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eSubmission Tips. National Institutes of Health. Sheri Cummins NIH electronic Research Administration eRA Customer Relationship Manager External Services – eSubmission & eRA Commons Webinar November 25, 2008. eSubmission Process. PI. PI. AOR/SO.

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eSubmission Tips

National Institutes of Health

Sheri Cummins

NIH electronic Research Administration

eRA Customer Relationship Manager

External Services – eSubmission & eRA Commons


November 25, 2008

esubmission process
eSubmission Process




Find Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and download instructions and form package.

PI prepares application per FOA and application instructions and sends it to AOR for submission.

Authorized Organization Rep (AOR) submits application to

eRA retrieves application from and checks it for compliance with application instructions.

PI and AOR/Signing Official (SO) check submission status and, if no errors, view assembled application in eRA Commons.

tip complete registrations well in advance of deadline
TIP: Complete registrations well in advance of deadline
  • Two separate registrations
    • - organizations only; AOR
    • eRA Commons – organization SO & PD/PI
      • “Good Faith” Effort - Start Commons registration 2+ weeks before deadline and you won’t be penalized for NIH caused delay if registration not complete
      • If same person is both SO and Principal Investigator (PI), two separate accounts (one with each role) are required

START EARLY!Can take 2–4 weeks; up to 8 weeks for newly established or foreign businesses

tip follow all foa application guide instructions
TIP: Follow All FOA & Application Guide Instructions
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
  • May include announcement-specific instructions
  • FOA instructions take precedence over application guide
  • Application Guide
  • Agency-specific instructions are marked with the HHS logo
tip download new application package for each submission round
TIP: Download new application package for each submission round

Work from a fresh application package for each submission deadline to avoid issues.

Many changes to the electronic forms will be made in 2009 and 2010.

Each new form change renders old application packages unusable.

Coming eSubmission Form Changes…

  • Submission deadlines after Jan. 7, 2009
    • Move from PureEdge to Adobe forms
  • Submission deadlines after May 7, 2009
    • Updates to SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398 forms resulting from new OMB clearance and reporting requirements
  • 2010
    • Updates to PHS 398 forms to support peer review initiatives
nih transition to adobe forms

NIH Transition to Adobe Forms

Small Business applicants will use PureEdge for Jan. 7 AIDS deadline






Adobe forms available for Small Business & Conference FOAs

Many grant programs switch to Adobe forms beginning Jan. 1 - NOTSmall Business or Conference Programs

  • * Most receipt dates on or after Jan 1, 2009 must use Adobe, except…
  • Small business (R41,R42, R43, R44) and conference (R13/U13s) grant

applications with Jan. 7, 2009 AIDS submission deadlines

  • FOAs expiring on or before January 31, 2009 will continue to use Pure Edge until the expiration date.
tip check commons status correct any errors
TIP: Check Commons Status & Correct Any Errors
  • Errors stop application processing and must be corrected
  • Warnings do not stop application submission and are corrected at the discretion of the applicant

Error Correction Window:NIH allows on-time applicants to correct errors/warnings during the 2 business days after the submission deadline. Only changes to address identified as errors/warnings allowed. Must include cover letter indicating changes.

most common application errors
Most Common Application Errors
  • Missing email in SF424 (R&R) Applicant Information section (box 5)
  • Missing PD/PI Commons Username in Credential field of Sr/Key Person Profile form
  • Missing Organization Name for all Senior/Key Persons in Sr/Key Person Profile form
  • Improper attachment format - NIH requires PDF
  • Including Sr/Key Persons in R&R Budget without any effort recorded in calendar months or combination of academic and summer months

Avoiding Common Errors:

tip don t wait until the last minute submit early
TIP: Don’t wait until the last minute –submit early!
  • Many applicants need at least two submission attempts to complete the submission process – build this time into your schedule – don’t depend on error correction window
  • You will compete for system and help desk resources if you wait until the last minute to submit
tip view entire application in era commons
TIP: View Entire Application in eRA Commons

If you can’t VIEW it, we can’t REVIEW it!

Application Viewing Window:2 business days after application is assembled & before submission considered complete

tip get connected to receive notifications of process policy changes and contingency alerts
TIP: Get Connected to receive notifications of process/policy changes and contingency alerts
  • NIH uses the NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts and listservs to notify the community of:
    • Policy/process changes
    • Contingency alerts resulting from large scale system issues during submission deadlines
  • NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts
      • Subscribe to weekly email of new postings
  • SBIR/STTR listserv
tip use help desks document issues
TIP: Use Help Desks & Document Issues
  • Use help desk resources to address issues
    • Best equipped to assist you
    • Provides important documentation of your issues and actions taken to address them
    • Especially important if issue threatens on-time submission
  • eRA Commons Help Desk
    • Web support:
    • Phone: 301-402-7469
    • Toll Free: 866-504-9552
    • TTY: 301-451-5939
    • Hours: M-F, 7am-8pm ET
  • Contact Center
    • Phone: 1-800-518-4726
    • Hours: M-F, 7 am-9 pm ET
    • Email