US Federal Funding

Under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the primary U.S. agency dealing with, and the largest source of funding for, medical research in the world. The NIH is composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with specific research agendas and interests, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems.

Researchers from Canadian universities are eligible for many NIH funding opportunities. Please consult Western Research staff ( early for more information about submitting to the NIH or other US funding agencies. The following items are available to assist those applicants planning submissions to NIH/DHHS agencies:

  • Updated NIH Guidebook, now expanded with excerpts by program staff from select institutes on their view towards foreign applications.

Requirements to Apply For, and Hold, US Federal Funding

Applications through must be submitted by Western Research. Applicants must comply with all US federal laws and regulations, including:

U.S. Financial Conflict of Interest

Investigators applying for, holding, or working on studies must comply with US Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest Regulations. PHS regulations apply to all PHS-funded research, including NIH, establishing investigator reporting and training requirements.

Prior to submission of a grant application, on annual renewal and within an update on awarded grant or subgrant, Western’s PIs must ensure:

  • To provide a list of all investigators on the project, including any subrecipient(s);
  • All investigators at Western have signed and submitted a Financial Interest Disclosure Report form;
  • An authorized official of the subrecipient has signed and submitted the Subreceipient External Investigator Institutional Declaration; and
  • Where a Subrecipient External Investigator opts to follow Western’s FCOI policy, they have submitted a Financial Interest Disclosure Report form.

Before submission of a grant application or sub-award, and every four (4) years:

  • Western PIs and all investigators following Western’s FCOI Policy must complete the NIH FCOI tutorial. The NIH Financial Conflict of Interest tutorial was designed by the National Institutes of Health to provide education what constitutes a financial conflict of interest. It provides guidance on the proper policies and practices regarding these issues and is a requirement for anyone involved with an NIH-funded project.

Where subrecipient external investigators who are following their institution’s FCOI Policy are found to have a FCOI, the subrecipient institution must report the FCOI to Western before awarded funds are released, annually, and within 30 days a new FCOI being identified.

General Information

  • Only an authorized representative from Western, through Western Research, is eligible to sign and transmit your proposal via;
  • Project Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PI) and any individuals with a Postdoctoral Role and one month of measureable effort are required to have an eRA Commons User Name. Please contact Western Research to obtain this;
  • As per NIH policy, indirect costs for foreign institutions from NIH funding must be calculated at 8 per cent on total direct costs, minus each item of equipment over $5,000;
  • Western’s F&A-negotiated rate used by DHHS funding sponsors is currently at 40.70 per cent, and must be applied, as applicable;
  • If you are proposing a subcontract with another institution, the complete grant and budget must be submitted to Western Research three weeks before the agency deadline. Additional documentation will be required from the subcontracting institution prior to final approval;
  • Each grant involving a Canadian institution must include a foreign justification section which explains “whether the [proposed] project presents special opportunities for furthering research programs through the use of unusual talent, resources, populations, or environmental conditions that exist in other countries and are not readily available outside of the United States or augment existing U.S. resources.” If you are applying to a parent (i.e., ‘open’) competition, you should also explain how the project has specific relevance to the mission and objectives of an NIH institute and its potential for significantly advancing the health sciences in the U.S.; and
  • Note: both the review panel and the institute’s scientific staff will be using this justification to determine whether they are interested in using their (U.S.) monies to fund your Canadian research activity.

Relevant Resources


For more information, please contact Natalie Wu, Director, Research Services, 519-661-2111 ext. 81572