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Strategy for NIH Funding
Strategy for a Successful Submission · Assess Your Application After You Submit
Pages of Part 4. Submit Your Application
After submitting, be on the lookout for incoming notifications about your application's status as it moves through both systems. Your application will need to pass both Grants.gov and Commons validations, so know what validations do and do not do. If your application has problems that stop it from going forward, you will need to correct them before the deadline.
Find details about the viewing window: when it takes place, and what you may and may not do during that period.
This page applies to any application using electronic submission.
(This section has factual information only; for advice on this topic, go to Our Advice below.)
Your application must pass two validations. If it fails either one, you must go through the entire submission process again.
Validations are automated checks of an application's form data and attachments. They do not spot content issues, for example, a missing data table from your Research Plan.
Your application must pass two validations: Grants.gov and eRA Commons. If it fails either one, you must go through the entire submission process again.
When validations reveal problems or you spot other issues, you need to decide whether to submit a corrected application. Read more under the Our Advice header below.
After submitting, your authorized organizational representative (AOR) should receive a Grants.gov submission receipt with a timestamp, which determines whether your application is on time or late.
To be on time your application must get the timestamp by 5:00 p.m. your institution's local time on the receipt date listed in the funding opportunity announcement.
Next, your AOR should receive a validation confirmation or rejection email message from Grants.gov. For a sample, see Email notifications from Grants.gov. This confirmation usually arrives within minutes, but it can take 48 hours or more during busy periods.
Grants.gov validation checks for very basic items. The "Check Package for Errors" button at the top of the form alerts your AOR of errors you need to correct.
Your application must pass Grants.gov validation to move on to the next step, eRA Commons validation.
Find advice at Validation 1: Grants.gov below and more information on these pages:
Validation does not spot content issues, for example, a missing data table from your Research Plan.
After passing Grants.gov validation, your application data move to NIH for the more thorough Commons validation, which can take up to 24 hours.
The Commons check may result in errors, warnings, or both. Your application will pass validation if it receives warnings only.
To learn more about making corrections, read our advice below at Validation 2: eRA Commons and find more information online:
After your application passes Commons validation, the system generates an application image for you to view.
NIH gives you until midnight EST two business days after your application passes validations as a "viewing window" during which you make sure the application image rendered properly.
The viewing window is separate from the correction process and does not affect the deadline. Even if your viewing window extends beyond the deadline, you can't make corrections after the deadline—you can only address technical problems.
If the image did not render properly, contact the eRA Commons Help Desk immediately for help.
To view the image, use the Status module in the eRA Commons.
If you take no action at this point, your application continues to peer review.
To meet the deadline, plan ahead. If you miss it, you'll need to wait for the next receipt date.
After the viewing window closes, you may withdraw your application at any time before peer review without it counting against your submission limit.
You could use this option if your application passes validations, but you spot an issue so critical that you don't want the application to be reviewed.
Our advice in Assess Your Application After You Submit in Part 4 can help you decide whether to withdraw your application.
(This section has advice only; you should also read the factual information above at Just the Facts.)
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of passing validations, it's important to understand what they do and don't do.
Your application must pass two validations: Grants.gov and eRA Commons. If it fails either one and you miss the deadline, you either will (very rarely) qualify for a late application or have to apply for the next receipt date. (See Rules for Late Applications in Part 4 for more information.)
To bypass problems, plan ahead. And be prepared to work closely with your business office at each step of the submission process.
We strongly recommend that you not wait for the email confirmation from the Commons after validation.
If your application doesn't pass Grants.gov validation, there's good news and not-so-good news, depending on whether the deadline has passed.
Your application can pass Commons validation with either 1) no errors or warnings, or 2) no errors, with warnings. If it has errors, it will fail.
Whether you should correct hinges on whether you have enough time to get your application through Grants.gov again.
We strongly recommend that you not wait for the email confirmation from the Commons after validation. Instead, check the eRA Commons Status module frequently for its arrival.
In case of "error." If Commons flags errors, you'll need to correct them since they stop your application from moving forward. The only way to correct errors is to submit a corrected application to Grants.gov, which means going through the entire submission process again.
Should you correct? Whether you should submit a corrected application hinges on whether you have enough time to get the application through Grants.gov again.
Once your application passes Commons validation, the system generates an application image for your review. A word to the wise: do not skip this step by assuming your application is in good shape. Only you can check that your finished pages are loaded correctly.
During the viewing window, check whether the image rendered properly. If it's before the deadline and you have time to correct, you may also want to consider making changes as a result of validation warnings. Then choose your next step:
Decide whether to send a corrected application by balancing two factors: timing and the severity of the problem.
If you want to fix problems not resulting from validations, consider the timing and severity of the issue. As we describe below, you can submit a corrected application only before the receipt date.
During two-day viewing window, with plenty of time before the deadline
Have your signing official reject the application image before the two-day viewing window expires, making sure there is enough time to get the corrected application through Grants.gov.
Then ask your organization to submit your corrected application.
Just before the deadline
If you're not sure whether you have enough time to get a corrected application timestamped before the deadline, you have a tricky decision to make. Decide whether to send a corrected application by balancing two factors.
If your application misses the deadline, you will probably have to correct and try again for the next receipt date (if any). See Rules for Late Applications in Part 4.
After the deadline
No corrections are allowed. If there are technical issues with the image, contact the eRA Commons Help Desk immediately for help.
Your application will move to NIH's Center for Scientific Review where it will be reviewed as is unless you withdraw it. For more on that decision, read Withdrawing Is An Option in Part 4.
Strategy for NIH Funding
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Part 4. Submit Your Application
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Last Updated November 03, 2011
Last Reviewed September 30, 2011