Office of
Research Services

NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15)

Supports small-scale research projects at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation’s research scientists but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.

Definition of an R15

Supports small-scale research projects at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation’s research scientists but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.

The goals of the R15 are to:

  • support meritorious research,
  • expose students to research, and
  • strengthen the research environment of the institution.

Awards provide limited Direct Costs, plus applicable F&A costs, for periods not to exceed 36 months. This activity code uses multi-year funding authority.

R15 Changes in 2019

The R15 activity code will be rebranded as "NIH Research Enhancement Award" and will include two programs:

  1. Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions
  2. Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools

An institution letter verifying eligibility with the criteria listed in the funding opportunity announcement will be required with each application and the ineligible institution list will no longer be maintained.

NIH recently announced changes to the R15 program that will affect the University of Missouri - Kansas City.  The Office of Research Services has evaluated the eligibility criteria, utilizing the federal RePORTER system, and has concluded the following:

UMKC is not eligible for REAP*
UMKC is eligible for AREA*
*See NIH RePORTER Data link below for NIH award amounts by Fiscal Year

NIH RePORTER Data

Organization Eligibility

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions

  • The applicant institution must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences. 
  • At the time of application submission, all the non-health professional components of the institution together have not received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. Note that all activity codes are included in this calculation except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.
  • A signed letter is required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission.

Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools

  • The applicant organization must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health professions or advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. 
  • At the time of application submission, the applicant institution may not have received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. Note that all activity codes are included in this calculation except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.
  • A signed letter is required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission.

R15 Principal Investigator Eligibility

  • The PI must have a primary appointment at the R15-eligible institution.
  • The PI may not be the PI of an active NIH research grant at the time of a R15 award, though he or she may be one of the Key Personnel for an active NIH grant held by another PD/PI.
    • Instrumentation awards (S10), conference grants (R13), and institutional training grants (T32) are examples of grants that are not considered research grants.
  • The PI may not be awarded more than one R15 grant at a time.
  • Eligibility applies only to the PI and Multiple PIs, not to collaborators, consultants, or sub awardees.
R15 Eligibility Decision Tree (PDF)