eRA Commons User 
Guide
 
 
 
eRA Commons Version 3.25.2.2
Document Version 4.11.0
March 2, 2016
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
CONTACT US
Document Comments:
We value your feedback on this document.  
How are we doing? The Communications & Documentation Team of the electronic 
Research Administration (eRA) is dedicated to serving our community and welcomes 
your feedback to assist us in improving our user guides. Please send comments about 
the user guide to this address: eRACommunications@mail.nih.gov
.
Troubleshooting support:
Please contact the eRA Service Desk:
Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552
Phone: 301-402-7469
TTY: 301-451-5939
Web: http://grants.nih.gov/support
 (Preferred method of contact)
Email: commons@od.nih.gov
 (for Commons Support)
Email: helpdesk@od.nih.gov
 (for IMPAC II Support)
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
 
DISCLAIMER STATEMENT
No data shown in illustrations represents any real account, project, or individual. Any 
resemblance to actual accounts, projects, or individuals is purely coincidental.
ContactUs/Disclaimer
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March2,2016
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
DOCUMENT HISTORY
Date
System 
Version
Document 
Version
Description of 
Change
Author
4/29/04
2.6.3.0
1.0.0
Initial release
eRA Communications
4/30/15
3.19.0.10
4.7.0
Updated to reflect 
the April
 
2015
 
quarterly
 
release
 
changes
eRA Communications
7/17/15
3.21.0
4.8.0
Updated to reflect 
the July
 
2015
 
quarterly
 
release
 
changes
eRA Communications
10/16/15
3.22
4.9.0
Updated to reflect 
the October
 
2015
 
quarterly
 
release
 
changes
  
eRA Communications
2/12/16
3.24
4.10.0
Added Institution 
Registration and 
updated to reflect 
the changes in 
January 2016.
eRA Communications
3/2/2016
3.25
4.11.0
Added Online 
Registration and 
updated to reflect 
the changes in 
March 2016.
eRA Communications
The most current version of this document will be available on the eRA website: 
http://era.nih.gov
.
 
