Grant Application Process for Intramural Postdoc Fellows and Scientists SOP

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

This SOP has internal roles only.​ Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To provide instructions for intramural investigators to apply for NIH career development grants.


NIAID intramural postdocs may apply for the following career development awards from NIH:

They may also apply for NIH Common Fund initiatives that support investigators at different career stages, depending on the opportunity. For more information, read About the NIH Common Fund, and go to NIH Common Fund and Common Fund Programs.

Prospective applicants need at least three months to prepare and submit their applications. They use this time to talk with mentors and colleagues, get NIAID approval to apply, register with the eRA Commons, arrange for letters of reference and institutional commitment, write, revise, and proofread.

When they apply, they submit their grant applications to through the NIAID designated authorized organizational representative (AOR). In the Commons, this same designee is called a "signing official" (SO) but this SOP uses "AOR" for sake of simplicity—there is no effect on roles or processes.

This document outlines the NIAID application process for intramural postdocs.

Go to Career Development Awards (K) for tips, guidance, and other information.

Intramural Investigators

Follow the steps indicated below, paying particular attention to the timing of key activities. If you miss a deadline, we may not accept your request to apply for an award.

  • At least three months before application deadline, prepare for your application.
    • Carefully read funding opportunity announcements for due dates, requirements, and instructions.
    • Inform your laboratory supervisor or mentor that you want to apply for a grant.
    • Contact NIAID's Office of Research Training and Special Programs to confirm your eligibility for a career development award and get the following information:
      • Explanation of how NIAID helps you once you have been offered a position at an academic institution.
      • Answers to questions about your eligibility.
      • Referrals to relevant NIAID program staff.
      • For a K99/R00, a signed Letter of Institutional Commitment to include in your application.
    • Contact the NIAID Training Office for information about grant writing services, seminars, and other educational and support services for intramural staff. 
    • Contact the NIAID Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations for the following purposes:
      • Notify the NIAID designated AOR that you intend to apply.
      • Develop a timeline and plan for submitting the application.
  • At least six weeks before application deadline, register with eRA Commons.
    • Email the NIAID designated AOR to set up your eRA Commons account. The designated AOR will set up a phone conference to get the following information:
      • Full name
      • NIH email address
      • Unique user name you want to use as your login
      • Information on any previous support you've received from NIH
    • When you receive automated emails from the Commons asking for more information to complete registration, follow the instructions in those emails.
      • Note: your Commons account will remain with you throughout your career. If you go to another institution, the business office at your new institution will create a new affiliation with your existing Commons account.
  • No later than 10 days before your application's due date, send your completed grant application to the designated AOR, who will submit the application to for you.
    • Make sure you have all documents and information requested by your funding opportunity announcement.
    • Know what the application process entails—read Submit an Application in Apply for a Grant.
    • Plan to be available in case the AOR has any questions about your application.
  • After your designated AOR informs you that your application has been submitted to, stay reachable by phone and email until you receive confirmation that your application reached the Commons. Confirmation will come directly from your designated AOR or by email from the Commons.
  • Once you receive confirmation that your application is in the Commons
    • Note a change in nomenclature: your designated AOR is called "Signing Official" or "SO" in the Commons.
    • Work with the AOR to address any errors or warnings—instructions should be in the email you receive from the Commons.
    • If necessary, correct your application.
    • Review an image of the forms and PDF attachments with the designated AOR. For more information, see View Your Application Image in Submit an Application.
  • Use eRA Commons for the following actions:
    • Monitor your application's progress and status
    • See your summary statement and overall impact score
    • Find out whether your application will be selected for funding
    • Submit just-in-time information

Designated Authorized Organizational Representative

  • Serve as the NIAID eRA Commons signing officer
  • Register PIs with the Commons
  • Review PI applications and let them know if any required components are missing
  • Keep applicants apprised of their applications' progress
  • Submit changed or corrected applications for PIs
  • Provide other assistance as necessary to complete electronic submission of NIH grant applications

Office of Research Training and Special Programs

  • Confirm PIs are eligible for the funding opportunities they plan to apply for
  • Answer PI questions about career development awards, application forms, program contacts, or reference letters
  • Get Deputy Director of Science Management (DDSM) signature for Letters of Institutional Commitment and return signed letters to PIs

Office of Training and Diversity

  • Provide information about educational and support services for intramural staff, for example, grant writing seminars or assistance with establishing internal mentor support

Deputy Director of Science Management 

  • Designate staff to serve as authorized organizational representatives and signing officers
  • Sign Letters of Institutional Commitment for K99/R00 applications


Designated Authorized Organizational Representative—Matt Vogt.

Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations—

Office of Research Training and Special Programs—

Office of Training and Diversity—Katie Soucy

Deputy Director for Science Management— Jill Harper

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


Types of Funding Opportunities

AOR and SO Instructions for Electronic Submission of Intramural Grant Applications

Ethics for Extramural Staff—for NIH staff handling activities that span both intramural and extramural

Grant Application SOP

Apply for a Grant

Applying Electronically

SF 424 Application and Electronic Submission Information

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