This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.
To provide guidance and assist applicants with the process of applying for NIH grants.
Applicants must apply electronically through a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) using one of the NIH Submission Options.
NOFOs are listed in Grants.gov and the NIH Guide; NIAID NOFOs are also on the NIAID's Funding Opportunities list.
Each NOFO includes a link to the grant application package with forms and instructions. For some grant types, NIH issues a notice of special interest (NOSI) directing applicants to a parent program announcement (parent PA) through which they apply.
Although a parent PA may exist, institutes and centers (ICs) may issue their own NOFOs for the same mechanism, e.g., the R21. Institute-specific requests for applications (RFAs) enable ICs to solicit applications in a defined scientific area.
Before an organization can submit an electronic application, it must register with Grants.gov and the eRA Commons. Typically, principal investigators (PIs) must register only in the Commons. A PI registers in Grants.gov only if he or she is also an authorized organizational representative (AOR).
- Choose the proper NOFO to which to apply. Read more about Types of Funding Opportunities.
- Apply electronically using NIH's Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) or another of the NIH Submission Options.
- Refer to the SF 424 Application Guide that describes how to fill in the component forms of the grant application.
- Pay attention to formatting requirements. NIH will not accept applications that are formatted incorrectly.
- Follow the special instructions for items such as human subjects, research animals, recombinant DNA, and other sensitive areas.
- Note NIAID's additional requirements for:
- Clinical applications defined in our Clinical Terms of Award. Go to Does your human subjects research study meet the NIH Definition of a clinical trial? to determine whether your study is a clinical trial. If it is, read NIAID’s Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Resources for instructions.
- Applications using Select Agent Terms of Award for NIAID Grants. For advice on conducting research that has extra requirements, read Research With Special Considerations and Additional Application Elements.
- Work with staff in your business office to sign a principal investigator signature assurance for each application.
- Inform your AOR that you have completed your application and have provided the required documents.
- If an application does not pass Grants.gov and Commons validation, work with your AOR to correct and resubmit it. Check Pass Electronic Validations in Submit an Application.
- After the Commons validates an application, log in to the Commons and check your application image.
- If you see problems, work with your signing official to reject the application before midnight Eastern Time 2 business days after your application passes validations. Produce a corrected version that your AOR must submit before the NOFO deadline. Check the NIH’s Submitting Changed/Corrected Applications for more instructions.
Authorized Organizational Representatives
- Submit a grant application with enough time before the deadline listed in the NOFO to address any issues that may delay processing. Refer to Pass Electronic Validations in Submit an Application for more information.
- If an application does not pass Grants.gov or Commons validation, work with your PI to correct and resubmit it. Check NIH's Submitting Changed/Corrected Applications for more instructions.
- If your PI wishes to resubmit an application that has already passed Commons validation, reject the application in the Commons and submit a corrected grant application before the NOFO's deadline.
eRA Commons Signing Official
- After the Commons validates an application, log in to the Commons and check your application image before midnight EST 2 business days after your application passes validations.
- If you see problems, refer to View Your Application Image in Submit an Application for details.
Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations—NIAID OPCO
Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at email@example.com.