See the Glossary for more terms.
Strategy for NIH Funding
Passing Validations · Part 5. Assignment and Review
Pages of Part 4. Submit Your Application
Did you just notice a major flaw? Is there a new paper in your field that could change your proposed research? Look at your application again and make sure you want it to continue to peer review.
Since you have only two chances to succeed—the initial submission and one resubmission—don't waste a submission on a less-than-perfect application. Read this page for help and advice.
(This section has factual information only; for advice on this topic, go to Our Advice below.)
While you may withdraw your application at any time, note the following actions and consequences if you withdraw after the peer review.
For an initial application, the consequences are different depending on whether you withdraw before or after getting your summary statement.
Before. You lose your chance at a resubmission.
After. You can resubmit.
For a resubmission, you relinquish any chance of funding, and you must create a new application. Instead of withdrawing, wait for your summary statement and use it to write a new application. Read more about resubmitting at Strategy for Resubmitting in Part 6.
To withdraw your application, send a letter to the Center for Scientific Review's (CSR) Division of Receipt and Referral—follow the instructions in the Investigator Withdrawal of an Application SOP. For multiple PI applications, only the contact PI can make this request.
Note that after you withdraw, you no longer have an active application in the system.
For some applications, you may have different rules.
NIH allows you to send only certain materials after you apply and before initial peer review:
For the following applications, you may have different rules.
Some funding opportunity announcements contain special instructions for post-submission materials.
To send materials after you apply, use the usual forms, create a PDF, include your authorized organizational representative's signature, and make sure your scientific review officer receives all materials at least one month before the peer review meeting. Otherwise, NIH will not accept your information.
Follow the advice in our Checkpoint below and see NIH's Frequently Asked Questions on the post-submission materials policy.
For details on submitting video, read Plan Ahead for Video in Part 3.
If you are looking for information about submitting after the receipt date, read about the rare circumstances in which you are allowed to apply late in Rules for Late Applications in Part 4.
(This section has advice only; you should also read the factual information above at Just the Facts.)
Between the time you apply and your application's review, assess your application and consider whether to send additional information or withdraw and submit for a later receipt date.
Stay on top of the science, take another look at your application, and consider whether you could make substantial improvements.
Unlike baseball, you get only two strikes—a new application and one resubmission—before your application is out and you must design a new project.
If you have doubts about whether your application is the best it can be, carefully assess whether you should withdraw it and apply for a later receipt date.
Our advice is to take another look at your application, revisit warnings you didn't correct from the Commons validation, take any new scientific developments into account, and consider whether you could make substantial improvements.
As a general rule, if you see a major error—whether in your data, science, or presentation—withdraw as soon as you can. Don't squander the goodwill of reviewers on a sub-par application.
Also keep tabs on developments that can improve your chances of success. Do you see new trends that elevate the significance of your work? A discovery that could bolster your application?
Think about whether you could use this information to build a dramatically stronger application for a later receipt date. You want to do everything you can to convince reviewers your work is significant, high-impact, and able to drive knowledge in your field to a higher level.
You may want to ask colleagues their opinion as well.
If you're concerned that withdrawing will delay your award, remember that if your application fares poorly in peer review, you'll need to resubmit for a later date anyway—except that will be your last opportunity to get the application funded.
Moreover, submitting for a later date may not have a major impact on when you receive your award. For more on that topic, read our advice at Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award.
It's best to withdraw before the review, so the submission does not count, and you can submit a new application for the next receipt date.
If you withdraw after the review, the submission does count. If you submitted a new application, you can apply in the future with a resubmission but not a new application. Be sure to wait until the summary statement is in the Commons before withdrawing (see Just the Facts above).
Checkpoint. Before the review date, check that:
Strategy for NIH Funding
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Part 4. Submit Your Application
Table of Contents for the Strategy
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Last Updated May 01, 2013
Last Reviewed September 30, 2012