Grant Application SOP

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 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 and the eRA Commons. Typically, principal investigators (PIs) must register only in the Commons. A PI registers in only if he or she is also an authorized organizational representative (AOR).

Principal Investigators

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 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


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