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Six keys to crack the code: the secret to NIH grant numbers

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  • 1R01EY12934-04-S1A1…  what??

I am asked on a weekly basis to explain “what those numbers mean” for NIH applications and grants.  NIH provides comprehensive explanation; however, in the spirit of providing content in digestible bites, here’s the inside scoop (gleaned from NIH posts) on how to crack the code of those pesky grant numbers…cropped-cropped-toolkit-24157707-copy.jpg

What we commonly refer to as the grant number is officially termed the “identification number” (used for applications as well as funded grants) and consists of six parts:grant number

1.  Application Type Code – A single-digit code identifying the type of application received and processed.  For example,

grant type code

2.  Activity Code (referred to as an Instrument Code) – A three-digit code identifying the type of grant applied for.

Some examples are:

  • K08 – Clinical Investigator Award
  • K22 – Career Transition Award
  • P01 – Research Program Projects
  • P50 – Specialized Center
  • R01 – Research Project
  • R03 – Small Research Grant
  • R29 – First Independent Research Support and Transition (First) Award
  • T32 – Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA)
  • U01 – Research Project (Cooperative Agreements)

3.  Administering Organization Code ( IC Code or Admin PHS Org Code) – A two letter code identifying the primary funding NIH Institute or Center.  Awards are now more frequently shared; however, only the PRIMARY Institute or Center is incorporated in the IC code.

Some examples are

  • CA – National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • DA – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • DK – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • EY – National Eye Institute (NEI)
  • HD – National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
  • HL – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • MH – National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • NS – National Institute of neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

4.   Serial Number – A unique five-digit number identifying the specific application.  It is assigned by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

5.  Suffix:  GRANT YEAR – A two-digit number indicates the current year of support.  For example, -02 identifies a grant in its second year.  The grant year number is increased by one for each succeeding renewal year.

6.  Suffixes (optional)

SUPPLEMENT – The letter “S” and related number identify a particular supplemental record; e.g., S1, S2.

AMENDMENT – The letter “A” and related number identify each amended application e.g., A1, A2, etc.

That’s all there is to it.  Happy application writing!



Author: Jeanine Jesberg

Jeanine Jesberg is a grants consultant, Certified Research Administrator (CRA), and licensed clinical speech-language pathologist (CCC-SLP) specializing in work with academic institutions and non-profit organizations. Her multi-faceted career includes several positions, including Program Director, Director of Research Operations, and Executive Director, at the University of Chicago as well as Manager of Research Administration at Northwestern University with knowledge that spans strategic planning, conference planning, program management, budget development, research operations, and research administration. She also has over 15 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist in the roles of clinician, Clinical Instructor, Lecturer, private practice Founder/CEO, and speaker. Jeanine currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

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