Late Applications & Post-Submission Materials

Late Applications & Post-Submission Materials

Learn about when NIH will accept late applications or allow you to send application materials after you submit.

Late Applications

With only a few exceptions, NIH does not accept late applications. However, within a two-week window after an application due date, NIH may consider accepting a late application if you have a valid reason for submitting late.

Provide a valid reason in the cover letter submitted with your late application. Valid reasons include

Natural Disaster

NIH issues special Guide notices when a natural disaster occurs. In this circumstance, your delay should not exceed the duration of time your organization is closed, and you'll have to explain the specific reasons for the delay in your cover letter.

Personal Tragedy

In the event of a personal tragedy, e.g., you or an immediate family member suffer sudden severe illness, you will need to include an explanation in your cover letter.

Issues With Federal Computer Systems

You'll have to follow NIH Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues and take the following actions:

  • Contact the appropriate Help Desk immediately, over the phone and in writing.
  • Maintain a record of the steps you take to resolve the problem.
  • Once the issue is resolved, make note of it in your application’s cover letter. Include the confirmed system issues, Help Desk ticket numbers, and the steps taken to resolve the issues.

Contacting your program officer is not a substitute for contacting the appropriate Help Desk.

Service on an NIH Advisory Panel

A perk to serving on an NIH panel is that you may be eligible for late submission of applications. Full-time, temporary, or ad hoc service during the two months before or two months after the application due date may be an acceptable reason for late submission.

If you are eligible and choose to take advantage of this policy, you must explain the nature and period of your service in your cover letter.

You may also qualify for continuous submission, which allows you to apply at any time for R01, R21, and R34 grants.

Neither CSR nor NIAID may give permission in advance for a late submission. NIAID cannot guarantee that we will accept a late application.

See the Late Applications SOP for more information.

If You Have to Submit Late, Keep Us In the Loop

We advise you to submit your application well ahead of its due date, in case you run into technical difficulties or any of the other problems noted above.

NIH will consider accepting your late application within a two-week window of the application due date if there is a valid reason. The only time NIH will not consider accepting a late application is when a request for applications (RFA) states in the Application Due Date field "No late applications will be accepted for this funding opportunity announcement."

The decision to accept a late application ultimately lies with NIH Division of Receipt and Referral in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

No one can give you advance permission for a late submission, but if you have a valid reason, provide an explanation in the cover letter submitted with your late application.

For the record, CSR has rejected the following reasons for late submission:

  • Heavy teaching burdens
  • Ongoing illnesses
  • Laboratory relocations.
  • Delays caused by an institution's business office.

For more information, read NIH Submitting Changed/Corrected Applications.

Send Post-Submission Materials

After you apply and before peer review, NIH allows you to send certain additional materials, mostly non-scientific items. NIH prohibits sending information that could be used to circumvent page limits.

NIH allows you to send only the following:

  • Revised budget page(s) (e.g., change in budget request due to new funding or institutional acquisition of equipment)
  • Biographical sketches (e.g., change in senior/key personnel due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator)
  • Letters of support or collaboration resulting from a change in senior/key personnel due to the hiring, replacement, or loss of an investigator
  • Adjustments resulting from natural disasters (e.g., loss of an animal colony)
  • Adjustments resulting from change of institution (e.g., PI moves to another university)
  • News of an article accepted for publication (a copy of the article should not be sent)
  • News of a professional promotion or positive tenure decision for any PIs or key personnel
  • Video files as described at the NIH FAQ “How does an applicant submit video?

For T32 and T35 applications, you may provide updated information and data for the following items:

  • Applicant pool
  • Admissions
  • Enrollment
  • Faculty research support
  • Trainee and faculty member promotions and professional achievements, e.g., funding, publications
  • Addition of faculty member involved in training activities

For requests for applications (RFAs), you may have different rules. Ask your scientific review officer what he or she will accept.

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.

Even if the items you send are on the list above, ultimately it is up to your NIH scientific review officer whether to accept anything you send.

See NIH Frequently Asked Questions on the Post-Submission Materials Policy.

Have Questions?

Contact your assigned scientific review officer, found in your eRA Commons account or in your funding opportunity announcement. If you do not have a scientific review officer, go to Scientific Review Program Contacts.

Content last reviewed on August 11, 2016