National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Guidelines for Support of Scientific Meetings by NCCAM:
Use of R13/U13 Mechanism

Updated July 2013

On this page:

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is charged with the mission of defining, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.

Our Center’s three long-range goals are to: (1) advance the science and practice of symptom management; (2) develop effective, practical, personalized strategies for promoting health and well-being; and (3) enable better evidence-based decision making regarding use of complementary health approaches and their integration into health care and health promotion. In pursuit of these goals, NCCAM supports research on mind and body interventions, practices, and disciplines; research on natural products; and studies of “real world” patterns and outcomes of use of complementary therapies. Studies may range from basic through translational, clinical, epidemiological, and health services.

In addition, NCCAM recognizes the value of supporting scientific meetings, conferences, and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public health. Support of these meetings is contingent on NCCAM’s interests and priorities, as well as the level of financial investment that NCCAM determines is appropriate.

The guidelines presented here are general guidance for the development of applications requesting NCCAM support for scientific meetings. This document only applies to those conferences, workshops, or scientific meetings supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R13 grants or U13 cooperative agreements. It does not apply to those conferences, workshops, or scientific meetings sponsored or initiated by NIH and funded by contracts or by direct operating funds, or workshops conducted as an adjunct to scientific peer review group activities.


General Procedures

A scientific meeting is defined as a symposium, seminar, workshop, or other organized, formal conference assembled to coordinate, exchange, and disseminate new scientific information or to explore or clarify a defined scientific research problem.

Organizers of scientific meetings must comply with the Guidelines on Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in NIH-Supported Conference Grants. Women, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science must be appropriately included in all aspects of planning, organization, and implementation of NIH-sponsored and/or -supported meetings. “Appropriate” means representation based on the availability of scientists from these groups known to be working in a particular field of biomedical or behavioral research. If appropriate representation is not apparent, no award will be issued until program staff is assured of concerted efforts to ensure such representation.



A U.S. institution or organization, including an established scientific or professional society, is eligible to apply. An individual is not eligible to receive an award for the support of a scientific meeting.

Both domestic and international meetings may be supported; however, an international meeting can be supported only through the U.S. representative organization of an established international scientific or professional society.


Application Instructions

Advance Permission: R13 applicants must have received NCCAM permission to submit an application prior to the receipt date/deadline. The request for permission to submit an application should include the dates, location, audience, speakers, goals, and topics to be covered, and must be received at least 6 weeks in advance of the application receipt date to allow for staff evaluation and discussion of the programmatic relevance of the conference to NCCAM’s mission. This information must be submitted to:

Alberto Rivera-Rentas, Ph.D.
NCCAM Program Director
Division of Extramural Research
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans with the appropriate NCCAM program director well in advance of the submission of their application and to officially request permission to apply.

After permission to apply is granted, the applicant will receive official communication from Dr. Rivera-Rentas. If accepted for submission to NCCAM, this communication must be included with the cover letter of the application.

Receipt Dates/Deadlines: All applications must be submitted at least 9 months prior to the meeting. Applications will be received on the three standard Center for Scientific Review (CSR) receipt deadlines for R13/U13 applications (April 12, August 12, and December 12) only.

All applicants must use the SF424 electronic grant application form.


Budget Guidelines

NCCAM’s practice is to provide partial support for all conference grants depending on the degree of relevance to current program priorities at the following three levels:

  1. Applications directly relevant to the Center’s mission, where the prominent focus is on complementary and integrative strategies (as determined by the NIH multiple-step peer review process), and NCCAM is the primary awarding institute/center (IC)—a maximum level of support up to $30,000 per year
  2. Applications highly relevant to and emphasizing the Center’s mission, where NCCAM’s role is designated as secondary or other assignee—a maximum level of support up to $15,000 per year
  3. Applications deemed moderately relevant to the NCCAM mission—support up to $5,000 per year. Criterion 3 also applies to conference grants cofunded with another IC.

A special interest of the Center is to support financial hardship considerations for registrants, presenters, and experts who are financially disadvantaged. Typically, these costs will be used to pay registration fees, travel, and accommodation costs for complementary health care trainees and practitioners, as well as conventional medical trainees who have demonstrated a commitment to the complementary health field, but are unable to afford the cost of attending the meeting or conference.

The Center enthusiastically endorses supporting the attendance of new investigators, women investigators, minority investigators, and investigators with disabilities.


