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Frequently Asked Questions

Special Categories
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Special Categories

  Adobe SF424 (R&R) Forms
  1. When will NIH begin using the new Adobe forms?
    NIH began to pilot the Adobe forms in the fall of 2008 with a few select funding opportunity announcements. The first standing submission deadlines using Adobe forms will be in January 2009. Additional information about the transition can be found by viewing the NIH Resources for the Adobe Transition page.

  2. What changes should users expect? Grants.gov is phasing out PureEdge based applications and users will be required to use new Adobe based forms. The basic look and feel of the forms remains the same. The overall process of finding opportunities, downloading application packages, preparing forms and submitting applications will also remain the same. Users will notice some small differences in form layout, but the main differences are in form navigation.

  3. How do I move my data from a PureEdge form to an Adobe form?
    Unfortunately there is no automated way to extract information from a PureEdge form to populate the Adobe application. Users will need to manually re-enter their data by either cutting and pasting or re-typing into the new form.

  4. What software do I need to complete the new forms?
    As of November 17, 2008, Grants.gov recommends Adobe Reader version 8.1.3 or higher to complete the new forms. Users should regularly check the Grants.gov Download Software page for updates or changes, and for information on how to download the Grants.gov compatible Adobe reader for free.

  5. What software do I need to create PDF attachments?
    Applicants may use one of the free PDF Conversion Programs recommended by Grants.gov or Adobe Acrobat (Standard or Professional) to create the required PDF attachments

  6. Are the Adobe forms compatible with both Mac and PC systems?
    Yes, the new Adobe forms offer platform independence and work with both Mac and PC operating systems.

  7. How do I get support for the new Adobe forms?
    Applicants should follow our usual process for seeking support. Any questions on form navigation, functionality or submission of the forms to Grants.gov should be directed to the Grants.gov Contact Center. If you encounter a technical issue that threatens NIH’s timely receipt of the application, please contact the eRA Help Desk at NIH to document the issue and provide us with the Grants.gov Contact Center tracking number.

  8. Where can I go to find more information about Adobe software?
    For specific software related questions and more information about using Adobe programs to complete your application, please visit the Adobe Reader section of Grant.gov’s FAQs. These FAQs provide guidance on Adobe topics such as:

    • Understanding Adobe error messages

    • Using compatible versions of Adobe Acrobat to complete your application

    • How to work with multiple Adobe programs (Reader and Acrobat)

    • Setting Adobe Reader as your default application viewer

    • Updating your Adobe software

Please remember that form specific questions should be directed to the Grants.gov Contact Center.

     NIH & Grants.gov

  1. Why is NIH embracing electronic submission and what are the benefits of integrating with Grants.gov's centralized website?
    The impetus behind this change is the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107) and the President's Management Agenda that is driving Federal Agencies to simplify Federal financial assistance application requirements and create a single website to apply for Federal assistance. Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/) has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget as the single access point for all grant programs offered by 26 Federal grant-making agencies. NIH's Electronic Receipt program and integration with Grants.gov is designed to give applicants a convenient one-stop shop for finding and applying for grant applications. The goal is also to provide a consistent look and feel to grant applications across federal agencies.

  2. What is NIH's electronic submission goal?
    By the end of September 2007, NIH plans to:

    1. Transition from the Public Health Service 398 (PHS398) to the new federal government-wide Standard Form 424 Research & Related (SF424 (R&R)) dataset and the SF424 Discretionary dataset. Note: SF424 Discretionary will be of limited use for NIH.

    2. Simultaneously transition to electronic submission through the federal government-wide Grants.gov "Find and Apply" website.

    3. Achieve the Office of Management and Budget goal of posting 75 percent of its Funding Opportunities in Grants.gov’s “Find” section an Grants.gov’s “Apply” section.

  3. What are the expected benefits of electronic submission?
    Benefits of electronic submission include:

  4. What is NIH's role once the applications are submitted to Grants.gov?
    NIH will retrieve applications from Grants.gov in a system-to-system mode. NIH then will check the application to ensure that all agency-specific guidelines have been followed.

