January 06, 2011

Preparing for Upcoming NIH Deadlines

As announced previously, beginning with due dates on or after January 25, 2011, NIH, AHRQ and NIOSH will eliminate the two-day error correction window from the application submission process. (For specific program due dates, go to NIH Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications.)

Principal Investigators and departments are reminded that even minor errors can cause an electronic proposal submitted through Grants.gov to be rejected. For example, the Sponsored Projects Office recently received an NIH proposal on the day the proposal was due to the agency. Eight hours after the proposal was submitted by SPO, the Grants.gov system issued an error message that the submission had failed because there were too many characters in the proposal title. Fortunately, the two-day error correction window allowed SPO to correct this minor error and resubmit. After January 25, 2011, this will not be possible.

This means that “late” proposals submitted to SPO. i.e., proposals submitted less than five working days before the due date, will definitely be at greater risk for submission failure after January 25, 2011.

To avoid this problem, PIs may want to consider submitting their proposal to SPO with a “draft” technical section if all other administrative sections of the proposal are complete. If such a proposal is submitted to SPO five working days before the deadline, the proposal will be considered “on time.” SPO then will be able to review the administrative section for errors that can affect the submission of the proposal while the PI completes the technical section.

When choosing this option, PIs must make sure that the administrative section in the final version of the proposal does not differ from the administrative section SPO has already reviewed in the draft version, otherwise new errors may not be identified. Also, PIs will need to follow the SPO Research Administrator’s guidance on when to submit the final version of the proposal to SPO to ensure that the final proposal will be submitted on time.

December 1, 2010 Research Advocate article: Reminder: Elimination of the NIH Two-Day Error-Correction Window
August 20, 2010 Research Advocate article: NIH, AHRQ, and NIOSH to Eliminate Error-Correction Window for Applications