Multiple-Year Applications

Applications for multiple-year awards may be submitted when a series of annual or biennial meetings is proposed by a sponsoring organization. The primary focus of a proposed meeting must be on the presentation of original scientific findings. Although NIH guidelines state a scientific meeting may be funded for up to 5 years, because of NCCAM budget uncertainties, the evolving NCCAM research agenda, and emerging complementary health areas, NCCAM will limit multiple-year awards to 3 years. Support for meetings to be held on a less frequent schedule must be applied for individually. The application should demonstrate plans to secure commitments from additional non-Federal funding sources.

For applications requesting multiple years of support, the following additional information must be provided for each future year requested, in as much detail as possible:

  • Meeting topic
  • Tentative dates, locations, and participants
  • Contingency plans for future meetings dependent on, for example, outcome of the first year’s meeting or developments in the field
  • A plan for attaining self-sufficiency

For awards covering multiple-year conferences, a shift in conference focus will preclude funding in subsequent years. This policy will be incorporated into the Terms and Conditions of all grant awards issued for multiple-year conferences.

Multiple-year awards require an annual progress report in the format of a Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) submitted prior to the next scheduled meeting. The PHS 2590 Grant Progress Report instructions and forms are available online at The PHS 2590 should include a progress report on the previous meeting, as well as a full description of the specific plans for the next award period and all information requested in the competing Notice of Grant Award Terms and Conditions. NCCAM program staff will evaluate these reports and plans in approving annual non-competing continuation awards.

The following terms will be stated on the Notice of Grant Award as applicable.


NCCAM Conference Grant Terms of Award

Conference Grant Information (R13):
The organization receiving an award assumes legal and financial responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and also for the performance of the supported activity. NCCAM does not intend to restrict the grantee to any set plan in developing meetings.

NIH policy requires the submission of the following reports to the awarding component within 90 days after the completion or termination of this grant:

  • Final Expenditure Report (SF-269) and Audit: An expenditure report is required from the grantee (usually the treasurer or other financial officer of the grantee organization). The grant account must be maintained separately, either on different ledgers or on different parts of ledgers, with substantiating invoices, receipts, and payrolls readily available at all times for Government audit. All records shall be retained for audit purposes for 3 years after audit is completed and all resulting questions are resolved, whichever occurs first.
  • Terminal Progress Report or copies of proceedings/publications: A report of the meeting must be prepared and three copies must be submitted to the awarding unit that supported the meeting within 90 days after the termination of the grant. The report should include (1) the grant number; (2) the title, date, and place of the meeting; (3) the name of the person shown on the application as the conference director, principal investigator, or program director; (4) the name of the organization that conducted the meeting; and (5) a list of the individuals who participated as speakers or discussants in the formally planned sessions of the meeting and their institutional affiliations. Copies of proceedings or publications resulting from the meeting, including items (1) through (5) listed above, may be substituted for the final progress report, with approval of the NIH awarding unit.

Failure to submit these required reports when due may result in the imposition of special award provisions or the withholding of support for other eligible projects or activities involving the grantee organization or the individual responsible for the delinquency.

Conference Grant Information (R13): Multiple-Year Application
The organization receiving an award assumes legal and financial responsibility and accountability both for the awarded funds and also for the performance of the supported activity. NCCAM does not intend to restrict the grantee to any set plan in developing meetings.

This award includes a funding commitment for future years. A shift in the conference focus will preclude funding in subsequent years. Future-year NCCAM support for this conference is contingent upon demonstration of successful performance.

Requirement: A non-competing application (PHS 2590) must be submitted no later than 6 months prior to the next scheduled meeting. The application should include a report on the previous meeting supported by the current grant award, as well as a full description of the next planned meeting including (1) meeting topic; (2) proposed dates, locations, and participants; (3) outcomes from the first year’s meeting or development in the field; and (4) demonstration of commitments from additional non-Federal funding sources.

Failure to submit these required reports, when due, may result in the withholding of support, imposition of special award provisions, or the withholding of support for other eligible projects or activities.



NCCAM Conference Grant Contacts

Discussions concerning potential NCCAM interest in sponsoring a conference, guidance regarding information required by NCCAM to approve an application, guidance regarding applications, and other inquiries should be addressed to the NCCAM program director responsible for the scientific area of the conference.

Permission to submit an application must be obtained by a letter from:

Dr. Clara Davis
Division of Extramural Research
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475

Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

George Tucker
Grants Management Officer
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Phone: 301-594-8738
Fax: 301-480-1552