Back in January we talked about whether there is an advantage to working up to the last minute and submitting your grant application on the deadline. From the perspective of review outcomes, there was no advantage. In fact, applications submitted at the last minute seemed somewhat less likely to be discussed.
Need another reason to apply early (by early we mean days, not hours, before a deadline)? We still see applications that fail to be completed in time for the due date, and as a result have to wait another round to be considered for funding!
When we look more closely at recent deadlines, we see that for both the R01 and the small business deadlines, applications submitted for the first time on the due date are two to four times more likely to miss the submission deadline than those submitted in the week before, with the numbers being higher for small businesses. Having even one application miss a deadline is one too many, and yet we are seeing a couple dozen for each deadline.
What can you do differently? Here is our advice:
- Submit early to leave plenty of time to correct application errors. Although most errors can be addressed with a single corrective submission, the cause of the error may take some time to fix (like not including a required attachment that you have yet to create or needing a Commons ID for the PI which can take a day or two to get).
- If you are still using form-based submission, try another method. We see far fewer corrective submissions with applications using ASSIST or system-to-system methods than we do with downloadable form submissions. ASSIST and system-to-system methods allow you to check your application against our business rules before submission. See our Choose a Submission Option page for more information.
- Read and follow all instructions. Avoid application errors by carefully following the instructions in both the application guide and the funding opportunity announcement.
- Verify that your organization has completed all registrations, and that annual registration renewal has been completed for the System of Award Management (SAM). If you are from an organization that receives lots of Federal grants, your central sponsored research office is likely on top of this. If you are from a less research intensive institution you may need to pay more attention. It can take 6 weeks to complete all required registrations, so get those in place ASAP! Failure to complete the registration process is not a reason we can accept for a late application.
- Track your application after submission. Be sure to check the eRA Commons to ensure all errors are corrected, and verify that you can see your application image before the submission deadline. Let us help you avoid common errors.
You may remember, from my last post, the Reuters article headline, “New Year’s resolutions may be more procrastination than motivation” and the article’s citation that “ while about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8 percent succeed.” Let’s make our grant application resolutions part of the 8% that succeeds. If you need any help from us in making that happen, the eRA Help Desk is ready to assist.