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Electronic Submission. Applying for NIH Grants A “Hands-On” Guide NIH Electronic Submission Team December, 2006. Electronic Submission to NIH Through Grants.gov. Prepare to Apply. Find Opportunity and Download Application Package. Prepare Application.

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electronic submission

Electronic Submission

Applying for NIH Grants

A “Hands-On” Guide

NIH Electronic Submission Team

December, 2006

electronic submission to nih through grants gov
Electronic Submission to NIH Through Grants.gov

Prepare to Apply

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit Application to Grants.gov (AOR submits)

CheckSubmissionStatusin Commons

Check Assembled Application

Submission Complete

two systems working together
Two Systems Working Together
  • Grants.gov – the Federal government’s single online portal to find and apply for Federal grant funding.
    • Used by all 26 Federal grant-making agencies.
  • eRA Commons – the NIH electronic Research Administration system that allows applicants/grantees to electronically receive and transmit application and award information.
    • Used by NIH and other HHS components.

IMPORTANT: Each system has its own registration and validations requirements.

prepare to apply
Prepare to Apply

Registration – Grants.gov

  • Applicant Organization only (one time)
    • Register the Authorized Organization Reps (AORs) who can officially submit on behalf of your organization
    • There are several steps and entities in the process. Registration can take 2 – 4 weeks; up to 8 for newly established businesses
prepare to apply5
Prepare to Apply

Registration eRA Commons - Organization

  • Register your organization/institution (one time)
  • Register your Signing Official (SO)
  • Register and create a separate account for your Project Director/Principal Investigator
  • Registration may be completed simultaneously with the Grants.gov registration (as soon as the DUNS # is obtained)
  • Allow 2 – 4 weeks to complete
prepare to apply6
Prepare to Apply

Registration - PI

  • PIs do not register with Grants.gov
  • PIs need a single eRA Commons account with PI role (may also have IAR role if reviewer)
    • PIs have one account that follows them throughout their careers
    • PI account may not be combined with any other roles (i.e. SO, AO, AA etc.)
    • Account may be affiliated with multiple organizations
  • Allow 4 - 5 business days to complete
prepare to apply7
Prepare to Apply

Obtain Software

  • PureEdge software is required for forms-based submission.
    • The software may be downloaded from Grants.gov:http://www.grants.gov/resources/download_software.jsp
    • Options for Mac users outlined at: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/files/mac_options.htm
      • Free Citrix service, PC Emulation, PureEdge viewer
  • PDF Conversion Programs – non-PureEdge application attachments must be converted to PDF documents.
    • List of programs: http://www.grants.gov/resources/download_software.jsp#pdf_conversion_programs
find opportunity download package
Find Opportunity & Download Package

Office of Extramural Research home page:http://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm

Select Funding Opportunities in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

find opportunity download package9
Find Opportunity & Download Package

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contractshttp://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

Enter search criteria


Select Advanced Search

find opportunity download package10
Find Opportunity & Download Package

The Advanced Search feature provides a lot of options to narrow your search.

Enter search criteria.

find opportunity download package11
Find Opportunity & Download Package

Identify an FOA of interest and download the application package.

Select the FOA number to open the announcement.

find opportunity download package12
Find Opportunity & Download Package

Button added to the NIH Guide announcements allows access to the Grants.gov application package directly from the NIH Guide.


Download Application Package

Download FOA instructions and application package from Grants.gov


Register to receive notification of changes.

Download the application instructions and package from this location.

prepare your application
Prepare Your Application

All mandatory Grants.gov fields are highlighted and denoted with an asterisk. See Application Guide for additional NIH requirements.

prepare your application16
Prepare Your Application

All Mandatory Documents must be completed in order to submit.

Refer to the agency specific instructions for which Optional Documents are required.

NIH will use agency-specific forms labeled PHS 398.

prepare your application17
Prepare Your Application

Select this icon to receive field-specific help.

The DUNS Number in the application must match the one used for the institution's Grants.gov registration and the eRA Commons account.

r r budget
R&R Budget

Business process change from percent effort to person months.

FAQs and a Calculator available at:http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_faqs.htm


Applicant sends the R&R budget component to the consortium grantee for completion; it is returned to the applicant; applicant attaches the PureEdge form to this component.


