Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration

Research Grants Application Information

The 2020-2021 round of grant making for this program is now underway. This year, NIHCM Foundation is making a total of $1 million available to support our research and journalism grant programs. This funding will be allocated across the two programs according to the merits of the proposals received. Winning research studies will be selected using the following process:

  • Interested researchers must submit a brief letter of inquiry (LOI) outlining their study idea by 5:00 PM EDT on June 29, 2020. Applications are welcome at any time prior to that deadline. LOIs must conform to the required structure and must be submitted using NIHCM’s online entry system (see below).
  • Full (10-page) proposals will be invited from a small number of applicants in August and will be due in September 2020.
  • NIHCM will notify grant winners by December 2020, for project start dates as early as January 2021.

LOI Requirements  Online Entry System

2020-2021 Funding Cycle

Purpose: To support innovative health services research that will advance the existing knowledge base in the areas of health care financing, delivery, management and/or policy. Studies must have strong potential to yield insights that can be used to have a positive impact on the U.S. health care system by improving efficiency, quality, access to care, preparedness or equity. Studies involving direct patient care or clinical, bench science research are not relevant for this solicitation.;

Funding Level: NIHCM is making a total of $1 million available for the combined 2020-2021 funding cycles for our research and journalism grant programs. Funding will be allocated across the two programs according to the merits of the proposals received. In all awards, we will be assessing the efficiency of the proposed budget relative to expected impact and project scope. Past research grants have been highly competitive on price and this focus will continue.

Qualified Applicants: We welcome applications from individual researchers as well as from all types of organizations and institutions, including both non-profit and for-profit entities. Multiple organizations may apply jointly, but one must be named as the principal organization and others will have a subcontract relationship with that organization. There is no limit to the number of project ideas that may be submitted by a given applicant, organization or academic department.

Study Duration: Applications will be judged on their potential to produce timely results. Projects that can be completed within one year (2021) are preferred, but a longer timeframe may be proposed. Applicants with longer-term studies should consider the feasibility of organizing their work so as to yield interim findings and products that will maximize study impact. Projects would normally begin in January 2021 unless there is a reason to delay the start (e.g., availability of data or key personnel). We understand that an extensive period of peer review and revisions is expected prior to publication in academic journals. Submission of grant manuscripts to journals to initiate this peer review process is sufficient to mark the end of the grant’s active performance period.

Application Process and Timeline: The awards will be made using the following process:

  • All interested researchers are required to submit a brief letter of inquiry (LOI) by 5:00 PM EDT on June 29, 2020. Applications are welcome at any time prior to that deadline. LOIs must be submitted using NIHCM’s online entry system and must conform to the required structure.
  • Full (10-page) proposals will be invited from a small number of applicants in August and will be due in September 2020. Other applicants will also be notified at this time of the status of their LOI submissions.
  • NIHCM will notify the grant winners by December 2020, for project start dates as early as January 2021.

Acceptable Budget Items and Costs: Allowable direct costs include salaries and fringe benefits for project personnel and the direct cost of data, supplies, other incidental expenses and any subcontracts required to conduct the project. Domestic travel for the purpose of sharing results with policymakers and researchers at professional conferences and other venues is a permissible expense. Costs for items such as rent, utilities and other costs of doing business must be included as part of overhead and not billed separately as a direct cost. Indirect costs (overhead) are limited to 12 percent of the budget, excluding any subcontracts. Your expected overhead charges (up to the 12 percent limit) should be included in the anticipated budget figure that you provide as part of the initial letter of inquiry. NIHCM will not cover expenditures for patient care, case management services, capital purchases including computers, international travel or lobbying. Additionally, NIHCM will not accept a budget that includes an additional “fee” beyond the labor expenses, other direct costs and overhead.

Selection Criteria:

Full proposals will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Significance – Are the research questions or study objectives proposed by the project important and significant?
  • Expected Impact – Is the study likely to produce findings or products that will advance knowledge and have a positive impact on the health care system or policy? Will study findings be disseminated to relevant target audiences in ways that can maximize study impact?
  • Timeliness – Will the study be completed in a timeframe that enables it to have sufficient impact? Is the proposed timeline realistic and feasible?
  • Research Design – Are the proposed methods sound and appropriate to the stated research questions/study objectives? Are the requisite data available, or can they be obtained within the study timeframe and budget? How will the research team deal with anticipated challenges in carrying out the study plan?
  • Budget – Is the level of resources requested commensurate with the anticipated project impact and consistent with the proposed project scope? Does the budget adhere to the funding restrictions? Is the budget request justified in sufficient detail to permit reviewers to understand the derivation of the proposed costs and relate them to the work required to complete the study?
  • Qualifications of Key Personnel – Do the key personnel have the necessary training and prior research experience to complete this study successfully?

NIHCM Staff Contact: For questions related to this initiative, please contact Julie Schoenman at 202-296-4192 or nihcm[at]nihcm.org. Please specify “RESEARCH GRANT QUESTION” in the email subject line.