Public FAQs  Public FAQs
  NIH Staff FAQs  NIH Staff FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Late Application Submission Policy
Initial Posting: June 25, 2015
Last Revised: June 25, 2015

  1. What is NIH's policy regarding the submission of late grant applications?

    Late applications are accepted only under extenuating circumstances. 

    See NIH Guide Notice dated December 17, 2014 - NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications

  2. Can I get approval in advance from NIH to submit my application late?
    No. Permission to submit late is not granted in advance. If an application is submitted late, a cover letter explaining the reasons for the delay must be included with the signed, submitted application. The information included in the cover letter will be used to evaluate application acceptance on a case-by-case basis.

    Note: Cover letters are maintained separately from the assembled application image and are only made available to a small subset of staff, mainly receipt and referral and review staff. Reviewers are never given access to cover letter information.
  3. I provide temporary/ad hoc reviewer service. Are any provisions made if my service impacts my ability to submit my application on time?
    There is a two-week late window of consideration during which your application may be accepted. Per NOT-OD-15-039, temporary or ad hoc service by a PD/PI on an NIH advisory group which occurs during the two months preceding or the two months following the application due date typically allows the applicant to submit within the two-week late window.  
    For example, if you were a temporary/ad hoc reviewer for an NIH study section that ended on April 3, 2015, then you would not be able to submit within the two-week late window for the June 5, 2015 R01 due date since your service was more than two months prior to the due date. However, service provided between April 5, 2015 (two months preceding) and August 5, 2015 (two months following) would allow your application to be considered within the two-week window.
    • Applying to an RFA and PAR with special due dates published/posted on or before December 17, 2014 follow NOT-OD-11-035 (i.e., no late window of consideration applies to these FOAs)
    • Applying to an FOA which includes the text "No late applications will be accepted for this funding opportunity announcement"
    • You fail to document your service and reason for being late in the cover letter attachment included with your application.
  4. NOT-OD-15-039 states that some funding opportunity announcements will follow terms listed in the new late policy while some older FOAs will follow terms listed in the old late policy. How do I tell whether my FOA follows terms of the new or the old late policy?

    It depends on the type of Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and when it was published (posted):

    • RFAs and PARs with special due dates published/posted on or before December 17, 2014 follow NOT-OD-11-035 (i.e., no late window of consideration)

    • FOAs with standard due dates follow NOT-OD-15-039 (i.e., two week late window of consideration)

    • RFAs published on or after December 18, 2014 follow NOT-OD-15-039 (i.e., Two week late window of consideration unless this language is found in the application due date field “No late applications will be accepted for this funding opportunity announcement.”) 
  5. The policy says there is a two week late window after the due date during which time NIH might accept a late application. How is that late window calculated?

    Applications may be accepted within two weeks of the due date, so if the due date is on the 1st of the month, applications could be accepted for two weeks (through the 15th of the month) for funding opportunity announcements that can accommodate late receipt of applications.  

    If the due date or the end of the late window falls on a holiday, weekend, or NIH Office closure the late window will be adjusted in accordance with our standard submission policies. For example, if the due date is the 1st of the month and falls on a holiday, the new due date will be the 2nd of the month and the late window will run from the 3rd to 16th. Similarly, if the end of the late window is the 15th and falls on a day when Federal offices are closed, the end of the late window would move to the next business day.

  6. I'm a reviewer, can i submit my application late?

    Most funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have a two-week late window of consideration during which time an application can be submitted.  However, the terms are very specific, and don’t apply to some Requests for Applications (RFAs). Examples of reasons why late applications might be accepted include Review Service, Illness, Natural Disasters etc. However, no advance permissions can be given for late applications. You should list your reasons in the cover letter with your application and the decision will be made on a case-by-case basis. You should read the NIH late policy in the NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-15-039 for an explanation of how the policy may apply to you. 

    In addition, some reviewers have continuous submission eligibility because they are appointed to an NIH review group such as a study section or institute advisory council or have “recent substantial service.”  Under continuous submission, these reviewers may submit R01, R21, and R34 applications with standard due dates at any time during the council round.  Read the NIH continuous submission policy in both NOT-OD-17-042 and NOT-OD-18-178 if this policy applies to you.   

Technical Issues: E-mail OER Webmaster