NIH Posts Reminder To Applicants About Being Complete and Compliant

September 26, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

imagesSometimes it helps us all to get a reminder. That’s why many of us use the meeting prompt feature in our Outlook calendars to let us know that there is something coming up on our agenda. Grant applicants also need specific reminders as well when planning to apply for an award, which is why the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently posted a reminder to applicants about being complete and compliant with NIH policy when submitting proposals.

In a recent NIH notice (NOT-OD-17-105), NIH sought to remind applicants “that to be fair to all concerned, the NIH will consistently apply standards for application completeness and for compliance with all submission requirements and NIH policies.” This policy is outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement under the “Eligibility” and the “Disposition of Applications” sections.

NIH goes on to state that it may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that is incomplete or noncompliant with instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the funding opportunity announcement and relevant NIH guide notices. It adds that:

  • NIH applications must be complete and compliant with all submission requirements and NIH policies at the time of submission.
  • NIH strongly discourages the practice of using placeholder attachments for required elements in an application. Although this may allow an application to successfully pass eRA system-enforced validations, applications that include such attachments are incomplete and will be withdrawn.
  • Applicants are expected to examine their applications for problems, errors, omissions and oversights and must make any necessary or desired changes prior to the application submission deadline.
    • The application submission deadline is 5 p.m. local (applicant organization) time on the application due date.
    • Applicants are encouraged to submit two or more days early to allow time for application viewing and corrections before the application submission deadline.
    • Corrective applications submitted after the application submission deadline are late and will overwrite any previous on-time submission for that application and permanently remove the on-time submission from consideration.
    • Applications submitted after the application submission deadline will be considered late, and only accepted under limited circumstances.
  • Post-submission materials to complete an application or to correct errors discovered after submission of the application will not be accepted.

If an application is withdrawn because it is incomplete or does not comply with the application preparation and submission instructions, a letter will be placed in the eRA Commons Status page for that application. The applicant organization will be notified by eRA Commons via e-mail to access their account and view the explanatory letter. Applicants who receive this notice are advised to review the letter thoroughly and understand the reason for the withdrawal to try to prevent such problems when applying for future awards.

The reminder may seem like basic, common sense information for all applicants out there but sometimes the most obvious things go overlooked. Applicants for NIH awards should heed these reminders and ensure their proposals meet all requirements. Thompson’s Federal Grants Management Handbook also is a useful source for all applicants in ensuring their proposals are compliant and receive a more favorable consideration.

Was this reminder helpful for you? Let us know if other agencies should post similar type reminders for applicants.

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