Proposal Submission Process


Once an application has been successfully submitted through, the PI receives an email indicating: You have a viewing window of two business days (i.e., Monday - Friday, excluding federal holidays) to check the assembled application before it automatically moves forward to NIH staff for further processing and consideration.

Currently, Commons is handling the "two full business days" as complete 8am - 5pm days. It is not a strict 48 hours or two 8-hour work cycles. For example, if you submit on a Monday at 10am, you have until Wednesday at 5pm to view/reject the proposal.

If a PI finds that their application did not assemble correctly or there are other errors while viewing their application in the Commons, PIs may request a rejection from the Medical School.

Rejections may be done at any time within the viewing window, even if past the deadline.

However, PIs should be aware of the submission deadline to determine if they will have enough time to correct and re-submit. The initial email also indicates: After an application is rejected, a changed/corrected application can be submitted if it is still before the submission deadline.

Corrected applications may only be resubmitted prior to the deadline.

NIH Late Policy: Any changed / corrected application submitted after the deadline will be subject to the late policy,

Post-Submission Application Materials Policy: Once the proposal is in the CSR review queue, there is an opportunity for changes to the submission prior to peer review; however, only under limited circumstances. We highly recommend PIs and PRAs read through the policy if considering post-submission changes:

If the application does not qualify for the Late Policy or the Post-Submission Application Materials Policy, then the options available would be to either:

Let the application be reviewed in its current state OR,
Reject the current proposal and submit in a subsequent deadline cycle

A Best Practice

The University's eRPM system does offer a viewable PDF that PIs can view PRIOR to submitting to the Commons that shows almost exactly how your proposal will look in the hands of the reviewers.  Looking through may help catch idiosyncrasies missed earlier in the review process.  It is highly advisable that PIs review the eRPM generated PDF prior to submission. See the Ready to Finalize? best practice above for step-by-step instructions.

Effective November 2012



Ready to Finalize?

We receive requests to reject and resubmit about 1 out of every 4 proposals from the eRA Commons for NIH submissions. The most common reasons are:

  • Typos
  • Margin issues
  • Attachments in the wrong order
  • Misaligned figures

Due to the fact that many of these happen in the last days of the deadline (which has the potential to result in a missed deadline if the proposal has a glitch on the resubmission), below is a quick guide to reviewing the assembled proposal for “easy fixes” prior to any submission.

Once you have uploaded all your attachments to the 424:

  • Enter the eRPM system and find the record for the proposal 
  • Choose for 13-PAFXXXX on the left side of the eRPM home screen.
  • From the next screen menu on the left side, choose Validate the proposal
  • Choose Generate PDF from the menu on the left to create the final PDF
  • At the top of the page, next to “PDF Version:” you will now see a new hyperlink on the word View
  • You may download the PDF and email to the PI*    OR   the PI may click on the hyperlink to view the fully assembled proposal directly in eRPM
  • After review, correct any issues, re-validate, and re-generate the PDF
  • Finalize the proposal using the eRPM activity on the PAF home page as usual

Finalizing the proposal triggers submission to NIH by the Grants Office. Please do not finalize until you are positive you are ready to submit.

This will reduce the number of proposals that are pulled back from the Commons after submission for correction of errors by approximately 65% and remove the additional concern that a resubmission may not submit in time for the deadline.

Effective July 2012

Counting Pages

Many proposals receive warnings or errors due to page limits. For example, the Research Strategy section of most NIH proposals is limited to 12 pages. When the proposal’s final PDF is created (showing how it will be received by Commons) it may reach 15 pages because of added white space at the bottom of pages that is inserted as component pages are separated. When the final PDF of the proposal is viewed it may be difficult to count the pages because of this added white space. 

The following suggestion aims to allow you to feel confident that the page limit is not exceeded in these instances.

  • Create all of the component documents in one Microsoft Word file
  • Finalize the component pages
  • Separate the components into their own PDF files
  • Upload the individual PDFs to the 424 application

Effective July 2012


Contact us at or 734-763-4272 / Fax: 734-615-9458

2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC Building 520, Room 3174, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

A list of Grant Services & Analysis is available in the Personnel Directory.