Grant Application, Electronic SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To enable applicants to apply for NIH grants using electronic applications.


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 grant opportunity has its own FOA that includes a grant application link with forms and instructions. For some grant types, NIH issues a parent PA that enables applicants to apply electronically for that grant mechanism. For example, the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21) lets investigators submit an R21 application in any scientific topic they wish to participating Institutes and Centers (ICs). For more information, see the parent R21 PAs on our Funding Opportunity Announcements page.

Although a parent PA may exist, Institutes may issue their own FOAs for the same mechanism, e.g., the R21. Institute-specific program announcements enable Institutes to solicit applications in a defined scientific area. The best way to find out which NIAID FOA to use is to go to the NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Before an organization can submit an electronic application, it must register with and the eRA Commons. Typically, 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 grants application with enough time before the deadline listed in your 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, submit a corrected grant application before your 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.


NIAID Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations

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