2021 Award Funding Policy
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports basic and clinical research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health.
NIDDK extramural research is organized into 3 programmatic divisions: 1) Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases; 2) Digestive Diseases and Nutrition; and 3) Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases.
The Institute supports basic and clinical research through investigator-initiated grants, program project and center grants, cooperative agreements, career development and training awards, and contracts.
NIH is operating at a program level of $ 42.709 billion in FY 2021, an increase of approximately $1.3 billion over the FY 2020 final budget allocations.
NIDDK’s discretionary appropriation for FY 2021 is $2.132 billion. This is an increase of about 0.8% from NIDDK’s appropriation in FY 2020. This figure does not include the Special Type 1 Diabetes appropriation of $150M that NIDDK oversees on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.
NIDDK is committed to supporting as many meritorious competing research grant applications as possible. Consistent with NIH policy (see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-21-058), NIDDK will manage its portfolio in biomedical research investments in a manner that includes recognizing applications from and providing special consideration for early career investigators.
To maximize our available resources, all grant awards will continue to be subject to programmatic adjustments from the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDK) Advisory Council approved levels. These adjustments take into consideration the overall scientific and technical merit of the grant application, the cost of the proposed research, and other resources available for related research projects.
For FY 2021 NIDDK is establishing a nominal “payline” for new (Type 1) and renewal or competing continuation (Type 2) R01 applications of 16th percentile. Most R01 applications submitted to Funding Opportunity Announcements that 1) do not have a set-aside funds, 2) have a primary assignment to NIDDK, 3) request less than $500,000 direct costs per year, and 3) score at or better than the 16th percentile will receive an award. Applications that have NIDDK as a secondary assignment do not benefit from this payline.
R01 applications that do not include therapeutic clinical trials as the primary focus of the research plan requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year will be held to a more stringent pay line – the 10th percentile for both Type 1 and 2 applications.
Therapeutic Clinical Trial R01 Applications
Per NOT-DK-18-012, NIDDK will not apply the more stringent pay line to R01 applications that include therapeutic clinical trials if the total direct costs (exclusive of F&A on subcontracts) for five years do not exceed $2.5 million (or $2 million for four years), even if the direct costs equal or exceed $500,000 in some years. As indicated above, the more stringent pay line will continue to be applied for all other R01 applications (i.e., all applications that do not have a therapeutic clinical trial as the primary focus of the research plan).
R01 Applications Received in Response to PARs
Consistent with NIDDK policy first established in FY 2016, R01 applications received in response to Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that are PARs will not automatically be considered for funding based on payline/percentile ranking. Scores and additional programmatic factors will be weighed when considering applications received under R01 PAR FOAs for funding.
General Considerations Regarding Competing Awards
Please note the following regarding competing awards:
- NIDDK will exercise discretion and consider portfolio balance, programmatic importance, and other factors in determining precisely which applications are awarded.
- All grant awards will continue to be subject to programmatic adjustments from the NDDK Advisory Council approved levels.
- These funding guidelines are applicable for applications to be paid in FY 2021. Many applications submitted in FY 2021 (e.g., those submitted in January/February/March for September/October Advisory Council consideration) will usually not be eligible for funding consideration until FY 2022. The funding levels for FY 2022 cannot now be reliably predicted.
Early Stage Investigators (ESIs)
Fostering the success of investigators establishing careers in biomedical research is a high priority of the NIDDK and NIH (see Policy Supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative). In FY 2021 NIDDK will place special emphasis on supporting ESIs (new investigators within 10-years of their terminal research degree or medical residency who have not yet been awarded a substantial, competing NIH research grant; see ESI FAQs and NIDDK’s New and Early Stage Investigators page) by establishing a nominal payline for R01 applications submitted by ESIs at the 25th percentile. In addition, when possible and appropriate the full period of support recommended will be awarded.
R01s applications submitted by New Investigators who are not also ESIs will have a nominal payline at the 16th percentile (same as the general pay line).
First Competitive Renewal Applications of R01 Grants Awarded to NIDDK ESIs
Consistent with the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative, NIDDK seeks to encourage the stable integration of early career researchers into the scientific research workforce. In support of this, the nominal payline for first competitive renewal applications for R01 awards to researchers who were ESIs when they competed for the initial NIDDK Type 1 R01 award will be 19th percentile in FY 2021. Only one award per eligible investigator may be considered for this special payline. If a special payline award is made to an eligible investigator any other eligible applications from that investigator will be considered for funding based on the standard nominal payline.
In cases where a competing renewal application falls near but beyond the nominal payline, NIDDK will continue to consider interim support on a case-by-case basis and provide limited support in selected cases. The goal is to preserve essential research resources pending the re-review of a revised application. NIDDK can choose to award a one- or two-year R56 grant to an R01 application scored outside the payline. These awards provide support for investigators to collect preliminary data and use these data to revise and improve their R01 applications.
NIDDK has prioritized its budget to maintain funding of investigator-initiated grants at the highest possible level. Therefore, the institute has little flexibility to support administrative supplements. Given this prioritization, the number of successful administrative supplement applications will be extremely low and generally limited to rare, unforeseen circumstances (e.g., requests to replace key pieces of equipment following a natural disaster). In FY2021, NIDDK does not have any special FOAs or Notices soliciting administration supplements to replace old equipment or to purchase shared equipment or to expand the scope of a project by adding funds or restoring an administratively cut year.
Duration of Grant Support
Competing awards are adjusted to achieve a 4-year average duration for research project grants. Nevertheless, applications from ESIs, MERIT extensions, program project grants, and clinical trial grants are generally awarded for the full length of their recommended project period.
The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 prohibits payments for salaries under grants and other extramural mechanisms in excess of Executive Level II currently set at $199,300.
Non-competing (Continuation) Awards
Consistent with the Notice of Fiscal Policies in Effect for FY 2021 (see NOT-OD-21-058) non-competing (Type 5) continuation grants (research and non-research) issued in FY 2021 will generally be issued at the commitment level indicated on the Notice of Award. Out-year commitments for continuation awards in FY 2022 and beyond remain unchanged.
Program Project (P01), High Impact, Interdisciplinary Science in NIDDK Research Areas (RC2), and Other Applications with Budgets Greater than $500K
NIDDK has adopted a more stringent funding practice for awarding program project (P01) grants, High Impact, Interdisciplinary Science in NIDDK Research Areas (RC2), and other investigator-initiated grant applications with budgets of $500,000 or more requested direct costs in any one year. Prior approval is required before submitting an application for review that requests $500,000 or more in direct costs in any one year. The request to submit such applications should be received at least three months prior to the proposed submission date. Prior approval is required for renewal and revised applications as well as new applications. Please consult with the appropriate NIDDK program staff and visit the following site for information on research areas supported by NIDDK: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/research-programs/.
New (Type 1) and Renewal (competing continuation [Type 2]) program project (P01) applications may request a maximum of $6.25 million in direct costs over five years, excluding the Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs for subcontracts. In addition to the caps on the amount requested, P01 awards are subject to administrative adjustment from the NDDK Advisory Council approved levels. Also, please note that any P01 grant receiving a competing award in FY 2011 or later will be limited to one subsequent renewal.
HIV/AIDS related applications will receive additional consideration in the context of NIH’s HIV/AIDS research priorities (see NOT-OD-20-018) as well as programmatic relevance to the NIDDK mission.