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Applying Electronically - Finding Help

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Need Assistance with Your Application Submission?

If you have questions regarding your application or are experiencing submission difficulty, follow the steps below:

  1. Check the FOA and/or Application Guide. The answers to most questions can be found in your Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) or in the SF424 R&R) Application Guide. Be sure to check these resources first – they can save you valuable time! FOAs are the best place to look for questions specific to particular research programs.
  2. Contact the appropriate Help Desk. If you can’t find the answer to your question(s) in the FOA or Application Guide, contact the appropriate Help Desk for assistance.
  3. Document your issues and keep working on your submission! Still unable to resolve your problem or experiencing a system issue that you believe threatens your ability to submit on time? Carefully follow these guidelines to document your problems and continue working to resolve your issues.
Help Desks

eRA Service Desk

Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:

* Opening a web ticket is the preferred method of contact
Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552
Phone: 301-402-7469
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time (Except for Federal holidays)

  • eRA Commons
  • eRA Commons Registration
  • eRA errors and warnings
  • Status of the application
  • Post-award administration


NOTE: To help expedite your Help Desk request, we recommend that you have the following information readily available (NOTE: Additional details may be required depending upon the type of issue/request):


  • Full Name of Affected User
  • Full Name of Institution/Organization
  • Tracking Number
  • Submission Date
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
  • Principal Investigator’s (PI) Username
  • Signing Official’s (SO) Username Contact Center

Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:

International: 606-545-5035
Toll-free: 1-800-518-4726
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (Closed on Federal Holidays)
Web ticketing/live chat:

  • Registration
  • Downloading or navigating forms
  • Technical aspects of submitting to the system



Grants Info



Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:

Phone: 301-435-0714
Fax: 301-480-0525
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST

  • Finding grant-related information, resources, guidelines, and contacts
  • Identifying grant programs
  • General questions about the electronic submission process and application forms, and the review and award processes



System for Award Management (SAM)



Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:

Fed Info: 1-800-FED-INFO
Toll Free: 866-606-8220
International: 334-206-7828
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST

  • Registering your organization
  • Registering your e-Business Point of Contact
  • Renewal of entity registration and information update



Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS)



Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:
Toll-free: 1-866-705-5711
  • Obtaining a DUNS number (required for CCR and registration)



North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) = NCAGE Code



Contact Information: Contact for assistance with:
Toll Free: 1-888-227-2423
International: 269-961-7766
  • Obtaining an NCAGE code (required for CCR registration)



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Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues

Experiencing system issues with ASSIST,, SAM, or NIH's eRA Commons that you believe threaten your ability to submit on time? NIH will not penalize applicants who experience confirmed system issues that are beyond their control. However, you MUST follow the instructions below to document and confirm your issues.

To confirm a system issue, contact the appropriate system support service(s) as follows by the application due date:

For system issues:

  1. Contact the Contact Center to document and help resolve any related submission issues.
  2. Document issue preventing submission with the eRA Service Desk and be sure to include your support ticket number(s).

For system issues:

  1. Contact the Federal Service Desk (FSD) to document and help resolve any related registration issues.
  2. Document issue preventing the completion or renewal with the eRA Service Desk by the application due date and be sure to include your FSD support ticket number(s).
  3. Note: SAM registration/renewal can be a lengthy process. Failure to allow enough time for registration or renewal (i.e., six weeks) is not considered a system issue.

For ASSIST or eRA Commons system issues:

  1. Contact the eRA Service Desk directly to document the issue.
  2. Should the issue involve a problem with the application image not accurately reflecting the submission to, applicants will have until the end of the 2 day viewing window to report the problem.

Important note on documenting your issues…

  • NIH expects applicants to respond quickly (within one business day) to help desk requests for action to resolve the issue and complete your submission.
  • Be sure to include as much information as possible in your help request.
  • Applicants with multiple tracking numbers should include all relevant numbers when contacting the help desks.

Reports of system issues will be investigated on a case-by-case basis. If the eRA Service Desk confirms a system issue, your application will not be considered late as long as you work diligently with the Help Desk to resolve your problems as quickly as possible. Remember that any application submitted after the deadline must include a cover letter documenting the confirmed system issues, Help Desk ticket numbers, and the action(s) taken to resolve the issue(s).

Applicants that fail to document their issues on or before the submission deadline or that do not have a confirmed system issue will be subject to the standard NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications.

BE ADVISED - Problems with computer systems at the applicant organization, failure to follow instructions in the Application Guide or Funding Opportunity Announcement, or failure to complete required registrations by the submission deadline are not considered system issues. NIH is under no obligation to accept applications that are late for these reasons.

Examples of events that may be considered 'System Issues':

  • Messages in eRA Commons that specifically say "System Error".
  • Significant service interruption on deadline day lasting multiple hours.
  • Significant eRA service interruption on deadline day lasting multiple hours.
  • Failure of to process an application within half a business day.
  • Failure of eRA systems to process an application within half a business day.
  • Inability to complete SAM registration or renewal due to a SAM technical problem despite working on it for 6 weeks or more.

Examples of events that would NOT be considered 'System Issues':

  • Failure to follow funding opportunity instructions.
  • Failure to follow application guide instructions.
  • Failure to complete required organization or investigator registrations prior to deadline.
  • Failure to correct or eRA identified errors/warnings by the deadline.
  • Local internet problem at institution on deadline day.
  • Problems with local submission system (e.g., system-to-system solution).
  • AOR not authorized to submit for organization.
  • Unable to see final application status (errors/warnings or image) in or eRA Commons within half a business day of submission.  (See System Issue bullet above for greater than half a business day).
  • Forgot credentials.
  • Discovered application image issue after the application viewing window.
  • Failure to notify the eRA Service Desk of submission issues by deadline or of application image issues within application viewing window.
  • Rejected/Refused an application by accident.
  • Did not receive or eRA notifications, but status available in or eRA Commons.