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As a part of ongoing efforts to reduce the administrative costs and burden on applicants and grantees, the NIH has reviewed its policy regarding the receipt date of competing applications (PHS 398). In the past, the NIH required that grant, fellowship, and cooperative agreement applications be received on specific published "receipt dates." A consequence of this policy has been that many applicants felt compelled to submit applications via express shipping or courier service. To simplify and minimize the cost associated with application submission, the NIH is making the following policy change:
Unsolicited Applications: Effective January 2, 1997, an application will be considered on time if it is received by or mailed on or before the published receipt date and a proof of mailing is provided. Proof of timely mailing consists of one of the following: a legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark; or a dated receipt from a commercial carrier or the U.S. Postal Service. Private metered postmarks are not acceptable. The receipt dates for unsolicited investigator-initiated applications as published in the competing application kit (PHS 398) remain unchanged. It is hoped that this will lead to delivery methods that are timely but more economical in practice.
Solicited Applications and Proposals: Solicited applications and proposals continue under the previous policy. Applications must be received by the specified dates. However, an application received after the deadline may be acceptable if it carries a legible proof-of-mailing date assigned by the carrier and the proof-of-mailing is not later than one week prior to the deadline date. These include Request for Applications (RFAs); Program Announcements (PAs) with specified receipt dates, such as Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREAs), Small Business Innovation Research applications (SBIRs), and Small Business Technology Transfer applications (STTRs); and Request for Proposals (RFPs).
Noncompeting Applications: This new policy also applies to the noncompeting continuation application (PHS 2590). The receipt submission dates identified in the noncompeting continuation application remain unchanged. Grantees are reminded that noncompeting applications should be received in time for orderly processing of noncompeting awards. This is particularly critical during peak workload times at Institute or Center grants management offices
This policy announcement supersedes the PHS Grants Policy Statement (rev. 5/95), section 4-14, and the competing application kit (PHS 398), page 22.
Questions regarding the receipt of competing applications procedures may be directed to:
Division of Research Grants
For issues relating to noncompeting applications, Institute or Center grants
management offices should be contacted.