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Interacting Electronically with NIH. From your ideas…. … into our systems…. …to advance medical discovery. Megan Columbus NIH Program Manager for Electronic Receipt of Grant Applications. Scarlett Gibb eRA Customer Relationship Manager. Electronic Interaction Points. NIH Grant

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Interacting Electronically with NIH

From your ideas…

…into our systems…

…to advance medical discovery.

Megan Columbus

NIH Program Manager for Electronic

Receipt of Grant Applications

Scarlett GibbeRACustomer Relationship Manager

electronic interaction points
Electronic Interaction Points

NIH Grant

Web site

Check ReviewAssignment

Learn About Grants

at NIH

NIH Guide

Find Opportunities

Check ReviewOutcome

Download App




Submit Application

Check Submission







View Assembled

Application Image

Closeout Grants

learn about grants
Learn About Grants




eRA, Commons,eSubmission






electronic submission required
Electronic Submission Required!

Electronic submission via is now required for ALL competing grant applications with the exception of Complex, Multi-project applications (Project/Centers)*

*These grant mechanisms will continue to use the paper PHS398 application process until a transition to electronic submission is scheduled, announced and implemented.

esubmission process
eSubmission Process

Prepare to Apply & Register

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit, Track and View Application

Submission Complete!

two systems working together
Two Systems Working Together
  • – the Federal government’s single online portal to find and apply for Federal grant funding
    • Used by all 26 Federal grant-making agencies
  • eRA Commons – electronic Research Administration system that allows applicants, grantees and Federal staff to access, share and transmit information related to their applications and grants
    • Used by NIH and a few other HHS components

IMPORTANT:Each system has its own registration and validations requirements

    • Applicant Organizations only
    • Designate E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz P
      • - Approves Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs) providing authority to submit applications
    • No registration needed to find opportunities or download forms
  • eRA Commons
    • Applicant Organization & PD/PI
    • Designate Signing Official (SO)

- Registers or affiliates Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI)

Many organizations are already registered. Check with your Office of Sponsored Projects.

  • Tips for Success:
  • Start early! The registration process can take up to 4 weeks (8 weeks or more for new or foreign businesses)
  • Register for & Commons simultaneously once DUNS# is obtained
  • Update CCR information yearly to keep credentials active
  • Do not combine SO and PI roles on single Commons account
  • If PD/PI has a Commons account, affiliate them to your organization rather than creating new account
  • PIs should update their Commons profile prior to submitting (degree info used to determine Early Stage Investigator eligibility)
make a submission plan
Make a Submission Plan
  • Internal organization considerations…
    • Submission method
      • Downloadable forms
      • System-to-System using XML data stream
      • Services of a commercial service provider
    • Application preparation responsibilities
    • Sharing applications in progress
    • Internal review & approval process
    • Internal deadlines

Administrators and PIs must work together!

obtain software
Obtain Software
  • Adobe Reader
    • Only specific Adobe Reader versionsare compatible with forms
  • PDF conversion program
    • Attachments must be converted to PDF
  • Download Software Web Page:
esubmission process1
eSubmission Process

Prepare to Apply & Register

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit, Track and View Application

Submission Complete!

find opportunity download package
Find Opportunity & Download Package
  • NIH posts Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) on:
    • NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
      • Announcements include button to download package and instructions from
investigator initiated research
Investigator–Initiated Research
  • All applications must be submitted in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
    • Applicants can submit for funding opportunities focused on specific programs/areas of science OR in response to a general “parent” announcement
    • Applicants MUST use the application package specific to the FOA that they choose
parent foas
Parent FOAs

NIH Office of Extramural Research

Parent Announcements for Unsolicited Applications


Finding FOAs in NIH Guide

NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts

Enter search string or click Advanced Search

finding foas in nih guide
Finding FOAs in NIH Guide

Enter search parameters

Click Search

finding foas in nih guide1
Finding FOAs in NIH Guide
  • Review list of FOAs matching your criteria and find FOA of interest

Click Announcement Number link to access FOA information

  • Read and follow announcement instructions
  • Pay special attention to Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    • Includes any FOA-specific submission instructions
    • Instructions in FOA trump instructions in the application guide
announcement notes
Announcement Notes
  • Pay attention to Key dates:
    • Release/Posted Date: package and instructions available for download
    • Opening Date: application can be submitted
    • Expiration Date: announcement closed
announcement notes1
Announcement Notes
  • FOAs in the NIH Guide include button to download app from

Click Apply for Grant Electronically found within the NIH Guide announcement.

