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Letters of Reference

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Letters of Reference are an extremely important part of your application and it is important to allow adequate time to obtain the letters. Letters of reference requirements include:

  • Three letters of reference must be provided;
  • Those listed as sponsor, senior/key personnel, or collaborators on the application should not be asked to provide reference letters, as such letters are expected to be from individuals not directly involved in the application;
  • Your referees must submit their letters directly to eRA Commons and you will not see the letters;
  • The letters must be uploaded by your referees by 5 pm eastern time on the date your application is due;
  • You will receive electronic notification when a letter is uploaded;
  • Review the application instructions carefully so you can provide your referees with all the information necessary to submit their letters.

Things Your Reference Letter Writers Need to Know

Each applicant must provide the individuals from whom they request references the following information:

  • PD/PI (Fellowship applicant) Commons User ID
  • PD/PI's Last Name, as it appear on the PI's Commons account
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
  • The reference letter can be two pages maximum
  • Letters should be composed using word processing software and then converted to PDF using PDF generating software. Your references should avoid scanning text attachments to convert to PDF since that causes problems for the agency handling the application.
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