The research activities of the institutes and centers are tied to the Office of the Director through the Office of Extramural Research, which oversees extramural activities conducted through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, and to the Office of Intramural Research, which coordinates research that is conducted mainly on-site by NIH personnel. A central listing of extramural programs, which draw approximately 80 percent of the NIH budget, is available in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, at <>.

Support Mechanisms and Cross-Disciplinary Programs

Most off-site research is funded through the Office of Extramural Research. Funding mechanisms, which include center grants (e.g., P30), program project grants (P01), and small grants (R03), are described in Research Grants, at <>.

It may be difficult for a mathematical scientist without a proven track record at NIH to receive funding from it. Forming a collaboration with an established NIH scientist is a good way to obtain initial funding from NIH and establish oneself within the agency.1 NIH sponsors programs that allow for—or specifically promote—such collaborations, either on- or off-site. Some of these programs and others that promote cross-disciplinary education and training2 are listed below:

  • Genetic Basis of Complex Behaviors, PA-98-097, solicits applications for multidisciplinary, methodologically rigorous programs of neuroscience research that will use advanced techniques for statistical and molecular genetic analysis in human and animal populations to elucidate the genetic basis of complex behaviors. Provides up to 5 years support.

  • Genetic Architecture of Complex Phenotypes, PA-98-078, supports new studies on the architecture of complex phenotypes, including research using human and model systems as well as research using theoretical approaches. Studies targeted by this program are expected, in part, to increase the quantity and quality of population-based data, lead to development of mathematical and statistical tools for analyzing measured genotype data, and create biologically relevant models for understanding the origins, roles, and implications of genetic variation in causing variation in phenotypes. Duration of grants varies with type of support, which can be principal investigator-or program-based.

  • Supplements for the Study of Complex Biological Systems, PA-98-024, supports new quantitative approaches to the study of complex, fundamental biological processes by encouraging nontraditional collaboration across disciplinary lines. Term of award is limited by the funding period of the parent grant.

  • Quantitative Approaches to the Analysis of Complex Biological Systems, PA-98-077, supports research projects that develop quantitative approaches to describe, analyze, and predict the behavior of complex biological systems, especially those requiring the integration of potentially large amounts of molecular, biochemical, cell biological, and physiological data.


 Names of NIH principal investigators (for potential collaboration) can be found through the Community of Science database at <>. Similarly, a scientist can use this database to identify mathematical scientists funded through NIH or other federal agencies.


 Some, but not all, NIH research training opportunities can be found at <>.

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