Friday, February 23, 2007


New Instructions on How to Submit Grant Applications to NIH


Here are some new instructions on how to do electronic submission of grant applications to the US National Institutes of Heath (NIH):


NIH workshop, December 5, 2006


Steps of electronic submission:

1. Need to register – organization at and NIH eCommons. PI at NIH eCommons (or be affiliated with institution at eRA Commons).

2. Need to download specific forms for R01 and populate them (PureEdge software).

3. Create and add attachments as pdf files.

4. After applying validate until you see the application in eCommons.

General comments:

- New forms SF-424 (R&R) but no change in NIH grant policy.

- Must respond to specific funding opportunity announcement (PA or RFA) – select FOA at the Each announcement has its own forms.

- Authorized organization representative (AOR) will submit the application.

- Two systems ( used for all 16 agencies and eRA Commons for NIH) are working together.

- PureEdge Viewer is needed to view the forms; also pdf generating software (PureEdge will be replaced by Adobe in the future).

- Each funding opportunity announcement (FOA) has its own forms.

- Grants OER page has info on PA. For unsolicited applications NIH created parent announcement with very broad scope.

- Download FOA forms from

- Download NIH Application Instructions (application package) and save at local computer.

All forms are in PureEdge format, attachments are in pdf format.

- Most attachments are first prepared in text editor (MS Word) and then converted to pdf.

- Version 2 of Instruction guide is the newest.

- Yellow fields in forms are mandatory for

- Cover component: 1) type of submission – application; 2) Applicant information – info about organization rather than PI (use only one DUNS number that is in eRA Commons); 3) type of application (resubmission – formerly revision in NIH; renewal – formerly competing continuation in NIH); CDFA number (from FOA) may be left blank.

- Project narrative – 2-3 sentences about public health relevance.

- Senior key person profile – the first component to be filled out (up to 8 persons); attach biosketches as pdf, 4-page limit and sections limit.

- New component – Research & related senior/key personnel (up to 40 individuals). Don’t convert to pdf – this is PureEdge form.

- Current support – not needed at the time of submission (added later).

- Credential field – eCommons user ID (mandatory for PI).

- Budget:
efforts calculated in months, not % effort
equipment – up to 10 items
travel – separate domestic and foreign
other direct costs (supplies, publication, consortium, consultants)

- Budget justification – pdf attachment, year is inserted one by one, for every year its own budget and budget justification file; No summary page for budget.

- consortium – email PureEdge form to consortium organization and get it back filled.

- for modular grant no need to send detailed budget from consortium.

- Cover letter – this is not a part of electronic submission to NIH, but recommended.
Once cover letter was submitted, then it should be resubmitted after correction/change.

- cover page supplement (new investigator, code and degree).

- Research Plan – 15 attachments. May be created as one document and later split into parts.

- If section in Research Plan ends at the middle of the page there are blank spaces. It is allowed to have up to 28 pages for Research Plan (will get warnings), if 29 pages or more – receive error.

- Appendix – up to 10 attachments (see instructions).

- No headers, footers and page numbers.

- Avoid 2 column format.

- Include specific headings (e.g., Specific Aims).

- If multiple PIs – add PI leadership plan.

- Letters from consultants – scan images and convert to pdf.

- Subcontractor should have DUNS number.

- Size limit for application – 200MB.

- Correction window for applications after submission – one week. When it comes to eCommons, then there is an opportunity to look at the application. If it looks fine do nothing, if it does not look fine there are 2 days (weekends are counted) for AOR to delete the application and resubmit it again.

By the way, I have found this book to be helpful:

Guide to Effective Grant Writing:
How to Write a Successful NIH Grant Application

by Otto O. Yang, 2005

See also:

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