RDCRN Grants Portal - User Guide

The RDCRN Grants Portal is a platform to run NIH-style grant competitions including pilot projects and research awards. Users can post grant opportunities as well as review and score submissions from applicants.

User Guide Table of Contents:

Apply for a Grant

Grant opportunities posted on the RDCRN Grants Portal are open to the public and anyone may view and apply for all active grants.

A list of grants accepting applications is shown on the RDCRN Grants Portal homepage located at https://grants.rarediseasesnetwork.org. Select a grant to view more details and access the Apply Now button. RDCRN members can login with their existing RDCRN member accounts. Non-members will need to login using one of the methods provided on the login page.

Once logged in, complete the application form and click Submit. You should receive a confirmation email within a few minutes of submitting your application. Once the deadline for submissions has closed, your application will be evaluated by the grant reviewers.

While logged into the RDCRN Grants Portal you can view your grant submissions using the MySubmissions menu item.

Create a Grant

Request Access to Create Grants

As a member of RDCRN you can request the ability to add grants into the RDCRN Grants Portal for your consortium. First, login to the RDCRN Grants Portal and select your name in the upper right. Click Edit Your Profile. You will now see your name, email and a link to Request Grant Creation Permission.

Click this link to send a request to the RDCRN Grants Portal administrator to review your request and grant you access to create grants. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response. You will receive an email communication once your request has been approved.

Create and Publish a Grant

If your account has permissions to create a grant you will see a top menu item MyGrants. In this section of the site you will see at button to Create New Grant as well as a list of any previously created grants. Click Create New Grant and complete the form fields for the grant. A new grant will not be visible to the public until it is Published and the specified Published date is reached.


Overview Tab

  • Name: Include your consortium abbreviation in the name of your grant so it is clear which consortium the grant is associated with. Any consortium that is part of RDCRN can post a grant to the RDCRN Grants Portal.

    • Example: PIDTC One-Year Research Training Grant

  • Short Name: include your consortium abbreviation in the short name along with additional characters (up to 15) to create a unique url for your grant. You can link directly to your grant submission form from your website, email newsletter, social media posts, etc.

    • Example: pidtctraining

  • RFA: Include a detailed RFA that will ensure that all potential applicants understand the details of your grant opportunity. Use the provided formatting features to include bulleted lists, section headings and links.

  • Publish Date: Once published, the publish date will be used to determine when to add your grant to the publicly available RDCRN Grants Portal homepage.

  • Submission Period: Applications will be accepted between the indicated Open and Close dates.

  • Review Guidance: Visible to any reviewers assigned to review your grant submissions within the Portal.

  • Review Open Date: Must be after the Submission Close Date

  • Review Close Date:


Once all fields on the Overview screen are complete, click Save as Draft to continue. Your grant will stay hidden from the public until it is Published and the Publish Date is reached.

Submission Form Tab

Applicants will respond to questions defined on this page to apply to your grant. You have the opportunity to customize the grant submission form to fit the needs of your grant. The submission form must include an input box for the applicant’s Project Title as well as at least one additional submission question. Multiple question types are supported including the ability to upload a file (PDF or Word file only).

Use the Add Question to this Section and Add a Section buttons to further customize the submission form.

Warning: Once the published grant has received one or more submissions, you will not be able to make changes to the Submission form. Use the provided Preview link to view Submission Form before the grant is published.


Publish this Grant

You may now wish to Publish your grant using the yellow Publish this Grant button. Once published, your grant will appear on the RDCRN Grants Portal homepage once the Publish Date has been reached. The grant link will automatically be removed from the RDCRN Grants Portal home page when the Submission Period Close Date is reached.


Manage Reviews and Submissions

Review Form Tab

A grant's Review criteria can be set as it’s being created or at a later date by Editing the Grant. Reviewers will use the criteria defined on this page to assess their assigned submissions. The review criteria and panel setup mirrors the NIH study panel design by default. You may also provide instructions and guidelines to help reviewers score the submissions. Suggested criteria categories are shown by default. Use the Remove and Add a New Review Criterion buttons to modify your grant’s Review Criteria.

The optional Review Guidance section allows you to provide custom overall guidance and messaging to your reviewers.


Submissions Tab

The Submission tab allows you to view all submissions including any associated reviews and scores.

You can also receive email notifications when someone completes a submission for your grant. To enable this go to the Permissions tab and edit a User. You will see a checkbox for ‘Receive Notifications for Submissions’ which you can enable on any user including yourself.

Reviewers and Reviews Tabs

Add a Reviewer to a Grant

When viewing the Reviewers tab on your grant, use the Add a Reviewer by Email Address box to assign Reviewers to your grant. All RDCRN members are searchable by email address. If you do not find the expected RDCRN member you may wish to use the Member’s Directory on your RDCRN Member’s Landing Page to confirm a member’s correct email address.