    If the application has errors that make it unacceptable, NIH will send a message to the applicant to check eRA Commons for errors. The applicant then will have the opportunity to correct the application and submit the entire application again via Grants.gov.

    If there are no errors, NIH will notify the Principal Investigator and Signing Official (SO) to go to eRA Commons to check the assembled application. The SO will have the option to “reject” the application if the assembled application does not correctly reflect their submission due to system issues. If no action is taken, the application will move to the referral process after two full business days.
  1. What is Grants.gov?
    Grants.gov is a cross-agency initiative spanning 900 grant programs in 26 grant-making agencies, and more than $350 billion in annual awards. It provides a single source to find Federal government-wide competitive grant opportunities. It is the Federal government's single, online portal for any person, business, or State, Local and Tribal government to electronically find grant opportunities and apply for grants.

  2. What functionality does Grants.gov provide?
    Grants.gov provides robust functionality for the grant community, including:
  3. See also: Grants.gov Web site

  4. When will applicants be able to submit grant applications electronically to NIH via the Grants.gov portal?
    NIH began the transition to electronic submission in December 2005 when it chose the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications as the first grant type for applicants to submit electronically to NIH via Grants.gov.
    NIH is transitioning to electronic submission by individual research program/funding mechanism. Funding Opportunity Announcements (also known as Request-for-Applications and Program Announcements) will be issued in the NIH Guide and posted in Grants.gov as mechanisms are transitioned.
    See also: NIH Transition Timeline (PDF - 42 KB)

  5. Does Grants.gov architecture have sufficient capacity to handle receipt of grant applications from the entire Federal government?
    In the past two years, Grants.gov has substantially increased its capacity to handle submissions from an initial 500 submissions a day to 4,000 submissions a day. Grant.gov’s Apply functionality was launched Oct. 31, 2003, with four servers; recent infrastructure upgrades carried out in November 2005 have more than tripled the number of servers to 13.

    Grants.gov is committed to ensuring that it meets the needs of its customers. Towards this end, it is finalizing a long-term architecture plan that will incrementally scale up its architecture for increased capacity to keep several steps ahead of the surging usage of its system across the grantee community and the federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is scheduling its next infrastructure upgrade for Spring 2006, timing it just before it receives its heaviest application load of the fiscal year.

    Grants.gov is also working with the federal grant-making agencies to stagger submission deadlines to avoid overwhelming system usage on any given day. Applicants are encouraged to apply at least 24 hours prior to the deadline date to minimize concerns related to site capacity.

  1. Is Your Small Business and is the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PI) Registered with eRA Commons?
    In addition to registering with Grants.gov, both the small business concern and the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) must also complete a one-time registration in the eRA Commons in order to submit applications to NIH. Organizational officials are responsible for registering the PD/PI in the eRA Commons. To find out if your organization is already Commons-registered, a "List of Commons Registered Organizations" can be found at: http://era.nih.gov/userreports/ipf_com_org_list.cfm.

    The PD/PI registration must be done by an organization official or their delegate who is already registered in the Commons. The PD/PI should work with their Authorized Organizational Representative (also known as Signing Official in the eRA Commons) to determine their institutional process for registration. For a step-by-step account, click on Grantee Registration Steps for Commons (PDF - 37 KB). (Note: This applies to applicants as well as grantees despite the reference to “Grantee”.)

    The eRA Commons is so important because this is now THE discrete information exchange system where NIH and the applicant/grantee community are able conduct their extramural research administration business electronically. As announced in a recent NIH Guide Notice, the following changes are currently in place:

    In order to avoid delays in the e-notification process, it is vital that all Applicant/Grantee Organizations, Principal lnvestigators are registered in the eRA Commons and e-mail addresses are checked periodically for accuracy.

