When in Doubt, Reach Out!


Online resources are great. Many of your questions can be answered by checking out our Grants & Funding website, including our Policy & Compliance and How to Apply – Application Guide pages, and our FAQs.

Even so, whether you are new to the NIH grant process or a seasoned pro, at some point you’ll need help from an actual person. Your institution’s sponsored programs office or grants administrators are the best first step for getting that help. They are often able to help you navigate your institution’s and NIH’s processes and procedures. They can also help obtain additional guidance from NIH when needed.

Knowing when to reach out and who to contact at NIH is important.

Earlier this month we restructured our Need Help? page based on feedback received from web page surveys. (Yes, we really do read them!)

The updated Need Help? page (note the new URL – https://grants.nih.gov/help) is accessible from the Help utility link in the upper right corner of the Grants & Funding website just beneath the Search bar. The page has four main sections.

  1. Understand Staff Roles. The majority of your interactions will be with Institute/Center staff, specifically program and grants management officials. You may also interact with receipt and referral staff after application submission and scientific review officers during application review. This page explains the main responsibilities of each staff role, when to contact them, and how to identify the correct staff at each stage of the process.
  2. Institute and Center (IC) Contacts. Questions about a specific funding opportunity should be directed to the IC contacts in the Agency Contacts section of that opportunity. Questions about a specific application or grant award should be directed to the IC contacts listed in eRA Commons for that application/grant. If specific contacts can’t be identified, use this page to find general contacts, staff directories, and opportunity listings for each IC.
  3. Central NIH Office Contacts. If you checked our online resources and have additional policy or grants administration questions not related to a specific opportunity or award, you can reach out to our central contacts. The page includes contacts for policy, compliance, human subjects, biosketch, other support, animal welfare, research training, and more.
  4. eRA Service Desk. We now have a dedicated page for eRA system support with easy access to system documentation, tutorials, FAQs, and support staff.

Our NIH Grants Virtual Assistant chatbot can also help identify online resources and contacts associated with your inquiry. It’s still learning and we continuously make improvements based on your interactions. So, give it a try and take a moment to let us know what you think in the short survey.

The bottom line is NIH staff is available to help. So, when in doubt, reach out!

One comment

  1. The Extramural Nexus is a wonderful resource. However, the menu item “You Ask, We Answer” does not (as far as I can see) allow users to actually ask questions! Could you include that capability? It would be good to have the ability to pose general questions about policies/procedures used by NIH associated with extramural research. Thanks.

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