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Systems and Roles
Learn about the main systems involved in application submission and the role you and your colleagues play in the submission process. Your grant application starts in Grants.gov and is routed to eRA Commons for agency processing. Post-submission you will be interacting with us through eRA Commons.
There are two main systems involved in our grant application process - Grants.gov and eRA Commons. Each system has its own registration, terminology and business rule requirements.
Grants.gov - The on-line portal used by all federal grant-making agencies and their applicants to find and apply for federal grant funding.
Agencies post funding opportunity announcements on Grants.gov. Applicants can search for opportunities and submit grant applications to Grants.gov. Grants.gov forwards the applications to the appropriate agency (e.g., NIH) for processing and funding consideration.
eRA Commons - A system managed by NIH that allows applicants, grantees and federal staff to securely share, manage and process grant-related information.
eRA Commons is used for a number of pre-award tasks: tracking application submission status; viewing how we have assembled an application in the format used for review; accessing correspondence from referral staff; obtaining referral information (scientific review group assignment, advisory council information, council meeting date); accessing review outcome information (summary statement, score); and, when requested, submitting just-in-time information after review.
eRA Commons is used after award for additional administrative tasks: viewing the Notice of Award (NoA) and other key documents; submitting financial conflict of interest information; submitting financial and progress reports; and submitting final closeout documents.
There may be quite a few people involved in the preparation, submission and administration of your grant application.
Both Grants.gov and eRA Commons use roles to determine which tasks each user is authorized to perform. At the time of organization registration, your organization designates one or more people with the authority to legally bind your organization in grants administration matters. Those designated individuals (Signing Officials in eRA Commons or E-Business Points of Contact in Grants.gov) can assign roles to other user accounts to define the functions they are authorized to perform.
Key Grants.gov Applicant Roles
E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC)
- Designated during registration with System for Award Management (SAM)
- Manages grant activities for your organization
- Authorizes representatives of your organization to perform specific tasks in Grants.gov (e.g., assigns Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) role to users authorized to submit applications)
Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)
Grants.gov applicant user who has been given the AOR role by the EBiz POC enabling them to legally bind your institution and assume responsibility for adhering to all federal grant administration requirements referenced in the NIH Grants Policy Statement
- Similar authority as a Signing Official (SO) in eRA Commons
- Signs and submits grant applications and required certifications and assurances
- Grants.gov applicant user who has been given the AOR role by the EBiz POC enabling them to legally bind your institution and assume responsibility for adhering to all federal grant administration requirements referenced in the NIH Grants Policy Statement
Key eRA Commons Roles
Signing Official (SO)
- Holds authority to legally bind your institution and assume responsibility for adhering to all federal grant administration requirements referenced in the NIH Grants Policy Statement
- Registers the institution and maintains institutional profile data
- Accesses information for all applications and grants within your institution, including status and award information
- Creates and administers user accounts including additional SO and account administrator (AA) accounts
Principal Investigator (PI)
- Holds eRA Commons PI role as the designated project director/principal investigator (PD/PI) of an application or grant
- Directs the project or activity being supported by the grant and is accountable to the grantee organization for the proper conduct of the project or activity
- Performs or delegates tasks such as maintaining person profile information, checking application status, checking assembled application image used for review and performing post-submission administrative functions
- Accesses information for their own grants and applications , including summary statements, scores and notices of award
For a detailed list of all eRA Commons roles, please see eRA Commons Roles (PDF).