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National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Find links to information about working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of 11 operating divisions within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); it is the nation’s primary biomedical and health-related research agency; and it is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. NIH is dedicated to “supporting scientific studies that turn discovery into health.”

NIH is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers (IC), each with a different mission and research goals. The IC’s goals for promoting and funding research are set each year at both the agency level, by NIH Leadership and the IC level. Furthermore, additional goals and policies may be influenced or mandated by Congress.

In FY 2021, Health Sciences received 58.96% ($817,63M) of the total research dollars awarded to UC San Diego ($1,386.81M); of this amount, NIH, was Health Sciences’ primary sponsoring agency with nearly 78.5% ($431.01M) of all campus NIH awards. Because NIH plays such an important role in the research and development of our faculty, postdocs, and students, HS SPPO is committed to providing the UC San Diego Health Sciences research community with the most up-to-date news, policies, and announcements from the NIH. 

eRA Commons links

Registration in eRA Commons

To be able to use the NIH eRA Commons you must be registered as a user.

Principal Investigators and postdoctoral personnel funded by NIH are required to be registered with the Commons, and to include their Commons user name in their proposals.


All non-competing continuation applications subject to the Simplified Non-competing Award Process (SNAP) must now be submitted electronically via the Commons as eSNAP proposals. The UCSD Signing Officials (SOs) have delegated "submit" authority for eSNAPS to UCSD Principal Investigators (PIs).

Who needs to be registered?

The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) at the University of California - San Diego (UCSD) is currently registering Principal Investigators (PIs), Training Grant Business Officials (BO), Postdoctoral Staff (POSTDOC), Mentors of Fellows (SPONSOR), and Assistants (ASST), who are affiliated with UCSD.

  • Only PD/PIs are required to have a Commons User Name for competing proposal submissions.
  • PostDocs need a Commons User Name for continuations.

Co-Investigators or other Key Personnel are not required to have a Commons User Name. There are currently no Commons roles appropriate for personnel in those positions. Do not request registration for Co-Investigators or other Key Personnel.

Register as a user for UC San Diego

Health Sciences: email Elizabeth Tang at 
General Campus: Online Registration Form
  • Next Steps:
    • Once registration information has been submitted by the SPO, NIH will contact the newly registered user and provide a temporary password.
    • The user must then choose a personal password, using NIH's specific guidelines. NIH requires that a new Commons password be selected every six months.
  • xTrain Trainees are automatically invited to register (as TRAINEES) once the PI begins an appointment screen for them. Their eRA Commons registration will be initiated by NIH via a special mechanism. The trainee completes the registration process after being contacted by NIH.

Grant Transfers

NIH Guidelines on grant transfers.

Outgoing Grant Transfers

Incoming Grant Transfers

Contact your program officer and/or your grants specialist at NIH. Discuss whether the grant will be transferred mid-year or on an anniversary date.

Public Access Policy/Publications

Compliance with NIH policy is a statutory requirement and a term and condition of the grant award and cooperative agreement, in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement. For contracts, NIH includes this requirement in all R&D solicitations and awards under Section H, Special Contract Requirements, in accordance with the Uniform Contract Format.

Upcoming Changes to Public Access Policy Reporting Requirements and Related NIH Efforts to Enhance Compliance

For further assistance, visit the UCSD Biomedical and Medical Center Libraries.

Address Copyright

In order to comply with this requirement, University of California Investigators should enclose this compliance letter (PDF) signed by the Executive Director, Office of Technology Transfer and Research Administration, University of California, Office of the President, with any articles submitted to publishers for possible publication. This letter gives notice to the publishers that if accepted for publication the article will be required by law to be posted on PubMed Central. If this letter is not submitted to the publisher at the time the article is sent in for review, it must be submitted along with any publication agreement signed by a University of California Investigator.

Submit Manuscripts

Certain publishers have agreed to automatically submit articles to PubMed Central on behalf of the authors. However, the Investigator should always verify that their published article is submitted to PubMed Central in compliance with this law.

If an Investigator's publisher is not on NIH's list of publishers that automatically submit articles to PubMed Central, then it is the Investigator's responsibility to submit their article to PubMed Central and verify that their article was received.

To facilitate the submission of articles to PubMed Central (PMC), NIH has developed the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) System. There are also detailed Online Instructions that are available for users.

