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Eligibility Update for NIH R15 Programs

NIH recently announced major changes to the R15 program that will affect the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the UT Institute of Agriculture (which NIH considers one institution). NIH has split the R15 into two programs: the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions, and the Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools.

The Office of Research and Engagement has evaluated the eligibility criteria and has concluded the following:

Principal investigators with a primary appointment in one of the following colleges are eligible to apply for AREA:

  • College of Art & Architecture
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Communication & Information
  • College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
  • Haslam College of Business
  • Herbert College of Agriculture
  • Tickle College of Engineering

A few additional things to be aware of related to AREA applications:

  • The required institutional letter is on file with the UT and UTIA Offices of Sponsored Programs for use in applications submitted to AREA solicitations PAR-18-714 and PAR-19-133.
  • The required institutional student data for the facilities section is available on ORE’s NIH Resources webpage.
  • Fewer NIH institutes and centers are participating in AREA, so please review the current list before developing your application.
  • Although AREA is undergraduate-focused, that does not preclude principal investigators from including graduate students in the project (or budget).

The official notice, additional explanation, and updated R15 webpage provide more detailed information about the changes.