Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (R35)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) provides support for the program of research in an investigator's laboratory that is within the mission of NIGMS. The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency and efficacy of NIGMS funding. It is anticipated that this program will:

  • Increase the stability of funding for NIGMS-supported investigators, which could enhance their ability to take on ambitious scientific projects and approach problems more creatively;
  • Increase flexibility for investigators to follow important new research directions within the NIGMS mission as opportunities arise, rather than being bound to specific aims proposed in advance of the studies;
  • More widely distribute funding among the nation's highly talented and promising investigators to increase overall scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs;
  • Reduce the time spent by researchers writing and reviewing grant applications, allowing them to spend more time conducting research;
  • Enable investigators to devote more time and energy to mentoring trainees in a more stable research environment.
  • This FOA allows both new applications from eligible NIGMS-funded investigators and renewal applications from current established and early-stage MIRA grantees.


Application Due Date(s): January 17, 2020; May 18, 2020; January 19, 2021; May 17, 2021; January 18, 2022, May 17, 2022

PAR-19-367 Expiration Date May 18, 2022

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

For this FOA, PDs/PIs with a previously funded ESI or EI NIGMS R35 or at least one NIGMS single-PD/PI R01-equivalent award (defined here as R01, R37, DP1, DP2, and SC1 awards) are eligible to apply. Renewal MIRA applications need to be submitted no later than the end of the second NIH fiscal year following the original project period expiration date of the qualifying R35. An early renewal application can be submitted in any of the budget periods of a funded R35 if a PD/PI considers significant progress has been made to warrant a successful scientific review. Successful Renewal applications will be awarded in the fiscal year of Council review, and the current MIRA will be terminated upon the issuance of the new MIRA award. Thus, early Renewal applications may truncate the current project period. If a Renewal MIRA application is unsuccessful, a new MIRA application may be submitted if the PD/PI remains eligible.

For new MIRA applications from PDs/PIs with qualifying single-PD/PI R01-equivalent NIGMS award(s), the application may be submitted at any time prior to the original project period end date, but no later than the end of the fiscal year following the original project period expiration date of the qualifying award. Successful MIRA applications will be awarded in the fiscal year of Council review. All current NIGMS research grants will be terminated upon the issuance of the new MIRA grant. Investigators who receive funds as project leaders on multi-component grants (i.e., P01, P50 or RM1) will have their MIRA award level adjusted to remove any overlap between their MIRA and their multi-component grant. The MIRA Principal Investigator will be required to relinquish their involvement in the multi-component grant at the end of its competitive segment. A PD/PI with an unsuccessful MIRA application may apply again to this FOA if he/she remains eligible, but must submit a New Application, rather than a Resubmission which is not allowed for this FOA.

NIH will consider requests to extend the eligibility to apply for a MIRA for life events (e.g., childbirth or adoption, military service, health-related issues, natural disasters) that impact research progress during the eligibility window. Applicants seeking an extension of their eligibility status must contact a Scientific/Research Contact at least 8 weeks before submitting the application.

PDs/PIs whose only NIGMS research grant(s) is a multi-PD/PI grant(s) are not eligible to apply for a MIRA.

The PD/PI is required to devote at least 51% of his/her total research effort to this award. The total research effort should include his/her combined research effort at all institutions where the PD/PI holds an appointment, should be expressed in person-months, and should not include time expended toward teaching, administration not directly related to the PD's/PI's research, and/or clinical duties.

Only single PD/PI applications are allowed. Applications with multiple PD(s)/PI(s) will not be accepted.



Amount Description

Applications may request no more than $750,000 direct costs per year. Investigators are encouraged to request well-justified actual costs for their research program and to recognize that efficient use of funds is an expectation of the MIRA program and is considered during the review process and in making funding decisions. In general, awards will be commensurate with the investigator’s average total NIGMS research funding over the past few years.

For new applications from PDs/PIs previously funded through NIGMS R01-equivalents, well-justified increases over previous funding levels will be considered for PDs/PIs previously supported by modest budgets (~$250,000 in annual direct costs or less), while modest reductions should be anticipated for well-funded PDs/PIs ($400,000 or more in annual direct costs from NIGMS). The MIRA budget will generally not be at the level of an NIH Transformative Research Award and will be significantly reduced from NIH Director's Pioneer Award (DP1) level.

For MIRA renewal applications, NIGMS expects that, on average, budgets will be similar to what they were in the previous award period. However, well-justified requests for increases will be considered and it is expected that some budgets will be increased or decreased based on the outcomes of peer review and assessments by NIGMS staff.

Other than years when equipment is requested, it is expected that the annual direct costs will remain constant in all years of an award period.

Applications may request a maximum project period of five years.

Funding Type



Women and minorities encouraged


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

January 19, 2021