Cite Papers

Any competing NIH proposals or Progress Reports must include the PubMed Central ID number (PMCID) for any papers mentioned in Bibliographies, References Cited, or Biosketches that meet the following conditions:

  • Accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008

  • Authored by the PI of the proposal or funded by an NIH award to the PI of the proposal

Note: The PMCID is not the same as the PubMed ID number. PubMed Central archives complete articles, while PubMed includes only citations and abstracts. NIH has created a tool that will locate the PMCID, if the PMID is known.

  • If the manuscript was submitted through the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) and a PubMed Central reference number is not available yet, include the NIH Manuscript Submission System reference number (NIHMS ID) instead.

  • If the PMCID is not available yet because the journal will be submitted the manuscript directly to PMC, indicate "PMC Journal - In Process."

In Reminder Notice OD-08-119, NIH has provided charts of all types of application packages and all submission types, listing exactly where to include the PMCIDs. Charts.

NIH Program Officials will email PIs and UCSD officials about any proposals that contain references to papers that appear to fall under this policy, but lack appropriate PMCID citations. PIs will be required to respond with the PMCID number, or an explanation for why that paper is not covered by the policy. Reminder Notice OD-08-119.

NIH Resources

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)

Required use of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module for submitting Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship progress reports will begin in May 2013.

You can read the official Guide Notice for more detailed information. But we urge you to get familiar with the new process now if you have not already tried using the eRA RPPR module. RPPR has been available as an option to all NIH grantees since October 2012. You want to note as well that RPPR will be replacing the eSNAP tab in eRA Commons, and eventually as eSNAP functionality will be retired. 


Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP) includes a number of provisions that modify requirements for annual progress and financial reports and for Notices of Award. eSNAP is the electronic version of SNAP progress report, which grantees have been required to use for SNAP progress reports since August 2010.

RPPR is a federally mandated reporting format for all federal grant agencies (NIH, NSF, DoD, etc.) designed to provide consistent information on the progress of federally funded research and research related activities. RPPR will replace the eSNAP progress reports for SNAP awards and PHS 416-6 for Fellowship progress reports in May, and will eventually replace the use of the PHS 2590 for non-SNAP awards..

The eSNAP module will be replaced by the RPPR for SNAP awards in May 2013.

There is no change to non-SNAP award progress reports at this time but the eRA team continues to develop an electronic solution for these reports. Of course, you will be updated as when the implementation timeline for non-SNAPs has been defined.

The RPPR website has some very good information on it that might help ease the transition to this federally-mandated reporting scheme. In particular, there is the October 2012 webinar NIH RPPR Training Webinar for Grantees presented by the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA). And we cannot forget the ever helpful NIH RPPR Instruction Guide (PDF)

To PRAM or Not to PRAM - In addition to all the above changes, you will see the expansion of Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) functionality. The PRAM link that can be found in the Action column of the eRA Commons Status page will used to provide either the public access compliance information, the additional materials requested by IC, or both, depending on which is applicable to the particular RPPR. The grantee may provide the requested information, route the response to a Signing Official (SO), or, if the PD/PI has been delegated Submit Progress Report authority by the Signing Official, submit the materials to the agency. The materials may be viewed from the status information screen in Commons.

Grantee use of the PRAM link to respond to PRAM requests is not mandatory at this time; the grantee may respond via email to the Grants Management Specialist. However, NIH expects to mandate use of the electronic PRAM feature in the future and encourages grantees to familiarize themselves with the functionality.

Resource Sharing

NIH may require a Resource Sharing Plan as part of the Research Plan of a competing proposal. For either electronic submissions using, or paper submissions using the PHS 398 forms, insert the Resource Sharing plan in Section 17 of the Research Plan.  Resource Sharing may consist of multiple parts:

  • Data Sharing Plan: Investigators seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year are expected to include a brief 1-paragraph description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data-sharing is not possible. Specific funding opportunity announcements may also require that all applications include this information regardless of the dollar level.

  • Sharing Model Organisms: Regardless of the amount requested, all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated are to include a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources or state appropriate reasons why such sharing is restricted or not possible.
  • Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS): Regardless of the amount requested, applicants seeking funding for a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designatedGWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible.
  • Sequence and Related Genomic Data: This plan is currently under development by NIH.

Data Sharing

In accordance with NIH requirements, investigators submitting a research application requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year to NIH are required to include a plan for sharing of final research data for research purposes, or state why data sharing is not possible. A Data Sharing Plan may also be required by specific RFAs or PAs for proposals of any dollar amount.

