eRA eSubmission Items of Interest
NIH eRA eSubmission Items of Interest - September 29, 2011
Who Doesn’t Want to Avoid Rejection?
Rejection is seldom a pleasant experience and receiving rejection messages from Grants.gov is no exception. Here are the most common reasons NIH applicants have received the dreaded ‘Rejected with Errors’ message from Grants.gov, in the hope that you can learn from the experience of others and avoid having your applications encounter a similar fate.
A significant percentage of rejection issues are ‘XML Validation’ or ‘Default Validation Handler’ errors full of techno-babble that would likely require Grants.gov Contact Center assistance to decipher. However, about half of these gnarly errors involved the PHS 398 Modular Budget form. The good news is that our ADOBE-FORMS-B2 application packages include a fix for the underlying cause of many of these errors. If you encounter this type of error, don’t forget to follow our Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues and document the issue with the help desk in advance of the submission deadline.
The remaining ‘Rejected with Errors’ messages are within your control and would NOT (under most circumstances) be considered ‘System Issues’ allowing for correction after the deadline. So, prevention is your best bet…
- ‘Rejected due to expired CCR registration. Registration expired on <date>. Please contact your eBiz POC to renew the CCR registration.’
** System enforcement of this policy has only been in place since August. Don’t assume that you are OK for the October deadline because you were OK for the June deadline. Some CCR registrations may have expired years ago and the notifications to renew long since forgotten. **
- Cause: The eBiz POC for your institution has not kept up with the yearly update required to keep your Central Contractor Register (CCR) registration active.
Prevention: Verify active registration well before your deadline. To view your CCR Registration Status visit http://www.bpn.gov/CCRSearch/Search.aspx and search by your organization’s DUNS. CCR-registered users may elect not to display their information in the public search. If your information is not available publicly, then the designated e-Biz POC for your organization must determine current status.
- ‘The Closing Date of the grant opportunity for which you have applied has already passed and the grantor agency is no longer accepting applications.’
Grants.gov sends this message under three conditions:
- Cause: It is past the Closing/Expiration date of the FOA.
Prevention: Verify the ‘Expiration Date’ in the FOA text in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts or the ‘Current Closing Date for Applications’ in the synopsis on Grants.gov prior to submission.
- Cause: It is past the expiration date of the application package downloaded from Grants.gov and prepared for the submission.
Prevention: Verify that you are using the correct application package identified by Competition ID. Occasionally, NIH needs to put out new or updated application forms. To transition to new forms, we sometimes post new application packages to an open FOA and expire the old application package. It is possible that the FOA is still active, but the application package used for submission is not. All NIH submissions should be using application packages with Competition IDs of ADOBE-FORMS-B1 or ADOBE-FORMS-B2. Pay attention to NIH Guide notices that talk about form changes (e.g., NOT-OD-11-096).
- Cause: The submission is made before the Open date for the FOA.
Prevention: Check the Open date listed in the FOA text. The Open date is the first date Grants.gov will accept applications for the opportunity. In most cases, NIH will set the Open Date to 30 days before the first submission deadline. It’s not just a grant-land myth…there are applicants that submit more than 30 days in advance. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is a confusing and unfortunate error.
- ‘You are not designated by your organization to be an Authorized Organizational Representative and your application cannot be validated…’
- Cause: You are not an authorized AOR for the DUNS number included on the application.
Prevention: Verify that the DUNS number included in the application is correct and matches the DUNS number in your Grants.gov applicant profile. Also, you should see “AOR Status: Approved” near the top of the left navigation when you login to the Grants.gov Applicant Center. If you don’t, your organizations E-Biz POC will need to assign you the AOR privilege.
- ‘This application contains an attachment(s) with a filename that does not meet Grants.gov requirements. To ensure that your application package will be successfully submitted to the grantor agency please adhere to the following guidelines: avoid using special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#) in attachment file names (including periods (.)), attaching documents with the same file name and limit the file name to 50 characters or less.’
Cause & Prevention: The message pretty much says it all. In addition to Grants.gov’s advice, system-to-system submitters should make sure all attachment filenames are unique within the application. Grants.gov doesn’t give an error for that one, but eRA does (see known eSubmission system issues).
Ability to Submit Electronic Relinquishing Statements is Proving Hard to Resist
I know - the functionality to submit your Relinquishing Statement electronically in Commons is just sitting there in Status almost begging to be used. Although we are glad that folks are anxious to try it out, we need you to resist the temptation just a little while longer. We still have some work to do in our internal systems to effectively process these electronic documents as part of your formal Change of Institution (Type 7) requests. We are targeting early 2012 to ‘go live’ with this feature and will also accept electronic Change of Institution applications through Grants.gov at that time.
For now, please keep sending us the paper documents and stay tuned to the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for an official announcement of these new features.
Quote of the Day
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” - Douglas Adams
If you haven’t submitted your application for the October 5th deadline yet – what are you waiting for? Submit early. Correct any errors. View your application image in Commons. Ensure submission success.
Scarlett Gibb & Sheri Cummins
Customer Relationship Managers
eRA External Services – eSubmission & Commons
NIH Office of Extramural Research