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.
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 Grants.gov and the eRA Commons. Typically, 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).
- Apply electronically using the NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) of another of the NIH Submission Options.
- See the SF 424 Application Guide that describes how to fill in the component forms of the grant application. Read more about Types of Funding Opportunities.
- Sign up to receive an email notice whenever grant application forms are updated to a new version. Always use the latest version for your 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.
- NIAID has additional requirements for clinical applications and select agents defined in our Clinical Terms of Award and Select Agent Terms of Award for NIAID Grants. 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.
- For advice on doing 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.
- Send a completed grant application to your AOR.
- If an application does not pass Grants.gov and Commons validation, work with your AOR to correct and resubmit it. See Passing 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 EST two business days after your application passes validations. Produce a corrected version that your AOR must submit before your FOA deadline. See the NIH Submitting Changed/Corrected Applications for more instructions.
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 Grants.gov 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.
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- Electronic Submission of Grant Applications, NIH
- Avoiding Common Errors
- SF 424 Application and Electronic Submission Information
- Animals in Research for Grants SOP
- Foreign and International Grants and Components SOP
- Human Subjects SOPs
- Just-in-Time SOP
- Modular Grants SOP
- NIH Modular Research Grant Applications
- Select Agent Awards SOP
- Sharing Model Organisms SOP