Sample Plan

The following sample plan guidelines are provided to assist investigators with this requirement when data can be shared:

Plan for Intellectual Property and Sharing of Research Resources

Intellectual property and data generated under this project will be administered in accordance with both University and NIH policies, including the NIH Data Sharing Policy and Implementation Guidance of March 5, 2003.

Ownership of sole or joint inventions developed under the project will be owned by the institution(s) employing the inventor(s). Inventors shall be determined by U.S. Patent law, Title 35 SC. University and Participating investigators/institutions will disclose any inventions developed under the project and such inventions will be reported and managed as provided by NIH policies. Sole inventions will be administered by the institution employing the inventor. Joint inventions shall be administered based on mutual consultation between the parties. Similar procedures will be followed for copyrights.

Materials generated under the project will be disseminated in accordance with University/Participating institutional and NIH policies. Depending on such policies, materials may be transferred to others under the terms of a material transfer agreement.

Access to databases and associated software tools generated under the project will be available for educational, research and non-profit purposes. Such access will be provided using web-based applications, as appropriate.

Publication of data shall occur during the project, if appropriate, or at the end of the project, consistent with normal scientific practices. Research data which documents, supports and validates research findings will be made available after the main findings from the final research data set have been accepted for publication.   Such research data will be redacted to prevent the disclosure of personal identifiers.

PI/Department to complete next section

Describe the following for the specific project:

  1. Expected schedule for data sharing if different from above.
  2. Format of the final data set
  3. How will data be shared (sent electronically, etc.)

Additional Information

Sharing Model Organisms

In compliance with the NIH requirements, the following Sample Plan may be used for all proposals (except fellowships and training grants) to the NIH that anticipate the generation of model organisms.

Additional Information

Sample Plan

"As for our plan to share materials and our management of intellectual property, we will adhere to the NIH Grant Policy on Sharing of Unique Research Resources including the Principles and Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources (PDF) issued December 23, 1999. All 'model organisms' generated by this project will be distributed widely or deposited into a repository/stock center making them available to the broader research community, either before or immediately after publication, in accordance with University policies. If we assume responsibility for distributing the newly generated model organisms, we will fill requests in a timely fashion. In addition, we will provide relevant protocols and published genetic and phenotypic data upon request. Material transfers will be made with no more restrictive terms than in the Simple Letter Agreement (SLA) or the Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (UBMTA)and without reach through requirements. Should any intellectual property arise which requires a patent, we will ensure that the technology (materials and data) remains widely available to the research community in accordance with University policies and the NIH Principles and Guidelines document."

Optional insert, if applicable:

Our lab has demonstrated its commitment to sharing by providing ___________________ over the past _______________years. The PI needs to fill in the blanks.

Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS)

Regardless of the amount requested, applicants seeking funding for a genome-wide association study are expected to provide a plan for submission of GWAS data to the NIH-designated GWAS data repository, or provide an appropriate explanation why submission to the repository is not possible. See NIH’s instructions.

Sequence and Related Genomic Data

NIH is currently developing plans to require sharing of sequence and related genomic data Investigators should consider this possibility carefully in designing any study seeking NIH support that includes the use of large-scale advanced sequencing technologies, and within any such applications submitted to the NIH. When designing these studies, PIs should develop appropriate informed consent approaches that permit such data sharing. For more information, see the NIH notice.

NIH Requirements for Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research

Human Fetal Tissue (HFT) Research

NIH defines Human Fetal Tissue (HFT) Research as research involving the study, analysis, or use of primary HFT, cells, and derivatives, and human fetal primary cell cultures obtained from elective abortions.

Per NIH guidelines, HFT Research includes the following:

  • human fetal primary or secondary cell cultures, whether derived by the investigator or obtained from a vendor
  • animal models incorporating HFT from elective abortions, including obtaining such models from a vendor
  • derivative products from elective abortion tissues or cells, such as protein or nucleic acid extracts
  • any human extra-embryonic cells and tissue, such as umbilical cord tissue, cord blood, placenta, amniotic fluid, and chorionic villi, if obtained from the process of elective abortion

Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed HFT Research

For competing applications and competing revisions submitted after September 25, 2019, NIH will require applicants/contract offerors to address HFT requirements by providing the following:

  1. a justification of the use of HFT
  2. details regarding procurement and costs, and
  3. information about how the applicant/contract officer will use HFT

Applications that do not address all of the required information, including the detailed (non-modular) budget as specifically instructed, will be administratively withdrawn and not reviewed.

Specific guidelines for information and forms that must be included in applications are specified in the Guide Notices:

For more information or questions email