Legacy Research Institute

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NIH Guidance

Recent Changes

In the past, you would primarily use the cover letter to request that your application be assigned to a particular review group for initial peer review and to an NIH institute or center for possible funding. Now that there is the Assignment Request Form, the cover letter is optional if none of the items listed under 'content' below are applicable.


In accordance with the FOA and/or these instructions, address your cover letter to: 'Division of Receipt and Referral'.

The letter should contain the following information, as applicable:

  • Application title.

  • Title of FOA / PA / RFA.

  • For late applications (see NIH Late Application policy) include specific information about the timing and nature of the delay.

  • For changed/corrected applications submitted after the due date, a cover letter is required, and it must explain the reason for late submission of the changed/corrected applications. If you already submitted a cover letter with a previous submission and are now submitting a late change/corrected application, you must include all previous cover letter text in the revised cover letter attachment. The system does not retain any previously submitted cover letters; therefore, you must repeat all information previously submitted in the cover letter as well as any additional information.

  • Explanation of any subaward budget components that are not active for all budget periods of the proposed grant.

  • Statement that you have attached any required agency approval documentation for the type of application submitted. This may include approval for applications that request $500,000 or more, approval for Conference Grant or Cooperative Agreement (R13 or U13), etc. It is recommended that you include the official communication from an NIH official as part of your cover letter attachment.

  • When intending to submit a video as part of the application, the cover letter must include information about the intent to submit it; if this is not done, the video will not be accepted.

  • Include a statement in the cover letter if the proposed studies will generate large-scale human or non-human genomic data as detailed in the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy.
  • Include a statement in the cover letter if the proposed studies involve human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions (HFT), regardless of whether or not Human Subjects are involved and/or there are costs associated with the HFT.

Templates and Examples

Many examples can be found online: Search now for sample cover letters