eSubmission Items of Interest
NIH eRA eSubmission Items of Interest - January 21, 2011
My Dog Ate My Email & Other Excuses
Last summer I adopted a basset/beagle mutt named Dixie. Dixie has a precious face, an iron stomach and amazing reach when standing on her hind legs. On Monday, Dixie ate my blackberry. My first thought was “Jenkies!” (The verbal translation sounded quite different.) My second thought was “Good doggie, now I have an excuse for not responding to my emails.” In the end, the blackberry survived, the leather cover didn’t, and I still have to do my job.
Over the years, we’ve received a full spectrum of reasons for submitting late applications – some very legitimate (e.g., death of PI’s immediate family member) and some not (e.g., our only Authorized Organization Representative called in sick on deadline day).
The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications has been updated to provide additional guidance on how NIH handles late submissions and the timeframes in which late applications will be considered. Here are a couple of excerpts I’d like to bring to your attention…
- “Permission for a late submission is not granted in advance…No NIH staff member, whether in the Center for Scientific Review or any of the other Institutes/Centers, has the authority to give permission in advance for a late application. Contacting the Division of Receipt and Referral or any other component of the NIH will not lead to either permission to submit late or to the evaluation or approval of the reasons for a delay.”
The day after a major submission deadline the eRA Help Desk often gets the question “Who can I talk to for permission to submit late?” The truth is – no one. Help desk and other NIH staff simply don’t have the authority to “guarantee” an application will be accepted if submitted late.
What can you do? Carefully read the late policy. If you feel your reason for submitting late falls within the acceptable guidelines for late submission, then document your case in the cover letter and submit. The timing and reason for your late submission will be evaluated and a decision made. If, on the other hand, your explanation is listed in the examples of reasons that are not acceptable or falls into a similar category, then you will need to rework your application to submit for a different opportunity or deadline.
- “For electronic submissions, correction of errors or addressing warnings after the due date is not considered a valid reason for a late submission. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the due date to allow time to correct errors and/or address warnings identified in the NIH validation process.”
The late policy cannot be used as a way to get around the fact that the “error correction window” is gone (NOT-OD-10-123). Submit early (think days, not hours or minutes) and take care of business.
- “Applicants must follow the directions provided at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/support.htm#guidelines to report Grants.gov and eRA Commons system issues that threaten the timely submission of a grant application.”
The process includes identifying and documenting the issue by the deadline or within the two-day “application viewing window” following submission. If the eRA Help Desk verifies that a system “bug” or service interruption has occurred, then the help desk will provide instructions to complete the submission. We expect that applicants immediately (in most cases within the same business day) make the correction and complete the submission process. Failure to quickly follow through after guidance is given may result in your application being denied further consideration.
For the record, “my dog ate my email” is not a valid reason for late submission. I looked it up. The application guide clearly states (on page 28) that since email can be unreliable, applicants are strongly encouraged to periodically check on their application status in the Commons. In fact, our automated email notifications are often victims of spam-filtering. That pesky application guide really does negate a whole bunch of excuses.
You have ultimate responsibility for your submission. If you miss a deadline and the information you needed is available to you in the application guide or announcement, even if you tried to call for help and didn’t get a call back in time, then you really don’t have a legitimate reason for being late.
Established E-Biz POCs – Have You Logged Into Grants.gov Lately?
In Grants.gov, the e-Business Point Of Contact (E-Biz POC) is the individual responsible for authorizing the individuals in your organization that are allowed to sign and submit grant applications (i.e., Authorized Organization Representatives or AORs). If you are the E-Biz POC for your organization and have not logged into Grants.gov since they released their new security changes in October, then you will want to take a few minutes to do so. You will need to establish a new Grants.gov password to maintain your ability to administer roles for your organization.
The first time you login you will need to use your DUNS number and the Marketing Partner ID Number (MPIN) established with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). Grants.gov will prompt you to establish a new password for use with Grants.gov once the DUNS and MPIN credentials are accepted. From that point forward, if you forget your password then Grants.gov’s “I Forgot My Password/Unlock My Account” feature. (See Important E-Biz POC Login and Password Reset Update for more info.)
Here’s the tricky part…if you don’t know the MPIN for that initial login, then you need to get it from CCR and not Grants.gov (locating MPIN in CCR). Grants.gov cannot reset or provide the MPIN for you.
New organization registrations should follow the updated registration procedures on the Grants.gov Web site.
So, what does all this have to do with NIH? We expect that our applicants know their Grants.gov and eRA Commons credentials. Logging in prior to your deadline to verify appropriate account access is a task within your control. Do you see where I’m going with this? Account password problems are not system issues nor are they acceptable reasons to submit under the late policy. Be prepared to succeed.
Thought for the Day
The sooner you fall behind the more time you'll have to catch up.
Sheri Cummins & Scarlett Gibb
Customer Relationship Managers
eRA External Services – eSubmission & Commons
NIH Office of Extramural Research