Frequently Asked Questions

My project is located in a country in the list of embargoed countries. Am I eligible to submit?

     Eligibility of projects in sanctioned nations varies by country. Embargo policies are constantly changing. In some cases (e.g. Iran), applications are allowed, but additional permissions will be required at the time of award. Eligibility for projects in other sanctioned countries will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please email the CNIHR program ( with your name, degrees, institution, and location for further clarification regarding your specific country's eligibility. Applicants who are citizens from a sanctioned country, but who are performing their projects in a country without sanctions, are eligible to submit without further permissions.

Are postdoctoral fellows eligible?

Postdoctoral fellows are only eligible if they have a written commitment from their institution at the time of Concept Proposal submission that they will have a faculty appointment (or equivalent) at a qualifying institution by the time of full proposal submission.

If I've had a K award in HIV/AIDS research, am I eligible?

No, to be eligible, applicants cannot have had any grant or contract in HIV/AIDS research.

Are applicants who have previously been co-investigators/authors on an HIV research project or publication eligible?

No, to be eligible, applicants cannot have had any grant or contract in HIV/AIDS research.

If I've received pilot funding for an HIV/AIDS research project from a non-governmental source, am I eligible?

No, applicants cannot have had any grant or contract in HIV/AIDS research.

My discipline is not listed in the eligibility criteria; does this mean I am not eligible?

Other disciplines than the ones mentioned can be accepted. Please contact us if yours is not on the list.

I received a doctoral degree more than 10 years ago, but I received recently another degree (MPH, etc). Can I be eligible?

No, applicants must have received their doctoral degree or completed their residency in the last 10 years.

Do I have to have a CFAR mentor/collaborator to submit the concept proposal?

No, a CFAR mentor/collaborator is only required for the full application submission phase.

How do I fill out sections B, C, and D of the biosketch?

Here are specific instructions on filling out sections B, C, and D (from the NIH PHS 398 instructions)

B. Positions and Honors. List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with the present position. List any honors. Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory committee.

C. Selected Peer-reviewed Publications. NIH encourages applicants to limit the list of selected peer-reviewed publications or manuscripts in press to no more than 15. Do not include manuscripts submitted or in preparation. The individual may choose to include selected publications based on recency, importance to the field, and/or relevance to the proposed research. When citing articles that fall under the Public Access Policy, were authored or co-authored by the applicant and arose from NIH support, provide the NIH Manuscript Submission reference number (e.g., NIHMS97531) or the PubMed Central (PMC) reference number (e.g., PMCID234567) for each article. If the PMCID is not yet available because the Journal submits articles directly to PMC on behalf of their authors, indicate "PMC Journal - In Process." A list of these Journals is posted at: Citations that are not covered by the Public Access Policy, but are publicly available in a free, online format may include URLs or PubMed ID (PMID) numbers along with the full reference (note that copies of publicly available publications are not acceptable as appendix material.)

D. Research Support. List both selected ongoing and completed research projects for the past three years (Federal or non-Federally-supported). Begin with the projects that are most relevant to the research proposed in the application. Briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and responsibilities of the key person identified on the Biographical Sketch. Do not include number of person months or direct costs.

Do not confuse "Research Support" with "Other Support." Though they sound similar, these parts of the application are distinctly different. As part of the biosketch section of the application, "Research Support" highlights your accomplishments, and those of your colleagues, as scientists. This information will be used by the reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall qualifications of the research team. In contrast, "Other Support" information is required for all applications that are selected to receive grant awards and includes detailed financial information (see Part I, 4.6.1). NIH staff will request complete and up-to-date "Other Support" information after peer review. This information will be used to check that the proposed research is not already funded through other sources.

How do I find my organization's DUNS number?

You can contact your office of sponsored research to find the number.
If you are registered in Commons, you can also log in to the eRA Commons and follow these steps:

  • Select the Institution Profile tab
  • Select the Basic tab
  • The DUNS # will be located within the Basic Institution Information section

Visit the Dun and Bradstreet Web site at to see if your organization already has a DUNS number.

 If I do not have a DUNS number, how do I obtain one?

To obtain a DUNS number, please visit the Dun & Bradstreet Web site at

Do I need an eRA Commons account?

Signing Officials and Principal Investigators from applicant organizations do need an eRA Commons account, as do other people who may be assisting in the process of grant application submission.

How do I register my organization/institution with eRA Commons?

Only individuals with legal signing authority - the Signing Official - can register their organization in Commons. The Signing Official typically has a title such as: President, CEO, Executive Director, Dean, Chancellor, Provost, Owner, or Partner. Please note both the applicant organization and the Principal Investigator (through the Signing Official) need to register in eRA Commons. [Remember that the user MUST also be registered with GRANTS.GOV before they can successfully submit an application to NIH.(].

  • Applicant organizations/institutions should complete the Online Registration form for eRA Commons
  • Print and fax the registration form (the Signing Official [SO] must sign, date, and fax the registration to the number listed on the form which is 301-451-5675). This step must be completed before NIH is able to process the registration.
  • The SO will receive an e-mail to verify the e-mail address indicated in the registration. The SO needs to click on the hyperlink contained in the e-mail.
  • Once the registration has been processed, the SO will receive an approval email from NIH (this email will contain a link to information that must be verified as correct before the confirmation process is completed)
  • The SO will then receive two emails: One will contain the user names created during the registration process and the second email will contain the temporary password (s) for the created accounts.
  • The SO can then log into his/her eRA Commons account:

 How does a Principal Investigator (PI) get registered in eRA Commons?

Once the applicant organization is registered in eRA Commons, the organization's Signing Official can register the Principal Investigator by creating an account with the PI authority role. When a Signing Official creates an account for a PI, the PI will receive an email to go to the Commons to verify the PI's profile information. (This email is sent only when PI has prior NIH support, otherwise the account is created right away)

If I am an individual Research Fellow, how do I register in the eRA Commons?

Please see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-07-003 Guidance to Applicant Organizations about Registering Research Fellows in the eRA Commons .

How long does the registration process take?

The Applicant organizations must start the registration process at least four weeks before the grant application submission deadline. Allow time for the PI to register once the organization has been registered in Commons. A PI must confirm Commons registration before application submission.

What is an IPF number?

The Institution Profile (IPF) number is an internal NIH identifier that uniquely identifies and associates institutional information within NIH electronic systems. The NIH assigns an IPF number after the institution submits its request for registration. This is not a number that the applicant organization needs to know.

Last updated: 09/04/14