Product Updates

A Sales guide to NIH Project Numbers

Did you know that the more relevant you can make your outreach, the better the results?

NIH grants already have titles, abstracts and keywords that allow you to search by product or application keyword and find researchers with financial backing, working in relevant areas. The more keywords used to narrow your results, the more specific your outreach and the better your conversions.

While this enables targeted and relevant communication, did you know that understanding NIH project numbers for each grant can super charge your understanding of the prospect with minimal extra effort?

To help, we’ve put together a brief guide on how to use NIH project numbers which will enhance your outreach.


A typical project number looks like this: 1 R01 CA 123456-01A1. We’ll refer to this example throughout, as we break down the valuable sales and marketing information you can extract from it.


It is valuable to know whether a project is just getting started, already in it it’s final year of funding or somewhere in-between. This information allows you to adjust your outreach. Maybe your product tends to be purchased at the beginning of a project or maybe it is only used once the project is underway.

The first number (in our example it is ‘1’) tells us whether the grant is new or repeating. A new grant will be ‘1’ and a repeating grant will always be ‘2’ (it doesn’t matter how many times it is repeated – it is always ‘2’). A repeating grant’s project number will also tell you what year the project is on (see Support Year below).


Arguably the most interesting aspect of the grant number is the activity code. This provides us with information about who is getting the grant.
General Purpose – R01

An R01 is one of the most common grants and can be summed up as general purpose. It can be spent on salary, equipment and supplies, and other more general costs.

This is, therefore, a good grant to target, but it is more general. There are specific activity codes that tell us a lot more.
Core facility/ Center Core Grants – P30

The P30 grant is for supporting shared resources and facilities for categorical research by a number of investigators from different disciplines. These investigators provide a multidisciplinary approach to a joint research effort or are from the same discipline who focus on a common research problem.
Shared Instrumentation Grants – S10

If you want to narrow down on purchased instrumentation, you can search via S10. These grants are awarded for the purchasing of state-of-the-art commercially available instruments to enhance research of NIH–funded investigators. They can be a great source of information on who has been buying competitor equipment as well as products that are complimentary to your own.
Rising Stars and New Labs – K99/R00

K99/R00 – or Pathway to Independence grants – are designed to facilitate a timely transition from a mentored postdoctoral research position to a stable independent position. These are given to up-and-coming researchers and those who receive the award are likely to establish their own lab in the near/medium term.
Startups and Spinouts

R41/42 (STTR) involves supporting research by small business that has the potential for commercialization.

R43/44 (SBIR) are for stimulating technological innovation. Phase 1 (R43) is for feasibility and phase 2 (R44) is for ongoing support.

If you want to start speaking to startups very early in their life span, or if you offer services that appeal to companies starting up, these can be excellent opportunities.

These are just a few of the really interesting activity codes found in NIH project grants. There are many others. Are you targeting Medical Scientists? Look at the K08 Clinical Investigator Award. Find a full list here.


1 R01 CA 123456-01A1The next section is the Institute Code. In the example above it is ‘CA’, where ‘CA’ represents the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This is the institute within the NIH that is providing the grant.

The Institute Code helps you narrow down institutes that might be of interest to you.

Another important example is ‘CC’ which is ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’.


The Serial Number is a 6-digit number assigned by the NIH Center for Scientific Research (CSR) for identifying the specific application. In our example it is ‘123456’.


The aforementioned Support Year indicates the current year of support the grant is in.

1 R01 CA 123456-01A1

In this example, the Support Year is ‘01’, meaning this is the first year of support for the grant. This is also backed up by the first digit in the project number, which tells us it is a new grant.

2 R01 CA 123456-04A1

In this example, the 2 at the beginning tells us that it is a renewing grant and the ‘04’ tells us that it is in its fourth year of support.

The Support Year is great for understanding what stage the lab is at within the project. Are they just starting? Or has it been going for a number of years?


For completeness we’re motioning this suffix, but it is less important.

‘A’ and a related number identifies the amendment number (e.g. A1 = resubmission); ‘S’ and a related number identifies the revision record and follows the grant year or the amendment designation to which additional funds have been awarded.


What this article has made clear is that knowing and understanding grant numbers can greatly increase the speed at which you find optimal prospects, by helping you filter grants by the most applicable project numbers.

Not only this, but it also helps you hone your messaging, so you that can stand out. Rather than a blanket “I see you received a grant”, you can now say “I see that your grant has just been renewed” or “Congrats on winning an STTR”.

In addition, understanding the NIH project number can also help you recommend the best grant type for your prospect, to make sure that they are successful. If you need to be written into a grant, knowing the type can help you guide your prospects.

Ultimately, the more personal, relevant and timely you can make that communication, the higher your conversions and better the results.

Want to start searching by NIH project number?

SciLeads has added this as a funding filter to the platform.

You can now filter all grants by Application Type, Activity Code and Institute Codes and start optimizing your outreach.