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ODS Funding of Grants and Administrative Supplements: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Funding Questions

Questions About Administrative Supplements

General Funding Questions

Q. How does ODS fund Grants?
A. Unlike the Institutes and Centers (ICs) at NIH, ODS is not able to directly fund or take primary responsibility for grants. Instead, we co-fund (i.e. contribute to the IC-determined budget) grants that have already been through NIH study section peer-review and will be funded by an NIH IC. In addition to co-funds, we directly fund Administrative Supplements to existing NIH grants.

Q. Will my grant budget increase if ODS co-funds the grant?
A. No. A co-fund is an internal transfer of funds between ODS and the primary IC, and the budget remains the same.

Q. What are the funding priorities for ODS?
A. ODS funds all types of research, including pre-clinical (cellular and animal), clinical, behavioral, and epidemiological, in which the emphasis is on dietary supplements or their ingredients for health promotion/disease prevention. In addition, the dietary supplement must be administered orally and in physiologically relevant forms and concentrations. ODS funding is not limited to a specific health condition, organ system, or population group.

Q. What type of research is considered outside the scope of ODS?
A. ODS will not entertain grant applications that use dietary supplements to treat a disease unless evidence is provided that the proposed research would also be relevant to risk reduction in healthy individuals.

Q. What are the expectations of ODS-funded investigators?
A. Funded investigators must acknowledge ODS funding in any publications and reports resulting from the award.

Questions About Administrative Supplements

Q. What is an Administrative Supplement?
A. An Administrative Supplement provides additional funding to an existing, funded NIH grant.

Q. What funding opportunities does ODS sponsor for Administrative Supplements?
A. ODS currently has two active funding opportunity announcements:

  1. PA-17-307 “Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements”external link disclaimer
  2. PA-17-447 “Administrative Supplements for Validation Studies of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplements and Natural Products”external link disclaimer

Q. What is the purpose of PA-17-307 “Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements”?
A. This opportunity provides additional funds to relevant, active, NIH-supported projects that incorporate research relevant to dietary supplements within the scope of the parent project. Research interests of ODS are not limited to specific health conditions, organ systems, or population groups. ODS supports all types of research, including pre-clinical (cell culture and animal), clinical, behavioral, and epidemiological. Additionally, ODS supports research that builds future research capacity for studying the role of dietary supplements in promoting health and preventing disease.

Q. What is the purpose of PA-17-447 “Administrative Supplements for Validation Studies of Analytical Methods for Dietary Supplements and Natural Products”?
A. The reproducibility and comparability of research on dietary supplements is enhanced by rigorous analytical characterization of key experimental materials and the publication of validated analytical methods that accurately and precisely characterize and quantify the ingredients in dietary supplements. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) builds on existing NIH awards to support the performance and publication of formal single-laboratory validation studies of relevant quantitative analytical methods. The methods proposed for validation must be used to identify and quantify chemical constituents (i.e., active or marker chemical compounds, adulterants, and contaminants) or their metabolites in experimental reagents, raw materials, and/or clinical specimens (e.g., urine or plasma samples). Methods must have been developed or utilized in fulfillment of the active parent grant’s specific aims. Candidate constituents for quantitative method validation studies may include (but are not limited to) phytochemicals, nutrients, and potentially deleterious substances such as pesticides and mycotoxins.

Q. How does an investigator determine if the proposed Administrative Supplement is within scope of the parent award?
A. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposal with the IC Program Official of the parent grant prior to submitting an application. This will ensure that the Administrative Supplement fits within the scientific priorities of the IC and is within the scope of the parent grant.

Q. How does an investigator determine if the proposed Administrative Supplement is within scope of the mission of ODS?
A. Applicants are encouraged to contact Cindy Davis at for questions related to PA-17-307 or Adam Kuszak at for questions related to PA-17-447.

Q. How much time must be remaining in the parent award to be eligible to apply for an Administrative Supplement?
A. Only active awards with at least 18 months remaining at the time of submission will be considered. Applications for Administrative Supplements in no-cost extension periods are not permitted.

Q. Is there a budget limit to the Administrative Supplements?
A. Yes. Budget requests are limited to $100,000 in direct costs.

