NIH Grants Policy Statement
Revised October 2017. This document applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements for budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2017.
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2.2 eRA Commons

eRA Commons is an online interface where grant applicants, recipients and Federal staff at NIH and grantor agencies are able to conduct their research administration business electronically as well as access and share administrative information relating to research grants. While applicants use Grants.gov to find and apply for grants; the eRA Commons retrieves the application or proposal information from Grants.gov, compiles it into a consistent application format and then makes it available to applicants and NIH staff for electronic research administration purposes.

Access to the eRA Commons is vital for all steps in the NIH grant administration process. Following application submission, the eRA Commons becomes the primary site for accessing grant information such as Institute/Center assignments, review outcomes, Summary Statements, and Notices of Award. The eRA Commons also provides electronic business processes such as Internet Assisted Review, submission of Just-In-Time material, submission of electronic SNAP progress reports (eSNAP), submission of Financial Reports (FSRs/FFRs), submission of notification of extensions without funds, and submission of Closeout documents. Appropriate user roles are assigned to registered individuals depending on the responsibilities assigned to them by the recipient organization.

2.2.1 eRA Commons Registration

An organization and PD/PI(s) must complete a one-time registration in the Commons. Institutional/organizational officials are responsible for registering PD/PI(s) in the eRA Commons. PD/PI(s) should work with their AOR (also known as the Signing Official in the eRA Commons) to determine their institutional/organizational process for registration.

IMPORTANT: Organizations registering in the eRA Commons for the first time should allow 2-4 weeks to complete the registration process.

2.2.1.1 eRA Commons Registration for the Organization

Prospective applicant organizations should also see Legal Implications of Applications before beginning the eRA Commons registration process.

Organizations may verify their current registration status by accessing the "List of Recipient Organizations Registered in eRA Commons" at https://public.era.nih.gov/chl/public/search/commonsRegisteredOrgs.era. This listing can be accessed without logging into the Commons. The list includes organization name and location, the NIH-assigned IPF Code, and any DUNS number that has been stored in the institutional profile for that organization.

To register an Organization in the eRA Commons an AOR should follow the procedures found on the eRA Commons homepage at https://commons.era.nih.gov/commons/ under the link "Register Grantee Organization."

Once an organization is registered, information in the Institutional Profile can be maintained through the Commons.

During this registration process, NIH may make a preliminary assessment of applicant organization eligibility. Applicants should be prepared to establish their eligibility to receive and administer all awards (that are applied for), and NIH may deny registration if an organization is determined ineligible. Note, acceptance of an organization's registration in the Commons does not mean an organization is an acceptable recipient for a particular program. That assessment will be made by the NIH awarding component prior as part of the pre-award process. See Determining Applicant Organization Eligibility for additional information.

Foundations that represent already existing recipient organizations, or a newly formed consortium where the consortium members are already individually recognized as NIH recipient organizations present unique and complex situations and should contact DGP, OPERA before attempting to separately register as a new applicant organization.

2.2.1.2 eRA Commons Registration for the PD/PI

The individual(s) designated as the PD/PI(s) on the application must also be registered in the Commons. The PD/PI(s) must hold a PD/PI eRA Commons role and be affiliated with the applicant organization. The initial registration must be done by an AOR who has the SO role in the Commons or other authorized accounts administrators at the organization. However, after the initial registration process is complete, it becomes the responsibility of each individual to maintain the information in his/her personal profile.

Designating the PD/PI role in the eRA Commons provides the individual with the administrative authority needed to see pertinent information regarding an application (e.g., summary statements, scores, electronic submission status, etc.). The PD/PI role within the eRA Commons is necessary to complete the grant application process, to view the impact score and summary statement, and if an award is made, to complete required post-award actions such as submission of a progress report. The PD/PI may delegate certain authorities to other individuals.

Users should only have one PD/PI eRA Commons account. If the PD/PI has already been registered in eRA Commons by an organization other than the organization submitting an application, a separate eRA Commons registration with the submitting organization is not necessary. However, the submitting organization must take steps to affiliate the individual with that organization so that the individual can view and access data records for those applications.

For more information on the features of the eRA Commons, including links to resources such as user guides and frequently asked questions, see the eRA Commons webpage at: http://era.nih.gov/commons/index.cfm.

2.2.1.3 eRA Commons Registration for Other Individuals Participating in NIH Progress Reports

Any individual with an Undergraduate, Graduate Student, and/or Postdoctoral Role who participates in a NIH-funded project for at least one person month or more should also be registered in the eRA Commons and should verify that all Personal Information located within the Personal Profile tab in the eRA Commons System is accurate. This is required regardless of whether salary is actually charged to the project. For graduate students supported on a particular research grant, this could include project roles of graduate research assistant or graduate student. For postdoctoral individuals supported on a particular research grant, this could include project roles such as Postdoctoral Associate and other similar Postdoctoral positions.

When an individual is assigned the Undergraduate, Graduate Student, or Postdoctoral Role in the Commons, responses to certain data items in the Personal Profile tab will be required to meet NIH reporting requirements to Congress included in the NIH Reform Act, P.L. 109-482. The Commons user name ID for those with an Undergraduate, Graduate Student, or Postdoctoral Role is not required at the time of application submission, but will be required as part of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

For individuals at the postdoctoral level, this requirement is already in effect and progress reports will not be accepted if the Commons ID is not provided. For individuals at the undergraduate and graduate student levels, a Commons ID is required with RPPRs. The Undergraduate and Graduate Student Roles have been added to the Commons to accommodate this requirement; recipients are encouraged to begin registering these individuals now.

Note, the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral eRA Commons Roles should NOT be used for individuals submitting Individual Fellowships; the PD/PI role is used for those submissions. Nor should they be used for individuals supported on institutional training grants and reported using xTrain; the Trainee Role must continue to be used for those individuals.

A Commons ID is strongly encouraged, but currently optional, for all other project personnel. A general Commons Role of Project Personnel is available for those not assigned other Commons Roles.