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Information Regarding Foreign Grants to Institutions and Foreign Scientists


domestic organization is a public or private non-profit (including Federal, State, and other agencies) or for-profit organization that is located in the United States or its territories, is subject to U.S. laws, and assumes legal and financial accountability for awarded funds and for the performance of the grant-supported activities.

foreign organization is one located in a country other than the United States and its territories and subject to the laws of that country, regardless of the citizenship of the proposed principal investigator.

foreign scientist is one who does not possess any of the following attributes: 1. a US citizen, 2. a non-citizen national (someone who owes permanent allegiance to the US such as a resident of American Samoa), 3. lawfully admitted to the US for permanent residence.

foreign component is a performance site outside of the United States, at which a significant element or segment of a project is performed.

An international organization is one that identifies itself as international or intergovernmental, and has membership from, and represents the interests of, more than one country, without regard to whether the headquarters of the organization and location of the activity are inside or outside of the United States.

Foreign institutions, international organizations, and domestic institutions with a foreign component, including public or private non-profit or for-profit organizations, are eligible to receive certain research grants from the NEI, as detailed below. Although grants may be made to foreign organizations, grants may not be made to individuals in a foreign location. Occasionally a fellowship award is made to an American citizen or non-citizen national to study in a foreign institution.

Detailed information regarding awards to foreign institutions, international organizations, and domestic grants with foreign components can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. There is also information on NIH policy regarding the support of international conferences. Note that a recent policy change requires that all applications from foreign institutions provide a detailed budget; foreign institutions may not submit a modular budget.

Human subjects research in foreign countries

Different countries, as well as different international and regional organizations, have over 900 laws, regulations, and guidelines which govern human subjects research. The International Compilation of Human Research Protections, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Human Subjects Protection, is an annual compilation to assist scientists involved in international research so that they may become familiar with these standards and can follow them appropriately.

NEI guidelines

Investigators interested in exploring NEI support for foreign research are strongly advised to contact an NEI staff member for advice and detailed information before they submit an application.

The NEI accepts applications from foreign institutions for non-solicited, investigator-initiated research project grants (R01, R21, and U01),K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Awards, and Cooperative Clinical Research grants (U10). The NEI does not accept applications from foreign institutions for the following solicited grant programs: NEI Clinical Vision Research Development Award (R34), Institutional National Research Service Awards (F32, F32, F33,T32, T35), P30 Center Core Grants, R24 Vision Research Infrastructure Development Grants, Career Development Awards (K08, K12, K23, K24), Small Business Innovative Research Grants (R43, R44), Small Business Technology Transfer Grants (R41, R42), Conference Grants (R13, U13), or AREA grants (R15). The NEI supports international conferences (R13, U13) through the US representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society.

Applications should use the application kits. The budget sections should explain and justify the foreign component.

Foreign applications are evaluated and scored during the initial review process using the standard NIH review criteria supplemented by the following assessments:

  1. Does the project present special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that are not readily available in the US or that augment existing US resources.
  2. Does the proposed project have specific relevance to the mission and objectives of the NEI and have the potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the US.

Foreign applications may not be funded unless approved by the National Advisory Eye Council.

Special NEI foreign programs

The NEI participates in some special programs which provide funding for foreign initiatives:

Last updated: June 26, 2019