NIH Posts Challenge Grants Solicitation


On March 4, 2009 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a Request for Applications (RFA) for its new Challenge Grants program. This program is part of NIH's planned use of funds received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the stimulus package). NIH is allocating at least $200 million for these Challenge Grants, and today's RFA provides details on submission and evaluation processes and topics of interest for the program.

Please note the following information on these one-time grants:

Each project award will be $1 million in total costs over two years.

There are no limits on the number of applications per individual investigator or per institution.

Grant applications are due April 27, 2009. Applicants will have 12 pages to describe their research proposal.

There will be new review and scoring criteria used in this competition.

High Priority Challenge Topics: A detailed description of 15 specific high priority challenge topics and program officer contacts is posted here:

The 15 high priority challenge areas are:

  • Behavior, behavioral change, and prevention
  • Bioethics
  • Biomarker discovery and validation
  • Clinical research
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Enabling technologies
  • Enhancing clinical trials
  • Genomics
  • Health disparities
  • Information technology for processing health care data
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education
  • Smart biomaterials – theranostics
  • Stem cells
  • Translational science

NIH has provided a 52-page description of specific topics within each of these challenge areas. In addition, NIH notes that Recovery Act funds allocated to the agency specific for comparative effectiveness research may be available to support additional grants in this area.

Full Solicitation and Additional Topics: The funding solicitation (RFA-0D-09-003) is posted at The full omnibus packet is at:, which includes additional areas of interest to the specific institutes and centers of NIH (a total of 175 pages of topics).

Review and Scoring: The new review and scoring criteria to be deployed for this solicitation are at:

CSWE Contact: Wendy Naus,

Contact: Wendy Naus