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Step 2: Application Receipt & Assignment

The Division of Receipt and Referral in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) serves as the central receipt point for all competing applications, including applications submitted in response to specifically targeted, pre-announced Request for Applications (RFAs) or Program Announcements (PAs) in areas of Institute interest.

After you develop and submit your application, the CSR will assign your application to an Institute or Center (IC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) based on the focus and mission of the IC. When an application is assigned to NCI, a referral officer will examine and direct each application to the appropriate NCI program director. The program director is responsible for following the progress of his/her assigned application(s) through the peer review process.

Identification Numbers 

Before starting the peer review process, each new application received is assigned an identification number (grant numbers) and checked for completeness.

Application Type Activity Code Administering Organization Serial Number Support Year Suffix Code
1 R01 CA 100228 01 A1 or S1
  • Application Type: Indicates whether the application is new, a renewal (competing continuation), noncompeting, or other type. The example shows a new (Type 1) application.
  • Activity Code: Lists the type of grant that has been applied for; an (R01) is a traditional research project.
  • Administering Organization: A two letter abbreviation for the primary IC assigned. CA is the two digit code for NCI. The serial number is a unique five or six digit number that identifies the specific application and indicates that it is the 100,228th application assigned to the NCI.
  • Support Year: Indicates the current year of support. For example, the 01 shows that this is a new grant. Sometimes the support year is followed by a suffix.
  • Suffix Code: Starts with an "A" to indicate an amendment to the application. An A1 is the first revised or amended application. An "S" suffix code is used to show supplements. For example, an S1 is for the first supplement. See NIH Policy on Resubmission Applications.

Submission Policies

Incomplete Application Submission

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. The NCI considers a grant application incomplete if:

  • It fails to follow the instructions provided on the appropriate application form
  • It fails to follow specific instructions provided in an RFA or PA
  • The material presented is insufficient to permit an adequate review
  • The application is submitted after the receipt deadline—except in very rare cases (see the NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications)

Applications Exceeding $500,000

You must seek approval from the awarding IC’s program director at least six weeks prior to submission if you anticipate submitting an application exceeding $500,000 in direct costs in any year of the project.

If the requested amount is significantly greater than $500,000, you should request approval even further in advance. Applications submitted in response to RFAs or other announcements that include specific budgetary limits are exempt from this requirement.

Continuous Submission

As an incentive for outstanding service in the NIH peer review process, certain reviewers may be eligible for continuous submission. If eligible, they may submit their research grant applications (R01, R21 or R34) on a continuous basis and have those applications undergo initial peer review in a timely manner.

See more information on policy, procedures, eligibility, and the List of Reviewers Eligible for Continuos Submission.

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