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Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs), Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs) and Signing Officials (SOs) all have a role to play in the submission process. Learn more.
Applicant organizations can choose from one of the following options to submit an application to the agency through Grants.gov:
NIH's web-based service for the preparation and submission of grant applications to the agency through Grants.gov. ASSIST is available for all competing, multi-project grant applications and will become an option for most other competing grant programs in 2015 (NOT-OD-15-044).
- Online data entry
- Multiple user access
- Verification of application against agency business rules prior to submission
- Pre-submission preview of assembled application image in agency format
- Submission to agency through Grants.gov
- Tracking application status within single system
All ASSIST users working on an application must have eRA Commons accounts (all standard registration requirements apply)
- All ASSIST users working on an application must have eRA Commons accounts (all standard registration requirements apply)
- Key features:
Grants.gov Downloadable Forms
Applicants download an application package from Grants.gov (application forms and instructions), complete the forms offline, submit the completed forms to Grants.gov and track application status in eRA Commons.
- Offline data entry (especially good option when Internet connectivity is unreliable)
- No registration required to begin application data entry
- Requires a Grants.gov compatible version of Adobe Reader
- Applicants must track the application status in separate eRA Commons system after submitting to Grants.gov
- No pre-submission verification of application against agency business rules
- Unable to preview assembled application image in agency format prior to submission
Data entry access restricted to one user at a time
- Key features:
Institutional Solutions (system-to-system)
Some institutions use their own systems to prepare and submit application data to Grants.gov. Use of these solutions is acceptable, as long as they comply with all application requirements.
- Vary by solution
- Consult your institutional officials for preferred method of submission
- Key features:
Adobe Reader software is needed to view and complete the Grants.gov application forms and also to view the assembled application image in eRA Commons after submission. Users can identify and download Grants.gov compatible versions of Adobe Reader by visiting the Adobe Reader page on the Grants.gov website.
NIH requires that all application attachments be submitted in PDF format. Users must have PDF creation software installed in order to create the necessary PDFs. Grants.gov has published a list of recommended PDF Conversion Programs to assist you in obtaining the necessary software. To avoid PDF problems, keep these guidelines in mind.
For more information, see our list of Software FAQs
Prior to submitting a grant application online through Grants.gov to NIH, an applicant organization must complete registrations for System for Award Management (SAM), Grants.gov and eRA Commons. Having an active registration with SAM (which must be renewed yearly), is required before registering with Grants.gov. or submitting an application Principal Investigators do not have to register at Grants.gov, but must register with Commons. Please view an overview of steps for registering (PDF - 110 KB) in both Commons and Grants.gov to learn more.
Each registration is a multi-step process. Completing both registrations can take up to 6 weeks so be sure to start early!
New businesses [i.e. those applying to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to complete the System for Award Management (Sam.gov), formerly Central Contractor Registration (CCR) registration] should start the process at least two months (eight weeks) prior to the grant submission date.
eRA Commons Registration (Required by Applicant Organizations and Principal Investigators)
eRA Commons requires registration by both the applicant organization and the Principal Investigator. The Principal Investigator must register through the organization's Authorized Organizational Representative (also known as the Signing Official).
SAM.gov Registration (Required for Grants.gov prior to submission)
The System for Award Management (SAM) is combining federal procurement systems, including Central Contract Registry (CCR). SAM replaced CCR in July 2012. Because of the transition from CCR to SAM, it can take a significant amount of time (days/weeks) in some scenarios to complete the registration or renewal process. Please be sure to initiate your SAM registration or annual renewal at least 6 weeks prior to you submission date.
Grants.gov registration (Required by Applicant Organizations Only)
Grants.gov requires registration by the applicant organization.
- Grants.gov Registration Instructions for Domestic and Foreign Organizations
- Link to Organization Registration (Grants.gov website)
Need Assistance? Contact the Grants.gov Contact Center
Important Resources for International Applicants
- Common Questions & Answers for International Applicants (PDF - 36 KB)
Contact Support for International Applicants (PDF - 26 KB)
For more information, see our list of Registration FAQs
- If an applicant has started the eRA Commons registration process at least two weeks in advance of the submission date, NIH will consider it a "good faith" effort to prepare for electronic submission and the applicant will not be penalized for any NIH-caused registration processing delay.
- The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Institutional Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at System for Award Management (Sam.gov), formerly Central Contractor Registration (CCR) registration with Grants.gov and the DUNS number used to complete any Federal Grant Application.
- NIH requires the Principal Investigator to fill in his or her Commons User ID in the PD/PI section Credential log-in field on the Senior/Key Person Profile Component.