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Vol. LVIII, No. 25
December 15, 2006
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NIH R01 Grant Applications Go Electronic

Beginning with the Feb. 5, 2007, standard receipt date and beyond, NIH will require applicants to submit all Research Project Grant R01 applications electronically— no paper applications will be accepted. This change marks a major milestone in the transition to receive all grant applications electronically, which began with Small Business Innovation Research applications in December 2005. Since that time, NIH has received over 18,000 grant applications and has engaged in an outreach effort to ensure that its applicant community adjusts successfully to the new process.

“NIH has been committed to using information technology to improve the grants administration process for many years,” said Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo, NIH deputy director for extramural research. “We look forward to applicants benefiting from a single federal interface for finding opportunities and submitting applications online; reviewers having access to crisp, clear, color applications; and staff processing of applications with a consistency that can be achieved only through electronic processes.”

The transition to electronic submission is complex. It requires that two systems with their own registration and validation processes work together—Grants.gov, the federal government’s single online portal to find and apply for federal funding, and eRA Commons, the system that allows applicants to interact electronically with NIH. The transition also involves the simultaneous shift from the long-used PHS-398 application form to a new trans-agency standard form and fundamentally changes the process by which investigators and grant applicant institutions manage their grant submissions.

NIH expects that the R01 transition will set new application submission records both at Grants.gov and within the NIH eRA Commons. NIH recently made performance and capacity improvements in its systems and help desks and is positioned to handle the expected increased load. In addition, NIH has developed contingency plans to ensure that any issues that arise can be addressed quickly and that applicants are not penalized for system problems.

To ensure a smooth transition, NIH extramural staff should encourage all potential principal investigators to contact their central grants offices immediately to learn how their institutions are handling these application form and process changes.

Information on the submission process and additional training and promotional resources are available on the NIH Electronic Submission of Grant Application web site: http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/. NIHRecord Icon

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