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Format for Letters of Reference

Letters must be submitted to the Commons at (https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/reference/submitRefereeInformation.jsp) by 5:00 p.m. (local time of the referee), of the appropriate application receipt date (October 9, 2015). Late letters will not be accepted and applications with fewer than three letters will not be reviewed. Letters must be submitted electronically – paper copies will not be accepted.

IMPORTANT:  The applicant’s name should be placed at the top of the letter. Although signatures are not required, the letter must include a signature block with the referee’s full name, title, institution, and contact information.

In two pages or less, describe the applicant’s qualities that support the applicant’s claim to scientific innovativeness and creativity. When possible, give specific examples that illustrate these qualities. Address the likelihood that the applicant will conduct groundbreaking research in the proposed research area.

Note: The letter submission page can be accessed without signing into the Commons, and referees do not need to be registered in the Commons. Referees must provide the applicant’s Commons User Name (User ID) and the other information below: 

REFEREE INFORMATION (the individual providing the letter of reference):

  • Referee’s First and Last Name (Required)
  • Referee’s Middle Initial (MI) (Not Required)
  • Referee’s Email Address (Required)
  • Referee’s Institution/Affiliation (Required)
  • Referee’s Department (Required)

APPLICANT INFORMATION (applicants must send this information to their referees):

  1. Applicant’s Commons User Name (User ID), (Required) 
    (Important – this must be the applicant’s, not the referee’s Commons User Name (User ID). The letter will not be linked to the appropriate application if the Applicant’s User Name is not entered here.)
  2. Applicant’s Last Name (Required). (Note: must match exactly the applicant’s name in the Commons)
  3. Funding Opportunity Number (FOA) of this announcement: RM-13-006 (Required)
  4. Confirmation Number (Required only when resubmitting a letter, that is, when submitting a revised or changed/corrected letter for the current FOA)

E-mail confirmations will be sent to both the applicant and the referee following submission of the letter. The email confirmation will include a Confirmation Number that will be required only when submitting a revised or changed/corrected letter. Please print the confirmation email for your records.

Note: If you submitted letters for Pioneer Award applicants in a prior year, you must submit new letters of reference this year. Previously submitted letters will not be retrieved.


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