About Other Transactional Authority (OTA) Awards

What is an Other Transactions Authority?

An Other Transactions Authority (OTA) allows for Federal Government agencies to enter into Other Transactions (OTs).

What is an Other Transaction?

An Other Transaction (OT) is a unique type of legal instrument other than a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement. Generally, this awarding instrument is not subject to the FAR, nor grant regulations unless otherwise noted for certain provisions in the terms and conditions of award. It is, however, subject to the OT authority that governs the initiative as well as applicable legislative mandates.

Why are Other Transactions used instead of traditional funding mechanisms?

Reasons to use an OT may include a combination of the following, among others:

An Other Transactions Authority (statute’s citation);

Need for flexibility to negotiate terms and conditions appropriate for the specific program requiring fluid implementation;

Nontraditional review and award management practices are needed because the science is expected to be highly evolving, with requirements for additional aims or expertise added to, or removed from, the project throughout the term of execution;

Collaborative involvement by the NIH in the technical direction and oversight of the research, which can be akin to partnering (e.g., participation in progress reviews and decisions on future efforts or direction; government may be a voting or nonvoting member of the consortium);

Negotiate intellectual property rights; and/or

Participation sought by nontraditional research recipients, such as:

Patient advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical companies, foreign entities, or other organizations that are typically not inclined to work with the Federal Government;

Consortia comprised of various entities that collaborate as peers with the NIH to manage the project and share its costs;

Nonprofit entities that have an interest in the goals of the program; or


Where are NIH’s OT Research Opportunity Announcements located?

Research Opportunity Announcements may be found on NIH institutes, centers, or initiatives’ websites; the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts; sam.gov; and other locations known to industry for the specific research initiative. Additionally, NIH may reach potential applicants via other means, including but not limited to white papers, oral presentations, panel pitches, and targeted solicitations.

How are NIH Other Transactions applications evaluated?

All applications for Other Transactions are required to go through a scientific evaluation or an objective review. Contents of the evaluation or review are outlined in each Research Opportunity Announcement. Through a process that involves the thorough and consistent examination of applications based on an unbiased evaluation of scientific or technical merit or other relevant aspects of the proposal, each review is performed by persons expert in the field of endeavor for which support is requested and is intended to provide advice to the individuals responsible for making award decisions.

Who to contact for NIH Other Transactions?

Each Research Opportunity Announcement provides the names and contact information for those leading each initiative. General inquiries about NIH Other Transactions can be sent to NIHODOTA@nih.gov.