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As the electronic submission process has improved, so have the potential dangers when submitting an application near the deadline.
One of the most fundamental steps you can take to ensure consideration of your application is to make certain we receive it successfully. This means applying well before the due date. Now we know we preach this often, but it is as true now as ever before.
As people become more confident in the ability of eRA to process applications quickly, we see an increasing backlog of “last minute” applications on submission due dates. For a recent December due date, more than 1,000 applications were submitted in the final hour. Here is the rub. This rush of submissions can create a potential back-log in processing; checking for errors can take up to 4 hours. Remember that a submission must be error free before it can be sent on for review.
What does this mean for you? Take this possible scenario…
The application is due at 5 p.m.
You submit at 4 p.m. on the due date.
Processing takes an hour and 45 minutes.
Two errors were identified.
You are now 45 minutes past the submission deadline with no chance to correct the errors that were identified. Not good. NIH’s late policy will not allow for the consideration of this application. Had you submitted in the morning of the due date, or even the day or two before, you would have had plenty of time to correct the errors and submit a error-free application.