Preparing Your Proposal – NIH

National Institutes of Health

The information below is the most common general information for submitting to NIH and related Institutes and Centers but your particular situation may vary. Be sure to read the announcement throughly and follow the guidelines. If you have questions, please contact us.


ASSIST (Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking) is an NIH system for preparing and submitting proposals. WSU Vancouver research proposal development staff use this method whenever possible and will initialize your application in ASSIST. When the PI information is added, you will receive an email granting access to the proposal to view/edit. Use your eRA Commons credentials to log in. We typically manage this process for you, but if you are familiar with the system, you can upload your own documents.

eRA Commons Credentials

If you do not have an eRA Commons account or are new to WSU Vancouver and need to have your current eRA Commons account affiliated with WSU, please contact the Grants and Contracts Manager for access. Once your account is set up, please log in and complete (or update) your personal profile.

Parent Announcements

  • General information about Parent Announcements
  • R01 NIH Research Project Grant (Clinical Trial Not Allowed) | PA-18-484
  • R03 NIH Small Research Grant Program (Clinical Trial Not Allowed) | PA-18-488
  • R21 NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Clinical Trial Not Allowed) | PA-18-489
  • The general information link above can be used to find the parent announcements that require a Clinical Trial.


We recommend using My Bibliography and SciENcv. The system will format your biosketch according to current NIH submission requirements. More information on My Bibliography and SciENcv.

  • NIH Biosketch Format Pages, Instructions and Samples
    • Limited to 5 pages
    • Up to 4 citations with Personal Statement and each Contribution to Science
    • Up to 5 Contributions to Science
    • Include a URL to a full list of your published work. Must be a Federal Government web site with a .gov suffix (not Google Docs) and NIH recommends using My Bibliography.

Multiple PD/PI Leadership Plan

The multi-PD/PI option presents an important opportunity for investigators seeking support for projects or activities that require a team science approach. This option is targeted specifically to those projects that do not fit the single-PD/PI model, and therefore is intended to supplement and not replace the traditional single PD/PI model. The overarching goal is to maximize the potential of team science efforts in order to be responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Data Sharing Plan

In NIH’s view, all data should be considered for data sharing. Data should be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, and protecting confidential and proprietary data. To facilitate data sharing, investigators submitting a research application requesting $500,000 or more of direct costs in any single year to NIH on or after October 1, 2003 are expected to include a plan for sharing final research data for research purposes, or state why data sharing is not possible.

Many applications require a Data Sharing Plan even if your budget is lower than the threshold noted above. Check your announcement closely to make sure.

Rigor and Reproducibility/Transparency

  • Rigor and Reproducibility:  Scientific rigor and transparency in conducting biomedical research is key to the successful application of knowledge toward improving health outcomes.  Application instructions and review language focus on four key areas:
    • Scientific premise
    • Scientific rigor
    • Consideration of relevant biological variables, such as sex
    • Authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources
  • Your One Page Guide to Rigor and Reproducibility
  • FAQs on Rigor and Transparency
  • WSU Chemicals of Interest List: If you are using any of these chemicals, please let us know as it must be disclosed on your eREX form.

Outreach and Diversity Resources

Plans for Sharing Model Organisms/Animal Models

  • NIH Model Organism Sharing Policy
  • Examples of Plans for Sharing of Model Organisms and Related Resources (09/08/2004) – The precise content and level of detail to be included in a sharing plan depends on several factors, such as the status of the development of a model organism, the method of sharing and the potential impact of intellectual property rights on the available of the animal model. T hree sample plans have been developed to assist the applicant community in responding to this policy:
    • simple plan (MS Word – 25 KB) that may be appropriate for a project, which has the goal of producing a model organism but has not produced one (Organism Sharing Simple).
    • A plan for sharing mice (MS Word – 27 KB) (Organism Sharing Mouse)
    • An example of a complex plan (MS Word – 24 KB) for sharing mice with IP held by various parties (Organism Sharing Complex).

 Assignment Request Form

Rather than including this information in a cover letter,  NIH now has an optional form to:

  • request assignment to an institute/center for funding consideration
  • request assignment to a particular study section for initial peer review
  • identify individuals they do not think should review their application
  • identify scientific areas of expertise needed to review their application

Like the Cover Letter, this form is for internal use by the receipt and referral staff and is not shared with reviewers.


Recent NIH policy has eliminated most appendix material for NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH applications submitted after January 25, 2017. Of particular note, papers and manuscripts are no longer acceptable as appendix materials. For specific details, check NOT-OD-16-129.

Sample Applications

NIH NIAID has a web page with Sample Applications and More including:

  • R01 – Research Project Grant Program
  • R03 – Small Research Grant Program
  • R21 – Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award
  • R21/R33 – Phased Innovation Award
  • R41, R42, R43 and R44 – SBIR/STTR
  • F31 – Diversity Fellowship

Peer Review

General NIH Resources and Writing Tips