There are two general funding agency categories: government funding, and foundation and industry funding. Within foundation and industry funding, you have organizations that are disease focused, such as the American Heart Association, or March of Dimes. You also have professional scientific organizations, such as the American Association for Cancer Research or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association (PhRMA). And there is also philanthropic foundations, such as the Gates Foundation or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Government funding agencies include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also other federal and state government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the California Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Within the National Institutes of Health, there are several different types of research grants.

  • Parent Announcement
    • Sponsor research that is investigator initiated, i.e. there is no specific solicitation of the application. The applicant generates an idea that is programmatically relevant to the NIH, prepares an application, and submits on or before the deadline.
  • Program Announcement (PA, PAR, or PAS)
    • Used by awarding components at NIH to communicate particular interest in a research area to members of the extramural community. They are relatively general in nature. Responses are considered investigator-initiated projects within the specified area.
  • Request for Applications (RFA)
    • Quite different from others; research of a very specific kind is solicited and there is a single, specified deadline or set of deadlines that must be met.