NIH eRA & Fact Sheet

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  • NIH will rely on as the gateway through which it will receive all electronic applications. However, it will also use the NIH eRA Commons for certain aspects of the process and for the submission of other documents (e.g., progress reports, just-in-time information, final technical reports, etc.).
  • CWRU is already registered with and with NIH eRA Commons. You do not need to register with
  • However, if you plan to submit an application to NIH, you will need to register with the NIH eRA Commons. Most CWRU faculty are already registered. However, if you are not already registered (or don’t know), you cannot register yourself, but must do so through an Administrative Official or a Signatory Official at CWRU.  

    To this end, an account can be established for you by your department administrator if they have been designated as an Administrative Official; or by the School of Medicine (SOM) Research Office, if you are a SOM faculty member; or by the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA), if you are a faculty member in another CWRU school or college.   

Steps for submitting an application to NIH via

  1. Search for and identify a grant opportunity on
  2. Download the grant application package. 
  3. Complete the application. Be sure to save a local copy. 
  4. The organization through the AOR submits the application to 
  5. Track the status of your submitted application package at until you are notified via email by that NIH has received it. 
  6. eRA software checks the application against NIH’s business rules. 
  7. NIH notifies both the PI (Principal Investigator) and SO (Signing Official) by email to check the eRA Commons for results of the NIH validations check. Because email can be unreliable, PIs and SOs should periodically check eRA Commons for the status of their application.  
  8. The PI and SO find out if the grant application passed or failed the rule check, and: 
    • if it passed, review the application. If the application is accurate, the PI and SO must independently verify it in the eRA Commons. If it is not, they reject the application in the eRA Commons, make the necessary changes, and submit the entire corrected application via
    • if it failed, a list of the errors and warnings appears in eRA Commons. Fix the errors and submit the entire corrected application through
  9. After verification, the eRA Commons saves the data and grant image, and NIH begins processing the application.  
  10. Applicants can track the progress of their application on the eRA Commons.

With respect to the steps above, please note the following:

  • You can not submit the application to yourself.  This has to be done by an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). AORs can be found in the SOM Research Office or OSPA.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to submit an application through  Since NIH will require you to correct business rule errors that it identifies and then view and verify the application on the eRA Commons website, you should submit your PureEdge file, with all of the forms completed, to the AOR at least ten days before the deadline.
  • Given the size of the PureEdge file (for most grant applications), it is best to attach the file to the electronic University Review Form (eURF) rather then send it as a separate attachment to an e-mail message.  Once the AOR has received a completed eURF and the PureEdge file has no errors, he/she will submit it to
  • The AOR will receive several e-mail messages from Grants.Gov (e.g., containing the tracking number) that will be forwarded to the PI for his/her records.  The AOR will also be able to retrieve the Agency tracking number from the website once it has been issued by the Agency.
  • Contact the SOM Research Office ( for SOM faculty; OR, the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (, for non-SOM faculty.