Guidance to Applicant Organizations about Registering Research Fellows in the eRA Commons

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-003

Key Dates
Release Date: October 5, 2006

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (

The purpose of this Notice is to remind applicant organizations that they should register in the eRA Commons any individual research fellows who are submitting applications  to NIH and AHRQ.  When registering, the fellow should be given the role of PI. There has been some reluctance in applicant organizations to create eRA Commons accounts with the PI role for research fellows. We would like to clarify that designating the PI role in the eRA Commons for an individual does not bestow on them any special status. It is merely the name of the role within the electronic system that provides the administrative authority needed to see pertinent information regarding an application (e.g., summary statements, scores, electronic submission status, etc.).

Many individuals who are submitting Individual Fellowship applications have the unique circumstance of actually submitting an application through a Sponsoring Organization that is different than their current organization.  This is perfectly appropriate considering the nature of Individual Fellowship programs.  However, this does require an additional step be taken in the eRA Commons registration process.  If a research fellow has already been registered in eRA Commons by any organization other than the sponsoring organization submitting an application, a separate eRA Commons registration with the sponsoring organization is not necessary.  Users should only have one PI eRA Commons account.  However, the proposed sponsoring organization must take steps to affiliate the prospective fellow to the sponsoring organization so that the individual can view and access data records for applications submitted on behalf of the individual by that organization. 

The following affiliation process assumes the prospective fellow has already been registered in the eRA Commons by another organization and assigned the PI Role.  If a Prospective Fellow has not yet been registered in the eRA Commons, they should work with the appropriate officials within the sponsoring organization to be properly registered.   When the sponsoring organization handles the initial eRA Commons registration, no further affiliation is required.

To Affiliate a Prospective Fellow with a Different Sponsoring Organization:

  1. Prospective Fellow gives Commons user ID and email address to the administrator of the new sponsoring organization. (The email address must be the one that is contained in the Personal Profile for the Fellow.)
  2. Administrator of the new sponsoring organization logs into the Commons. (The administrator can be the Signing Official, Administrative Official, or the Accounts Administrator.)
  3. Administrator selects "Administration" tab and then "Accounts" tab.
  4. Administrator selects "Create Affiliation" tab.
  5. Administrator enters the Commons User ID and Email address of the Prospective Fellow into the appropriate fields and clicks "Submit."

Note: The account cannot have any other roles attached to it other than the PD/PI and IAR.

For additional information on Creating Affiliations for Users in the eRA Commons, see:


Inquiries regarding this Notice should be directed to:

eRA Service Desk
Phone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
TTY: 301-451-5939
Hours: M-F 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

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