Notes and reminders for submitting proposals using grants.gov
Resources for preparing a grants.gov grant and how to submit the application packages to the Office of Grants and Contracts.
Inform the Office of Grants and Contracts if you are planning to submit via grants.gov. If you are planning to submit a grants.gov electronic proposal, please contact the grants administrator assigned to your department/division in advance. We want to ensure that you have appropriate information needed to compose your application (ie., software, correct Funding Opportunity Announcement, institutional information required for on-line applications, formatting requirements for attachments, etc.).
40 hours prep time. The NIH estimates that it will take approximately 40 hours to prepare an electronic application. If you contact our office we can help you wade through the administrative requirements of the application so that you can spend your time on the more important components of your application. Here are some useful e-submission tips for PIs from NIH. Please note that the NIH Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR) in the Center for Scientific Review, (office that receives all grant submissions) is becoming increasingly strict. Failure to follow specific guidelines provided in the PA or RFA, for example, could result in the rejection of the proposal submission.
Submit your proposal to the Office of Grants and Contracts seven business days in advance of the grants.gov deadline starting January 1, 2011. All applications must be complete and ready to be submitted electronically when received by our office. Starting January 2011 due to the two-day error correction window being eliminated we will need the completed packages seven business days before the deadline. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to process proposals that are incomplete or arrive less than five business days in advance of the deadline. The Office of Grants and Contracts will be date and time stamped upon receipt. To be considered comopliant with this policy, all components must be final and have a signed internal proposal approval form. Late applications will be held by the Director, Office of Grants & Contracts. Only after compoliant grants have been submitted will the Director release late applications to grant administrators for review. Successful submission cannot be assured. Periodic reports of late applications will be provided to the Dean.
Route two paper copies and a goldenrod (proposal approval) form. Although the application will be submitted electronically, our business practices remain the same. Our goal is a paperless environment; until we reach that goal, we appreciate your providing copies for the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Grants and Contracts.
Upload your proposal to the SOM Z: drive or bring us your proposal on a thumb drive. The preferred mechanism to transmit your on-line application to our office is to save the application to the SOM Z: drive. Your SOM department has one or two designated staff with access to that drive. Grants and Contracts will access and submit your application directly from the Z: drive.
Grants.gov to eRA Commons. Every application is validated first in the grants.gov system and then by the NIH eRA Commons. The validation involves computer checking and matching of numerous fields. An error message will stop your application from being processed; a warning will allow the proposal to be forwarded on for peer review. It is important to check your proposal online as soon as possible to make sure that it is a complete and appropriate version. Below is a listing of the most common errors and warnings PIs receive. Please do not wait until the last minute to contact Grants and Contracts for help.
Multiple PI proposals. The NIH now allows multiple PIs on research grants; however, this option is available only on certain Funding Opportunities. Do not assume you may use the multiple PI option on an unsolicited R01; multiple PI applications will only be accepted by the system in response to an FOA that allows it. If you are planning to submit a multiple PI proposal , please:
Identify a "Contact PI" on the goldenrod. The contact is the PI responsible for coordinating the submission. Although a separate project will be established for each PI, the overall account structure will be based on the owning org of the Contact PI.
Provide a goldernrod and separate budget for each PI. The budgets are for internal purposes and will be used to establish the accounts in the hopeful event an award is made.
The SOM policy on multi-PI proposals may be accessed here.
PI responsibilities. PIs are responsible for logging onto the NIH eRA Commons site within 48 hours of proposal submission and to proactively check the status of their proposal. Check for error messages and contact Grants and Contracts immediately if a problem exists. If you leave town after the proposal has arrived at Grants and Contracts, make sure you inform your Grants and Contracts contact with information on an individual who can contact you in an emergency and/or has access to the files used to create your proposal.
Correction/resubmission of proposals. Proposals may be corrected and resubmitted up to the submission deadline with no explanation: however if a correction is needed after the deadline has passed due to system identified errors/warnings the PI must write a letter to their Program Officer to be co-signed by the Authorized Business Official explaining why the proposal needs to be resubmitted (i.e. exceeding page limit, eRA commons user name missing for PI, transposed DUNS #, etc). Include information from any previous cover letter(s), since that information is not retained. That letter needs to be uploaded into the corrected proposal. View the sample letter here.
Special Notes for Principal Investigators. Allow up to 1 weekday from the time NIH has retrieved the application from Grants.gov for the status to appear in the NIH Commons. The NIH Electronic Submission websites and the application guide are excellent sources for questions about errors and warnings. See, in particular, the NIH sites on applying electronically and preparing an electronic application.
Remember, errors are fatal: your application will not be accepted until all errors are resolved and the ARO submits a complete Corrected/Changed application through grants.gov. Warnings must be reviewed and may require corrective action; if not acted on, your proposal may be forwarded for peer review, but may result in the proposal having to be withdrawn at a later date. PIs most most commonly receive these errors and warnings.
PIs and department administrators are advised to check proposal status carefully and to notify their grants administrator in the Grants and Contracts immediately to resolve questions or concerns.