The Application Process
The cardinal rule for all grant
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
In every survey of grant funders ever done,
the #1 reason for rejection has always been failure to follow the instructions.
The Cook County Bureau of Health Services Grants
Handbook has several chapters on preparing applications. For
an overview of the whole application process, see the "Two-Minute
Other chapters which may aid you in making an application
Dr. Ellen Barrett of the University of Miami School of Medicine
Successful NIH grants on line and the Foundation Center provides an
to Grantseeking and a Short
Course on proposal writing.
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Application Forms You May Need
FEDERAL FORMS ONLINE
Federal agencies tend to use a few standard grant application
forms with special instructions for different kinds of funding mechanisms.
The grant announcement will tell you which form to use. Many federal
forms, formatted for Adobe
Acrobat, are available to download from a site maintained by the Department
of Health and Human Services. In addition, NIH
offers all the forms, and their instructions, used to apply for extramural
NIH funding, in PDF format.
A few of the federal forms most commonly used for health-related
grants are described below.
The PHS 398
The PHS 398 is used throughout the Department of Health and
Human Services to apply for research funding. Most applications to
NIH use this form, and research applications to CDC and HRSA often do as
well. You can get the packet of forms and instructions for the PHS 398
from the Research Development Resource Room.
The Acrobat formatted forms that you can download from
government sites will produce exact facsimiles of the forms from your printer,
but they will not let you enter information on them before printing.
In other words, you will have the paper form, but will still have to use
a typewriter to fill it out.
One response to this problem has been the independent
development of facsimile forms in a variety of word-processing or spreadsheet
formats. In the Resource Room, for instance, you can pick up disk copies
of most PHS 398 form pages formatted for Wordperfect (versions 6/7/8) and
Microsoft Word/Excel. Using these files you can type the information
onto the form with your computer and print out an acceptable facsimile
-- no typewriters required! If you would like to download these forms online,
go to the Download Federal Application Forms
A variety of other digital formats for the PHS 398 (and
many other federal and private agency forms) can be downloaded from the
Forms Page. Formats offered include Miscrosoft
Word, Excel, and Word for Macintosh. Instructions
for completing the PHS 398 are provided online by NIH.
A discussion of how to write the narrative portion of
the PHS 398 can be found in the Handbook chapter, "Tackling
Modular Grant Applications
As of the June 1, 1999 deadline, research applications to NIH requesting
less than $250,000 in direct costs for any year will use a revised, streamlined
format known as the Modular Research Grant Application. About 90%
of the most common extramural grants awarded by NIH are expected to fall
into this category.
Under the modular grant application procedures applicants will request
total direct costs in $25,000 increments up to $250,000 in any year
of a project. (Applicants requesting more than $250,000 in direct costs
in any year will continue to follow existing application and award
procedures.) Applicants will provide limited budget information in
a narrative format and will not have to submit other research support
information until just prior to award.
With the modular grant procedures, reviewers will evaluate proposed
project budgets on the basis of a general, expert estimate of the total
effort and resources required to conduct the proposed research. Reviewers
will recommend changes in a proposed project's budget in $25,000 modules,
and the NIH Institute staff will continue to make final award decisions.
For the applicant, this new policy means that a great deal of detail
that used to be submitted before the deadline can now wait until you know
the project will be funded.
More information on using the new modular grant procedure can be found
on the NIH
Modular Grant Page.
The PHS-5161 (SF424 Form Pages)
This is a another standard form used extensively by DHHS
agencies, usually to apply for service or construction grants. It's
actually a variation of the Standard Form 424 used throughout the federal
government. Copies of the PHS-5161, along with its standard instructions,
can be obtained from the Resource Room. The basic form pages for
the SF-424 (used in the PHS 5161) can be downloaded from the TRAM site
listed above, or can be obtained on disk in Wordperfect or Excel format
from the Office of Research Development, or at the Download
Federal Application Forms Page.
The PHS 2590
This is the form you will use to apply for a non competing
continuation of a previously awarded grant from NIH. All multi-year
awards require a yearly reapplication to continue. This process has
been streamlined in recent years so that for many awards most of the 2590
application will simply be a progress report. Copies of the forms
and instructions are available in the Resource Room and the forms are available
in Wordperfect and Word/Excel packages on the Download
Federal Application Forms Page. Instructions for completing
the PHS 2590 are provided online
The PHS 6025-1
Training grant applications to the Health Resources and Services
Administration use the HRSA 6025-1 (Formerly PHS-6025-1). For each of the training programs
offered, complete application kits, including the 6025-1 and instructions
for filling it out, can be obtained in either Wordperfect or Acrobat format
from this site.
Private Agency Forms
Some of the larger private agencies such as the American
Cancer Society make their complete application packets available in
digital form. You can download these forms from the TRAM
site or obtain disk copies from the Office of Research Development.
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In addition to complying with the funding agency's
needs for information, you will also have to obtain approval from your
home institution to make your application. For an explanation of institutional
approvals, see Who Signs For What, and Why?
in the CCBHS Grants Handbook.
For grant seekers in the Bureau or Hektoen Institute,
the forms necessary for obtaining internal approvals can be found here.
These forms are also used to apply for Scientific Committee review of human
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