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Submitting Error Free Applications

Aug 27th, 2010 -- research

Proposal submission through is a multi-step process, culminating when the agency system receives your application from the system.  Errors can occur at this step, and they are often not visible at the time of submission.  In order to accommodate applicants, NIH established a two-day window for error correction.  That window is closing in January 2011.

Almost all of these system errors are avoidable by timely proposal development and submission.  You can avoid submission errors by taking the following steps: 

  • Work with your senior research administrator well in advance of any proposal deadline.
  • Read the solicitation or request for proposal closely and raise any questions about required documents and attachments as you develop your proposal.  If the option is available, sign up for email alerts regarding modifications to the solicitation or rfp.  Refer to any available FAQs.
  • Work with your senior research administrator, department and college to finalize your budget and associated documentation at least five days prior to the submission deadline.  This is where many system errors can occur.  Avoid last-minute changes.
  • Have your proposal package finalized two days before the submission deadline.  This will allow time to pick up and correct any system errors.  Also, some programs are flooded with applications in the hours leading up to the deadline, and the system slows down or crashes.  Sponsors will not generally assume responsibility for these kinds of system slow downs, and will not receive late applications, even if we submitted on time.


I don’t need time, I need a deadline.  Duke Ellington.