NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) (R35)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

The purpose of the NHLBI Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) is to promote scientific productivity and innovation by providing long-term support and increased flexibility to experienced Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) who are currently PD/PIs on at least two NHLBI R01-equivalent awards and whose outstanding record of research demonstrates their ability to make major contributions to heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) research. The OIA is intended to support a research program, rather than a research project, by providing the primary and most likely sole source of NHLBI funding on individual grant awards.

The OIA will support the research program of NHLBI-funded investigators for up to seven years. The OIA will provide investigators increased freedom to conduct research that breaks new ground or extends previous discoveries in new directions. It will also allow PD/PIs to take greater risks and to pursue research that requires a longer timeframe. Research supported by the OIA must be within the scope of the NHLBI mission (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/mission-statement).

It is anticipated that the OIA will:

  • Provide a stable funding environment, thereby improving productivity and facilitating nimble, ambitious, creative research;
  • Accelerate scientific innovation by enabling flexibility in pursuing new research directions as they arise, since PD/PIs will not be bound to specific aims proposed in advance of the studies;
  • Reduce the time researchers spend writing grant applications and managing multiple grant awards, thereby allowing more time to be devoted to conducting research;
  • Facilitate PD/PIs’ commitment to research through increased stability of funding; and
  • Enable PD/PIs to devote more time and energy to mentoring students and junior scientists and providing scientific service.

Companion FOA: RFA-HL-20-012R35 Emerging Investigator Award


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): 30 days prior to the application due date
  • Application Due Date(s): March 14, 2019; February 14, 2020; February 15, 2021
  • AIDS Application Due Date(s): April 15, 2019; April 15, 2020; April 15, 2021

​RFA-HL-20-011 Expiration Date April 16, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Only single PD/PI applications are allowed. Applications with multiple PD(s)/PI(s) will not be accepted. Applications that do not meet eligibility requirements will not be reviewed.

Eligibility is determined by NHLBI after the receipt of applications on the intended application due date. Eligibility to apply to this FOA is limited to PD/PIs who meet all of the following criteria.


  • Are currently PD/PI on at least two NHLBI R01-equivalent (defined here as R01, R37, DP1, or DP2) awards.
  • At least one of the R01-equivalent awards must meet all of the following requirements:
    1. Be a single-PD/PI award, AND
    2. Not be in a no-cost extension (NCE), AND
    3. Not be an NIH-defined clinical trial, unless that clinical trial meets the definition of a mechanistic clinical trial or a BESH trial, as defined in Section I of this FOA .
  • The additional qualifying R01-equivalent(s) can be multiple-PD/PI, and/or in a first NCE, and/or an NIH-defined clinical trial.
  • Must commit a minimum of 50% research effort (i.e., minimum of six person months) throughout the duration of the OIA.
  • Have received continuous R01-equivalent support from the NHLBI for at least the past four years as a PD/PI.

PD/PIs with effort on other NIH grants will be expected to provide, as part of the Just-in-Time information, a detailed explanation describing how effort on other NIH grants will be adjusted, if necessary, to permit 50% effort (i.e., a minimum of six person months) on the OIA. 



Amount Description

Applications may request up to $600,000 direct costs per year. Investigators are encouraged to request what is well-justified for their research program. The award amount will be determined by the NHLBI and commensurate with current NHLBI support of the PD/PI.

Applications may request a maximum project period of up to seven years.

Funding Type





Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

February 14, 2020