REVISED OCTOBER 2018. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018

Application receipt information and deadlines, paper applications, electronically submitted applications, review and advisory group, recent substantial service, continuous submission, identical applications, similar applications, application non-conformity, submission requirements

2.3.9 Application Receipt Information and Deadlines

Applicants should carefully read instructions in the FOA and the application guide to determine submission requirements. The FOA will either provide unique application deadlines or refer to NIH's standard receipt dates.

NIH expects all applications (paper and electronic) to be submitted on time. Permission is not granted in advance for submission of a late application. Late applications are accepted only in extenuating circumstances. If an application is submitted late, a cover letter explaining the reasons for the delay must be included with the signed, completed application. Late applications are evaluated on an individual basis considering the reasons provided. Only DRR, CSR has the authority to accept a late application; however, contacting DRR in advance will not influence the acceptance of a late application. The NIH policy on late applications is stated in the applicable application instructions. Also see 2.3.9.2 - Electronically Submitted Applications, below.

2.3.9.1 Paper Applications

Paper application submission dates fall under two different categories: 1) Standard Postmark/Submission Dates (also known as "send by" dates) and 2) Special Receipt Dates (also known as "arrive by" dates) which are specified in RFAs and PAs.

Applications submitted for the standard submission dates are considered on time if they are sent on or before the appropriate date listed and a proof of mailing is provided. The critical determination is when the application is sent, not when it arrives at NIH. Proof of timely mailing consists of one of the following: a legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark, or a dated receipt from a commercial carrier or the USPS. Private metered postmarks are not acceptable.

All paper applications must be submitted via either courier delivery or the USPS. The number of copies specified in the application instructions or announcement must be submitted to the central NIH receipt point for CSR noted in Part III.

Preaddressed mailing address labels are available on the applicable forms page on the OER Web site.

Do not hand deliver your application to CSR. Applications delivered by individuals will not be accepted.

If the submission date falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, the date for receipt/mailing is extended to the next business day. The application will be on time if it is sent on or before the following business day. The ten Federal holidays are: New Years Day, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

A paper application submitted in response to an FOA with a unique receipt date (if one is specified in the FOA) must be received at NIH by the specified date. However, an application received after the deadline may be accepted if it carries a legible proof-of-mailing date assigned by the carrier not later than 1 week prior to the deadline date. This applies only to FOAs with specific, published receipt dates, i.e., dates other than the standard ones used for investigator-initiated applications. For FOAs using the standard submission dates, the policies described above for "send by" dates apply.

2.3.9.2 Electronically Submitted Applications

For applications submitted electronically for the Standard Submission Dates, on time submission means the electronic grant application must be successfully submitted to Grants.gov on or before 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the appropriate date listed.

Applications submitted to FOAs with a single submission date are considered on time if they are submitted to Grants.gov on or before 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the appropriate date listed. Applications submitted for Special Receipt Dates are considered on time if they are submitted to Grants.gov on or before 5 p.m. local time on the Grants.gov Closing Date. RFAs and PARs with special receipt dates always must be received by Grants.gov on the dates designated in the announcement.

If a submission date falls on a weekend, it will be extended to the following Monday; any time the date falls on a Federal holiday (see list of Federal holidays in Paper Applications above), the submission date will be extended to the following business day. The application will be on time if it is submitted on or before the following business day.

There is a two week window of consideration after the application due date, during which time NIH might consider accepting a late application (see details below). When the application due date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, and is extended to the next business day, the window of consideration for late submission of applications will be calculated from that business day. Acceptance of late applications will be made on a case-by-case basis, dependent upon the explanation provided in a cover letter submitted with the application.

NIH will not consider accepting late applications under the following circumstances:

Funding Opportunity Announcement Type

PA*

PAR

RFA

2 week

2 week

2 week

 

 

None if Application Due Dates Field States: "No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity AnnouncementA publicly available document by which a Federal Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the Agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.".

*Includes PAS: Program Announcement with Set-Aside Funds

NIH does not expect to accept any applications received beyond the window of consideration or for RFAs that specify no late applications will be accepted.

