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 funding opportunity announcement (FOA) using one of the NIH Submission Options.

FOAs are listed in and the NIH Guide; NIAID FOAs are also on the NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Each FOA 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 FOAs for the same mechanism, e.g., the R21. Institute-specific requests for applications (RFAs) enable ICs to solicit applications in a defined scientific area. The best way to find out which NIAID FOA to use is by going to the NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

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 FOA to address any issues that may delay processing. See Pass Electronic Validations in Submit an Application.
  • If an application does not pass or Commons validation, work with your PI to correct and resubmit it. See 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 FOA'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 two business days after your application passes validations.
  • If you see problems, see 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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