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Common Errors for Grant Creation - NIH

1) Application is late.

  • The receipt date policy, as well as standard receipt dates for investigator-initiated applications, is found at:
  • (Note that standard receipt dates for investigator-initiated applications are “send by” dates, whereas dates for solicited applications are “arrive by” dates.)

2) Submits a “revised” application when a new application is required.

3) Submits a “new” application without sufficiently changing the aims and approaches from a prior application.

4) Submits an application which is essentially the same as another pending application.


5) Fails to list a Program Announcement in submitting an R03 or R21 application.


6) Fails to follow page limitations, format (type size), or budgetary requirements.

  • The PHS398 lists a standard for these. Applications in response to Program Announcements (for example R21 or R03 applications) or Requests for Applications must also adhere to the instructions in the announcement.

7) Fails to use a modular budget when one is required.


8) Submits an application with a budget which equals or exceeds $500,000 in any year without approval from an Institute or Center.


9) Checklist is incorrect

  • Checks “NEW” when the application is really a “REVISION” or “COMPETING CONTINUATION.”
  • Lists the incorrect former grant or application number (or fails to list a former number) for a REVISION or COMPETING CONTINUATION.

Most of these errors can turn out to be “show-stoppers” i.e. if the problem is not resolved, the application may be returned to the applicant.