Prepare & Submit an Application
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The web based forms in ASSIST are based on the SF424 (R&R) Application Packages. An annotated form set has been developed with field-by-field tips to avoid common errors and ensure successful submission of your application. NOTE: these documents are supplemental resources only. When preparing an application, applicants MUST follow the instructions in their Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Application Guide.
Before an application can be submitted, the system checks the application against NIH and Grants.gov business rules. These validation checks are triggered automatically whenever the status of the application or component is updated by an ASSIST user; however, they can also be run manually if chosen. ASSIST users can choose to validate the entire application or individual components as desired. To validate the entire application, a user must have the Entire Application Editor - All (both Budget and Non-Budget) Access level. To validate a component, a user must have the Editor - All (both Budget and Non-Budget) Access level for that component.
To perform validations on the entire application:
- Navigate to the Application Information screen.
- Select the Validate Application button under Actions.
If there are errors or warnings, they are listed on the Application Errors and Warnings Results screen. Errors must be corrected before the application can be submitted.
If no errors exist and no warnings are necessary, a message displays as follows: No errors or warnings were found.
To perform validations on an individual component:
- Navigate to the appropriate component by expanding it and selecting it from the Select Component Type section of the left-side navigation panel.
- Select the Validate Component button under Actions.
If there are errors or warnings, they are listed on the Application Errors and Warnings Results screen.
ASSIST cannot perform all validation checks on the application if required components or required forms are missing. When this occurs, error messages to this effect display on the Application Errors and Warnings Results screen.
Errors stop the application from processing and must be corrected by the submission deadline in order to submit an on-time application. Most errors are caught by ASSIST before submission. eRA-identified warnings may be corrected before the deadline at the applicant’s discretion, should correction be necessary.
Correcting Warnings or Errors:
Go into your application within ASSIST.
Check the “Changed/Corrected Application” box in Item 1 of the SF 424 (R&R) form.
- Note: Do not use the changed/corrected application box to denote a submission of a revised or amended application. This should be indicated in Item 8, Type of Application.
When you check the changed/corrected application box, then Item 4, Federal Identifier, becomes a required field.
What you will need to enter into the Federal Identifier field, Item 4, for a changed/corrected application will depend on whether you are submitting a:
“New” application (Item 8 = New) - enter the Grants.gov tracking number for the previous application you are correcting. If you are unable to recall the Grants.gov tracking number, enter “N/A.”
“Resubmission,” “Renewal,” or “Revision” application (Item 8 = Resubmission, Renewal, or Revision) - enter the IC and serial number of the previously assigned application/award number (e.g., CA987654).
- If you are submitting this changed/corrected application after the due date, be sure to document the reason for the late submission in the form of a cover letter. NIH makes no guarantees that applications submitted after the due date will be accepted. See the NIH late policy for more information.
The Authorized Organization Representative/Signing Official submits the changed/corrected application package.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to track the application until it is successfully submitted to NIH. If you cannot view your application image in the Commons, NIH can’t review your application!
Prior to the submission deadline, the eRA system does not limit the number of changed/corrected applications that may be submitted. However, once the submission deadline has passed, NIH’s Division of Receipt and Referral will not accept an applicant’s request to withdraw an application. At this point, applicants will be advised to consider alternative funding opportunities or to submit for a later due date.
With the appropriate privilege(s), ASSIST users may view and print entire applications or individual components of an application.
Preview the Entire Application
- From the Application Information page, select the Preview Application button from the Action section.
- A PDF version of the entire application is generated within a new browser window.
- Optional: Select the print option to print the PDF or the save option to save the PDF locally.
- Although the PDF can be saved locally, ASSIST does not retain a copy of the actual image.
When previewing an entire application, ASSIST includes all components except those in Abandoned status. For each component, the PDF includes all forms even when the required data on the forms have not been entered.
Previewing a Component
- From the Component Information page, select the Preview Current Component button from the Action section.
- A PDF version of the component is generated within a new browser window, showing the component forms and attachments.
- See annotated sample (PDF) of an application image.
NOTE: The application table of contents and data summaries are generated only when previewing the entire application, not for individual components.
Users with the proper privileges may electronically submit the application via ASSIST. In order for an application to be submitted, the application status must be Ready for Submission. An application can only be updated to Ready for Submission status when it has passed all system and business validations.
To prepare an application for submission:
- Verify that at least one component of the application is in Final status and that the other components are in either Final or Abandoned status.
- Verify that the status of the application is All Components Final.
- Perform validations against the application using the Validate Application button from the Actions section.
When an application passes validations, its status is updated to All Components Validated.
- Update the application to Ready for Submission using the Update Submission Status button from the Actions section.
To submit an application:
Only a Signing Official for the Applicant Lead Organization, who is an Authorized Organizational Representative, can submit the application.
ASSIST prompts the user for the Grants.gov Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) credentials.
- With the application in Ready for Submission Status, select the Submit Application button from the Actions area.
- Enter the AOR credentials in the Username and Password fields and select the Enter button.
NOTE: These are the Grants.gov credentials and not the ASSIST or eRA Commons credentials.
The information is passed from ASSIST to the Grants.gov system for further processing. In ASSIST, the application is updated to a status of Submitted. The dates and times of the submission are recorded. These details can be viewed in the View Status History page. In addition, ASSIST sends notification to the appropriate parties to inform them that the application has been submitted. This includes the SO and PD/PI.
Email notifications from ASSIST
Applicants will receive multiple email notifications from ASSIST regarding the status of their submission. Since e-mail can be unreliable, applicants must proactively check the eRA Commons for the status of their application if they do not receive e-mail notifications within a day of submission.
- Using ASSIST to Prepare and Submit Multi-Project Applications to NIH (Slides, transcript, details)