Please be aware that any reasons for late submission must be in relation to the individual(s) with the PD/PI role on the application. For multiple PD/PI (MPI) applications, the reasons may apply to any or all of the PD/PIs. This accommodation does not apply to co-Investigators, project leaders in a multi-component application, or other Key Persons listed in an application (unless they also have MPI status).

The windows of time for consideration of late applications have been carefully chosen so that the late applications can be processed with the cohort of on-time applications. Note that the late window always ends in a receipt (not submission) date.

Late applications are evaluated on an individual basis considering the reasons provided. Contacting the Division of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific Review (CSR), NIH in advance will not influence the acceptance of a late application. Additional information on submission of electronic applications can be found in the applicable SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

2.3.9.3 Modified Submission Policy for Appointed Members of NIH Review and Advisory Group and Reviewers with Recent Substantial Service

An alternative submission policy is available for certain applications submitted listing as PD/PI individuals serving as appointed members of NIH chartered standing study sections, NIH Boards of Scientific Counselors, NIH Advisory Boards or Councils, NIH Program Advisory Committees, and/or peer reviewers who have served as regular or temporary members six times in 18 months. This policy applies to R01, R21, and R34 applications that would normally be received on standard application submission dates (not special receipt dates); and allows for applications to be submitted as soon as they are fully developed. The applications will be reviewed no later than 120 days after receipt. Applications using the multiple PD/PI model, are eligible if one or more of the PD/PIs are eligible for continuous submission. Continuous submission does not apply to applications for which the eligible members have roles other than PD/PI, including eligible members as sponsors for fellowships and mentors for career award applications.

See frequently asked questions at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/faq_continuous_submission.doc.

2.3.9.4 Similar, Essentially Identical, or Identical Applications

Simultaneous submissions of identical applications to one or more components of the PHS are not allowed, and the NIH will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization for the same receipt date. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Likewise, identical or essentially identical grant applications submitted by different applicant organizations will not be accepted for the same receipt date. Applicant organizations should ascertain and assure that the materials they are submitting on behalf of the principal investigator are the original work of the principal investigator and have not been used elsewhere in the preparation and submission of a similar grant application. Applications to the NIH are grouped by scientific discipline for review by individual Scientific Review Groups and not by disease or disease state. The reviewers can thus easily identify multiple grant applications for essentially the same project. In these cases, application processing may be delayed or the application(s) may not be reviewed.

Essentially identical applications will not be reviewed except for: 1) individuals submitting an application for an Independent Scientist Award (K02) proposing essentially identical research in an application for an individual research project; 2) individuals submitting an individual research project identical to a subproject that is part of a program project or center grant application; 3) submissions of applications previously submitted to an RFA that were not paid or resubmissions of investigator-initiated applications originally submitted to an RFA (see Grants Policy Statement section 2.3.7.3); and 4) resubmissions of applications with a changed grant activity code.

2.3.9.5 Application Non-conformity

Applicants are reminded that non-conformity with application requirements can have serious consequences. NIH may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that does not conform with the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the Funding Opportunity AnnouncementA publicly available document by which a Federal Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the Agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts., and relevant NIH Guide Notices.

Some examples of how this policy is applied to NIH applications include but are not limited to:

  • Applications containing one or more biosketches that do not conform to the required format may be withdrawn.
  • Applications that do not conform to the page limit requirements because inappropriate materials have been included in other parts of the application may be withdrawn.
  • Applications submitted as new but containing elements of a resubmission or renewal application that do not conform with the resubmission policy and may be withdrawn.
  • Applications submitted after 5 PM local (applicant organization) time on the application due date may be withdrawn.

It is important to remember that these are just examples, and that all requirements specified in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the Funding Opportunity AnnouncementA publicly available document by which a Federal Agency makes known its intentions to award discretionary grants or cooperative agreements, usually as a result of competition for funds. Funding opportunity announcements may be known as program announcements, requests for applications, notices of funding availability, solicitations, or other names depending on the Agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov/FIND and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts., and relevant NIH Guide Notices are to be followed. Questions about application requirements can be directed to NIH "Grants Info" or the Division of Receipt and Referral.

If an application is withdrawn because it does not conform to the application preparation and submission instructions, a letter will be placed in the eRA Commons Status page for that application.