FAQs Pre Award and Post Award

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The NIH Standard Proposal Due Dates provides you with a visual of proposal deadlines. There are 3 Cycle Deadlines and each Cycle is coded with a respective color and categorized by Activity code and type.

For example, if you are thinking about submitting a new R21, just type in “R21” in the Search for Activity Code box (upper right) and  press “enter”. You will see information pertaining the R21. Reading across the Table, you will see the following headings under the category of Application Due dates: Activity Codes and Program Description followed by the Cycles I, II and III Due dates.

NIH Terms

Q&As from NIH FAQs/Definitions

Senior/key personnel designated in the application by applicant organization

The program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request salaries or compensation.

Other significant contributors (OSC)

Individuals who commit to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project, but do not commit any specified measurable effort (i.e., person months) to the project. These individuals are typically presented at effort of “zero person months” or "as needed." Individuals with measurable effort may not be listed as Other Significant Contributors (OSCs). Consultants should be included if they meet this definition.


An individual who provides professional advice or services for a fee, but typically not as an employee of the engaging party. In unusual situations, an individual may be both a consultant and an employee of the same party, receiving compensation for some services as a consultant and for other work as a salaried employee. To prevent apparent or actual conflicts of interest, grantees and consultants must establish written guidelines indicating the conditions of payment of consulting fees. Consultants may also include firms that provide paid professional advice or services.

Measurable effort

The effort of PD/PI(s), faculty and other senior/key personnel devoted to a project expressed in terms of “person months” greater than zero. If consultants are considered senior/key personnel, they must have measurable effort expressed in person months.

Person months

The metric for expressing the effort (amount of time) that PD/PIs, faculty and other senior/key personnel devote to a specific project. The effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with an organization, e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization’s definition of such. The effort is expressed as a percentage of the total institutional appointment.