Ogca proposal process series
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OGCA Proposal process Series. Submitting an R01 proposal. Step 1 – NIH Commons registration. PI registration: the PI must be a registered user in the Commons Institutional registration: UMass is already registered in the Commons

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OGCA Proposal process Series

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OGCA Proposal process Series

Submitting an R01 proposal

Step 1 – NIH Commons registration

  • PI registration: the PI must be a registered user in the Commons

  • Institutional registration: UMass is already registered in the Commons

  • UMass is registered with Grants.gov -- PI’s do not need to register with Grants.gov

Step 1 continued – NIH Commons registration

  • Registration process: email OGCA (Jim Ayres) and provide the following:

    • Full name – first, middle initial, last

    • UMass email address

    • Date of birth (optional)

    • Affiliating transfer accounts: if the PI had previously registered while at another institution and subsequently transferred to UMass, provide the PI’s existing “User name” and their existing account will be linked with UMass

Step 1 continued – NIH Commons registration

  • The Commons will send an auto-email to the PI. The email will provide a temporary password – the PI must complete the registration process by logging into the Commons with the temporary password within 72 hours.

  • Once logged in, the PI updates Personal Profile on the Commons

NIH Commons resources

As time allows, familiarize yourself with the

copious resources available on the Commons

NIH cannot be accused of being stingy with their



  • See especially “Electronic Application Submission”

Step 2 – FastGrant or Adobe?

  • Grants.gov accepts proposals submitted via FastGrant (GAMS) or Adobe

    What is FastGrant (GAMS)?

    FastGrant (GAMS) is a system-2-system (S2S) software interface

    at UMass between GAMS and Grants.gov that allows for the

    submission of all research proposals to NIH utilizing robust tools

    that help streamline the process.

Step 2 – FastGrant or Adobe - continued

Benefits of FastGrant/GAMS:

  • Smart budget building capability – autofills sponsor budget

  • Autofills institutional profile information to proposal formset

  • Stable product – proposals appear in the Commons quickly and with less “turbulence”

  • Create and route the IPF electronically (available to limited departments)

Step 2 – FastGrant or Adobe - continued

How to register for FastGrant/GAMS?

To register and to arrange for a training session:

contact Leanne Every at OGCA



Step 2 – FastGrant or Adobe - continued

Submitting via Adobe

From this point forward, the slides will address the

Adobe submission process only – same proposal

requirements, different software compared with


Step 2 – FastGrant or Adobe - continued

Submitting with Adobe

  • Adobe Reader required

  • Download the version most compatible with Grants.gov

  • Select “Applicant Resources”, and then

  • “Download Software”


Step 3 – Finding NIH funding opportunities

  • Search on Grants.gov - select “Find Grant Opportunities” at http://www.grants.gov/

  • Search the NIH website – select “Grants”, then “Grants & Funding” at http://www.nih.gov/

  • Or, better yet, for so-called unsolicited parent grant announcements, go to the NIH –


Step 3 – Finding NIH funding opportunities, continued

  • For unsolicited R01 proposals, select Parent Grant Announcement PA-11-260

  • Please note that R01 PA’s are available for targeted research as well. Be sure to download the correct PA

  • Open document and select “Apply for Grant Electronically”; download the Adobe application package to your desktop and download the application instructions – “SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies”

Step 4 – explore the Adobe package

  • To help dispel lingering anxiety, explore the Adobe software package – open it up and navigate

  • Grants.gov has an excellent introductory Adobe software tutorial – see www.grants.gov, select “Applicant Resources”, then “Animated tutorials”, and then “Completing a Grants.gov application”

Step 5 – review the guidelines

  • NIH guidelines have two elements:

    • The Program Announcement (PA), in this case PA-11-260 – print and highlight

    • And the “SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies” – print and highlight

      Where the two documents conflict, defer to the PA

Step 6 – Building the proposal

  • Open the Adobe application PA-11-260

  • Put last name of PI in “Application Filing Name”