Invite a non-RDCRN Member to be a Reviewer

If you’d like to invite a non-RDCRN member to be a reviewer on your grant you may generate an invitation email to add them to the Grants Portal application.

To invite a new user, enter their full email address into the Add a Reviewer by Email Address box. If the reviewer’s email is not found in the list you will see a button that will allow you to click Send Invitation. You will then see a confirmation message “Invitation sent” as well as receive an email confirming that you have successfully invited your reviewer.


The invited reviewer will receive an email indicating they have been invited to review your grant:

And you will receive an email indicating you have successfully invited your reviewer. (Email Subject: RDCRN Grants Portal: Confirmation of invitation sent to review GRANT NAME in RDCRN Grants Portal)

A unique time-sensitive link to accept the invitation will be included in the email and the invited reviewer must click this link within 14 days. This link will allow them to join the RDCRN Grants Portal with special limited access that will allow them to review your specific grant (and any other grants they have been invited to review).

Because the link expires, it is best to reach out to the intended recipient ahead of time and give them a heads-up that the invitation is coming. There is a chance their invitation may end up in their Spam as well.

An invited reviewer who is not a member of RDCRN will need to log into RDCRN using either their organization credentials (the easiest method) OR an alternate login method such as Login.gov.

Your invited reviewers can use this page to guide them through the process to access the RDCRN Grants Portal.

Below is the RDCRN login page an invited reviewer will see. If an invited reviewer’s organization is found in the list, this is the easiest method to use to login.


If the invited review does not already have a login.gov account, they can use this form to go through the account request process to set up a new account. Instructions are available here. We strongly recommend that you use an authentication app as your second factor - this is by far the most convenient of the options provided!

Once your reviewer has accepted their invitation and successfully logged in, you will be notified via email. You will then be able to locate the invited reviewer’s email address in the ‘Add a Reviewer by Email Address’ search box. You may then assign them to your grant as well as any additional or future grants.

Once a non-RDCRN member has accepted their invitation, they will be found in the Add a Reviewer by Email Address box going forward and can be added to future grants.


Managing Reviewer Invitations Sent to non-RDCRN Members

If you’ve sent out invitations to non-RDCRN Members you can go to your Grant’s Reviewers Page and click to View Invited Reviewers.

From here you can see a list of all invitations sent as well as whether or not they have been accepted. You can also send a reminder email to those who have not yet accepted.

Assign Submissions to a Reviewer

The Reviewers tab will display a list of Unassigned Submissions. Drag and drop submissions from the Unassigned Submissions column to assign them to a reviewer in the Reviewers and Submissions column. The Review Settings settings found on the Overview tab will dictate how many reviews may be assigned to each reviewer as well as how many reviewers may be assigned to each submission. In the example below, each reviewer may be assigned up to 2 submissions and each submission may be assigned up to 2 reviewers.

Your reviewers will receive an email when a submission is assigned alerting them to their new assignment. You’ll will be copied on the email if you have the role of Admin on the grant (Email Subject: RDCRN Grants Portal: Submission Review Assignment).

After assigning the submission twice (once to each reviewer, each of the reviewers has their maximum number of submissions (2) assigned.


View and Manage Reviews

The Reviews tab displays a list of all Reviews including their status and scores.

A grant creator will see all Complete and Incomplete reviews. A link to Send Reminder to Reviewers allows the grant creator to send a reminder email to any reviewer who has incomplete reviews. The email includes the Review Close Date.

A grant reviewer will see only the Complete and Incomplete reviews that have been assigned to them.


Panel Tab

A review Panel is when assigned reviewers convene to review all submissions and decide who will be awarded the grant. The review criteria and panel setup mirrors the NIH study panel design by default. Notes about a Meeting Location (including an optional video conferencing link) can be included.

Panel Time

A Start Date/Time and End Date/Time must be set. During this timeframe Reviewers will have access to Reviews and Submissions. The Panel Start Date/Time must be after the Submission Period close date.

Once the Panel Start Date/Time has been reached, all reviewers can view a list of all reviewed submissions and their scores. If the Show Reviewer Comments option was selected in the Panel settings, comments will be visible as well. Reviewers can view the details of each submission including any uploaded documents.

Manage Grant Permissions

A Grant Creator can allow other RDCRN members to administrate, edit or view their grant using the Permissions tab. For your grant you can assign others on your team to have one of the following roles in the Grants Portal:

  • Admin - Delete, edit, and view grant and its submissions and reviews.

  • Editor - Edit and view grant and its submissions and reviews.

  • Viewer - View grant and its submissions and reviews.

Once a user has been assigned a role you can edit the user and indicate if they should receive email notifications when a new grant submission is added into the Portal.

Video for a demonstration of these features can be found here: