Dealing with System Issues

Experiencing system issues with ASSIST, Grants.gov (downloadable forms, Workspace, application processing), System for Award Management (SAM), or NIH's eRA Commons that you believe threaten your ability to submit on time? NIH will not penalize applicants who experience confirmed issues beyond their control with federal systems.

Reports of system issues will be investigated on a case-by-case basis. If the eRA Service Desk confirms a system issue, your application will not be considered late as long as you have contacted the service desk and work diligently with the support desk to resolve your problems as quickly as possible. Applicants that fail to document their issues on or before the submission deadline or that do not have a confirmed system issue will be subject to the standard NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications

BE ADVISED - Problems with computer systems at the applicant organization, failure to follow instructions in the Application Guide, Funding Opportunity Announcement, related notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts or failure to complete required registrations by the submission deadline are not considered system issues. NIH is under no obligation to accept applications that are late for these reasons.

You MUST follow the instructions below to document and confirm your issues, in order for your submission to be considered under this policy:

  • Contact the appropriate system support desk that can help you resolve the issue
    • We expect applicants to respond quickly (within one business day) to support desk requests for action to resolve the issue and complete your submission
  • Open a ticket with the eRA Service Desk to document your good faith effort to submit (even if your issue is with a non-eRA system)  
  • Document in your application cover letter the confirmed system issue, support desk ticket numbers, and the actions taken to resolve the issue

Important notes for documenting your issues…

  • Be sure to include as much information as possible in your help request.
  • Applicants with multiple Grants.gov tracking numbers should include all relevant numbers when contacting the help desks.

Examples of events that may be considered 'System Issues':

  • Messages in eRA Commons that specifically say "System Error"
  • Significant Grants.gov service interruption on deadline day lasting multiple hours
  • Significant eRA service interruption on deadline day lasting multiple hours
  • Failure of Grants.gov to process an application within half a business day
  • Failure of eRA systems to process an application within half a business day
  • Inability to complete SAM registration or renewal due to a SAM technical problem despite working on it for 6 weeks or more

Examples of events that would NOT be considered 'System Issues':

  • Failure to follow funding opportunity instructions
  • Failure to follow application guide instructions
  • Failure to follow related notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
  • Failure to complete required organization or investigator registrations prior to deadline
  • Failure to correct Grants.gov or eRA identified errors/warnings by the deadline
  • Local internet problem at institution on deadline day
  • Problems with local submission system (e.g., system-to-system solution)
  • Grants.gov AOR not authorized to submit for organization
  • Unable to see final application status (errors/warnings or image) in Grants.gov or eRA Commons within half a business day of submission.  (See System Issue bullet above for greater than half a business day)
  • Forgot credentials
  • Discovered application image issue after the application viewing window
  • Failure to notify the eRA Service Desk of submission issues by deadline or of application image issues within application viewing window.
  • Rejected/Refused an application by accident
  • Did not receive Grants.gov or eRA notifications, but status available in Grants.gov and eRA Commons