    Special Note for STTR applicants:
    The STTR applicant organization must officially affiliate the PD/PI with the small business concern in the Commons if the PD/PI is not an employee of the small business concern.
    Following are the steps to affiliate a PD/PI to the applicant organization/institution:

    1. PD/PI gives Commons user ID and email address to the administrator of the applicant institution. (The email address must be the one that is contained in the Personal Profile for the PI.)
    2. Administrator logs into the Commons. (The administrator can be the Signing Official, Administrative Official, or the Accounts Administrator.)
    3. Administrator selects "Administration" tab and then "Accounts" tab.
    4. Administrator selects "Create Affiliation" tab.
    5. Administrator enters the Commons User ID and Email address into the appropriate fields and clicks "Submit."

    Note: The account cannot have any other roles attached to it other than the PD/PI.

       Funding Opportunity Announcement
  1. May I still use the Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, and FDA for SBIR/STTR Grant Applications or must I find an Institute or Center (IC)- specific FOA (i.e., Program Announcement [PA] or Request for Application [RFA])?
    In http://grants.gov/search/searchHome.do, a Parent SBIR FOA (PA-06-120) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-120.html and a separate Parent STTR FOA (PA-06-121) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-121.html have been issued to encompass the general scientific research areas that are described in the 2006 SBIR and STTR Omnibus Solicitations (NIH, CDC, and FDA) Program Descriptions and Research Topics section of the Omnibus Solicitation. See http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr1/2006-2_SBIR-STTR-topics.doc (MS Word - 1.40 MB).

    To apply for these opportunities, you must use the parent FOA number (i.e., PA-06-120 or PA-06-121). In short, think of the “Parent” announcements as the “omnibus” solicitation now.

    While the Parent SBIR and STTR FOAs encompass all 24 ICs’ research topics and those of the CDC and FDA, there are other specific SBIR and STTR FOAs in Grants.gov that you may still apply for. Some NIH awarding components (e.g., National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) have identified additional specific SBIR and STTR funding opportunities, and these are also available in http://grants.gov/search/searchHome.do (or http://grants.gov/Apply if the FOA number is known). For a full list that includes FOA numbers, see the NIH Special Announcements for Small Business Research Opportunities Web site.

  2. How Do I Find and Apply for an SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity?
    A new advanced search feature for the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/search_guide.htm) allows the user to search by application package (i.e. PHS 398 or SF424).

    A button added to the Guide announcements allows the applicant to access the Grants.gov application package directly from the Guide.
    Once you identify a grant opportunity at Grants.gov, follow the steps described at http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/applying.cfm to submit an application. You must download the SF424 (R&R) Application Package and Application Guide (MS Word - 34 KB) for a specific FOA (e.g., PA-06-120, PA-06-121) through the Grants.gov Apply Web site. Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA may be used.

    Remember: Before you can apply electronically, the applicant small business organization must be registered in Grants.gov and the eRA Commons.
  3. In the SBIR/STTR application package (PA 06-120) that I downloaded from Grants.gov, the field of Opportunity Close Date is prepopulated with the closing date of Jan. 3, 2007. However, the Small Business Funding Opportunities webpage (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttr_receipt_dates.htm) lists April 1, 2006 as the submission date. Which is the correct closing date?
    A “closing” date is equivalent to the “expiration” date of a FOA. The closing date is Jan. 3, 2007 for this funding opportunity.
    The “closing/expiration” date is different from the submission date. The submission date reflects the deadline for your application to be received by NIH; that date is April 1, 2006 for this application package.

    In reading any Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts:

  4. Why Are There Separate FOAs for the SBIR and STTR Grant Mechanisms?
    Each FOA is linked to a specific Application Package. Since STTR applications have slightly different forms requirements than SBIR applications, distinct application packages had to be developed for each of these mechanisms. The good news is that you will know exactly which forms to include if you are applying for an SBIR award and which to include if you are applying for an STTR award since they will be pre-packaged.