Verify information

Click download

download package application guide
Download Package & Application Guide

Sign up for Agency updates to FOA

Download application instructions and Application Package

application guide
Application Guide
  • Read and follow application guide instructions
  • Agency-specific instructions are marked with the HHS logo
esubmission process2
eSubmission Process

Prepare to Apply

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit Track and View Appilcation

Submission Complete!

grant application package screen
Grant Application Package Screen

Save the package locally.

*Application Form Screen - Top*

Make sure you have the correct application package.

FOA information is automatically populated and not editable.

Mandatory fields highlighted yellow with red box.

grant application package screen1
Grant Application Package Screen

Mandatory Documents must be completed prior to submission.

Complete the SF424 (R&R) form first – info from this form populates fields in other forms in the package.

*Application Form Screen - Bottom*

See application guide to determine which Optional Documents you need to include.

completing the application
Completing the Application
  • Tips for Success:
    • Follow FOA-specific guidelines (e.g., special attachments, specific section headings)
    • Follow application guide requirements
    • Follow guidelines for fonts, margins
    • Do not include headers or footers
      • - Section headings as part of the text (i.e., Specific Aims, Background & Significance) are encouraged
    • Avoid 2-column format for text
    • Avoid “landscape” format


final application check
Final Application Check
  • Avoid & eRA Commons Errors:
    • SF424 (R&R) cover
      • Does the DUNS number on your application match the DUNS used for & Commons registration?
      • Did you include the Contact Email address?
      • Did you provide correct Type of Application, Federal Identifier, and Type of Submission information?
    • Sr/Key Person Profile
      • Did you include Commons ID in Credential field for all PD/PIs?
      • Did you include Organization name for all Sr/Key?
final application check1
Final Application Check
  • Avoid & eRA Commons Errors (cont.):
    • Did you use the correct Budget form?
    • Did you include effort > 0 for all Sr/Key listed on the R&R Budget form?
    • Did you include all required attachments?
    • Are all your attachments in PDF format?
    • Are all attachment names 50 characters or less and use only letters, numbers and underscore (_)?
esubmission process3
eSubmission Process

Prepare to Apply

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit, Track & View Application

Submission Complete!

aor submit application
AOR - Submit Application
  • Save & Submit button will not become active until:
  • All fields marked as mandatory on the forms are completed
  • All Mandatory Documents are moved to Mandatory Documents for Submission box and completed
  • The application is Saved

Check Package for Errors only checks errors.

You MUST submit the application for it to go through the NIH validation process. NIH errors will be shown in the eRA Commons

aor submit application1
AOR - Submit Application

Enter your username and password – you must be fully registered to successfully submit.

Only the AOR can Submit application!

aor submit application2
AOR - Submit Application

Click Sign and Submit Application button to record electronic signature and initiate submission process to

aor submit application3
AOR - Submit Application

Print/Save your Confirmation screen info Tracking #

Date/Time Stamp - due 5 p.m. local time of the applicant org. on submission deadline date

on time submission
On-time Submission
  • On-time Submission
    • All registrations must be completedprior to initial submission
    • Submission must be accepted by with a timestamp on or before 5:00 p.m. local time of submitting organization on submission deadline date
    • Errors/Warnings must be corrected within the error correction window
track application
Track Application
  • AORs track application status at
  • Signing Officials(SOs), Principal Investigators (PIs) and Assistants (ASSTs) track appilcation status in the eRA Commons


track grants gov aor
Track – (AOR)
  • Applicant interface application status

You’re not done yet!

Signing Officials (SOs), Principal Investigators (PIs) and Assistants (ASSTs) track application status in the eRA Commons.


track your application
Track Your Application
  • Applications are picked up by eRA Commons and checked against application and opportunity instructions
      • Forms are owned by and used by many agencies, so NIH cannot build agency-specific business rules into the formProcessing result available in eRA Commons Status
  • Processing result available in eRA Commons Status
  • Email notifications sent to AOR/SO, PD/PI and contact emails listed on the SF424 (R&R) form
accessing era commons
Accessing eRA Commons
  • Go to:
  • Enter your Username and Password



check status in commons pd pi
Check Status in Commons – PD/PI

Select Recent/Pending eSubmissions

Or provide tracking number from email notification


status esub errors warnings
Status – eSub Errors/Warnings

Indicates eSubmission Error Tracking # tracking # and date are displayed followed by the list of errors/warnings for each submission attempt

status esub errors warnings1
Status – eSub Errors/Warnings
  • Errors stop application processing and must be corrected
  • Warnings do not stop application submission and are corrected at the discretion of the applicant

Helpful LinksAvoiding Common Errors page:

Full list of Commons Validations

error correction window
Error Correction Window
  • NIH currently allows applicants to correct errors/warnings during the temporary “Error Correction Window”
    • Standard window: 2 business days after the submission deadline (temporarily extended to 5 days through May 2010)
    • Initial submission made “on time”
    • All registrations completed before deadline
    • Proof of “on time” submission and description of all changes documented in Cover Letter

AOR is expected to enforce that appilcation changes are restricted to those needed to fix indentified errors/warnings.

NIH may reject any application that includes additional changes.

correcting era errors warnings
Correcting eRA Errors/Warnings

Make changes to address error/warning messages in local copy of application

  • Select Changed/Corrected on SF424 (R&R) cover (box #1)
    • Federal Identifier on SF424 (R&R) cover (box #4) is a required field when Changed/Corrected is selected
      • If New is selected in box #8, use tracking number for original submission
      • Otherwise, continue to use the Institute/Center and serial number from original grant award (ex. CA123456)
  • Include cover letter if after submission deadline
  • AOR must submit the entire changed/corrected application to
  • Track submission through to Commons

NOTE:Reviewers do not see applicant errors/warnings.

view application image
View Application Image

Once an error-free application is received, the eRA systemwill:

  • Assemble the grant application image
  • Insert headers (PI name) & footers (page numbers) on all pages
  • Generate Table of Contents and bookmark important sections
  • Post the assembled application image in the PI’s eRA Commons account
application viewing window
Application Viewing Window
  • Applicants have two (2) business days to view the assembled application before it automatically moves forward to NIH for further processing
  • SO can Reject application within viewing window to address Warnings (if within error correction window) or to address a system issue affecting the application image
    • If Rejected after deadline for any other reason, application is subject to late policy
    • PI will receive email notification if SO rejectsapplication

If you can’t VIEW it, we can’t REVIEW it!

status view application image
Status – View Application Image

Status is Pending Verification

Follow link to detailed status info

Follow e-Application

link to view assembled

application image

View Appendices and Cover Letter

status e application
Status – e-Application

TIP:Carefully review the entire application.

This is your first chance to view/print the same application image that will be used by Reviewers!

reject application so
Reject Application (SO)

PIs: If the application image in the eRA Commons

does not properly reflect the submitted material, work

with your SO to reject the application!

Must have SO role

Enter Search Criteria

Click Search

Select Recent/ Pending eSubmissions

reject application so1
Reject Application (SO)

Select Reject eApplication

Enter comment to be sent with email notification

Click Reject

esubmission process4
eSubmission Process

Prepare to Apply

Find Opportunity and Download Application Package

Prepare Application

Submit, Track & View Application

Submission Complete!

submission complete
Submission Complete!
  • If no action is taken during the two business day viewing window, the application automatically moves forward to NIH for further processing
  • Any subsequent application changes are approved through and at the discretion of the Scientific Review Officer in the form of addenda
finding help
Finding Help

Applicant Resources

finding help web site links
Finding Help: Web Site Links

Links to Applicant Resources

  • NIH eSubmission Website:
  • Grants Web site:
  • electronic Research Administration:
  • eRA Commons:
finding help1
Finding Help
  • help with the registration process, downloading forms, form behavior or with technical aspects of submitting through the system:
    • Check the Website:
    • Contact Center
      • Contact Center Phone: 1-800-518-4726
      • Business Hours 24 hours/day; 7 days/week (closed on Federal Holidays)
      • Email
  • eRA Commons:For help with eRA Commons registration or system validations after submission through
    • Check the eRA Commons website:
    • eRA Commons Help Desk
      • Web support:
      • Phone: 301-402-7469
      • Toll Free: 866-504-9552
      • TTY: 301-451-5939
      • Business hours M-F, 7am-8pm ET
  • Grants Info:Forhelp with grant policy, application content requirements and other general inquiries:
    • Review the Application Instruction Guide
    • Review the FOA
    • Grants Info:Phone: 301-435-0714Email


grant administration in era commons
Grant Administration in eRA Commons

Update Personal Profileand Institutional Profile Information

My application is submitted…

…now what?


eRA Commons


Check ReviewAssignment

Check ReviewOutcome








Closeout Grants


era commons applications
eRA Commons Applications:

Profiles (Personal and Institutional)

Application Tracking

Grant Status

Just In Time (JIT)

Electronic Streamlined Non-competing Award Process (eSNAP)


