Late Applications and Post-Submission Materials

Key Points Regarding Late Submissions

  • No one at the NIH provides approval of acceptance to late submissions in advance, and each instance is assessed based on the individual circumstances.

  • Include a cover letter describing how your situation falls within a potentially valid situation as described below. 

  • The decision to accept a late application is NOT with NINDS and ultimately lies with NIH Division of Receipt and Referral in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

With only a few exceptions, NIH does not accept late applications. We advise you to submit your application well ahead of its due date in case you run into technical difficulties or any of the other problems. NIH will consider accepting your late application within a two-week window of the application due date if there is a valid reason within NIH policy. The only time NIH will not consider accepting a late application is when a request for applications (RFA) states in the Application Due Date field "No late applications will be accepted for this notice of funding opportunity." 

Potentially Valid Reasons for a Late Application

Natural Disaster

NIH issues special Guide notices when a natural disaster occurs. In this circumstance, your delay should not exceed the duration of time your organization is closed, and you'll have to explain the specific reasons for the delay in your cover letter.

Personal Tragedy

In the event of a personal tragedy, e.g., you or an immediate family member suffer sudden severe illness, you will need to include an explanation in your cover letter.

Issues With Federal Computer Systems

Follow the NIH Office of Extramural Research’s guidance on Dealing With System Issues and take the following actions:

  • Go to Need Help? to find the appropriate Help Desk and contact information. Get in touch with the appropriate Help Desk immediately, over the phone and in writing.
  • Maintain a record of the steps you take to resolve the problem.
  • Once the issue is resolved, make note of it in your application’s cover letter. Include the confirmed system issues, Help Desk ticket numbers, and the steps taken to resolve the issues.

Notifying your program officer or scientific review officer is not a substitute for contacting the appropriate Help Desk.

Service on an NIH Advisory Panel

A perk to serving on an NIH panel is that you may be eligible to submit your application late. Full-time, temporary, or ad hoc service during the two months before or two months after an application due date may be an acceptable reason for late submission. For details, see Late Applications.

If you are eligible and choose to take advantage of this policy, you must explain the nature and period of your service in your cover letter.

You may also qualify for continuous submission, which allows you to apply at any time for R01, R21, and R34 grants. For more information, see Continuous Submission.

Neither CSR nor NINDS may give permission in advance for a late submission. NINDS cannot guarantee that we will accept a late application.

For the record, CSR has rejected the following reasons for late submission:

  • Heavy teaching burdens.
  • Ongoing illnesses.
  • Laboratory relocations.
  • Delays caused by an institution's business office.

Allowable Post-Submission Materials

For the full list of allowable post-submission materials, see Post-Submission Application Materials on NIH’s Submission Policies page.

Guidelines for Sending Post-Submission Materials

All post-submission materials must conform to NIH policies on font size, margins, and paper size. For details, see the Application Instructions for your grant type.

Your Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must concur with sending post-submission materials and send either his or her concurrence to you or the materials directly to your Scientific Review Officer (SRO). If you receive your AOR’s concurrence, forward the materials and concurrence to your SRO. A communication from you copying your AOR is not acceptable.

You or your AOR must submit post-submission materials as a PDF attachment to your SRO at least 30 calendar days before the peer review meeting, unless otherwise stated in the NOFO. Your SRO uploads acceptable materials into the official electronic grant file maintained in the eRA Commons.


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