As a potential NIH grant recipient, you may be wondering: “What’s the catch?”

Understanding what grant recipients have to give back to NIH, in terms of compliance and oversight, is an important step in the process.

Some potential recipients hold back from applying due to misunderstanding their obligations. Others may be taken by surprise to find out what is actually needed.

Do I Have to Pay Money Back?

One of the common questions is whether NIH recipients have to ultimately pay back their grant money in full or in part. Unless NIH has paid for a postdoctoral program that requires payback, these grants are offered without an obligation to return the money. This is part of why NIH grants are competitive, as the agency only wants to fund projects that are among the best applications.

 If you have been holding off on a grant obligation out of worry that you’d have to pay NIH back, this should be good news.


What are Audit Requirements?

Upon reaching an annual threshold of grant dollars, you are required to complete an audit and review that audit with the NIH. Typically, this occurs when a Phase 2 grant is undertaken, although the threshold can be triggered with multiple Phase I grants in a given year. 

Audits are important and significant undertakings and should always be taken seriously.  Grant Engine is prepared and capable to assist you with these needs. 


What are Reporting Requirements?

Reporting requirements are, in practice, fairly easy and a natural result of the work product. Yes, you must meet the reporting requirements, but this is typically not an extra burden or task.

Recipients must monitor expenditures. NIH provides funding per budget period based on work expected to be completed during that time frame and the recipient’s budget for it, and expenditures should fall within those parameters. Expenditure reports are owed to NIH to ensure that the budget is being spent appropriately, and if not, to allow NIH to seek additional information.

Other reporting requirements include Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) which occurs at least annually and has to be approved for continued funding. These reports ask recipients about accomplishments, upcoming goals, any publications, personnel working on the project and any changes to level of effort, any challenges or delays whether planned or actual along with plans for resolution, significant changes in animal or human subjects, and other similar information.

As a recipient, if you keep records of what you are doing, as you should, RRPRs and other reports should be easy to fulfill based on the information you already have at hand.

Grant Engine can help you through all stages of a successful grant application. Please feel free to contact us for further information. Call us at (650) 937-9164 or email to learn more.