Reminder - No Hyperlinks and URLs in NIH Proposals

This is a reminder that hyperlinks and URLs are not allowed anywhere in an NIH proposal unless specifically allowed in a funding opportunity announcement (FOA). If included, NIH may withdraw the proposal from consideration. See The Do’s & Don’ts of Hyperlinks in Grant Applications, which provides further guidance.

The following is taken from the NIH formatting instructions:

  • Hyperlinks and URLs are only allowed when specifically noted in funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and form field instructions. The use of hyperlinks is typically limited to citing relevant publications in biosketches and publication lists. It is highly unusual for a FOA to allow links in Specific Aims, Research Strategy and other page-limited attachments.
  • Hyperlinks and URLs may not be used to provide information necessary to application review.
  • Reviewers are not obligated to view linked sites and are cautioned that they should not directly access a website (unless the link to the site was specifically requested in application instructions) as it could compromise their anonymity.
  • When allowed, you must hyperlink the actual URL text so it appears on the page rather than hiding the URL behind a specific word or phrase.


As always feel free to reach out to your SPA Project Officer if you have any questions.

September 15, 2020