NHLBI program and review staff via an in person meeting or a conference call
- submit a letter of request to the NHLBI as described below in “Step 2”
If the NHLBI agrees to accept an application, it will issue an acceptance letter that must accompany the application.
The deadlines for the above steps depend on whether the direct costs requested are either  less than or equal to the program project grant (PPG) cap, or greater than the PPG cap:
- ≤ PPG cap. These are applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year but less than or equal to the allowable direct costs for a PPG. See http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/policies/grantcaps.htm.
- > PPG cap. These are applications requesting more than the allowable direct costs for a PPG in any year.
IMPORTANT-- The NHLBI considers requests to submit applications > PPG cap twice each year. The submission schedule may be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Step 1: NHLBI Staff Meeting -- Required
no later than 2 to 3 months prior to grant
submission due date
no later than October 18 (for the November 15 request date)
no later than April 17 (for the May 15 request date)
must discuss with NHLBI staff their proposal, either through
an in-person meeting in Bethesda, Maryland or a conference call.
After initial discussions with an applicant, NHLBI staff will
suggest whether a meeting or conference call is preferable.
Step 2: Letter of Request – Required
no later than 6 weeks prior to grant
submission due date
no later than November 15 or May 15
must submit a letter requesting permission to submit an application
addressed to the Director of the NHLBI extramural program Division
whose research mission is most relevant to the proposed topic.
The NHLBI extramural program Divisions and their Directors are
The letter of request enables NHLBI to make an informed decision
about whether to accept a proposed application. The letter
of request should be no longer than 5 pages and must:
- describe the specific aims of the proposed research, including
- indicate the significance of the proposed research
- list key personnel; PI or contact PI must include eRA Commons userid
- provide direct, contract F&A, and total costs for each
year in one of the two tables provided below, (note that costs
provided by third-party contributors must also be included):
Budget Tables (62KB )
- provide a specific plan for disseminating the results for
clinical or public health practice, including a brief description
of the intended audience; approaches designed to reach that
audience; a timeline, and a budget
- describe plans for data sharing
The letter of request may be submitted by regular mail, courier
delivery, or as a PDF file attached to email.
G. Acceptance Criteria
For all letters of request, the NHLBI considers the following criteria in determining whether to accept a proposed application:
- the proposed research is relevant to the NHLBI mission
- the proposed research complements NHLBI programs
- the proposed research will provide a valuable addition to existing knowledge
- the proposed annual costs are reasonable
- the proposed plan for data sharing are appropriate
- and for all proposed research involving human subjects, the following additional criteria:
- the proposed research is applicable to public health
- the proposed dissemination plan is adequate
- the study population complies with:
Additional criteria apply to Phase III clinical trials. (See
Additional criteria apply to research training (T32, T35) applications (see
Within two to six weeks of receipt of the request letter, NHLBI staff will inform the applicant whether or not to proceed with submission of the proposed application.
In order to be accepted for review, the Subtotal Direct Costs on the
cover page of the application may not exceed the amounts in the
acceptance letter. The acceptance letter from the NHLBI must be included with the cover letter of the application. The NIH Center for Scientific Review will not accept the application without documentation of NHLBI permission to submit an application.
I. NHLBI Extramural Program Division Directors
All written requests for NHLBI agreement to accept applications subject
to this policy are to be submitted to one of the following Division
Division of Lung Diseases
Dr. James Kiley
Two Rockledge Center, Room 10042
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7952
Bethesda, MD 20892-7952
Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
Dr. W. Keith Hoots
Two Rockledge Center
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7950
Bethesda, MD 20892-7950
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
Dr. Michael Lauer
Two Rockledge Center, Room 8128
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7940
Bethesda, MD 20892-7940
Last Updated May 2012