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Once the AOR submits the application to Grants.gov, the Grants.gov system performs very basic checks on the application.
NIH systems retrieve the application from Grants.gov and check the application against NIH business rules. If no errors are found, the application will be assembled in the eRA Commons for viewing by the applicant before moving on for further NIH processing.
If errors are found, the applicant will be notified in the eRA Commons. They must make required changes to the local copy of their application and submit again through Grants.gov. Once you can see your application in the Commons, be sure to review it carefully as this is what the reviewer will see.
See graphical overview of process and read below for detail on each step.
Rules governing submission
- Reminder: Applicant institutions must complete all Grants.gov and eRA Common's registration requirements prior to submission.
- The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) registered in Grants.gov is the only official with the authority to submit applications through Grants.gov.
- Error-free applications must be submitted to Grants.gov by 5 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the submission/receipt date. If the submission/receipt date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the date will automatically extend to the next business day.
Steps for submitting an application
- View detailed steps for submitting an application
- View detailed steps for submitting an application with screenshots (MS Word - 255 KB)
Email notifications from Grants.gov and NIH
Applicants will receive multiple emails regarding the status of their submission. Since e-mail can be unreliable, applicants must proactively check the eRA Commons for the status of their application if they do not receive e-mail notifications within a day of submission.
It is the responsibility of each applicant to proactively check the status of their applications in the eRA Commons after submission:
Steps for PI to track application
- View detailed steps for PI to track submission status
- View detailed steps for PI to track submission status with screenshots (MS Word - 250 KB)
Steps for AOR/SO to track application
- View detailed steps for AOR/SO to track submission status
- View detailed steps for AOR/SO to track submission status with screenshots (MS Word - 307 KB)
eRA-identified errors stop the application from processing and must be corrected by the submission deadline in order for the application to move forward in the submission process. (Note: eRA-identified warnings do not stop the application from further processing and may be corrected before the deadline at the applicant’s discretion.)
- Correcting Errors/Warnings: View Detailed Steps for Correcting eRA Errors/Warnings
Prior to the submission deadline, the eRA system does not limit the number of changed/corrected applications that may be submitted. However, once the submission deadline has passed, NIH’s Division of Receipt and Referral will not accept an applicant’s request to withdraw an application. At this point, applicants will be advised to consider alternative funding opportunities or to submit for a later due date.
Notes on Viewing Application in eRA Commons
Once an error-free application is received, the eRA system will assemble an image of the grant application and will post the assembled image in the PI’s eRA Commons account. (Note: whereas eRA-identified errors prevent the assembling of an application image, eRA-identified warnings do not prevent an image from being assembled and posted in the PI’s account.)It is the responsibility of the applicant to view the application image, as the image is the applicant’s chance to view the application as it will be seen by Reviewers. The assembled application can be viewed by logging in to Commons (https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/).
- Applicants are allotted a two-business-day application viewing window in order to view the application in the eRA Commons. The viewing window begins with the Agency’s e-mail notification to the applicant that the application is ready for viewing in Commons. NOTE: e-mail can be unreliable. NIH recommends frequently checking the eRA Commons for the assembled application image. For example, if you submit your application on Monday, then you have all day Tuesday and Wednesday to view the application. The application will move forward automatically at 12:01 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Thursday morning for further processing. To view the application image, click the link labeled “e-Application” in the Other Relevant Documents section of a particular grant’s detailed status information screen.
- If the application is acceptable, no further action is necessary, and the application will move forward automatically to the Division of Receipt and Referral for processing at the end of the two-day viewing window.
- If something is amiss in the application image, the AOR/SO may reject the application within the two-day viewing window.
Rejecting an Application:
The AOR/SO has the ability to reject the application within the two-business-day application viewing window if:
- He or she desires to address warnings
- To submit a changed/corrected application if the assembled application in eRA Commons does not correctly reflect the submitted application package due to system issues with eRA Commons or Grants.gov (i.e. some part of the application was lost during the submission process or did not transfer correctly).
If the AOR/SO plans to reject the application because of a system issue, the AOR/SO should first contact the eRA Commons Helpdesk to confirm the system error, document the issue, and determine the best course of action. Applicants will not be penalized for confirmed NIH or Grants.gov system issues.
Rejecting an Application Prior to the Submission Deadline:
The AOR/SO can reject the application and submit a changed/corrected application to Grants.gov before the submission deadline. No cover letter is required.
Rejecting an Application After the Submission Deadline:
If the AOR/SO rejects the application after the deadline for any reason other than an NIH system issues, the AOR/SO can submit a changed/corrected application to Grants.gov but the application will be subject to the NIH late policy and may not be accepted. A cover letter must be attached to the application, explaining why the application is late.
Steps for Rejecting an Application