Preparing, Submitting, and Tracking a Grant Application

NCI Grants Process Quick Overview
Information from NCI about eligibility, roles, types of funding and applications, allowable costs, research settings, how to submit an application, grant document examples. progress reports, and grant closeout.

This section contains links compiled by NCI's Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) to help investigators learn more about NIH and NCI information and policies related to writing and submitting new, resubmission, late, and renewal grant applications; and answers to frequently asked questions related to grants submission.

Writing a Grant Application

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How to Submit a Grant Application

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Post-Submission Information

  • Tracking Submitted Applications
    NIH Webpage with information on how to track submitted applications during various phases of the grants process.
  • Review and Award Cycles
    Table outlining timeframe, by month and NIH award cycle, for scientific merit review, advisory council round, and earliest project start date.

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Foreign/International Grants

  • Foreign Grants Information
    NIH Office of Extramural Research Webpage with details about the process and policies for foreign grants.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does NIH have a website with answers to frequently asked grants-related questions?

Yes, NIH's Office of Extramural Research has a FAQs website with links to questions and answers on a wide range of topics related to grant applications, such as personnel reports, senior/key personnel, usage of person months, applying electronically, modular grant applications, multiple PI applications, post-submission materials, and institutional compliance requirements, and more.

I submitted my grant application under the wrong Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a Program Announcement (PA), and now the application has been to review. Can the FOA number be changed?

Yes, NCI's Division of Extramural Activities can change the FOA number on the application submitted in response to a PA. The PI should contact the appropriate Program Director to request the change in FOA number. Note: This does not apply to a Request for Applications (RFA).

I heard that Principal Investigators (PIs) have two opportunities within two years to submit the same R01, but I can't find the relevant policy notice regarding the limit.

The NIH will not accept a Resubmission that is submitted later than 37 months after the date of receipt ("receipt date") of the initial New, Renewal, or Revision application. View the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Notice (NOT-OD-12-128), "New Timeline for NIH Resubmission Applications."

If a PI submits an application as an R21, then submits as a R01, will the R01 application be considered a resubmission (A1) or a new submission?

It will be considered a new submission (01) because of the change in grant mechanism. The PI could include a cover letter with the application noting that the scope was expanded and thus a change to R01, although this is not necessary.

As a non-appointed temporary member of an NIH Study Section, am I eligible to submit my application under the continuous submission policy?

This continuous submission process will now cover appointed members of chartered standing NIH Study Sections, NIH Boards of Scientific Counselors, NIH Advisory Boards or Councils, the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee, and peer reviewers who have served as regular or temporary members six times in 18 months and is limited to their R01, R21, and R34 applications that would normally be received on standard submission dates (but not special receipt dates). This extension of the continuous submission process will enable non-appointed reviewers who have performed substantial peer review service to submit their applications as soon as they are fully developed. The applications will be reviewed no later than 120 days after receipt. View the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Notice NOT-OD-17-042.

Can I submit an application under an NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement or FOA (e.g., a Program Announcement or Request for Applications), if I've already submitted the same or similar investigator-initiated application to NIH, and it is currently pending review?

The NIH will not accept any application in response to an FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. Before a resubmission application can be submitted, the PD/PI must have received the summary statement from the previous review. Following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate receipt date. The subsequent new application need not demonstrate substantial changes in scientific direction compared to previously reviewed submissions, and must not contain an introduction to respond to the critiques from the previous review. For more on this topic, see NOT-OD-14-074 in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an "Introduction" addressing the previous critique.

I heard that if I want to submit a cancer epidemiology grant application to NCI with a large budget, I have to notify NCI before I submit my application. What is the timeline for this notification and what information do I need to submit?

Yes, NCI and NIH require investigators who plan to submit an application in which the subtotal direct costs in any one year equal or exceed $500,000 to seek approval from the appropriate extramural program staff member prior to submitting applications to NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR). The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts' Notices NOT-CA-02-029 and NOT-OD-02-004 state that approval must be sought six weeks prior to submitting such applications. However, approval for applications assigned to NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), of which the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) is a part, must be sought at least eight weeks prior to submission to CSR/NCI in order to complete the necessary internal processing. View more details about the required materials, deadlines, and related questions.

When are the receipt dates for competing renewal applications?

The standard NIH receipt dates for competing renewal (type-2) applications are: November 5, March 5 and July 5.

How do I submit a competitive revision (formerly known as a competitive supplement) application?

The instructions for the SF424 grant application provide information on competitive revisions. Competitive revisions are submitted electronically through the parent FOA, such as Funding Opportunity Announcements sponsored or co-sponsored by EGRP.

I received a notice that my application will be undergoing a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). What does this review entail? If my application is approved by the NCAB, does this mean my application will be funded?

The NCAB meets three times each year to discuss and approve grant funding actions. The three meetings are referred to as the September, January, and May council meetings. During these meetings, the NCAB members are responsible for reviewing grant applications in specifically assigned programs. The NCAB does not make funding decisions, rather the Board recommends funding approval for meritorious grant applications to the NCI Director. A recommendation for funding approval by the NCAB is required before NCI can select any grant for funding.

I have a co-investigator on my application who is a regular member of a chartered NIH study section. Is my application eligible for continuous submission under the NIH policy, "NIH Continuous Submission Policy?"

No. The policy does not apply to applications for which study section members have a role other than Project Director (PD)/Principal Investigator (PI). View details in NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Notice NOT-OD-17-042.

I'm planning on submitting a P01 grant application and I'm a member of a standing NIH study section. Is my application eligible for continuous submission under the NIH policy "Extension of Modified Application Submission, Referral and Review for Appointed NIH Advisory Group Members"?

No. The continuous submission policy applies only to R01, R21, and R34 applications. View details in NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Notice NOT-OD-17-042. However, under the NIH Late Submission Policy (NOT-OD-15-039), the application could be submitted during a two week window after the application due date.

My grant application was selected for funding by the NCI. However, I submitted an amended (A1) application that is pending IRG review, so I want to withdraw my A1 application. What should I do?

The application can be withdrawn through the Prior Approval tab in your eRA Commons account. The withdrawal request can be initiated by a Principal Investigator (PI) or institution Signing Official (SO), but can only be submitted by the SO. The request can be internally routed in Commons between the SO and PI for review before submission. Once approved, NIH Division of Receipt and Referral will notify the PI via email that the application was withdrawn.

How do I request an Institute/Center (I/C) or study section assignments for my incoming grant application?

As of March 24, 2017, PIs should use SF424 (R&R) Form Version D, which can be found at This form allows PIs to request I/C assignments, study section assignments, up to five general or specific types of expertise needed for the review of your application, as well as specific individuals who should not review your application and why they should not review your application. Requests in a cover letter will no longer be accepted.

How can I find a NIH study section that would be most appropriate for the grant application that I'm about to submit?

The NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) has a resource page on their website that will assist investigators in identifying the most appropriate study section for grant applications at

What is the current policy on resubmissions?

NIH permits one resubmission of an unfunded application (see NOT-OD-09-016 in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).

For all application due dates after April 16, 2014, following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate new application due date (see NOT-OD-14-074 in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).

For any unanswered questions, contact EGRP staff.

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