NIH/AHRQ to Update/Post FOAs with New SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398 Electronic Forms

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-078

Key Dates
Release Date: June 22, 2006

Update: The following updates relating to this announcement have been issued:

  • September 15, 2006 - Notice (NOT-OD-06-103) NIH/AHRQ Now Using Version 2 of SF424 (R&R) and Agency-Specific Electronic Forms For SBIR/STTR, Conferences/Scientific Meetings, and Other Specific Funding Opportunities.
  • July 27, 2006 (NOT-OD-06-087) - See SF424(R&R) Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile Form Issue – Workaround for Adding More Than Eight Senior/Key Persons.
  • July 13, 2006 (NOT-OD-06-085) - See NIH/AHRQ Reminder to Use Updated SF424 (R&R) and Agency-Specific Electronic Forms in Reposted FOAs.

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and NIH/AHRQ recently have made changes to the standard SF424 (R&R) and agency-specific PHS 398 electronic form components used for the electronic submission of grant applications. The forms changes provide greater consistency between forms and align the forms with current policy.

Among the changes are:

  • Four new sections of the PHS 398 Research Plan have been added: Inclusion Enrollment Report and Progress Report Publication List are now separate attachments. These were previously part of section 4. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report. They have been separated out to avoid being counted in the page limit validations. In addition, new distinct sections have been added for Select Agent Research and Multiple PI Leadership Plan. Some of the previous sections have been renumbered accordingly. The other change to the Research Plan Component eliminates the separate section for Data and Safety Monitoring. This is now incorporated as a subtopic within section 8. Protection of Human Subjects.
  • PHS 398 Checklist component has been modified to remove the itemized list of policies, assurances, and certifications that appeared on the form. Instead, applicants are instructed to consult a specific website.
  • State Code List has been updated to include US possessions, territories, and Military Codes
  • Address field for Province has been added
  • Enumeration values containing abbreviations and full descriptions have been standardized with a value format of abbreviation, colon space, full description (e.g. AK: Alaska)
  • Type of Applicant pick-list expanded (SF424 (R&R) cover component field 7)
  • Field length adjustments have been made to:
    • Congressional District
    • Employer Identification (EIN/TIN)
      Note the agency-specific instruction has also been revised to request the full 12-digit number be entered when one has already been established for grant awards.
    • Organization name
    • Opportunity ID
    • Competition ID
  • form hover text has been updated

The forms changes will be included in all new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that NIH/AHRQ posts. Over the next few months, NIH/AHRQ also will update existing FOAs that use the older forms and are open for multiple receipt dates.

Until all FOAs can be modified to use the new forms, we will need to maintain and support two form packages and their associated application instructions.

Our forms update plan and its affect on applicants is as follows:

  • For new FOAs (Release/Posted Date after June 15), the process is straight forward. The application package attached to the FOA will already contain the new forms and application guide. Make sure the application guide available for download with the forms is used. No other special action is needed.
  • For older FOAs (Release/Posted Date before June 15), the process becomes more complicated.
    • FOAs that have a single receipt date (typically NIH/AHRQ RFAs and PARs) will be evaluated and, in most cases, will be allowed to close naturally with no change to the associated form package. No special action needs to be taken.
    • For older FOAs with multiple receipt dates, you will need to pay close attention to the form set used to create the application package to be submitted. NIH is targeting July 5-15 to update older FOAs for the R03, R15, R21, R21/R33, R33 and R34 grant programs and September 9-15 to update older FOAs for the R43/R44 and R13/U13 grant programs with the new form packages. Once the new form packages are in place for a particular FOA, the old form packages will no longer be accepted by Any application “in the works” will need to be moved to the new form package (i.e., download new forms and cut-and-paste content from one form to the other). If your business office provides to Principal Investigators versions of the form packages that are pre-populated with your organizations information, you will want to make sure your form package templates are updated. We have timed the updates to occur well in advance of the next standard receipt date of each grant program to provide enough lead time to take any necessary actions.
  • To assist you in identifying the form version used to create an application package, NIH/AHRQ will populate the Competition ID of new forms packages with the label “Version-2-Forms”. The Competition ID appears at the top of the page when you open an application package with the PureEdge viewer. Similarly, the appropriate application guides will be labeled Version 1 and Version 2 on the cover page and within the footers.
  • There will be a short period of time when both the old and new form packages will be available for download. Whenever there is a choice, the package labeled “Version-2-Forms” in the Competition ID field should be used. To help in the transition, NIH will develop a splash screen that will alert users to select the Version 2 package. However, the splash screen only will be visible when using the NIH Guide and the download button from within the NIH Guide FOA to find and download opportunities.

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the NIH Electronic Submission of Grant Applications website and the eSubmission listservs will be used as the primary communication channels for these activities. This notice serves as a “heads-up” of our future implementation plans. Additional notices will be sent when these updates take place. When changes are made to the FOAs, anyone that subscribed to receive notification of changes when they downloaded an application package also will receive an automated email from

The following resources continue to be available for assistance in the electronic submission of grant applications to NIH/AHRQ through

General Information: Customer Support
Phone: 800-518-4726
Hours: M-F 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. ET

eRA Service Desk
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Hours: M-F 7:00 a.m.– 8:00 p.m


Inquiries regarding this Notice should be directed to:

Grants Info
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
Phone: 301-945-7573
TTY: 301-451-5936