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

applicant organization eligibility, pre-award process

2.5.3 Determining Applicant Organization Eligibility

All applicant organizations must complete the one-time eRA Commons registration process prior to submitting any application (paper or electronic) to the NIH. During the registration process, NIH may make a preliminary assessment of applicant organization eligibility. In an effort to streamline the registration requirements and reduce the administrative burden (i.e., time between registration submission and NIH's final determination), NIH urges potential applicants to consider the following eligibility considerations:

Applicants should be prepared to establish their eligibility to receive and administer all awards (that are applied for), and NIH reserves the right to deny registration if an organization is determined not to be an appropriate applicant for a particular FOA. NIH will not accept forms or other documentation bearing generic departmental signatures or their electronic equivalent (e.g., Department of Sponsored Research). All forms and documentation submitted to the NIH must reflect the name of the individual, electronic or otherwise, with the appropriate institutional authority to submit such information.

NIH awards may be made only to eligible applicants. Continued funding is dependent on the recipient's continued eligibility. In general, domestic or foreign, public or private, non-profit or for-profit organizations and individuals are eligible to receive NIH grants. However, on the basis of statutory, regulatory, or published policy limitations, under certain programs or types of awards, NIH may limit eligibility to, or exclude from eligibility, classes or types of entities. Examples are limitations on the participation of foreign entities, and programs under which only small businesses are eligible applicants. The determination of eligibility includes verification of the applicant's status. The applicant may be required to provide proof of its status by submitting documentation; otherwise the AOR's signature on the application certifies that the applicant is eligible to apply for and receive an award (e.g., a small business applying under the SBIR or STTR programs).

In addition to reviewing organizational eligibility, NIH may consider other factors relating to the applicant's ability to responsibly handle and account for Federal funds and to carry out the project. These factors include the applicant's intended role in the project, the location where the project will be performed, the role of the PD/PI in the project, and the PD/PI's employment and citizenship status. Although some of these same considerations are reviewed as part of the peer review, NIH's concern at this stage in the process is making an award to a legal entity that will be accountable for both the performance of the approved project or activity and the appropriate expenditure of funds. NIH will not make an award to an applicant that does not have a substantive role in the project and would simply serve as a conduit for another entity.