AHRQ Announces Initial Plans to Transition to the SF 424(R&R) Application and Electronic Submission through Grants.gov

Notice Number: NOT-HS-06-003

Key Dates
Release Date: October 7, 2005

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced plans to transition to electronic submission of grants and use of the SF 424 Research and Related (R&R) new research application form to replace the PHS 398 (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-05-067.html). With this Notice, AHRQ informs the extramural research community and grant applicants of its plans to join NIH in this transition. AHRQ is announcing its initial plans to transition: 1) from the PHS 398 application form to the SF 424 (R&R) application form, and 2) to electronic submission of grant applications via Grants.gov , by the end of 2007.

Consistent with the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107) and, as part of the President's Management Agenda, which seeks to simplify Federal financial assistance application requirements and create a single website to apply for Federal assistance, AHRQ is transitioning to an electronic grant application. Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/) has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget as the single access point for all grant programs offered by 26 Federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov provides a single interface for agencies to announce their grant opportunities and for all grant applicants to find and apply for those opportunities.

To simplify the application process further, Federal Agencies involved in research and research-related grant funding have developed a common data set – the SF 424 Research and Research Related (R&R) application form. In collaboration with NIH, AHRQ has developed the following plan to transition from the PHS 398 application form to the SF 424 (R&R). This transition will occur in conjunction with the electronic receipt of competitive applications through Grants.gov .

AHRQ Transition Plan

This transition process is multi-faceted and will rely upon many pieces for its success. These include technical development of the Electronic Research Administration system housed at the NIH (also known as the eRA Commons) and Grants.gov systems; resolution of policy and operational issues; communication, training and outreach; and the acceptance of the change by our research partners in the extramural community.

AHRQ will transition to the SF 424 (R&R) form and electronic submission through Grants.gov by individual research funding mechanism. Funding Opportunity Announcements will be issued in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and posted in Grants.gov as mechanisms are transitioned. The transition by mechanism will include all active Funding Opportunity Announcements for that mechanism. Applications in response to these announcements will require electronic submission through Grants.gov .

Initial plans/milestones for submission dates and some key mechanisms are as follows:

December 20, 2005 -- Small Conference Grant Program (R13)

February 17, 2006 -- Research Dissertation Grant Program (R36)

July 24, 2006 —Small Research Grant Programs (R03)

October 1, 2006 —Research Project Grant Program (R01)

AHRQ will continue to communicate transition plans for other mechanisms as they evolve and will provide the community with ample notice of impending events. It is anticipated that the transition for health services research training and career development grant mechanisms other than the dissertation grant (e.g., K02, K08, F31, and F32) will occur after the R01 transition. Announcements of the transition for specific funding mechanisms will be made in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts .

Getting Started—Grants.gov & NIH eRA Commons Registration

To provide a secure environment, the submission of electronic applications AHRQ will require organizations to register with both Grants.gov and the NIH eRA Commons (https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/). Grants.gov registration provides the ability to submit applications electronically to 26 Federal grant-making agencies. NIH eRA Commons registration allows AHRQ to receive applications submitted through Grants.gov . It also provides a way for AHRQ and registered users to communicate electronically after submission.

Organizations are strongly encouraged to prepare themselves by completing registration in both Grants.gov and the NIH eRA Commons now.

Grants.gov Registration

Grants.gov requires a one-time registration. If an applicant organization has already completed Grants.gov registration for another Federal agency, they can skip this section and focus on the NIH eRA Commons registration steps noted below. For those applicant organizations still needing to register with Grants.gov , registration information can be found on the Grants.gov Get Started website (http://www.grants.gov/GetStarted). It can take some time to fully complete the registration process so applicant organizations are encouraged to start early .

Please direct questions regarding Grants.gov registration to the Grants.gov Contact Center at: 1-800-518-4726.   Contact Center hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

NIH eRA Commons Registration

In addition to Grants.gov registration, applicant organizations planning on submitting applications to AHRQ must also complete a one-time, two-step eRA Commons registration.

1. eRA Commons Registration for the Organization : Organizations may verify their current registration status by running the “List of Commons Registered Organizations” query found at: http://era.nih.gov/commons/. Organizations not yet registered can go to https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/registration/registrationInstructions.jsp for instructions. It generally takes several days to complete this registration process. This registration is independent of Grants.gov and may be done at any time.

2. eRA Commons Registration for the Principal Investigator (PI): The individual designated as the PI on the application must also be registered in the Commons. The PI must hold a PI account and be affiliated with the applicant organization. This registration must be done by an organizational official or their delegate who is already registered in the Commons. It is recommended that this registration process be completed at least 2 weeks prior to the submittal date of any Grants.gov submission. To register PIs in the Commons, refer to the eRA Commons User Guide found at: http://era.nih.gov/commons/index.cfm.

A more detailed description of the preparation of electronic submission and receipt processes, including eRA Commons registration, can be found at: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm.

A useful list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers related to electronic submission and receipt processes, including eRA Commons registration, can be found at: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/faq.htm.

Please direct questions regarding the NIH eRA Commons registration process to the NIH eRA Service Desk at phone: 301-402-7469/866-504-9552 (Toll Free); 301-451-5939 (TTY). Help desk hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.


In addition to the contact information listed above for Grants.gov and the eRA Commons , AHRQ welcomes the opportunity to answer questions about the transition process. Questions regarding the process should be directed as follows:

General E-Grants Transition:
George ‘Skip' Moyer
Office of Performance Accountability, Resources, and Technology

Application Receipt and Referral:
Gerald Calderone, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations

Peer Review:
Francis Chesley, M.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations

Grants Management:
Michelle Burr
Office of Performance Accountability, Resources, and Technology

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
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Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
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