OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
DIVISION OF SPONSORED PROGRAMS
Electronic Proposal Preparation and Submission
Sponsored research grant applications to all federal departments and agencies and to many philanthropic organizations have or are transitioning from a paper to electronic process - Grants.Gov (it is not necessary to register at Grants.Gov. – Downstate Medical Center is already registered). The following information is focused on the requirements for NIH grant applications. To the extent feasible, applicable information and/or links to other federal agencies and non-federal organizations requirements will be provided.
An NIH grant proposal prepared through the new Grants.Gov electronic grant application preparation and submission process is essentially the same as one prepared, printed and submitted on the PHS398 forms. The fundamental differences are:
- The mechanism used to construct and submit the application is obviously different.
- Many of the sections of the PHS398 format have been broken into multiple pieces to be inserted into different places of the new application form.
- Any discretion or flexibility in meeting sponsor format/content requirements has all but disappeared.
- Rather than starting with a blank PHS398 form, all federal applications require the application file associated with the specific Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
PROGRAMS & RESOURCES NEEDED
The new Adobe-based grant application forms are now in place — the previous PureEdge forms can no longer be used. The Adobe forms are identical in content to the PureEdge forms but have a slightly different appearance.
PC and Mac Users: (steps 1 & 2, one-time only)
Open the grant application file on your computer that you have downloaded, saved and renamed.
- Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat (versions 8.1.1, 8.1.2, 8.1.3 or 9.0) is required to complete the forms. If Adobe Reader is used to complete the forms, either Adobe Acrobat or another pdf conversion program will be needed to create the pdf files that will be loaded into the application file.
- Download a copy of the current Grants.Gov User Guide and the PHS Application Guide (necessary resource for NIH applications) and/or the NSF Grant Proposal Guide. These are necessary to properly complete the various sections of the application. At both web sites, there are FAQ’s and other helpful documents.
- Check your NIH Commons account and make sure that all information about you is correct and up to date. If you don’t have an NIH Commons account or cannot remember your UserID or Password, please call the Office of Scientific Affairs (718-270-2680).
- Download and save the correct application file for the specific funding opportunity announcement to which you are responding. Rename the application file as follows: LNAME ANNOUNCEMENT# DATE.xfd.
Office of Sponsored Programs staff is available for small group training sessions or will assist investigators with most problems that might be encountered. Please call 270-2680 (BSB 2-71E) for assistance.
COMPLETION OF THE GRANT APPLICATION FILE
Every Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is linked, with the button shown below, to a specific application file which cannot be used for any other FOA application.
In addition, NIH and other HHS Agencies have developed omnibus Parent Announcements for common grant mechanisms (R01, R03, R21) that have transitioned to electronic submission, for use by applicants who wish to submit what were formerly termed “unsolicited” or "investigator-initiated" applications.
Each application file, as with the existing PHS398 paper forms, includes fields for entering both institutional data and project specific information.
- Institutional data — information typically typed directly in various form components of the application file
- Project specific information — information prepared in other computer applications (e.g., MS Word), converted to a "pdf" file, and uploaded into the application file. Adobe Acrobat, or other pdf conversion programs, is an essential tool for the preparation of electronic applications (purchase Adobe Acrobat from the MicroCenter at the University at Buffalo which administers the SUNY-wide site license for Adobe software products).
Investigators submitting "unsolicited" R01, R03, R15 and R21 applications may use Parent Application files in which the appropriate institutional data has already be inserted. However, investigators responding to a specific programmatic FOA must, in addition to preparing and loading project specific information, insert the institutional data.
HOW DO I KNOW THE APPLICATION IS COMPLETE AND CORRECT?
Every sponsored research, training or public service project application must first be reviewed and approved by the Division of Sponsored Programs to insure that both campus and sponsor requirements are met before being submitted to the sponsor. An incomplete or incorrect proposal which will likely be returned unreviewed/unfunded or require subsequent resubmission will not be submitted.
When the electronic application is received at Grants.Gov, there are two (2) levels of computer-based validation edits that have to be successfully passed before the application is accepted for review:
- The first occurs when the Application File is submitted to and received by Grants.Gov. When an Application File is first opened, all of the Grants.Gov required fields are highlighted in yellow. The Grants.Gov validation edit basically checks to see that all of these required fields appropriately completed. When necessary, using the Grants.Gov User Guide will be of assistance.
- The second occurs when the Application File passes the Grants.Gov edits, is accepted and forwarded to NIH. The NIH validation edit check to see that the NIH requirements contained in the PHS SF424 Application Guide have been met. For example, the Project Summary/Abstract pdf file must contain no more than 30 lines of text (0.5" margins, minimum 11 pt, no headers or footers). Using the PHS SF424 Application Guide as a reference and checking the NIH Frequently Asked Questions and Avoiding Common Errors.
- NIH Warnings: The NIH validation edit will look for the NIH Commons UserID for all Key Personnel. If none are found, except for that of the PI, the system will generate a warning Notice. Correcting a warning is not required for further NIH consideration of the proposal.
- NIH Error: If the NIH validation edit finds that an application requirement is not met, the system will issue an Error Notice. The identified error must be corrected and the entire Application File resubmitted through Grants.Gov before NIH will accept and consider the application.
NON-COMPETING NIH APPLICATIONS - eSNAP
Electronic submission of Non-Competing NIH applications is now available through the NIH Commons website. The eSNAP submission deadline is 6 weeks prior to the budget period start date (2 months prior to budget period start date for paper submissions).
- Log into NIH eRA Commons (you will need your eRA Commons Username & Password)
- Click the eSNAP tab
- Choose the appropriate grant and click on the Grant Number
- Click the Initiate button at the bottom of the screen
- Complete and attach all required information using the Upload Science and Edit Business tabs (make sure that IRB and/or IACUC approvals at Downstate are current)
- From the Manage eSNAP tab, click on the Route button and select Next Reviewer to send the eSNAP application to Office of Sponsored Programs (select Tamara Cooke) for review
- Complete, sign and submit to the Office of Sponsored Programs the DMC Research Application Review & Signature Form and the IRB and/or IACUC approval letter
- Upon review and approval, the eSNAP proposal will be submitted by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
APPLICATION RESOURCES FOR OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES
As they are developed, sponsor user guides and other electronic application submission resources for other federal agencies will be listed/linked below.
- National Science Foundation