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The majority of competing applications now require electronic application submission. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to which you are applying will identify whether you must submit electronically or use paper submission. Note that paper submissions require use of the PHS 398 application form, while electronic submission requires the SF424 (R&R) application. Make sure to read instructions in the Funding Opportunity Announcement and the application guide to determine submission requirements.
Submitting Your Competing Grant Application
- Submission dates. The FOA provides discrete application deadlines or will refer to NIH’s standard due dates.
- Late applications. NIH expects applications to be submitted on-time. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications applies both to paper and electronically submitted grant applications.
Electronic Application Submission
Do your homework. Take the time to understand the process. Electronic submission involves two separate systems working together – Grants.gov and eRA Commons. The Applying Electronically website and the application guide will walk you through every step of the process.
Develop a submission plan. Institution administrators and principal investigators should work together to come up with a submission plan. Think about:
- What funding opportunity announcement should be used?
- Who will be responsible for completing the different forms within the application?
- How will the application file be shared between different contributors (e.g. email attachment, placed on shared drive, copied to portable media)?
When must the forms be completed in order to allow time for the actual submission?
- Prepare to submit. Electronic submission requires institutions to register with Grants.gov and NIH eRA Commons (Grants.gov registration; eRA Commons registration). Principal Investigators (PIs) also will need to make sure they are registered with the eRA Commons (Creating PI Account).
Registration can take 8 weeks or more – start early!
Verify successful submission. Your Authorized Organization Representatives submits your SF424 (R&R) application to Grants.gov. The NIH will retrieve your application and process it into our own electronic system, the eRA Commons. Part of that process includes actually assembling the data and PDF attachments submitted into a cohesive application. You will be able to login to eRA Commons to see if any “errors” or “warning” were identified for your submission. An application must be error-free to complete the electronic submission process.
You are responsible for checking eRA Commons to ensure successful submission of your application!
See Check Submission Status for details.
- See Check Submission Status for details.
View your assembled application. Once an error-free application is received, NIH holds that application for two days (Monday-Friday, excluding Federal holidays) to allow submitters and PIs a chance to view the final assembled application in eRA Commons. This is your first opportunity to see the application just as a reviewer will see it – take advantage of it!
- See Check Assembled Application for details.
Paper Application Submission
Confirm submission requirements. The majority of competing applications now require electronic submission; however, there still are a few grant programs that accept paper. Check your opportunity announcement carefully for submission requirements prior to using the paper PHS 398 application format.
Pack it. Use one package (including all copies) per application.
Send it. All applications and other deliveries must be submitted either via courier delivery or via the US Postal Service (USPS) to the NIH at:
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040 - MSC 7710
Bethesda, Md. 20892-7710 (regular USPS or USPS Express mail)
Bethesda, Md. 20817 (other courier/express mail delivery)
- Do not hand deliver your application. Applications delivered by individuals to the Center for Scientific Review will not be accepted.
Related NIH Guide Notices:
- Grants Information. The Grants Information office provides general information to the biomedical research community about NIH extramural research and research training programs, grant application procedures and process, and other general research grant information.
Division of Communications and Outreach
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
Telephone : (301) 710-0267
FAX: (301) 480-0525
Progress reports usually are required annually as part of the non-competing continuation award process, although NIH may require these reports more frequently. The Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report (PHS 2590) form is used for this purpose. Many awards are issued under the SNAP, or Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process; progress reports for SNAP awards must be submitted electronically using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module in the eRA Commons. To determine if an award is subject to SNAP and must be submitted using RPPR, refer to the Notice of Award, Section II Terms and Conditions. A limited number of awards are Multi-Year Funded (MYF). MYF awards are not subject to a non-competing award process, but NIH will usually require a Progress Report in order to evaluate and monitor recipient progress.
To determine when a progress report is due, there are several tools available:
- Web queries: NIH provides 2 web queries by IPF, Institutional Profile Number (See Definition) and by Institution Name.
- eRA Commons Status
- Electronic Notifications: The Principal Investigator is sent an e-mail 2 months before the scheduled due date. In the event a progress report is not submitted on time, a reminder e-mail is sent to the PI.
The Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) is now required for progress reports on applications subject to SNAP and for electronically submitted Fellowships. RPPR replaced the eSNAP progress reports for SNAP awards and PHS 416-6 for Fellowship progress reports in May, and will eventually replace the use of the PHS 2590 for non-SNAP awards. For more information, please see the RPPR page, including FAQs and Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-061 .
- SNAP progress reports must be submitted at least 45 days before the beginning date of the next budget period.
- Fellowship progress reports must be submitted at least 2 months before the beginning date of the next budget period.
- RPPR is accessed through the eRA Commons.
See the RPPR User Guide for assistance.
If a progress report for a Multi-Year Funded (MYF) award is due, the status search results screen in eRA Commons will have the following hyperlink in the Action column: "Multi-Year Progress Report." Once the user selects the link, the system will provide a screen where the recipient may upload a PDF of the PHS 2590. Instructions regarding which sections of the 2590 are required will be included in the electronic notification sent to the recipient two months before the report is due.
The due date for a MYF progress report is generally the anniversary date of the award.
Note: NIH will be implementing the RPPR for MYF awards in the near future and will announce the availability of a MYF RPPR in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. When available the MYF RPPR and instructions will be posted on the NIH Instructions for Progress Reports for MYF Awards site.