Proposal Forms

Our proposal team will provide you with a customized checklist of all forms required for your submission. Since a large number of our applications are for federal awards, we have provided a listing of the most current Forms required for these submissions below. We can provide you with a complete checklist for foundation or other non-NIH applications as well.

Sample Checklist for Federal Awards Through

Submissions after May 25, 2016 must use version Forms-D

Cover Letter

While this component is optional, NIH encourages you to submit a cover letter with your application. The information included in the letter can help in referring your application to a particular review group and give other information that will help us conduct the review. The cover letter is only for internal use by referral staff and Scientific Review Officers and is not share it with reviewers or other NIH staff.

Assignment Request Form (new Forms-D)

Applicants who want to communicate requests pertinent to the assignment and initial peer review of applications must use this new form.

Blank Form [If you have trouble opening the form, right click and select Save Link As]

Biographical Sketch Form (new Forms-D)

Key changes include:

  • Extending the biosketch page limit from four pages to five pages
  • Allowing researchers to included up to four references in their personal statement
  • Allowing researchers to describe up to five of their most important contributions to science
  • Allowing researchers to include a link that provides access to a full list of your published work (peer-reviewed, non-peer reviewed and accepted for publication)

Instructions | Blank Form | Samples

Specific Aims

Maximum 1 page. State concisely the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved.

Research Strategy

Page limits vary. This is the main technical piece of your application, describing the rationale for your research and the experiments you will do to accomplish each aim. Remember, your application has two audiences: the majority of reviewers who will probably not be familiar with your techniques or field and a smaller number who will be familiar.

The Research Strategy is structured into three main sections:

  • Significance - Describe the scientific premise for the proposed project, including consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of published research or preliminary data crucial to the support of your application.
  • Innovation - Describe the experimental design and methods proposed and how they will achieve robust and unbiased results.
  • Approach - Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project.

Project Summary

Maximum 30 lines. The Project Summary must contain a summary of the proposed activity suitable for dissemination to the public. It should be a self-contained description of the project and should include a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and insofar as possible understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader. This Summary must not include any proprietary/confidential information.

Project Narrative

Maximum 2-3 sentences. Describe the relevance of the proposed research project to public health. In this section, use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience.

Facilities and Other Resources

No page limit. Describe the facilities and resources that will be used in the proposed training program. Indicate in what ways the applicant organization will support the program, financial or otherwise. (Our team can provide you with a boilerplate page of this information.)

References Cited

No page limit. Provide a bibliography of any references cited in the Research Plan. Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication.

Budget & Justification

Our proposal team will work directly with you to prepare your budget and justification.

Human Subjects Protection

No page limit. Applicants must assure NIH that all human subjects are protected. A discussion of human subjects protection must be included if the proposed research involves any contact with or data on humans (e.g., patients, providers, administrators); including data obtained from secondary publicly or privately available data sources.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children in Research

No page limit. Peer reviewers will assess the adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children, as appropriate, for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed.

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research

No page limit. If you are planning to use live vertebrate animals in the project, you must adhere to the requirements in the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy). More information is available on the NIH Vertebrate Animals Section webpage.

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources (new Forms-D)

Research performed with unreliable or misidentified resources can negate years of hard work and eliminate any chance for a study to be reproduced or expanded upon. For this reason, it is imperative that researchers regularly authenticate key resources used in their research. Briefly describe methods to ensure the identity and validity of key biological and/or chemical resources used in the proposed studies.

Letters of Support

Each application can require different types of letters of support ranging from consultants and collaborations to institutional letters of support and/or reference letters.

Inclusion Enrollment Form (new Forms-D)

This form is used to report both planned and cumulative (or actual) enrollment, and describes the sex/gender, race, and ethnicity of the study participants.

Blank Form [If you have trouble opening the form, right click and select Save Link As]


Supplemental information you may include with a grant application. NIH limits the information you may put in an Appendix. Rules differ by grant type and funding opportunity announcement, so check with our staff if you have questions.