Conference Grant Information

Investigators may apply for NIH-funded scientific conference grants to support high-quality national and international meetings that are relevant to public health and the NCATS mission.

Areas of Interest

NCATS supports scientific meetings, conferences and workshops that are consistent with its mission of advancing translational sciences through development, improvement or innovation in cross-cutting or generalizable approaches to drug development or basic, translational or clinical scientific research. Applicants are encouraged to review the NIH guidelines to enhance diversity in conferences supported by the NIH.

Applicants may submit conference grant applications for any disease or therapeutic area (or combination of areas), as long as the knowledge gained will be more broadly applicable to other areas of investigation. Examples include:

  • Novel biologics technologies for better treatments of human disease
  • Building multidisciplinary networks to drive science and translation

NCATS also supports scientific meetings, conferences and workshops for rare diseases. As mandated in the Rare Diseases Act of 2002, the NCATS Office of Rare Diseases Research supports scientific workshops and symposia to identify research opportunities for rare diseases.

Specifically, NCATS seeks applications for conferences, meetings and workshops that:

  • Include the active participation of relevant patient support groups in the meeting planning
  • Leverage recent breakthroughs in research or support the advancement of new research endeavors
  • Set clinical practice or guidelines

Conference grant applications that buttress the CTSA Program goals (listed on the CTSA Program in Action page) will be considered for support by the CTSA Program.

Application Procedures

NCATS requires that interested applicants send a letter seeking approval before submitting a conference grant application. This applies to both new and resubmitted applications.

NCATS can only award conference grants prior to the meeting date. Therefore, potential applicants must choose an application receipt date from the following table that allows for an award prior to the conference:

Request-to-Submit Date

Application Receipt Date

Scientific Merit Review

Advisory Council Review

Earliest Conference Meeting Start Date

March 1

April 12



December 1

July 1

August 12



March 1

November 1

December 12



July 1


Obtaining Approval to Submit an Application

At least six weeks before the application submission date, applicants must obtain approval from NCATS before submitting a conference grant (R13/U13) application.

How to Request Approval

Request-to-submit letters should be sent by e-mail to the NCATS Referral Office and include the following information:

  • Meeting title
  • Meeting dates and location
  • Name and address (including e-mail) of the principal investigator
  • Name of the sponsoring institution
  • Brief description of the meeting’s purpose, intended audience and relevance to NCATS’ mission
  • Draft meeting agenda, including names and affiliations of invited and/or confirmed speakers
  • Nature of and participation by junior, minority and/or female investigators, if any
  • List of similar meetings (recent or upcoming), if any
  • Requested conference budget and intended use for the funds, including:
    • Total budget
    • Portion requested from NCATS
    • Portion requested from other NIH Institutes and Centers, if any
  • Intended receipt date for application submission (i.e., April 12, August 12 or December 12)

NCATS usually provides a decision on the conference grant request within two weeks of receiving the Request-to-Submit letter. If accepted, NCATS will send an approval letter to the applicant via e‑mail. (Please note that NCATS’ agreement to accept an application does not guarantee funding.)

Submitting an Application

At the time of application submission, a copy of the approval letter must be included in the application as part of the cover letter component. Conference grant applications must be submitted electronically through Refer to the current funding opportunity for application and submission information.

Funding Information

Typically, NCATS provides between $3,000 and $25,000 per meeting, but the actual award is contingent upon availability of funds, programmatic priorities and recommendations by peer review and program staff. For applications in which NCATS is listed as the secondary NIH Institute, Center or Office (ICO), NCATS may provide the minimum of $3,000 in support. In general, NCATS does not provide co-funding support in excess of the contribution made by the primary awarding NIH ICO.

While all allowable costs will be considered, NCATS places an emphasis on the support for trainees, students, fellows and young investigators for conference attendance, poster presentations and meeting participation. Diversity representation among invited speakers is also encouraged. Additionally, NCATS will consider the number of times a conference has been previously supported in making funding decisions.

Conference Grant Resources

For more information on the conference grant (R13/U13) mechanism, prospective applicants should review the following resources: