We’re limited to 6 pages for these letters. My question is whether white space is taken into account (some letters have mostly blank second pages):
“Some page limits apply to multiple attachments that when combined must stay within a designated limit. You may want to prepare your information in a single document to ensure you are within the page limit and later break-up the information into the various separate attachments. Our systems will accommodate a certain amount of white space resulting from splitting the information into the separate attachments when verifying compliance with a limit”
The eRA Commons validation check will count the 6 pages and any additional pages will be returned as an error.
Please see the FAQ link and the information below: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/training/extramural/faqs/Pages/faqs-general.aspx
The SF424 instructions state the following:
Letters from the mentor(s), co-mentor(s), consultant(s), advisory committee members (if applicable), and contributor(s) documenting their role and willingness to participate in the project must be included in this section of the application. Do not place these letters in the Appendix.
The instructions do not offer any flexibility with respect to the six-page limit for this section. Letters on letterhead take up considerably more space than needed to describe the roles and commitments of the mentors or collaborators. However, reviewers tend to expect letterhead from mentors and other key participants. For a typical one- to three-mentor application, six pages may be enough to describe the training, resources, and commitments. If there are more individuals associated with the project, the applicant should include letters on letterhead from the mentors and any other collaborators who are absolutely essential to the training plan. Other less important collaborators may summarize what they intend to provide in terms of expertise, resources, or time in the personal statement section of the biosketches. Another alternative is to place any letters that might be considered resources under Item 10. Facilities and Other Resources. Statements and letters of collaboration should absolutely not be included in the Appendix. The instructions are clear about this, and the application may be rejected or withdrawn later if applicants take that route. Only certain types of information are allowed in the Appendix, such as accepted manuscripts and published articles that are not publicly available.