    Note: In most cases, you will find parallel FOAs of identical scientific scope (e.g., one that utilizes the SBIR (R43/R44) grant mechanisms and a parallel one that utilizes the STTR (R41/R42) grant mechanisms. We have clearly distinguished the mechanisms in the FOA title, and we also include a cross-link to the parallel FOA. Applicants may not simultaneously submit identical/essentially identical applications under two HHS funding opportunities, including the SBIR or STTR Parent FOAs (PA-06-120 or PA-06-121).

  5. If a Grantee Organization with the same PI wants to submit two totally separate applications under the same Funding Opportunity Announcement for the same submission date, will the validations in electronic submission allow this? Or will the system see one as merely a replacement of the other and essentially overwrite the previous application?
    The validations look for a combination of three things —Commons Account Name for the PI, Title, and Council Round. If all three are a match to an existing record, and "corrected/changed application" is not checked, then the applicant will receive an "error" e-mail.
    However, as long as the title is distinct, multiple applications from the same PI, for the same submission date should not be a problem.
       SF424 (R&R) form
  1. An answer of "yes" to Question 8 of the SBIR/STTR Information component "Have you received SBIR Phase II awards from the Federal Government" requires an attachment explaining my company's commercialization history. How do I answer the question if I have less than 15 Phase II SBIR awards since a commercialization history is then not to be submitted?
    If you have received SBIR Phase II awards from the Federal Government (including NIH), check the YES box. Attach a file that includes either: (1) a statement indicating that the applicant small business has not received more than 15 SBIR Phase II awards from the Federal Government during the preceding five fiscal years; or (2) a company commercialization history if you have received more than 15 Phase II SBIR awards from the Federal Government during the preceding five fiscal years. The history must document the extent to which the company was able to secure Phase III funding to develop concepts resulting from previous Phase II SBIR awards, and for each Phase II award the history must include: (1) name of awarding agency; (2) award number and date; (3) amount of award; (4) title of project; (5) source, date, and amount of Phase III funding agreement; and (6) commercialization status of each Phase II award.

    If you have not received SBIR Phase II awards, then check the NO box.

  2. How does one add a key personnel that is to be hired?
    A “key person” must be a named individual, since this person’s particular credentials and accomplishments are given critical consideration during the review of the application. Project roles, for which no specific person has been named, cannot be reviewed in this way and therefore should not be listed in this section.

    However, TBH (to-be-hired) individuals may be listed with the R&R Budget, in section A (Senior/Key Person). On this form the emphasis is not only on named individuals, but on all senior/key positions that comprise the budget for the proposed project. It is here that key TBH positions may be listed, but you should list these positions AFTER the names, roles, months, salaries, and fringe benefits have been entered for all of the named senior/key personnel who have been listed on the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person” form.

  3. Is There A Dictionary to Help Me Understand This New SF424 (R&R) Lexicon?
    As we are also adapting to the new terminology, we have created the following cheat sheet, which may be helpful to you as well.

    NIH Terminology SF424 (R&R) Terminology
    What’s “Out” What’s “In”
    New (T-1) New
    Competing Continuation (T-2) Renewal
    Revision or Amendment Resubmission
    Competing Supplement Revision
    Program Announcement (PA) and/or Request for Application (RFA) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)—general term for all PAs and RFAs
    Principal Investigator (PI) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI)(Combined term)
    Authorized Organizational Official (AOO) or Signing Official (SO) Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
    Other Support Current & Pending Support
    Literature Cited
    (Part G. of 398 Research Plan)
    “Bibliography & References Cited” (SF424 (R&R) Other Project Information Component
    Consortium Budget Subaward Budget

    Note: SF424 (R&R): Type of Application also includes “Continuation.” This is equivalent to our Progress Report or T-5.
    NIH will not use the SF424 (R&R) for Progress Reports.

  4. Why Can't I Enter the Entire Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) Number in the Human Assurances Number Field?
    In the past, applicants entered on the PHS 398 all eleven alpha and numeric characters (e.g., FWA00012345).
    On the SF424 “RESEARCH & RELATED Other Project Information” form, use only the numeric portion of the FWA (e.g., 00012345) as this field is limited to 10 characters (i.e., drop “FWA”).

