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The NIH Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. 

For NIH Common Fund funding opportunities, please visit the NIH Common Fund website

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts is the official publication for NIH medical and behavioral research grant policies, guidelines and funding opportunities.

NIH Guide announcements (PAs, RFAs and Notices) are published daily.  At the end of each work week (usually on Friday afternoon), NIH transmits an e-mail to the NIH Guide LISTSERV (see Subscribe/Unsubscribe instructions) with a Current Weekly Table of Contents (TOC), including links to announcements published during the week. 

For more information and query tools, please visit the NIH Guide website

General Information about Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

A publicly available document by which a Federal agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.In addition, NIH and other HHS Agencies have developed omnibus Parent Announcements for common grant mechanisms that have transitioned to electronic submission, for use by applicants who wish to submit what were formerly termed “unsolicited” or "investigator-initiated" applications.

Program Announcement (PA)

  • Identifies areas of increased priority and/or emphasis on particular funding mechanisms for a specific area of science
  • Usually accepted on standard receipt (postmarked) dates on an on-going basis
  • Remains active for three years from date of release unless the announcement indicates a specific expiration date or the NIH Institute/Center (I/C) inactivates sooner (see January 13, 2005 NIH Guide Notice for more information on Expiration Dates)
  • Special Types
    • PAR: A PA with special receipt, referral and/or review considerations, as described in the PAR announcement
    • PAS: A PA that includes specific set-aside funds as described in the PAS announcement

Request for Application (RFA)

  • Identifies a more narrowly defined area for which one or more NIH institutes have set aside funds for awarding grants
  • Usually has a single receipt (received on or before) date specified in the RFA announcement
  • Usually reviewed by a Scientific Review Group convened by the issuing awarding component

Notice (NOT)

  • Announces policy and procedures, changes to RFA or PA announcements, RFPs and other general information items
  • Inquiries about specific Notices, PAs, and RFAs published in the NIH Guide, should be directed to the NIH staff member(s) identified in each announcement.

Numbering System

  • PA Numbering (e.g. PA-10-008): Indicates a PA issued in 2010 or for funding in 2010 (10) with an associated serial number (008).
  • RFA Numbering (e.g. RFA-CA-10-004): Indicates an RFA issued by NCI (CA) in 2010 or for funding in 2010 (10) with an associated serial number (004).
  • Notice Numbering (e.g. NOT-OD-10-025): Indicates a Notice issued by the NIH Office of the Director (OD) in Fiscal Year 2010 (10) with an associated serial number (025).