NIH eRA eSubmission Items of Interest June 2012

"How did it get so late so soon?"

How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. 
December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon? 
~Dr. Seuss

It doesn’t matter if you write grant applications or children’s books… time is always a factor.  However, when writing grant applications, there can be serious consequences for poor time management.  So once again we present to you reasons to submit applications as early as possible. And by early, we mean days, not hours, and not minutes.

Considerations the applicant should keep in mind as the submission date nears:

  1. Before making an on-time submission, it is important that applicants and applicant organizations confirm that all of the required registrations with the various federal organizations (NIH’s eRA Commons,, DUNS, CCR, etc) are complete, active and that the applicant’s eRA Commons profile is up to date.  For more information about registrations, visit the Get Registered page.
  2. Notifications of submissions come from first and NIH second.  

    It is the applicant’s responsibility to track the application. Since email can be unreliable, applicants are encouraged to use and eRA Commons to check the status of the submission. Seeing the assembled application in eRA Commons is the only sure-fire way to verify the submission has made it through the systems error-free. Applications must be error free in eRA Commons by the submission deadline in order to move forward for consideration.

    When an application is submitted to, a status notification is sent to the email address on file at for the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) whose credentials were used at the time of submission.

    After the application has passed validations, NIH notifications are sent to the three email addresses included on the SF424 (R&R) cover form: the person to be contacted email address in box 5,  the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) email address in box 14, and the AOR email address in box 19. When receiving these notifications, make sure to read the entire message to be sure critical information is not missed.
  3. Applications submitted in the final hours before a submission deadline may take longer to process due to high system usage.  While NIH continues to dedicate additional resources to improve response time, like any “rush hour” scenario, delays do sometimes occur and it may take several hours to receive the results of the submission. 
  4. Submit early enough to take advantage of the 2 day viewing window by submitting a minimum of 2 days before the submission date. 

    The eRA Commons application viewing window provides applicants with an opportunity to view the assembled application image just as a reviewer would see it and to verify that the image correctly reflects your submission (i.e., submitted information was not lost or garbled during the assembly process). Applicants who submit early have the option of correcting warnings or making other application changes within this window as long as the corrected submission is submitted prior to the deadline. However, any Changed/Corrected application submitted after the deadline will overwrite the previous submission. The Changed/Corrected application is then subject to the NIH late policy.

    Take for example this scenario: You submit an application 1 day before the due date and it is an error free application with only a few warnings.  As is, this application will move forward for consideration (it’s error free).  But you want to correct the warnings, so you submit the corrected application a day after the deadline. Your new submission is now late (submitted after the due date) and has overwritten the original on time submission, so it will not move on for consideration.  
  5. Other than the rare scenarios outlined in the late submission policy, the only other time applications are accepted after the submission date is when there is a documented and confirmed system issue.  System issues are scenarios where either or eRA Commons are experiencing problems that prevent your ability to submit on time (examples). Applicants experiencing a system issue must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.

We bring this concept of submitting early to your attention frequently because we want you to be successful in the application process.  We hate to see any application denied submission due to the possible scenarios outlined above.

We urge you to follow the advice of one of the most famous writers of all:

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” - William Shakespeare

And in the case of grant application submission, 3 days is better yet! 

Just in Time is All the Time?

Kind of sounds like my life: mortgage payment… just in time; gas in the car… just in time; check-in at the airport… just in time; paycheck deposited into my account… just in time (whew!).

In the life of eRA Commons, however, Just in Time (JIT) is a little different.  JIT is a mechanism to enable specific elements of a grant application to be submitted later in the application process, following review when the application is still under consideration for funding.  Previous to April 20, 2012, the JIT link within eRA Commons was only visible if the application received an impact score within a certain range.

Under the new business process, the JIT link is available for all applications within 24 hours after the impact score has been released.  Since the JIT link will be available for all applications, applicants should not rely on the appearance of the link as an indicator of the need to submit JIT information; instead they should rely on the JIT notification email sent from NIH eRA Commons to the Project Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s).

For more information regarding this change, please see NOT-OD-12-101.

I hope this gets to you just in time.

~ Joe

Joe Schumaker
eRA Communications 
Division of Communications and Outreach
NIH Office of Extramural Research