NIH eRA Commons/Assist Setup


Two systems are used to submit NIH grant proposals and to manage awards: eRA Commons and ASSIST.  Users must have an eRA commons ID to access either system.

eRA commons

The Electronic Research Administration (eRA) is an online interface where grant applicants, grantees and federal staff at NIH and grantor agencies can access and share administrative information relating to research grants.

eRA Commons users, based on their role, can conduct a variety of business in Commons, including:

    Track the status of their grant applications through the submission process, view errors and/or warnings and check the assembled grant image.

  • View summary statements and score letters following the initial review of their applications.
  • View notice of award and other key documents.
  • Submit Just-in-Time information (signing officials only) requested by the grantor agency prior to a final award decision.
  • Submit an annual progress report electronically using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).
  • Submit the required documentation, including the Financial Status Report/Federal Financial Report, Final Research Performance Progress Report, and Final Invention Statement to close out the grant.

    Submit Prior Approval requests, including no-cost extensions, carryover, change of PD/PI, and withdrawal of an application.

Creating Commons Accounts

eRA commons accounts must be created by an [OSP contact].   The OSP contact can create, affiliate and modify roles for Harvard employees. When requesting an eRA Commons account the following must be provided:

  • Harvard email address of the account holder
  • The role type needed for proposal submissions
    • Principal Investigator (PI)
    • Trainee
    • Sponsor
    • Assistant

NOTE: Throughout their career, a PI should only have one eRA Commons account. Once the account is created, it can be affiliated and unaffiliated with any number of institutions as needed.  

Additionally, Principal Investigators can:  

  • Have multiple affiliations
  • Be combined with other scientific roles. But cannot be combined with administrative roles  


ASSIST is NIH's online system for the preparation, submission and tracking of grant applications through to NIH.  ASSIST users will use the same eRA commons profile and log-in information.

PI’s and Department Administrators can add access for users to an ASSIST proposal.  This requires the person’s eRA commons ID.  Access may be granted for Harvard users as well as subrecipient administrators, so they are able to edit budgets.  To provide access to a subrecipient administrator, the subrecipient administrator must provide the eRA commons ID they received through their institution.

  • Once in the ASSIST proposal, Select MANAGE ACCESS from the Actions panel on the left side of the page
  • Select the Add User button at the bottom of the page
  • Enter the eRA Commons ID into the Username field  
  • Select the Submit button
  • Select the appropriate access for the Overall Component and/or additional components or the Entire Application