*** REVISED ***


Release Date:  May 4, 2001 (Supercedes NOT-OD-01-012)

NOTICE:  NOT-OD-01-037

National Institutes of Health

In January 2001, NIH published a reminder regarding the format of grant and 
cooperative agreement applications.  In the recent receipt cycle, more than 
200 applications (of approximately 14,000 processed) were identified that did 
not meet the format requirements and these were returned for submission in 
the next cycle.  In an effort to continue to alert investigators and 
institutions to this topic, NIH is repeating this announcement and has 
expanded the frequently asked question section described below.  

The NIH will continue to screen applications for obvious problems with the 
required format.  When applications are identified that are not in 
compliance, the investigators will be contacted and given four business days 
to correct the problem.  If the application cannot be corrected in that time 
period, deferral to the next receipt and review cycle may be necessary.  This 
spot-checking will not necessarily identify all applications with format 
compliance problems.  If reviewers or other NIH staff identify noncompliant 
applications later in the process, applications may still be returned or 
deferred at that time.  

The main goal of the NIH is to identify and support the best possible 
biomedical and behavioral research in order to improve the health of all 
Americans.  The scale of the effort (over 46,000 competing applications 
received in fiscal year 2000) requires standards for application submission.  
The specific format instructions are:  

PHS 398:

PHS 416:  

Phase I SBIR and STTR:  

Phase II SBIR and STTR:  

These specifications allow all applicants comparable space and provide 
reviewers with applications that are easy to read, thus allowing them to 
concentrate on the scientific evaluation of the proposed research.  Most 
applications submitted to NIH adhere to these specifications and most 
principal investigators routinely use appropriate formatting and presentation 
to make their applications clear and easy to follow.  However, there are 
increasing complaints from study section members about applications that do 
not follow these specifications.  Furthermore, NIH is increasing its use of 
scanning applications as an intermediate step in the transition to electronic 
applications.  For scanning to be accurate and cost-effective, it is 
important that applications follow the format specifications.  

In an effort to ensure that all applications meet the stated format 
requirements, NIH is undertaking the following steps:  

o  Instituting  spot-checking of competing grant applications for adherence 
to format requirements.    When applications are identified that are not 
compliant, investigators will be contacted and allowed four business days to 
correct the problem.  If investigators are not able to correct the problem in 
this time, the application may be delayed in the review process.  If problems 
are identified later in the review process, applications may be deferred or 

o  Establishing a dedicated email address (format@mail.nih.gov) for questions 
regarding the format of applications, including type size, page limits, and 
margins.  Although each application kit clearly specifies these 
specifications, this will provide an additional opportunity for 

o  Please note that the central email address for other questions on grant 
applications remains grantsinfo@nih.gov.  

o  Establishing a site with frequently asked questions about application 
format: http://www.peacetech.com/phsforms/.

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

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