Frequently Asked Questions About Noncompliance and Withdrawal of Applications

The following frequently asked questions are aimed at helping NIGMS T32, T34, R25, and K12 grant applicants avoid the consequences of not following instructions in the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). When this happens, it can result in the application's withdrawal without review.

The easiest way to avoid noncompliance is to read and carefully follow the NOFO's instructions, relevant notices, and SF424 instructions when preparing your grant application. Please note that NOFO-specific application instructions are not validated by or eRA systems, so these compliance issues will not lead to an error or warning message. NOFO-specific requirements are manually checked by our staff after you pass all the systematic checks in place. We also recommend that you submit your application early—at least 2 days before the due date. Submitting early provides time for you to view your application once submitted, track it, and correct any errors prior to the due date.

Learn more about the grant application and review process.

There are several reasons why an application can be found noncompliant. The most common reasons include missing required letters, training data table infractions, not designating multiple program directors or principal investigators when required, and violations in the appendices.

  • Required letters: Each NOFO requires one or more institutional letters of support or eligibility letters. Pay special attention to the type of letter, the number needed, and any specific language or signatures that must be included with your application. One compliance issue we often see is applicants combining information into one letter when the NOFO states that two or more distinct letters are required. Some letters must include specific language—for example, certification of an institution's eligibility—yet, this is sometimes missing. We also see letters that don't include all required signatures, such as in cases of an application with partnering institutions where signatures from appropriate institutional leaders are required for each participating institution.
  • Training data tables: Each NOFO specifies a required set of tables that must be included with the application. We often have to withdraw applications for missing one or more of the required tables, for submitting the wrong tables, or for including additional tables not requested in the NOFO.
  • Multiple program directors (PDs)/principal investigators (PIs): Some NOFOs may require multiple PDs/PIs (MPIs) as key personnel—for example, when a PD/PI is required to be designated from each of the participating institutions in an application. As indicated in the SF424 (R&R) application guide, all PDs/PIs in an MPI application must be assigned the "PD/PI" role and all MPI applications must include a multiple PD/PI leadership plan. Note that NIH doesn't recognize the "Co-PD/PI" role, so avoid using it in your application.
  • Violations in the appendices: We receive many applications that are either missing required appendix materials, include unallowable materials, or exceed the page limits allowed under NOFO instructions and related notices for the appendix section.

Depending on the NOFO, the instructions are provided in the NOFO instructions or as a related notice.

See the following notices for information related to appendices:

  • Basic Biomedical Predoctoral Training Grant T32; PAR-20-213: NOT-GM-21-046
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) T34; PAR-21-146: NOT-GM-21-041
  • Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) T32; PAR-21-147: NOT-GM-21-048
  • Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) T32; PAR-21-026: NOT-GM-21-040
  • Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) T32; PAR-21-025: NOT-GM-21-047

See the following NOFOs for more information on appendix page limits:

  • Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) T32: PAR-21-189
  • Bridges to the Baccalaureate T34: PAR-22-125
  • Bridges to the Doctorate T32: PAR-21-198
  • Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) K12: PAR-22-212
  • Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) R25: PAR-22-220
  • Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) R25: PAR-21-196

Noncompliant applications may be withdrawn prior to peer review and funding consideration.

Yes! If you have any questions about submitting your application again, please reach out to your NIGMS program officer.