PI eRA Commons User ID must be supplied here for successful submission.

This is one of the most common app errors.

Enter PI Commons User ID


Expanded form allows for collection of up to 40 Senior/Key persons using structured fields. Each attachment contains 8 Senior/Key persons.

phs 398 cover letter
PHS 398 Cover Letter

Required for all applications submitted after the receipt deadline.

If revising the cover letter for a Changed/Corrected application, include all previous submitted cover letter text.


Separate attachments maximize benefit of system validations & accommodate image bookmarking.

Appendix material.

prepare your application24
Prepare Your Application

Select “Save” to save the application package to your local hard drive.

Application will be saved locally using this file name. If prepared by the PI, it must be routed to AOR for submission.

submit application


Submit Application
  • Submit button will not become activated until:
  • All Mandatory Fields have been completed.
  • All Mandatory Documents have been completed and moved to the Completed box.
  • All applicable Optional Documents have been completed and moved to the Completed box.
  • Only an AOR/SO can submit a grant!
submit application26


Submit Application

Enter your Grants.gov username and password – you must be fully registered to successfully submit.

submit application27


Submit Application
  • Scroll to the bottom of the confirmation screen to receive:
  • Grants.gov Tracking Number
  • Date/Time Stamp - grants are due 5 p.m. local time of the applicant org. on day of submission deadline.
email notifications grants gov
Email Notifications – Grants.gov
  • AOR receives emails
  • Submission Receipt – app received and is being validated
  • Rejection Notice – app is not validated because of Grants.gov errors
  • Submission Validation Receipt – app has been validated
  • Grantor Agency Retrieval Receipt – app has been retrieved by the agency
  • Agency Tracking Number – app has been assigned a tracking number by the grantor agency (only for error-free applications that result in an image)
email notifications era commons
Email Notifications – eRA Commons
  • AOR/SO, PI and contact receives emails
  • Validation complete, check assembled application
  • Validation complete, check assembled application – Warnings only
  • Action required – Errors and/or Warnings
  • Action required – Missing or invalid eRA Commons Username (only sent to AOR/SO)
  • Action required – System Error
  • SO has refused electronic application (rejected)
  • NIH has auto-verified the application (after 2-day viewing window)
correction window
Correction Window

Limited Time Only

  • As everyone is learning the new process, NIH will allow changed/corrected applications to be submitted to address errors/warnings in the five business days after the receipt date.
    • All registrations must be completed prior to initial submission
    • Initial application submission to Grants.gov must have been made by 5:00 p.m. local time on receipt date
    • Changes must be made in response to identified errors/warnings
    • Cover letter required
era commons

eRA Commons

After the AOR submits…

What’s Next?

advice from experience
Advice From Experience

Most common problems with applications to date:

  • The credential field on the R&R Senior/Key Person Profile component MUST contain the PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID.
  • When entering the PD/PI name on the SF424 (R&R) form, box #15, remember not to enter a SPACE after the last letter in the first name and last name.
  • All non-PureEdge attachments MUST be in PDF format – Most problems with the final assembled application image are because of PDFs not converting as anticipated.Check your PDF conversions before attaching them to the application.
  • When submitting or resending a corrected application, please be aware that the “type of application” box #8 will never change throughout the submission.
esubmission in commons
eSubmission in Commons
  • Check Application Status
  • View Errors/Warnings
  • Check Assembled Application

The PI and AOR/SO Perspectives

pi view check errors warnings


PI View – Check Errors/Warnings

From the Status screen use the Grants.gov tracking number to identify the submission and follow the link to view errors/ warnings.

Application Status shows eSubmission Error



Errors and warnings listed at the top of the status screen.

errors warnings
Errors & Warnings
  • Errors stop the submission process and must be addressed before the application can move on to Receipt & Referral.
  • Warnings may be fixed at the applicant’s discretion but do not require action for the application to move on.
  • If the PI corrects any Warnings or Errors, they should contact the AOR/SO. The AOR/SO must submit the entire changed/corrected application again through Grants.gov.
pi view check assembled application


PI View – Check Assembled Application

Error-free applications result in an assembled application image – Accession Number assigned. Follow link to view image.

