Know How To Answer Just-in-Time Requests, Resolve a Bar to Award

Funding News Edition: April 07, 2021
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You must quickly resolve any bars to award and provide just-in-time materials to ensure NIAID staff can process your award.

Credit: NIAID

If your grant application scores near or within the NIAID Paylines or an NIAID program officer indicates your application may be in the fundable range and requests additional information needed for a potential award, your next step is to submit just-in-time (JIT) information.

Much of the requested JIT information is routine, but be aware: Certain codes in your summary statement can indicate an award restriction or bar to award, which can block you from funding until you resolve underlying scientific review concerns about human subjects (HS) involvement, HS inclusion, or animal welfare in your application.

If you have a bar to award in your summary statement, working with NIAID staff to resolve the issue causing the restriction should be your first and immediate priority since addressing review concerns can take weeks. After you’ve submitted any needed information, return to the standard JIT information request.

A Note on Automated Email Requests

A JIT notification from NIH is not a guarantee of award. NIH automatically sends notifications to applicants whose overall impact score is 30 or less, which is beyond NIAID’s payline for most activity codes. See the sample NIH Request for Just-in-Time Information. NIH’s automated request should not prompt you to begin preparing JIT information.

Your overall impact score and percentile are better indicators of whether you are in a fundable range. If funding is likely, you will get a request from NIAID seeking the information described on NIAID Request for Just-in-Time Information. It’s the request from NIAID that should prompt you to begin preparing JIT information. Again, save yourself from unnecessary work by confirming your application scored at or near the payline before preparing JIT materials.

Refer to NIAID Webpages for Instructions

To start, you need to Know What a Summary Statement Means. Beyond your overall impact score, you’ll want to check your summary statement for any Human Subjects Involvement CodesHuman Subjects Inclusion Codes, or Research Animals Involvement Codes that signal a bar to award.

If you see such a code, work with NIAID staff following the procedures laid out in Bars and Restrictions to Grant Awards—Human Subjects SOP or Bars to Grant Awards—Research Animals SOP.

Example: Exempt Human Subjects (HS) Research

If your application is incorrectly labeled as non-exempt Research Using Human Subjects, you may receive a bar to award because you didn’t provide information about Inclusion of Special Populations: Women, Minorities, and All Ages.

As one example of how this mislabeling might happen, you may have proposed exempt HS research (code X4) but accidentally checked the non-exempt HS research box. Therefore, during the JIT process, the eRA Commons Human Subjects System (HSS) is asking you to provide inclusion information you don’t have.

The solution is to correct the HS involvement label, not to provide inapplicable HS inclusion information. Steps to take:

  1. Refer to the Decision Tool: Am I Doing Human Subjects Research? to confirm how your study should be coded.
  2. Communicate any needed changes to your NIAID program officer and grants management specialist.
  3. They can switch the HS involvement code, which should eliminate software prompts for items you no longer need.

Having resolved any restrictions or bars to award, you’ll begin compiling additional materials to Respond to Pre-Award Requests (“Just-in-Time”). Even without any bars to award, you or your business official must still submit JIT information electronically using the Just-in-Time link in eRA Commons and include certain certifications and descriptions of current other support. See the eRA instructions at Submit Just-in-Time. For technical assistance, contact the eRA Service Desk at Need Help?.

After you submit JIT information, your program officer will review it and document his or her approval or discuss outstanding items with you and your grants management specialist. As a result, our staff may send additional emails asking you for more information or corrections. Be sure to address their inquiries as quickly as possible.

The Cost of Waiting

Complete all JIT items and NIAID staff information requests as quickly as possible using the JIT feature of the eRA Commons Status module. For inclusion, HS, and animal concerns, NIAID will not issue an award until you’ve addressed the underlying issue.

NIAID staff work under a strict timeline to make all awards before the end of the fiscal year. Especially in late spring and summer, you must quickly resolve any bars to award and promptly provide all requested JIT materials to ensure that NIAID staff can process your award before it’s too late. Failure to comply could jeopardize your funding.

See our Just-in-Time SOP for more information.

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