Optional Electronic Submission Method to Request to Submit An Unsolicited Application That Will Exceed $500,000 In Direct Costs

Notice Number: NOT-OD-17-005

Key Dates
Release Date: October 6, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


NIH has a longstanding policy that states any applicant requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs (excluding consortium F&A costs) in any one budget period within a competitive segment is required to contact the NIH Institute or Center (IC) Program Official (PO), in writing or by telephone, as early as possible during development of the application but no later than 6 weeks before submission for prior approval. Since NIH supports projects with large budgets, the purpose of this policy is for fiscal planning and therefore it provides NIH ICs the appropriate amount of time to consider the possibility of such awards as early as possible in the budget and program planning process.

This notice informs NIH applicants that requests to submit an unsolicited application that will exceed $500,000 in direct costs will now have an option to submit this request electronically through eRA Commons, under a new Prior Approval Module.

After initial communication with the NIH, a PO may open up a request form for the Principal Investigator (PI) in eRA Commons. The PI will complete the form and submit it back to the initiating PO for review.

Instructions for how to use this new system can be found in the Prior Approval User Guide. For more information on the policy, see section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Please note that this notice does not reflect a change in policy. This notice is only being issued to identify an optional submission process change in line with NIH’s efforts to move toward electronic submission of prior approval requests.


General inquiries about this notice may be directed to:

Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
National Institutes of Health
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301-435-0938
Email: GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov

Please direct all technical-related inquiries to:

eRA Service Desk
Telephone: 1-866-504-9552