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Engagement and Access for Research-Active Institutions (EARA)

Publishing Date
February 20, 2024

EARA is a navigation and communication-focused initiative that enhances outreach and connections between Research-Active Institutions (RAIs) and NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) to: 

  • Provide information about and aid RAIs in navigating existing NIH resources and opportunities.
  • Foster bilateral engagement and communication between RAIs and NIH ICOs. 

Specifically, EARA aims to: 

  1. Strengthen RAI awareness and utilization of NIH resources and funding opportunities 
  2. Enhance information-sharing and collaboration for RAI engagement and support across NIH ICOs 
  3. Build relationships between NIH and RAIs and broaden participation of RAIs in the NIH ecosystem

EARA Pilot Project

In calendar year 2024, COSWD, with the help of NIH ICO partners, will work intensively with a group of approximately 12 selected RAIs that volunteer to engage in enhancing their knowledge and utilization of NIH funding opportunities. These RAIs can include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), in keeping with the CHIPS and Science Act; and rural institutions in IDeA states. 

You're Invited—EARA Video 


Research-Active Institutions
Research-Active Institutions (RAIs) are defined as institutions that: 

  1. Have a documented mission to serve populations underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research – including populations identified in NOT-OD-20-031 
  2. Award degrees in the health professions or the sciences related to health, or in STEM fields including social and behavioral sciences, and 
  3. Have received an average of no more than $25 million (total costs) of NIH Research Project Grant (RPG) support for the past three fiscal years.

Resources for RAIs

COSWD will also periodically share information on resources, events, and other opportunities with all interested RAIs. Below are a few opportunities of potential interest.

To access a full list of NIH funding opportunities visit

Why EARA Was Created

NIH acknowledges that enabling full, innovative contributions to the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise requires that a broad and diverse range of institutions have the appropriate foundation for success. The basis of an institution’s success depends on having sufficient resources, awareness of funding opportunities, and knowledge about how to secure such funding.

NIH also recognizes the important role RAIs play in supporting scientific research and providing health care in underserved communities. These institutions are uniquely positioned to engage these populations in research and support the translation of research advances into culturally competent, measurable, and sustained improvements in health outcomes, but often lack the research infrastructure and capacity to conduct cutting edge health-related research.

Developed in response to a recommendation from the NIH UNITE initiative, EARA aims to address awareness and access barriers that RAIs face in enhancing research capacity and infrastructure, accelerating research progress, and addressing disparities in research opportunities and outcomes.

View our Scientific Workforce Diversity Seminar Series (SWDSS) event on the critical role of RAIs in enhancing scientific workforce diversity.

Questions? Please contact us at