As you may be aware, the NIH error correction window is being eliminated starting with the January 25th deadline. What does this mean for us? Starting with this deadline, you must submit your final NIH applications to Research Grants & Contracts (RGC, the pre-award office at OHSU) three business days before the due date. In other words, the final science, along with the rest of the application, must be submitted to RGC no later than three days before the deadline. (The business review deadline remains 10 business days prior to the federal deadline.) Thus, if your grant is due June 5th, RGC must have the final copy by June 2.
This is actually existing OHSU policy, but it will now be strictly enforced because the NIH, AHRQ, and NIOSH have eliminated their “error correction window” (see the Notice here) as of this date. While the NIH previously gave us a temporary grace period to correct errors–a period that essentially extended the due date by several days–they will no longer offer this after the end of the month. Applications submitted to RGC later than three business days before the due date risk the strong possibility of having errors that will prevent them from being successfully received at the federal level. Research Grants & Contracts needs that three-day period of time to ensure that electronic applications are free of system errors and will be accepted into the grants.gov and NIH Commons systems.
Currently, about 20% of our applications have errors that require fixing before they can be submitted into the system. Notably, about 63% of OHSU investigators submit their applications after the three-business-day deadline. Now, however, we must adjust our pre-award business practices to ensure that our grants can be submitted successfully. The staff in RGC will do everything they can to help with this transition, but the consequences of a late application will fall to the responsibility of the investigator.
This new deadline will take some getting used to – but in essence, we are returning to the older time-frame of application submission, when investigators sent paper copies to NIH. If you look at it that way, you get an extra two days – instead of sending it via Federal Express on May 31, you get to write all the way up to June 2!
If you have further questions regarding this change in NIH policy, contact Deborah Golden-Eppelein, director, Research Grants & Contracts.