IMPORTANT: Did you know the information in this user guide is available as online 
help, too? Access the Commons Online Help directly 
at http://era.nih.gov/erahelp/commons
 or  click the '?' icon anywhere within Commons  
for help specific to that screen.
DocumentHistory
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 About eRA Commons
1
2 Welcome to Commons!
2
2.1   Logging into Commons
3
2.1.1  Accessing Commons with a Commons User ID
4
2.1.2  Session Expiration
8
2.2   Switching Institutions
8
2.3   Changing the Displayed Affiliated Institution
9
2.4   Logging out of Commons
11
3 Federated Institutions/Organizations Sign In
12
3.1   Accessing Commons with Your Organization Credentials
12
3.2   Why Can't I Link My Commons Account?
13
4 Password Policy
15
4.1   First-Time Login
15
4.2   Password Requirements
16
4.3   Reset Password
17
4.4   Changing Your Password
19
4.5   Reset Your Expired Password
20
4.6   Resetting a Locked Account
21
5 User Roles
23
5.1   Account Administrator (AA)
24
5.2   Administrative Official (AO)
25
5.3   Assistant (ASST)
25
5.4   Business Official (BO)
25
5.5   Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)
26
5.5.1  FCOI Assistant (FCOI_ASST) Role
26
TableofContents
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
5.5.2  FCOI Read-Only (FCOI_View) Role
27
5.6   Federal Financial Report (FSR Role)
27
5.7   Internet Assisted Review (IAR)
27
5.8   Program Director/Principal Investigator (PI)
28
5.9   Signing Official (SO)
29
5.10   Sponsor (SPONSOR)
30
5.11   Trainee (TRAINEE)
31
6 Modules
32
7 Commons Demonstration Site
33
7.1   Accessing Commons Demonstration Facility
33
7.2   Creating a New Demo Account
34
8 Registering Institutions and Organizations
36
8.1   Institution Registration Request
36
9 Admin Module
43
9.1   Accounts
43
9.1.1  Advanced Search
43
9.1.2  Create a New Commons Account for an Individual (e.g., PD/PI)
45
9.2   Delegations
49
9.2.1  Delegate on Behalf of Another User
50
9.2.1.1  Delegating Progress Report Authority on Behalf of Another User
51
9.2.1.2  Delegate Sponsor Authority on Behalf of Another User
54
9.2.1.3  Revoke Authority on Behalf of Another User
58
9.2.2  Institutional Delegation
61
9.2.2.1  Delegating Institutional Submit Progress Report Authority
61
9.2.2.2  Revoking Institutional Submit Progress Report Authority
65
9.2.3  Direct Delegations
69
TableofContents
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
9.2.3.1  Delegate Authority to Someone
69
9.2.3.2  Search Delegations
73
9.2.3.3  Edit Delegations
74
9.2.3.4  Remove Delegations
76
10 Institution Profile Module (IPF)
78
10.1   Navigating the Institution Profile
78
10.1.1  IPF Dashboard
79
10.1.2  Main Sections
80
10.1.3  Institution Profile Online Help Topics
80
10.2   What's the Difference Between View and Edit?
81
10.2.1  Viewing the Information in the Institution Profile
81
10.2.2  Editing the Information in the Institution Profile
82
10.3   Institution Basic Information
84
10.3.1  Institution Name
87
10.3.1.1  Viewing Institution Name
87
10.3.1.2  Editing Institution Name
88
10.3.2  Institution Contact Information
89
10.3.2.1  Viewing Institution Contact Information
89
10.3.2.2  Editing Institution Contact Information
90
10.3.3  About the Institution
92
10.3.3.1  Viewing About the Institution Information
92
10.3.3.2  Editing About the Institution Information
93
10.3.4  Indirect Cost Negotiations
98
10.3.4.1  Viewing Indirect Cost Negotiations
98
10.3.4.2  Editing Indirect Cost Negotiations
99
10.3.5  Signing Officials and TTO Administrators
100
TableofContents
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
10.3.6  Institution Address
101
10.3.6.1  Viewing Institution Address
101
10.3.6.2  Editing Institution Address
102
10.3.7  Extramural Technology Transfer Administration
104
10.3.7.1  Viewing Extramural Technology Transfer Administration
105
10.3.7.2  Editing Extramural Technology Transfer Administration
106
10.4   Institutional Assurances and Certifications
107
10.4.0.1  Editing the Assurances and Certifications
109
11 Personal Profile Module
112
12 Status Module
113
12.1   Status Screen for Signing Officials (SO Role)
113
12.1.1  General Search
114
12.1.2  Just in Time
115
12.1.3  Pending Progress Report
116
12.1.4  Recently Awarded
118
12.1.5  Recent/Pending eSubmissions
118
12.1.6  Closeout
120
12.1.7  Change of Institution
121
12.1.8  Pending Inclusion Action
123
12.1.9  Re-Assign Grant
124
12.2   Status Result - General Search
129
12.3   Status for Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PI Role)
134
12.3.1  Viewing Recent/Pending eSubmissions
135
12.3.2  Viewing the List of Applications/Grants
137
12.3.3  Searching by Grants.gov Tracking Number
141
12.4   Status Information
142
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
12.4.1  Additions for Review
149
12.4.2  Adminstrative Supplements
150
12.4.3  Institute/Center PRAM Requests
152
12.4.4  Relinquishing Statements
153
12.4.5  Closeout FRAM Requests
154
12.5   Viewing Summary Statements from Status Information
155
12.6   Viewing the Notice of Award (NOA)
157
12.7   Closeout Status
159
12.7.1  Federal Financial Report (FFR) Module
162
12.7.2  Submitting Your Final Invention Statement (FIS)
162
12.7.2.1  Reporting Inventions on Your FIS
163
12.7.2.2  Claiming No Inventions on Your FIS
168
12.7.2.3  Updating Your Saved FIS
170
12.7.2.4  Submitting Your FIS
171
12.7.3  Submitting Your Final Progress Report
173
12.7.3.1  Final Progress Report Additional Materials (FRAM)
177
Uploading Final Report Additional Materials
177
Submitting FRAM
180
12.8   Just in Time (JIT)
183
12.8.1  Uploading JIT Information as a PI
183
12.8.2  Uploading Saving JIT as an SO
187
12.8.3  Submitting JIT Information To Agency
190
12.8.4  Viewing the Just In Time Report
191
12.9   No-Cost Extension (NCE)
192
12.10   Change of Institution
194
12.11   Rejecting the eApplication
194
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
13 Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Module
196
14 Internet Assisted Review (IAR)
197
15 xTrain
198
16 Administrative Supplement Request
199
17 Change of Institution Overview
200
17.1   Features
200
17.2   Users
200
17.3   Business Rules
201
17.3.1  Eligible Grants
201
17.3.2  Access to Relinquishing Statements
201
17.3.3  Relinquishing Statement Reviewers
201
17.3.4  Relinquishing Statement Routing Order
202
17.3.5  Validation
202
17.3.6  Other Rules
202
17.4   Relinquishing SO Responsibilities
203
17.4.1  Start or Edit a Relinquishing Statement
203
17.4.2  Search for Institution
207
17.4.3  Delete a Relinquishing Statement
209
17.4.4  Route to PD/PI
210
17.4.5  Submit a Relinquishing Statement
212
17.5   Program Director/Principle Investigator Responsibilities
215
17.5.1  Edit Relinquishing Statement
215
17.5.2  Route Relinquishing Statement to SO
218
17.5.3  Signing Official Search/View Relinquishing Statement
220
17.5.3.1  Search for a Grant to Relinquish or to View RS
221
17.5.3.2  Search for Relinquishing Statements Submitted by Former 
Institution
225
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eRA CommonsUserGuide
17.5.4  PD/PI Search/View Relinquishing Statement
227
17.6   eMail Notifications
228
17.6.1  eMail to the New Institution Contact eMail Provided on the RS 
Electronic Form
228
17.6.2  Confirmation eMail to PD/PI & SO from Former Institution 
Acknowledging NIH Receipt of RS
229
17.6.3  The Relinquishing Statement Routed eMail Notification
230
17.6.4  The Relinquishing Statement Returned eMail Notification
231
17.6.5  The Relinquishing Statement Acknowledged by NIH eMail Notification231
17.6.6  eMail Acknowledging RS Now Visible to New Institution After IPF is 
Entered by NIH Internal User
232
17.6.7  Change of Institution Time Based Reminders
232
17.6.7.1  Change of Institution Application Reminder Notice (30 Days after 
RS Submit Date)
232
17.6.7.2  RS Reminder Notice (30 Days after Change of Institution 
Application Submit Date)
233
17.7   Error Messages
234
18 FFR Module
236
18.1  What is FFR?
236
18.2  Report Submission Due Dates
236
18.3  FSR Role in Commons
236
18.4  Features of FFR
237
18.5  Accessing FFR
238
19 Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Module
239
20 xTRACT
241
21 Reference Letters
242
22 Understanding Grant Numbers
246
22 ORCID
247
TableofContents
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March2,2016
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