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Goals of the AREA Program

What is the AREA Program?

The AREA Program is implemented through the R15 funding mechanism. It was formed in 1985 to fulfill a unique Congressional mandate.

Goals of the Program:

  • Support meritorious research
  • expose undergraduate and graduate students to hands-on research in eligible environments
  • Strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support

It is distinct from other NIH initiatives that seek to increase diversity, enhance research in specific geographic areas, support individual or institutional training or career development, build research education infrastructure or capacity building.

Key Features

  • Project period is limited to 3 years.

  • Direct costs are limited to $300,000 over the entire project period.

  • An R15 is renewable -
    An R15 is a career sustaining award that can be renewed multiple times

  • Preliminary data are not required but may be provided -
    Preliminary data are not required but may be provided if available. The application should propose a research team, including undergraduate and/or graduate students, that is appropriate to accomplish the specific aims and to make an important scientific contribution. The Research Strategy section should provide a sound rationale to support the proposed scientific approach. Compelling preliminary data can help support the rationale and proposed experimental design.

  • Collaborators may be from AREA-ineligible schools -
    It is acceptable to have an ineligible collaborator, consultant, or subcontractor. However, as the role of that ineligible collaborator is developed, it is important to keep in mind the goals and unique review criteria of the R15. These criteria include:

    • Availability of research opportunities to students
    • Potential to have a substantial effect on the institution/academic component by strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research
    • The PI’s experience supervising students in research
    • Evidence the project can stimulate the interests of students to consider a career in biomedical/behavioral science
    • Availability of well-qualified students and evidence students have or are likely to pursue biomedical careers.

    Keep in mind that for a Multiple PI structure, all PIs must be eligible.

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