  • Move all “Mandatory Documents” and applicable “Optional Documents” to the “Mandatory Documents for Submission” field to the right side of the form page

  • Complete the SF 424 using the sample provided on the OGCA webpage:


Step 6 Building the proposal – continued

  • Confer with the R01 Proposal Checklist and PHS 398/SF 424 guidelines while completing data fields and uploading PDF’s to the Adobe proposal modules:

    • R&R Senior/Key Person Profile

    • R&R Other Project Information

    • R&R Project/Performance Site Location(s)

    • PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

    • PHS 398 Research Plan

Step 6 Building the proposal – continued

  • PHS 398 Checklist

  • PHS 398 Cover Letter (optional but typical)

  • PHS 398 Modular Budget or R&R Budget, as applicable

Step 7 – submit proposal to OGCA

  • Submit the completed proposal to OGCA along with an Internal Processing Form (IPF)

  • Submit the proposal 1 of 3 ways:

    • Email it to Jim Ayres if not too large (up to 15MB)

    • Drop off a CD

    • Upload to UDrive and send ticket to Jim – or Jim can send PI a ticket and PI can upload to Jim’s UDrive

Step 7 – submit proposal to OGCA - continued

  • Timeline: submit a completed proposal and IPF to OGCA five business days in advance of the deadline.

  • For added flexibility, the option is provided to submit the following documents in good draft form 5 days in advance with the finalized versions ultimately submitted to OGCA at least two business days in advance of the NIH deadline:

    1) Abstract

    2) Specific Aims

    3) Research Strategy

    4) References

Step 7 – submit proposal to OGCA - continued

  • Proposals submitted with less than 5 days lead time fall under the late proposal policy:


  • For NIH and OGCA deadlines – see the OGCA web page:


Step 8 – OGCA review and submission

  • OGCA reviews the proposal for compliance with NIH guidelines and University policies and procedures

  • If corrections are required, either the PI or OGCA will make them depending on the nature of the edit

  • Once the proposal is corrected, OGCA submits the proposal to Grants.gov and…..

Step 8 – OGCA review and submission - continued

  • …the proposal hits the Grants.gov server and gets assigned a Grants.gov tracking number

  • To track the proposal go to www.grants.gov, select “Track my application” and enter the Grants.gov tracking number. Grants.gov will send an auto email to the PI that includes the tracking number

Step 8 – OGCA review and submission - continued

  • Once the proposal clears G.g. and hits the NIH Commons, we discover whether or not the proposal has the dreaded “ERRORS”or the more benign “WARNINGS”

  • NIH auto-emails the PI and OGCA with this verdict

Step 8 – OGCA review and submission - continued

  • Errors prevent a proposal from being accepted by NIH and must be corrected

  • Warnings do not typically require correction but should be scrutinized

  • OGCA and the PI work in unison to make the necessary corrections so OGCA can resubmit the proposal

  • NIH provides a window of 48 hours to submit a corrected proposal

Step 8 – OGCA review and submission - continued

To avoid Errors and Warnings, review:

  • Commons (recommended reading)


  • Grants.gov (includes a plethora of uncommon errors) http://www.grants.gov/assets/AdobeReaderErrorMessages.pdf

Step 9 – tracking the proposal

  • The PI can track proposal status in the NIH Commons

  • Log in to Commons - password required (PI)

  • Select “Status” to call up the proposal record

    Commons web address:


Step 10 – sitting and waiting

  • Cycle I: proposal submitted between January and April

    • Scientific merit review: June to July

    • Advisory council review: September to October

    • Earliest project start date: September or December

Step 10 – sitting and waiting - continuation

  • Cycle II: proposal submitted between May and August

    • Scientific merit review: October to November

    • Advisory council review: January to February

    • Earliest project start date: April

Step 10 – sitting and waiting - continuation

  • Cycle III: proposal submitted between Sept. to December

    • Scientific merit review: February to March

    • Advisory council review: May to June

    • Earliest project start date: July

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