Find the Right Funding Opportunity Announcement

Developing a Compelling Grant Application

Section 3

Find the Right Funding Opportunity Announcement


Marcel Salive, MD, MPH

Wendy J. Weber, ND, PhD, MPH


Contributing Editor

Karen Staman, MS

The program official may recommend specific funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for the proposed application. Each IC uses different types of FOAs for clinical trial applications, so it is important to confirm that the IC you chose to receive your application is participating in the FOA that you use for your submission. NIH advertises availability and grant support through FOAs in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts or

There are two main types of FOA:

  • Request for Applications (RFA)
    • This type of FOA is used when there are specific areas of science where more research is needed, and applications are encouraged for investigator-initiated research in this specific area of science. RFAs have specific funds designated for the area of science described in the FOA and typically have a one-time specific deadline.
  • Program Announcements (PA, PAS, PAR)
    • This type of FOA is used when there is an area of scientific interest for one or more ICs where investigator-initiated research is needed. These FOAs are generally less specific than RFAs and often have multiple receipt dates.
    • Parent Announcements are a type of program announcement that are more generic and allow investigators to submit research in any area of science to any of the participating ICs. Typically many, but not all, NIH ICs participate in these parent announcements. If there is not a focused RFA, PA, PAR, or PAS for your area of research, then applying via a parent announcement FOA is an acceptable option.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this chapter should not be interpreted as representing the official viewpoint of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, or the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health except where noted.



Version History

Published December 13, 2018


Salive M, Weber W. Developing a Compelling Grant Application: Find the Right Funding Opportunity Announcement. In: Rethinking Clinical Trials: A Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical Trials. Bethesda, MD: NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. Available at: Updated August 13, 2019. DOI: 10.28929/113.