Q. Who reviews Administrative Supplement applications?
A. Administrative Supplements undergo administrative review by NIH staff for responsiveness, scientific quality, and other factors such as ODS programmatic priorities.

Q. What issues must be considered when submitting an Administrative Supplement application?
A. Consider these four issues:

  1. Reviewers will not have access to the parent grant application, so it is important to include relevant background information, preliminary data, and experimental details.
  2. The application should highlight how the Administrative Supplement would increase the impact of the parent grant and what new information it would provide.
  3. The research must focus on health promotion/disease risk reduction rather than disease treatment. If a treatment model is used, evidence must be provided that the proposed research would also be relevant to risk reduction in healthy individuals.
  4. The application must include information on the analytical characterization and integrity of dietary supplement and natural-product reagents used (see NCCIH’s Natural Product Integrity Policyexternal link disclaimer).

Q. What are the ODS review criteria for Administrative Supplement applications?
A. ODS will evaluate the application on these five criteria:

  1. Will the proposed supplemental activities increase or preserve the parent award’s overall impact within the original scope of award?
  2. Has adequate progress been made on the parent award?
  3. Is adequate product integrity information provided to ensure the reproducibility of the research?
  4. Is the proposed budget and the requested period of support fully justified and reasonable?
  5. Will the Administrative Supplement stimulate dietary supplement research where it is lacking or lagging to clarify gaps, address opportunities and balance between benefits and risk where data are in conflict, target special population groups where additional science on supplements is needed, and/or focus on the use of supplements in improving or maintaining health and reducing the risk of chronic disease?

Q. What is meant by product integrity?
A. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has developed guidelines for the design and conduct of research that uses bioactive constituents or natural products. Sufficient product information must be included in applications to allow reviewers to evaluate the significance, feasibility, and scientific strength of the project. Investigators must demonstrate that their investigative team has the appropriate dietary supplement or natural product and analytical expertise to select the test and placebo agents for study and to ensure product integrity. For example, botanists trained in taxonomy may be required to identify voucher specimensexternal link disclaimer accurately, or experts in natural products chemistry, microbiology, food science, botany, pharmacognosyexternal link disclaimer, or analytical chemistry may need to be consulted.

Q. Why does ODS require all Administrative Supplements and grant applications to have their dietary supplement or natural product be evaluated for product integrity
A. Dietary supplements must be rigorously identified and characterized to ensure reproducibility of the research. Documentary evidence of the composition and identity of materials must be provided.

Q. What information should be included in the product integrity section of an Administrative Supplement application?
A. Information about product integrity can be found at the following website: NCCIH’s Natural Product Integrity Policy.external link disclaimer Applications should contain the following information:

  1. For botanicals, provide the complete taxonomic/scientific name along with the common name and source of the plant material/extract/phytochemical.
  2. Identify the manufacturer or distributor (if any) by name and address and provide contact information along with product brand name, if applicable.
  3. State the constituent(s), if any, to which the product is standardized.
  4. For non-botanical ingredients, provide a full description. This should include brand name (if given), chemical purity (and methodology used to assess), and isomeric purity. Lot-specific or batch-specific certificates of analysis from the manufacturer are acceptable.
  5. Characterize the supplement composition (ingredient content and quantity), including laboratory analysis to confirm information on the certificate of analysis, if applicable.
  6. Provide documentation that demonstrates stability of the ingredients for at least the duration of the study and explain how the product will be monitored for stability throughout the project period.
  7. Provide documentation that demonstrates reproducibility of product characteristics, especially if more than one batch is used in the study.
  8. Ensure that the product is free of impurities (accidental or deliberate) such as pesticides, drugs, microbes, or metals.
  9. If the product is administered in a vehicle other than a tablet/capsule, provide information on the source and composition of the vehicle (e.g., diet ) and ensure that the ingredient or intervention (e.g., probiotic added to porridge, EGCG added to rat food) will remain stable and bioavailable throughout the study.
  10. For the placebo, verify that it matches the test agent on sensory characteristics, that the sensory characteristics are stable, and that the product contains no bioactive materials.