November 2005, Issue 5

NIH eRA Commons

The NIH continues to expand its offerings for electronic submissions through the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons system. To use the system, go to On the left you’ll see the Commons Login. The associate directors of research administration have created accounts for all Tufts faculty. If you have not yet activated your account and would like to do so, please contact the associate director responsible for your department. Paul Murphy, director of research administration, 617-636-3819 or 617-627-3886, is responsible for all departments located on the Boston Health Sciences Campus and Grafton Campus. Helen Page 617-627-5187 and Christine Woodroffe 617-627-3696 are each responsible for different departments located on the Medford/Somerville campus. If you're from the Medford/Somerville Campus, please go to for a list of the departments each associate director is responsible for. The associate director will contact the eRA Commons and you will be sent an email containing your user name and a temporary password. You should receive the email within a few minutes, but it could take as much as a few hours if a bottleneck occurs. When you log in for the first time, the eRA Commons will ask you to change your temporary password to one of your choosing.

After logging in you will be able to use all available features of the Commons. “Help” is at the top of the page and “Links” (also at the top of the page) brings you to a list that includes the “Commons Support Page.” To receive personal attention from the eRA Helpdesk, follow the instructions given at the bottom of the page. The best way is to email the Helpdesk at and they will contact you. The Demo Facility allows you to try most of the capabilities of the NIH eRA Commons in a sample environment.

  • Status allows principal investigators to review the current status of all their grant applications.
    • Just-In-Time (within Status) allows users to submit just-in-time information when requested by the NIH;
    • No-Cost Extension (within Status) allows signing officials (SOs) to automatically extend grants that are eligible for a one-time extension of the final budget period. The SOs at Tufts are the associate directors of research administration.
  • eSNAP (Electronic Streamlined Noncompeting Application Process) allows investigators to submit the PHS 2590 form for eligible, noncompeting grant progress reports. The notice of grant award will specify eligibility, as will the PI’s eSNAP grant list.

Clicking on Demo Facility brings you to the Commons Demonstration Site. To use the Demo Facility, you must first click on Create a Demo Account at the top of the page. You will be asked to provide your name, email address, and institution, as well as user names for a fictional SO and a fictional PI. After verifying your data, the Demo Facility will give you a temporary password. Clicking “Continue” brings you to the Commons Demonstration Site Login. After logging in, you will be asked to change your temporary password. Once successfully logged in, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the site.

Clicking on a grant number in Status gives you the review score and other relevant information. Although the SO has access to the notice of award, the proposal, and the abstract, only the PI has access to the review score. In the right hand column you will find links to various actions you can take regarding your grant, such as working on a progress report, submitting just-in-time information, or requesting an extension.

eSNAP lists all your grants and tells which are eligible for eSNAP submission. Clicking on an eligible grant number brings you to “Manage eSNAP.” At the top of the page you will find “Upload Science” and “Edit Business.” You can work on the science part of your progress report outside the system, in a Word or PDF format, and upload it into the system when you are ready. Clicking on “Edit Business” allows you to make any necessary changes in organizational information. At the bottom of the page you will find “Initiate” or “View eSNAP Report.” You complete the report in PDF format, validate that it is complete, then route it to your SO for final submission. Since progress reports are due at the NIH two months prior to the start date of the new funding year, you should route a report to your SO via eSNAP at least one week earlier to give the SO time to review and sign it prior to submission to the NIH.

If you have trouble using or accessing the system, contact the associate director of research administration for your department, listed at


Tufts University, Office of the Vice Provost
Health Sciences Campus: (617) 636-6550
Medford Campus: (617) 627-3417
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