Don’t Make these NIH Submission Mistakes
Tags: Entrepreneur, federal funding, government contracts, grants, NIH, SBIR, SBIR submission errors, STTR, submitting
Navigating the maze of registrations, forms, the ins and outs of submission through the NIH’s web-based Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (or ASSIST) can be a challenging process for even the most experienced SBIR/STTR applicant. With the NIH September 5 deadline approaching, we thought we’d share our top 5 mistakes to avoid at submission time:
- Not completing all of the required registrations well in advance
BBCetc response: Uh oh. Every company planning to submit an NIH SBIR/STTR application, must be registered with Grants.gov as well as eRA Commons. If the application deadline is imminent, you have waited too long to complete this mandatory task and will have to wait until the next deadline. Grants.gov and NIH advise you to allow 4-6 weeks to complete the necessary registrations, so make sure you start this well in advance of the proposal deadline. Your AOR (authorized organization representative) is the only person who can submit your proposal via grants.gov, so it is his/her log in that will be needed.
- Using the incorrect version of one or more forms
BBCetc response: The easiest way to be sure you’re using the right package is to download the forms directly from the solicitation you are responding to. Make sure you are in the right solicitation – SBIR or STTR – before clicking on the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button.
- Assuming you can celebrate and leave town once the system says your proposal is received by Grants.gov
BBCetc response: Not so fast. Grants.gov is only the first step. Your proposal must make it all the way to NIH eRA Commons where you must see the final compiled PDF. To quote NIH – “If you can’t see your compiled proposal in eCommons neither can we”. No celebrations until you are sure your fully compiled proposal is in eCommons and looks as you had intended.
- PI’s eCommons log-in credentials not entered in the Key Persons profile
BBCetc response: When an individual is identified with the role PI/PD they must provide their eRA Commons username in the Credential field of Senior/Key Person Page. This is a required field and is often missed. Applicants submitting via ASSIST are able to screen for this and other potential errors prior to submission using the “Validate” feature.
- Trying to complete forms and submitting too close to the deadline
BBCetc response: DWTLM. Don’t Wait ‘Til the Last Minute! Start working on the forms early so you are familiar with the way they are laid out. It also helps to have someone else who knows the NIH SBIR/STTR process check the filled application package as well. BBCetc is happy to help!
Kris Bergman is BBCetc’s Grants and Contract Consultant