AHRQ Health Services Research Dissertation Program (R36)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

This announcement represents the continuation of an AHRQ program that provides support to individuals who are conducting research undertaken as part of an accredited academic program to qualify for a research doctorate degree.


  • Letter of Intent: 30 days before application submission
  • Application Due Date(s): February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1 annually

PA-23-196 Expiration Date: May 7, 2028

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Applications for dissertation research grants must be responsive to AHRQ’s mission, which is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used. The research sponsored and conducted by the Agency develops and presents scientific evidence regarding all aspects of health care in the United States. It addresses issues of organization, delivery, financing, utilization, patient and provider behavior, outcomes, effectiveness, and cost. It evaluates both clinical services and the system in which these services are provided. These scientific results improve the evidence base to enable better decisions about health care, including such areas as disease prevention, appropriate use of medical technologies, improving diagnosis and treatment in cost-effective ways, long-term care, and reducing disparities based on race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status. AHRQ welcomes any area of health services research relevant to AHRQ's priority areas as a dissertation project topic.

AHRQ's priority areas of focus are:

  • Research to improve health care patient safety.
  • Harnessing data and technology to improve health care quality and patient outcomes and to provide a 360-degree view of the patient.
  • Research to increase accessibility and affordability of health care by examining innovative market approaches to care delivery and financing.

Results should be directly relevant to customers, such as providers and practitioners, administrators, payers, consumers, policymakers, and insurers.

Candidates are encouraged to address health services research issues critical to AHRQ priority populations, as defined in Section IV.7.

Additionally, candidates should focus on projects that hold promise for advancing health equity and move beyond documenting the pervasiveness of disparities.  AHRQ encourages a focus on developing or understanding evidence-based solutions to address inequities in care delivery that are driven by discrimination, structural racism, and other social, economic, and environmental determinates of health.  

Candidates must conduct dissertation projects which focus on health care delivery in the United States. AHRQ will not accept international health care research projects.

    Eligibility Requirements

    For dissertation grants, the applicant organization must be an accredited doctoral granting institution at which the student is registered and matriculating. Individuals cannot apply directly.

    Candidates are eligible to apply for this award provided that they:

    • Are U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents by the time of the grant award;
    • Are full-time students (as defined by the student's institution) in good standing, who are enrolled in an accredited research doctoral program in such fields as behavioral sciences, health services research, nursing, social sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, health informatics, engineering, economics and mathematics;
    • Will have completed all non-dissertation requirements for their doctoral degree by the time of submission of the application, including completion of their qualifying exams. The only exception allowed will be the completion of required clinical internships that follow completion of the dissertation;
    • Do not have more than part-time employment (defined as greater than twenty hours per week) in addition to the requirements of their current, full-time academic student appointment at the time the award is made; and
    • Are not recipients of mentored career development awards.

    Amount Description

    The direct costs awarded to a grant under this NOFO will be consistent with the current fiscal year National Research Service Award (NRSA) predoctoral stipend level and up to $15,000 direct costs for additional expenses. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs (i.e., overhead, or indirect costs) are limited to 8% of modified total direct costs.

    Individuals supported under National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms, including T32, F31 and F32 research training awards are eligible to apply for an AHRQ R36 dissertation award; however, such individuals may only request up to $15,000 direct costs for additional, non-salary expenses, and no funds may be requested for salary support.

    Funds may be used only for those expenses that are directly related and necessary to the project and must be expended in compliance with applicable Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards (45 CFR Part 75) and the HHS Grants Policy Statement.

    Funding Type



    Grad/Prof Students


    Medical - Basic Science
    Medical - Clinical Science
    Medical - Translational
    Social Sciences

    External Deadline

    May 1, 2024