Application Submission Policies

Learn about the policies that may impact your application submission. 

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Due Dates on Holidays/Weekends

When a postmark/submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Note: NIH FOAs are posted with a short grace period which allows applications to be submitted even if the submission deadline shifts beyond the expiration date of the FOA. As always, applicants must check the eRA Commons to view their application and ensure it has successfully made it to NIH.

Late Applications

Permission is not granted in advance for submission of a late application. Late applications are accepted only in extenuating circumstances. If an application is submitted late, a cover letter explaining the reasons for the delay must be included with the signed, completed application. Late applications are evaluated on an individual basis considering the reasons provided. Contacting the Division of Receipt and Referral in advance will not influence the acceptance of a late application. See NIH Guide Notice dated December 17, 2014 - NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications.

Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues

Experiencing system issues with a federal system like ASSIST, Grants.gov, the System for Award Management (SAM), or NIH's eRA Commons that you believe threaten your ability to submit on time? NIH will not penalize applicants who experience confirmed system issues with federal systems that are beyond their control. However, you MUST follow our Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. See NOT-OD-13-054. Continuous Submission Policy An alternative submission policy is available for certain applications submitted listing as PD/PI individuals serving as appointed members of NIH chartered standing study sections, NIH Boards of Scientific Counselors, NIH Advisory Boards or Councils, NIH Program Advisory Committees, and/or peer reviewers who have served as regular or temporary members six times in 18 months. This policy applies to R01, R21, and R34 applications that would normally be received on standard application submission dates (not special receipt dates). See Continuous Submission.

Prior Agreement Required for $500,000+ Direct Costs

For applications requesting $500,000 or more direct costs for any year, applicants must seek agreement to accept assignment from Institute/Center staff at least 6 weeks prior to the anticipated submission of any application. See NIH Guide Notice dated October 16, 2001. This policy does not apply to applications submitted in response to RFAs or in response to other Announcements that include specific budgetary limits.

New Investigator R01 Applications

See NOT-OD-07-083 for special conditions and due dates for new investigator resubmission applications submitted for consecutive review cycles. Note these applies only to new investigator R01s submitted for standard receipt dates and reviewed in recurring study sections in CSR.

Post Submission Application Materials

NIH accepts limited information between the time of initial submission of the application and the time of initial peer review. See NOT-OD-13-030.

Resubmission Policy

NIH permits one resubmission of an unfunded application (see NOT-OD-09-016). Resubmissions (A1) must be submitted within 37 months of the new (A0) application (see NOT-OD-12-128).  

Following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate new application due date (see NOT-OD-14-074).

For more details on the Resubmission Policy visit the Resubmission webpage.  

Evaluation of Overlapping Applications

While NIH no longer limits the number of times you can submit an application with essentially the same content and scope as an earlier unsuccessful application, it is not allowable to have overlapping applications under review at the same time. NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-074 includes detailed guidance about NIH's submission policies.

Weather/Other Disasters

In case of severe weather or other disasters that result in the closure of institutions, NIH will often issue a notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.  These Notices routinely state that NIH understands the problems caused by the closures and that it is reasonable for applications to have an extension of time for the number of days the institution is closed; the reason for the delay must be documented in a cover letter.  Even if NIH does not issue such a Notice, the practice will apply for such institutional closings. See NIH Extramural Response to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies.

Paper Applications

Paper applications are not allowed for competing grant applications. They may only be submitted if required by the funding opportunity announcement.