  5. How Do I Track Page Limitations When I Have to Submit All of the Various Sections of the Research Plan as Separate PDF Files?
    Separate attachments have been designed for the Research Plan sections to maximize automatic validations conducted by the eRA system. When the application is received by the agency, all of the Research Plan sections will be concatenated in the appropriate order so that reviewers and agency staff will see a single cohesive Research Plan.

    While each section of the Research Plan needs to eventually be uploaded separately, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. In this way the applicant can better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits.

    We suggest that you create the Research Plan in MS Word or some other word processing software; keep it to the 15 pages for Phase I, and 25 pages for Phase II Sections 2-5. Then “excise” the appropriate sections for each “Item” (2-5), and create a PDF from each excised part. There will be white space, which is fine, and expected.

  6. My organization is applying for a grant; however the PI on the grant application works in a different organization. On the SF424 (R&R) Cover component, the PI information in Item 15 reflects his organization, which is different than the applicant organization information in Item 5. When I go to the budget forms for period 1, the "Enter name of organization" is already pre-filled with the PI's organization name. This field does not allow edits; therefore I cannot change this field to reflect my organization name. What do I do?
    The Research and Related Budget component is incorrectly pre-populating the Organization Name. In order to proceed with your submission, please just ignore this field. The applicant organization should prepare its Research & Related Budget pages, making sure they indicated “Project” for the Budget Type. If a subaward/consortium is involved, the consortium grantee should complete their budget pages, making sure they indicate “Subaward/Consortium” for the Budget Type. The Budget Type field will help NIH staff properly distinguish between the 2 budgets until this glitch in the forms is fixed.
  1. Will paper applications be accepted for the submission deadline of April 1, 2006?
    No. As of Dec. 1, 2005, when SBIR/STTR applications were required to come in electronically via Grants.gov to NIH, no paper applications are accepted. You MUST submit the SBIR/STTR application electronically to Grants.gov using the SF424 (R&R) Application Package (attached to the specific FOA) and following the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word - 24 KB). This includes all new as well as resubmission (formerly called amended/revised) applications.

  2. If all instructions for a research grant will be included in the application guide, what happens to the specific SBIR/STTR instructions? Will the Application Guide include the nuances of the SBIR program, or will specific SBIR instructions remain in the SBIR solicitation? Will an applicant need to sift through the information in the SF424 (R&R) instructions, the agency-specific instructions, and the instructions in the solicitation?
    NIH has created a separate Application Guide just for SBIR/STTR applications (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/index.htm) that incorporates the SBIR/STTR instructions currently found in the solicitation with the standard application instructions.

  3. What about Change of Grantee Institution applications - which application will NIH require grantees to use?
    For now grantees will continue to submit these directly to the Institute/Center (IC) using a PHS398. However as mechanisms switch over to the SF424 (R&R), polices such as Change of Grantee Institution will also be reassessed and business process changes announced.

  4. Will non-competing progress reports be submitted through Grants.gov?
    Not at this time. NIH grantees are reminded that the eRA Commons includes the capability to electronically submit progress reports for grants awarded under the Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP). Information on the feature, know as "eSNAP", can be found on the eRA Commons Homepage: https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/index.jsp

  5. What will happen with existing Program Announcements (PAs) and Request for Applications (RFAs)?
    As decisions are made to convert a particular mechanism to Grants.gov submissions, any and all PAs & RFAs will need to be re-written. The NIH Office of Extramural Policy (OEP) is generating new Funding Announcement templates as a tool for ICs to use.

  6. What planning and thoughts are being given to distinguish SBIR submissions to grant programs versus submission to the Omnibus SBIR Contract Solicitations?
    Right now, Grants.gov only allows for grants submission. NIH will continue paper proposals for contract solicitations.

  7. Are their any future plans in regard to these contract solicitations to 1) use of SF 424 format and/or 2) for acceptance and routing through an electronic system?
    We are not aware of parallel activities for contracts.