Application Status shows Received

check assembled application


Check Assembled Application

The application image, appendices and cover letter can be found in Other Relevant Documents.

Click links to access documents.

check assembled application39


Check Assembled Application

Applicants have two weekdays to view the assembled application.

PIs must work through SO to reject application if system issue found.

aor so view querying for applications


AOR/SO View-Querying for Applications

Since AOR/ SOs have access to all institutional applications, their view provides the ability to limit the list of applications they see.

aor so view querying for applications41


AOR/SO View-Querying for Applications






  • Click on the Status Tab 3. Select Show Prior eSub Errors
  • Click on eApplications on the left menu 4. Remove “From” & “To” Received Dates
  • 5. Click Search
aor so view check errors warnings


AOR/SO View – Check Errors/Warnings

Use the Grants.gov tracking number to identify the submission and follow the link to view errors/ warnings.

Application Status shows eSubmission Error

viewing errors warnings


Viewing Errors/Warnings

Depending on the errors found, the system may not be able to list all errors at once (e.g. DUNS error prevents further processing).

AOR/SO must ensure all errors are corrected and submit the entire changed/ corrected application to Grants.gov.

checking the assembled application


Checking the Assembled Application

Accession number assigned when application image is generated.

Follow link to view image.

eApplication Status shows “Pending Verification” within 2-day viewing window, “Submission Complete” after it moves forward and “Refused” if Rejected by AOR/SO.

check assembled application45


Check Assembled Application

The application image, appendices and cover letter can be found in Other Relevant Documents.

Click links to access documents.

rejecting an application


Rejecting an Application

The AOR/SO can reject an application from the hit list if system issue has affected the image.

rejecting an application48


Rejecting an Application

Comment required to complete the rejection process – comment sent in notification to AOR/SO and PI of rejection.

additional resources

Additional Resources

Electronic Submission Assistance

finding help
Finding Help


Grants.gov – registration, submission & PureEdge questions: http://www.grants.gov/CustomerSupport

Grants.gov Customer Service

  • E-mail: support@grants.gov
  • Phone: 1-800-518-4726

eRA Commons

eRA Commons – registration and post submission questions:

Support Page: http://era.nih.gov/commons/index.cfm

eRA Commons Help Desk

  • Web support: http://itservicedesk.nih.gov/era/
  • Phone: 1-866-504-9552 or 301-402-7469

Enter your own support ticket!

finding help51
Finding Help

NIH’s overall plan– for electronic receipt, application preparation:

NIH Grants Information

E-mail: grantsinfo@nih.gov

Phone: 301-435-0714

Electronic Submission and the SF424 (R&R) – steps, news, training, presentations, resources etc.

Website: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt

Listserv(s): http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/listserv.htm Join for news, information and the latest updates!

electronic submission website
Electronic Submission Website

Electronic Submission Information:


resources links
Grants.gov Registrationhttp://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp

eRA Commons Registrationhttp://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/preparing.htm

NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts (Find FOAs)http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

PureEdge Software (free)http://www.grants.gov/resources/download_software.jsp#pureedge

PDF Software Resourceshttp://www.grants.gov/agencies/software.jsp#3

MAC Citrix Software (free)http://www.grants.gov/resources/download_software.jsp#non_window

Generic Validations Listinghttp://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/files/GenericValidations.htm

eRA Commons – Check status, review application image https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/

OER Home Pagehttp://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm

Transition Timelinehttp://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-06-035.html

eSubmission Website – Info, training, resources, news, etc. http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/

SAMPLE Application Guides & Packages (may NOT be used for submission) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm

Video training library - A Walk Through the SF424 (R&R) http://helix.od.nih.gov/oervideo/grantsgov/A_Walk_Through_SF424/index.html

Registration in the eRA Commons: Demohttp://era.nih.gov/virtualschool/external/c101_GranteeRegistrationProcess.htm

Grants.gov’s “How to Complete An Application Package Demo”http://www.grants.gov/images/Application_Package.swf

Frequently Asked Questionshttp://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/faq.htm

Tips on Avoiding Common Errorshttp://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/avoiding_errors.htm

