Freedom of Information Act Office
Information for Requesters Who Ask for a Grant Application
Requesters who ask for a grant application usually want to receive only material that will help in understanding the process that led to the award or to improve their own methods of drafting grant applications. Requesters usually do not want material that applicants believe would harm them if released or that would harm the award process.
Before releasing a funded grant application, we will ask the grantee for advice concerning patent rights and other confidential commercial or financial information. We will consider that advice and, if we agree, we will remove that information from the application before we release it. In addition, we will remove information that would be an invasion of personal privacy if released. The following is a list of the types of information we routinely redact from funded grant applications:
- Social security numbers
- Information that reflects an individual’s personal income (percentage of effort, institutional base salary)
- Information regarding pending or non-final support
- The source of any support received from non-public sources
- References to unpublished material
- Patentable or other commercially valuable information.
Some requesters also ask for a copy of the summary statement for a grant. The summary statement is a compilation of the opinions of the experts who reviewed the grant application for the NIH. NIH routinely redacts the score a grant application received (this is known as the priority score), the direct costs recommended, and the evaluation and opinion of the experts who reviewed the grant application. Redacting this information ensures that the experts are open and honest in their opinions.
The NIH also awards grants to domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Because of the nature of the information in these types of awards, we protect more information from them. In addition to the information listed above for all grants, we will also redact the following information from an SBIR/STTR grant application:
- Detailed budget information
- Information regarding consultants
- Information regarding the business assets of the grantee company
If you request a copy of a grant application, the information we have removed will be explained in our response letter to you. If you have any questions about what has been removed from a grant application, you are encouraged to contact the FOIA Coordinator who processed your request. A list of NIH FOIA Coordinators can be found at this site.