  1. For SBIR/STTR Fast-Track, there were previously two separate applications. With SF424 (R&R), how are applicants being made aware that they must submit an integrated application, and how they might best present this “story” to the grant reviewers?
    What we determined for a number of reasons is the need for applicants to basically tell a story — In Phase I we will do this, in Phase II there will be specific gains. Our SBIR/STTR application guide will advise applicants to do this. Another important change is that at the review stage, the reviewers will not have an option of decoupling the Phase I from Phase II. As a Fast-Track applicant, the research plan will have to be carefully written, clearly delineating Phase I and its milestones as well as what will be accomplished in Phase II.

  2. Are special trainings being offered to SBIR/STTR review groups so that they know how to evaluate a combined application that cannot be decoupled?
    The Scientific Review Administrators will provide instructions to reviewers.
  Impact on Review
  1. How will electronic submission impact peer review from an applicant’s perspective?
    There will be no philosophical changes to peer review of electronically submitted grant applications since the same review criteria and conflict of interest rules will be in effect. Peer review has always been science and merit driven and will continue to be so. Applicants will have the same access to the Scientific Review Administrator (SRA) of the study section to ask questions and air concerns.

    However, there will be some practical changes:
    • A real plus is that is that there will be no loss of quality due to scanning/copying. The reviewers will see color images and high resolution graphics.
    • All applications for each grant mechanism (e.g. R01 or R21) will transition together to ensure continuity and fairness in the review process, so that study sections are not dealing with both paper and electronic applications for the same grant mechanism at the same time.

  2. How will electronic submission affect peer review from a reviewer’s perspective?
    Reviewers will continue to use the same review criteria and conflict of interest rules; therefore peer review will see no “philosophical” change. However, there will be some practical changes:
    • Reviewers will see high quality color images and high resolution graphics in the applications since there will be no diminution due to copying/scanning.
    • The review will ultimately aim to be “paperless” with the exception of the CD and Conflict of Interest forms. For now, updates/corrections may be in paper.
    • All relevant material will be available on the Internet Assisted Review web module.
    • Reviewers will need to learn to navigate through the new SF424 (R&R) form, becoming familiar with the layout and location of information.
    • Reviewers will have the option to print selected parts of the application (e.g. Research Plan) if necessary.
    • Another plus is that system checks should lead to more complete/compliant applications — for example, if Vertebrate Animals is checked as yes, the application must have that PDF.

    Tips for Reviewers - Viewing NIH Electronic Grant Applications (PDF - 54 KB) | February 12, 2007
     System to System
  1. Where can I find information on the XML schema used for system-to-system transmissions?
    The development of a system-to-system interface with Grants.gov is between the applicant institution and Grants.gov. Therefore, the best source for this information is the Applicant System to System Integration webpage on the Grants.gov website (http://www.grants.gov/agencies/applicant_system_integration.jsp).

  2. How will System-to-System Trading Partners know if forms changes are planned?
    All of the Grants.gov form components are subject to change, including the SF424 (R&R) and agency-specific forms used by NIH (labeled PHS 398). Although NIH is an active member of the Research and Related Working Group that makes form change recommendations to Grants.gov, Grants.gov has responsibility for change management of the government-wide form components. For the PHS 398 components, NIH will have to schedule requested changes with the Grants.gov forms development team. When any such plans are made, NIH will post the pending change and approximate timing on our Electronic Submission website.

  3. Which form components will NIH use for its opportunities?
    For each grant program (mechanism) NIH will use a combination of government-wide and agency-specific forms (PHS 398 and SBIR/STTR) listed on the Grants.gov website under SF424 R&R Family (http://apply.grants.gov/agency/FormLinks?family=3). Since NIH requires eRA Commons registration for electronic submission, the Research & Related Personal Data government-wide form will not be used by NIH.