Communications and Outreach resources (brochures, presentations, drop-in newsletter articles) http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/communication.htm

Resources & Links
collecting user feedback
Collecting User Feedback
  • NIH has established an e-mail address to collect comments and/or suggestions from users:NIHElectronicSubmiss@mail.nih.gov
    • Share your experiences—successes and challenges
    • Share specific suggestions for improvement
    • What resources are most useful (Targeted e-mails, FAQs, Avoiding Common Errors, Commons Alerts, Training tools)
era commons55

eRA Commons

Grant Administration in Commons

We don’t often have the time to cover the remaining slides in class,

but it is great information so take some time to read on!

administration after submission
Administration after Submission

eRA Commons Features:

  • Grant Status
  • Just In Time (JIT)
  • Electronic Streamline Non-competing Award Process (eSNAP)
  • Closeout
  • No-Cost Extension
  • Financial Status Reports (FSR)
  • Internet Assisted Review
grant status

Search screen allows the SO to narrow the list of results. PI search automatically selects all applications belonging to the PI.

status hit list



1. Application ID is the link to the application details.

2. Right side of hit list are links to other Commons functionality.

status details
STATUS Details

Only the PI can see the priority score, percentile, and summary statement.

j ust i n t ime
Just In Time
  • Capability to electronically submit Just-In-Time pieces of the application (Other Support, IRB and/or IACUC Approval Dates, Human Subjects Education info)
  • Not an indication that application will be awarded
  • Wait for a request to submit the information
    • You should receive either a system-generated email or be contacted by the Grants Management Specialist (GMS)
    • Consult assigned GMS to be sure
just in time
Just In Time

Click on the JIT link in the Actions column of the Status hit list.

just in time62
Just In Time

PI can enter the Other Support File, IRB Date, IACUC date, and HS Education information, but the SO must submit the information to NIH.


Electronic Streamline Non-competing Award Process

  • Electronic submission of annual SNAP Progress Reports
  • First NIH-wide eSubmission system
  • Most non-competing grants at NIH are streamlined
  • SO can enable the organization to submit eSNAPs
  • Benefits:
    • Submission deadline is 45 days prior to start date instead of 60 days
    • Reduces duplicate data entry
    • Testing a streamlined business process for research involving Vertebrate Animals and/or Human Subjects Research

Electronic Streamline Non-competing Award Process

  • PI or designated assistant can begin the process, upload progress report, and enter any or all of the administrative data
  • eSNAP can be routed to staff for approval
  • SO submits the completed eSNAP to NIH
    • SO can delegate submit privileges to any or all PIs at the organization

Begin the eSNAP either from the Action column of the Status Hit List or the eSNAP item on the menu bar.

esnap hit list
eSNAP Hit List

PI hit list shows all grants and applications with the Grant Number of eSNAP-eligible grants hyperlinked.

close out
Close Out
  • Electronically submit required Closeout documents for applications in Closeout status
  • GM Specialist at NIH must mark the grant “ready for close out” before link appears in Commons (contact assigned specialist if records are not appearing)
  • Items are:
    • FSR
    • Final Progress Report
    • Final Invention Statement
no cost extension
No-Cost Extension
  • Electronically submit no-cost extension notification to NIH
  • Grants in the last support year of the project period may be extended 1 time, onlyby the SO, for 6, 9, or 12 months
  • Extension may not involve any additional costs
  • Email notification sent to NIH Grants Management staff when SO processes the extension
f inancial s tatus r eport
Financial Status Report
  • Statement of expenditures usually due within 90 days from end of budget period or project period
  • Schedule for submitting FSR is normally specified in the Notice of Grant Award
  • Can be searched by individual grant number, FSRs for the institution, or status of the FSR
internet assisted review
Internet Assisted Review
  • IAR

The Internet Assisted Review (IAR) module allows reviewers to submit critiques of grant applications and view each other's reviews before the actual meeting.

Scientific Review Administrators (SRA) and Grants Technical Assistants (GTA) are able to view all critiques and generate preliminary score reports and pre-summary statement bodies.


Internet Assisted Review

Reviewers use this screen to submit their critiques and preliminary scores. Individual critiques (in Word or text format) are uploaded.