University Research Services and Administration

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


To prepare to submit a NIH application through for the first time,  please review the following step-by-step directions. Instructions on how to complete electronic NIH forms are available as a download on the right.

1.      The PI registers in the NIH eRA Commons with a PI Account affiliated with Georgia State. If you do not have an account, please complete the registration form and email it to your OSP Representative to establish an account. You must have a PI account, not just a reviewer account. NIH suggests doing this AT LEAST two weeks before grant deadline.

The PI does not need to register with Georgia State University is already registered.

2.     Obtain Software.
a)     To read the application, a compatiable Adobe Reader (8.x or 9 version as specifed on website) needs to be downloaded. This is available free at You must make sure you use this version of Adobe Reader to complete the application. Therefore, download it to all computers that you will use to complete the application. Using an earlier version to complete the forms will result in errors at the time of submission.

b)     To convert word documents into pdf files for attachments you will also need Adobe Acrobat Professional or other software that does conversions (e.g., cutePDF is also recommended by NIH). Adobe Reader is not sufficient. Professional is available at a reduced rate for GSU employees.

3.     Download appropriate grant application. PI downloads application specific to the NIH grant program they are applying to. Applications are available at NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts or at under Find Grant Opportunities using the Funding Opportunity Number or Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number. 

4.        Notify OSP. PI emails his or her Sponsored Programs Officer of intention to submit an application via

5.        Complete grant application. PI downloads and completes grant application using Step-by-step NIH Form Instructions available as a download on this page. Make sure you express your effort as person months. Conversion spreadsheet is available as a download on this website. 

6.        Submit draft proposal for review at least five days before due date.  PI prints completed forms  and draft of narrative and route the hard copy through GSU using the Proposal Approval Form (see OSP Quick Reference for more details on what parts of the application need to be routed). PI should email draft application to OSP officer ccing Associate Director of OSP at same time.

7.        Submit final proposal at least two days (48 hours) before grant due date. PI completes grant application (including attachments which should be uploaded in their appropriate form by the PI), does the rudimentary error check available in the application package, and emails an electronic copy of completed grant application to his or her assigned Sponsored Programs Officer and the Associate Director.

8.     Submission to After final application is reviewed, the OSP Officer emails the application package to the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) who submits the application to GSU AORs are Assoc. Director Rick Evans, AVPs Albertha Barrett,  Amy Lederberg, and Bob Curry; VP Robin Morris. PIs CANNOT submit their own grant application via!!!

9. error check. Rudimentary error check is done by and notification of errors is sent to the AOR who will forward it to PI. PI will correct errors and forward corrected grant to OSP officer to be to be resubmitted through by AOR. Errors must be corrected before submission deadline for application to be accepted.

10.     NIH error check. The grant application will now be transferred to NIH eRA Commons for error verification. A list of errors and warnings is generated and posted on eRA Commons and emailed to PI and AOR. PIs must be available to correct errors. Applications with errors must be resubmitted through after the errors are corrected (as a changed/corrected application).  Applications with warnings can but do not need to be resubmitted.

11.     Grant assembly by NIH. If the application is error free, it will be assembled into one application, complete with table of contents, headings which will be used for reviewing purposes. It is important to verify that it appears as the PI intended. If the PI is not satisfied, they should contact their OSP Officer right away. Only OSP or AOR personnel can "reject" the application. The application will then have to be resubmitted through If the application is not rejected after two days of being posted in the Commons, it will be considered a final document and sent for review.

12.     Detailed instructions on these procedures, including common errors, is available at