See the Glossary for more terms.
Strategy for NIH Funding
Timing for Picking and Designing Your Project · Strategy to Pick a Project
Pages of Part 2. Pick and Design a Project
Make sure ahead of time that everything will be in place when you are ready to apply.
This resource page gives you details about the information introduced at Timing for Picking and Designing Your Project, including steps you'll need to take to be ready to apply electronically and information about deadlines and qualifying for continuous submission.
This document is appropriate for any research grant using electronic submission.
(This page has factual information only.)
Most activity codes use electronic application, though multiproject grants and a few others use paper. To be sure, read the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
Your institution has to sign up for an eRA Commons account.
Get deadlines and other information from your grants business office.
Ask your business office what approach it uses to submit electronic applications.
For example, your institution may have its own proprietary system that you will need to access. If this is the case, be alert for how the timing and instructions may differ from NIH's description for Adobe forms.
You may need extra lead time for training on how to use your organization's system. And your business office's role might require additional or different internal due dates for you to finish your part of the application. That's why you should find out about deadlines so you can plan ahead.
Keep in mind that some of NIH's instructions may not match how your organization's system works. NIH describes applying directly to Grants.gov using the grant application package. Your proprietary system may have its own forms, layouts, or form fields.
The differences we describe above aren't barriers to your success, however. NIH data from FY 2013 indicate that system-to-system applications tend to need fewer attempts to pass eRA Commons validations. See the table below.
Number of Attempts Required for Error-Free* Commons Validation in FY 2013
*A passing application may be free of errors but still receive warnings.
To submit electronically, your institution has to make the following preparations.
If neither you nor your institution has ever registered to apply for an NIH grant, use the links below for detailed instructions.
You can sign up for NIH's electronic submission listservs at Get Connected.
If you need help troubleshooting the application process, talk to staff in your business office. Your business official should be able to answer the question directly or know whether you should contact a system provider, the Grants.gov helpdesk, or the eRA helpdesk.
Receipt dates vary by activity code and other factors.
The NIH Guide announcement for your FOA will give you a receipt date, a deadline for submitting your application electronically.
Note that your internal deadline is your key due date, not the NIH receipt date. Even so, the NIH receipt date will trigger other dates relevant to your submission.
Here is what you need to know about NIH receipt dates.
Peer reviewers with recent substantial service and members of the following groups can apply for an R01, R21, or R34 any time, regardless of a standard receipt date (this policy does not apply to RFAs or funding opportunity announcements that have only one receipt date).
Find more details in Investigators Eligible for Continuous Submission in our Late Applications SOP.
Note that if you apply for continuous submission you may not request assignment to a study section.
For application timing advice, read:
For timelines, go to:
Strategy for NIH Funding
See the other sections of
Part 2. Pick and Design a Project
Table of Contents for the Strategy
We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated November 05, 2013
Last Reviewed December 01, 2011