Reminder of NIH’s Policy for Handling Electronic System Issues that Threaten On-Time Grant Application Submission

Notice Number: NOT-OD-13-054

Key Dates
Release Date: April 9, 2013

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The submission of a grant application is a process that requires applicant organizations to register and interact with a number of Federal electronic systems, including NIH’s electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons,, and the System for Award Management (SAM). Each of these systems is managed by a different Federal agency and has different help desks. On occasion, technical problems with one of these Federal systems could result in an applicant failing to meet the grant application due date. This Guide Notice serves as a reminder of NIH policies regarding the submission of late applications if a system issue beyond an applicant’s control is suspected as the cause of the late application.

Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues
If the on-time submission of an application is being threatened by a system issue that is beyond their control, applicants must follow the NIH guidelines for reporting the issue. System issues are defined as technical problems with Federal systems that keep an applicant from successfully submitting their grant application on time. Problems with computer systems at an applicant organization or a non-government third party are not considered system issues, nor are failures to complete any required registration by the submission deadline.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit well before the submission deadline (days, not hours) and to remember that on high volume submission due dates, it may take a few hours for the application to process through both and eRA Commons. Applicants should be sure to take this processing time into consideration and leave enough time to make any corrected submissions that might be needed to ensure submission of an error-free application by the deadline.

Applicants encountering system issues should work with the appropriate help desk to resolve the problem. If the system issue threatens the ability to submit an on-time application, applicants must report the system issue to NIH’s eRA Help Desk on or before the deadline. Reports of system issues will be investigated on a case by case basis. If the eRA Help Desk confirms the problem is a system issue, the application will not be considered late as long as the applicant works diligently with the Help Desk to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

All applications submitted after the deadline must include a cover letter documenting the confirmed system issue, relevant Help Desk ticket numbers, and the action(s) taken to resolve the issue(s).
Applicants that fail to document their issues on or before the submission deadline will be subject to the NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications.


Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Grants Information
Telephone: (301) 710-0267