No-cost Extension (NCE)

Financial Status Report (FSR)

Internet Assisted Review (IAR)


Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)

My BIB / My NCBI integration



institutional profile ipf
Institutional Profile (IPF)

The Institutional Profile

Contains information necessary to facilitate processing & review of applications submitted by an institution

Is a central repository of information for registered organizations

Is designed so each organization’s Signing Official (SO) establishes & maintains his or her organization’s profile data

It includes information such as:

Preferred institution name & contact information

Signing Official’s name, e-mail, & phone number

Institutional DUNS number

Institutional Assurances

E-mail addresses to receive Notice of Award and other notifications



personal profile ppf
Personal Profile (PPF)

Personal Profile maintenance

You are responsible for keeping your information accurate & up-to-date.

Very few staff members at NIH have access to change PPF information (emergencies only).

Commons will require a change of password every 90 days for security reasons.

TIP: Always keep your e-mail address up-to-date. E-mail addresses are used to retrieve forgotten passwords and as the primary source of communicating grants-related information.



uses of ppf information
Uses of PPF Information

… display to the reviewer the status of eligibility for Continuous Submission

… determine whether a PI is eligible for Early Stage Investigator (ESI) status

… verify information submitted in grant applications

… populate specific forms (Trainee Appointment, etc.)

… allow for automatic population of publications in National Library of Medicine systems

… contact you via Agency notifications

… used in aggregate reporting

…monitor submission of reference letters


accommodating your work flow
Accommodating Your Work Flow

Commons allows many functions to be delegated to other users

Delegate PI

Delegation can be made to any other eRA Commons user at the institution

Provides ability to complete eSNAP information for the PI’s grants (cannot Route or Recall)

Delegate PPF Edit

Delegation can be made to any other eRA Commons user at the institution

Provides ability to edit Personal Profile (PPF)


accommodating your work flow1
Accommodating Your Work Flow

Delegate Status

Delegation can be made to any eRA Commons user at the PI’s institution with the Assistant (ASST) role

Provides access to PI’s Status information, including the ability to check for submission errors/warnings and to view the assembled application image

DOES NOT provide access to application summary statement or priority score

Delegate xTrain Authority

Delegation can be made to any eRA Commons user at the PI’s institution with the Assistant (ASST) role

Provides same xTrain authority as the PI, except the ability to Submit appointments to the Agency


delegation to pi
Delegation to PI

Signing Official (SO) can “Delegate Submit” authority to a PI

Allows a PI to submit his or her own eSNAP information to Agency

Delegate Submit


tracking application status as a pi
Tracking Application Status as a PI

Note: There is a separate SO-tailored view of the Status page.



status hit list
Status Hit List

Action links: JIT, eSNAP, Closeout, NCE (SO only), Reject eApplication (SO only)

Click App ID for detailed Status info

  • STATUS is your LINK to the Action!



track assignment info in status details
Track Assignment Info. in Status Details

Primary Institute Assignment

Study SectionAssignment

Key Contact Information



track review outcome
Track Review Outcome

Only the PI can view Summary Statement, Priority Score and Percentile information.



j ust i n t ime submission jit
Just In Time Submission (JIT)

Allows PIs, AOs, & SOs to prepare and SOs to submit additional grant application information requested by NIH prior to an award decision

Other Support, IRB and/or IACUC Approval Dates, Human Subjects Education info

Not an indication that application will be awarded

Wait for a request from NIH to submit the information

System-generated email or contact from the Grants Management Specialist (GMS)

You may now submit JITs piece by piece!



just in time
Just In Time

Click on the JIT link in the Action column of the Status hit list.




Electronic Streamlined Non-competing Award Process (eSNAP)

Electronic submission of annual SNAP Progress Reports

Most non-competing grants at NIH are streamlined

SO can enable the organization to submit eSNAPs


Submission deadline is 45 days prior to start date instead of 60 days

Reduces duplicate data entry




Electronic Streamlined Non-competing Award Process (eSNAP)

PI or PI Delegate can initiate the process, upload progress report, and enter the administrative data

eSNAP can be routed to staff for approval

SO submits the completed eSNAP to NIH

SO can delegate submit privileges to PI(s)




Begin the eSNAP either from the Action column of the Status Hit List or the eSNAP item on the menu bar.



esnap hit list
eSNAP Hit List

PI hit list shows all grants and applications with the Grant Number of eSNAP-eligible grants hyperlinked.



my bib publications in esnap
My BIB Publications in eSNAP

Upload Science screen shows My BIB publications that can be associated with an eSNAP report.

