• National Institutes of Health;
  • Grant applications


Many factors determine the scientific merit of an NIH research grant application. This paper is intended to help optimize the organization and logical development of investigators' research ideas so that grant applications will be evaluated by the reviewers in as favorable a light as possible. The ingredients of a successful grant application are good ideas, good science, and a good application. The research should be based on a significant hypothesis and, if possible, oriented towards uncovering an important biological mechanism. Specific methods should be directly related to each aim of the project. Likewise, the specific aims should be related to each hypothesis. All aspects of the application should be clear and focused. It is best to define all assumptions, limitations, and alternative approaches. In general, the best philosophy is for the applicant to address all possible problems before the reviewers do.