Application Tips: What Staff Check After Submission that Systems Can’t

You may be familiar with the top ten tips for smoothly getting your application through electronic application submission systems (if not, watch this video!). But are you familiar with the kinds of things NIH staff look at after submission before your application can go to review?

The latest issue of eRA’s NIH eSubmission Items of Interest highlights some of the questions staff ask, before referring applications for further processing. These include:

  • Does the application include all critical sections?

Our systems can tell if you attached a pdf document in a certain spot in the application, but can’t assess the content of that attachment. Make sure you attach the correct document, with the correct content, in the correct spot.

  • Does the topic of the application fit NIH’s mission?
  • Is the applicant eligible to apply?
  • Does the application include information in inappropriate places to get around page limits?

Resist the temptation to use appendices and other non-page-limited application sections to augment information in your specific aims, research strategy, abstract, biosketches and other page-limited sections of your application (NOT-OD-11-080, NOT-OD-07-018). 

  • Was the application submitted on-time?

Unlike many agencies, NIH does not shut down the ability to submit to a funding opportunity announcement at 5:01 pm on a due date. We keep the submission door open and assess the circumstances of “late” submissions on a case-by-case basis. Staff check your cover letter submitted with your application for documented circumstances allowed under our late policy. They check to see if the application falls under our continuous submission policy. They also check to see if you ran into any system issues along the way and appropriately notified the eRA service desk to document them.

  • Do you already have an application with essentially the same content under review?

Even under our latest submission rules which allow you to submit the same application again, you can’t have overlapping applications under review at NIH at the same time (NOT-OD-14-074).

  • Did you follow font and margin guidelines documented in the application guide when preparing all your attachments?

…and several more. Check out the full list, and the latest issue, and be sure to subscribe to find out the latest eRA news delivered to your email!



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