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NLM Grants Move to Electronic Submission Process

By October 2007, the application process for National Library of Medicine grant programs will shift from paper-based to electronic format. Grant programs that have already made the transition include NLM’s Knowledge Management & Applied Informatics Grants, Planning Grants for Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems (IAIMS), and Grants for Scholarly Works in Biomedicine & Health. The electronic submission process involves two systems working together; Grants.gov and the NIH electronic Research Administration (eRA) system. Grants.gov provides potential applicants with a single portal to find and apply for funding from all federal grant-making agencies. The NIH eRA Commons provides grantees with information about their grants, including summary statements and progress reports.

One of the first steps when preparing to apply for a grant is to register with both Grants.gov and the NIH eRA Commons. Grants.gov requires registration by an institution’s Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), the person with signatory authority who can officially submit an application on behalf of an organization. NIH eRA Commons registration is required for electronic submissions through Grants.gov. NIH eRA Commons accounts are needed for both the organizational Signing Official (SO), who has the same authority as an AOR in Grants.gov, and the Project Director or Principal Investigator. An institution must register at Grants.gov at least two weeks before the grant deadline. The registration process for both systems can be conducted simultaneously and generally takes two to four weeks.

Applicants use Grants.gov to locate and download the complete application package associated with a funding opportunity, including PureEdge software, which is used to view and complete the application forms at no cost to the user. Registration is not necessary to view the instructions and forms related to a particular grant application package. Once completed, the entire application is uploaded, validated, and submitted through Grants.gov. Future plans include the adoption of the Adobe platform to replace PureEdge by the end of 2007.

Application deadlines also changed in 2007. Each NLM grant program still has three application deadlines per year, on a new “rolling” calendar of deadlines. Program-specific application deadline dates are also included in Grants.gov entries.

Potential grant applicants are encouraged to contact the program officer(s) at NLM to discuss ideas and how projects can best fit into the goals of the particular grant program. Dr. Hua-Chuan Sim is responsible for IAIMS grants, Knowledge Management & Applied Informatics grants, and Scholarly Works grants. Dr. Valerie Florance is responsible for informatics training programs and fellowships. They can both be reached at (301) 594-4882. Online assistance for the entire electronic submission process is also available, including various training tools, FAQs, and help desk contact information. And of course feel free to consult or discuss grant ideas with NN/LM PSR librarians!

This change has no effect on the application process for NN/LM PSR regional funding programs, such as Express Outreach Awards. Information and application forms for regional funding opportunities can still be accessed through the Funding section of the NN/LM PSR web site.

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