  4. Each funding opportunity announcement lists both mandatory and optional components within the application package. Can NIH notify system-to-system providers of the mandatory and optional components to be used for each grant program (mechanism)?
    The specific mandatory and optional components have not yet been defined for all mechanisms. NIH has internal working groups that are working with the nuances of each mechanism and fitting them to the SF424 (R&R) form set. As decisions are made for individual mechanisms NIH will post this information to the Electronic Submission website. NIH will generally follow one of 5 templates based on the budget/special components used (Modular, Non-modular, both Modular and Non-modular, SBIR and STTR).

  5. Will NIH accept Greek characters in the XML data streams?
    No. Although XML will allow the characters, the Greek characters cause issues downstream. NIH's current data model and presentation interfaces are not set up to handle these characters.

  6. Will a System-to-System Trading Partner need to accommodate different versions of application forms?
    Yes. A System-to-System Trading Partner will need to have the flexibility to develop and maintain multiple schemas in order to support different versions of forms. Remember that some NIH funding opportunities stay in place for up to three years. NIH will not always go back to previously posted opportunities to have them pick up the latest forms, so System-to-System developers will want to be able to support either form - the original and the latest form. NIH is currently developing the ability to handle multiple schemas on the agency side.

  7. If a System-to-System Trading Partner generates the application image, does the applicant also need to check the image in Commons?
    Although some System-to-System Trading Partner may have built their own system to generate applicant images, NIH strongly recommends that the applicant still check out the grant image of their assembled application in eRA Commons and not rely solely on the developer-generated image.

  8. Are there some optional fields in the schema that are actually mandatory for the applicant on PureEdge?
    Yes, the NIH team is discovering that there are many optional fields in the schema that the user is actually required to fill in on PureEdge. The NIH code is throwing system errors when we retrieve System-to-System submissions with empty tags in these fields. We will inform you as we learn of these so you are aware of them. Program Income on the 398 checklist and the Stem Cell tag are examples we have uncovered.
  1. Has there been outreach to the grantee community outside of the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts?
    NIH staffers have reached out and will continue to reach out to the grantee community through websites, notices and presentations to professional associations such as the Society for Research Administrators (SRA), the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), presentations and booths at scientific conferences, press releases, newsletter articles. Many staff are using signature blocks that give notice of the change, information is being added to e-mail notification of summary statement availability and prior approval letters, targeted emails will go out to business officials and principal investigators, "looking ahead" notice on funding opportunity announcements, etc. See http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/communication.htm for more information.

  2. Where do we send applicants for information?
    See http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/support.htm.

  3. Has there been any outreach to the business community on electronic submission?
    There have been multiple notices in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, we have posted information to our small business listserv (which includes some 11,000 names), and we will have a presence at many of the upcoming small business conferences. Please see http://era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/communication.htm for more information.
     Foreign Organizations
  1. I am an applicant who lives outside the U.S. and am unable to access the Central Contract Registration (CCR) site. What should I do?
    A few countries may have trouble accessing the CCR website. The applicant should send an email to security@bpn.gov and copy the NIH Electronic Submission mailbox at NIHElectronicSubmiss@mail.nih.gov.

  2. Are International Organizations required to hold a DUNS and register in Grants.gov?

  3. Can I register my organization in Commons in my native language ?
    Unnfortunately, no; our policies require applicant organizations to:
    • Register in English.
    • use an English translation of their organization's name for the registration.

  4. Are there any tips to assist foreign organizations while registering in eRA Commons?
    Keep these handy pointers in mind while registering in eRA Commons. Applicant organizations:
    • Must have a DUNS number before registering in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov.
    • Must have a valid e-mail and should ensure that any filters on their email do not interfere with NIH email. Must also keep in mind that the sooner they reply to emails, the faster NIH can complete their registration.

  5. Some of the data fields in the 424 (R&R) do not really apply to foreign organizations. How will this be handled?
    For some of the data, special instructions are included in the Application Guide for foreign organizations.

  6. Are International organizations required to obtain an EIN number as part of the grant submission process?
  7. NIH does not require international organizations to obtain an EIN number for application submission. International organizations may use 44-4444444 for the Employer Identification field in the SF424 (R&R) Cover Component of the application package. [See NIH eSubmission Tips for International Applicants].

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