For more My BIB & My NCBI info:



my bib my ncbi integration
My BIB / My NCBI Integration

From the new Awards View in My NCBI, eRA Commons users can:

  • See whether their publications are compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy
  • Start the manuscript submission process
  • Associate their NIH extramural grants awards with their publications
  • Designate delegates to manage their bibliography via My NCBI

Note: The Awards View is only available to Commons users with active grants in their portfolios who have linked their My NCBI account with their Commons account.

f inancial s tatus r eport
Financial Status Report

Financial Status Report (FSR)

Statement of expenditures usually due within 90 days from end of budget period or project period

Schedule for submitting FSRs is normally specified in the Notice of Grant Award

Can be searched by individual grant number, FSRs for the institution or status of the FSR

Must have an account with the FSR role to create/submit the FSR



fsr search screen
FSR Search Screen

To view Financial Status Report status code definitions, visit:



financial conflict of interest fcoi
Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)

FCOI Institutional Functionality

Allows grantee institutions to:

Initiate and prepare a FCOI notification

Multiple FCOI officials and delegates can access and edit a notification while in Work In Progress (WIP) status

Submit the FCOI notification and supporting documents electronically to Agency

Can provide comments at time of submission that are included in e-mail notification to Agency

Search and View FCOI notifications previously submitted through Commons

Does not provide visibility to any notifications previously submitted on paper

Edit or rescind submitted notifications (requires Agency involvement)

Access history of actions



Commons FCOI & Internal FCOI

  • Commons FCOI integration with internal FCOI tracking system
  • Commons FCOI and Internal FCOI systems will share information once daily
  • Internal FCOI users can request additional information and rescind notifications
    • Notification to Institution made from Internal FCOI system and also is reflected in Commons FCOI history



FCOI Flexible Account Admin

  • Commons account must have FCOI role to submit FCOI notifications to Agency
    • Only SOs can add this role to an account
    • FCOI role can be added to multiple accounts at institution’s discretion
  • Ability to prepare and/or view FCOI notifications can be delegated, but not ability to submit to Agency
    • FCOI View-only




Allows users to electronically process the required paperwork associated with awarded training grants

Grantee institution staff can use xTrain to:

Create, route and submit Appointments, Re-Appointments, Amendments and Termination Notices

Track the status and timing of training actions

NIH’s goal is to mandate xTrain use by Jan. 2011. Gain experience now!


xtrain new commons roles
xTrain – New Commons Roles

xTrain introduces two new eRA Commons roles


Person appointed to training grant

Currently, account set-up done through xTrain

Business Official (BO)

Has signature or other authority related to administering training grants

Authorized to submit Termination Notices on behalf of the institution





no cost extension
No-cost Extension

No-cost Extension (NCE)

Electronically submit a notification to exercise one-time authority to extend without funds the final budget period of a project period of a grant

NCE link appears 90 days before the end of the project period

SO (only) can extend project period by 6, 9 or 12 months

E-mail notification sent to NIH Grants Management staff when SO processes the extension



no cost extension link
No-cost Extension Link

Status Result - General Search screen shows grants that may be extended via a No-cost Extension (see Extension hyperlink in Action column).





Electronically submit required Closeout documents for grants in Closeout status

NIH GM Specialist must mark the grant “ready for close out” for link to appear in Commons

contact assigned GMS if records are not appearing

Required Closeout items include:

Financial Status Report (FSR)

Final Progress Report

Final Invention Statement



closeout link
Closeout Link

Status Result - Closeout Search screen shows grants that are Closed or Requires Closeout.



finding help2
Finding Help

Applicant Resources


finding help web site links1
Finding Help: Web Site Links

Links to Applicant & Grantee Resources

NIH Grants Web site:

Electronic Research Administration:

eRA Commons:


finding help3
Finding Help help with the registration process, downloading forms, form behavior or with technical aspects of submitting through the system:

Check the Web site: Contact Center

Contact Center Phone: 1-800-518-4726

Business Hours: 24 hours/day; 7 days/week (closed on Federal Holidays)


eRA Commons:For help with eRA Commons registration or system validations after submission through

Check the eRA Commons Web site:

eRA Commons Help Desk

Web support:

Phone: 301-402-7469

Toll Free: 866-504-9552

TTY: 301-451-5939

Business hours M-F, 7am-8pm ET

Grants Info:For help with grant policy, application content requirements and other general inquiries:

Review the Application Instruction Guide

Review the FOA

Grants InfoPhone: