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What registrations are required in order to submit my grant application to NIH?

Applicant Organizations must be registered in Dun & Bradstreet, the System for Award Management (SAM), and eRA Commons. The same DUNS number must be used in each system. See Registration Overview .

In addition to the organization registrations, the following individuals must be registered eRA Commons:

  • At least one Signing Official (part of eRA Commons organization registration)
  • PD/PI(s)
  • Sponsor on a Fellowship application (NOT-OD-14-129 )
  • Component leads of multi-project applications
  • Anyone doing application data entry in ASSIST

Does a Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) have to register in and eRA Commons?

A PD/PI does NOT need to register in but MUST be registered in the eRA Commons and be assigned the PI role prior to electronic submission of a grant application. If the PD/PI does not already have an eRA Commons account, he/she should register in eRA Commons through the organization’s Signing Official (SO; Commons equivalent to Authorized Organizational Representative) or Account Administrator (AA). If the PD/PI already has an eRA Commons account, he/she should ensure their account is 'affiliated' with the applicant organization.

If the PD/PI and the organization's SO are the same person (sometimes the case, especially in small businesseses), then two eRA Commons accounts are needed - one with the scientific role of PI and the other with the administrative role of SO.

Applicants are highly encouraged to start the registration process at least six weeks prior to the application due date. Foreign organizations and new businesses [i.e. those applying to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to complete the SAM registration] should allow even more time to complete the process. NIH will not make any allowances for submission delays due to incomplete registrations. is the federal-wide portal to find and apply for Federal grant funding. is used by all 26 Federal grant-making agencies.

What is involved in the registration process?

Applicant Organizations need to complete a one-time only registration process for that includes obtaining a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, registering in System for Award Management (SAM) and registering in Detailed steps for registration can be found on the website at: .

Please note that this is a one-time only registration for all Federal agencies using If your organization has already completed the registration process to submit electronically for another Federal agency, a separate registration is not necessary for NIH submissions.

Part of the process is registering in the System of Awards Management (SAM). What is SAM and how will an applicant organization know if they have already registered or have successfully registered in the SAM? requires that applicant organizations obtain a DUNS number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a free website which consolidates Federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. uses SAM to establish roles and IDs for those organizations (also know as 'entities' in SAM) electronically applying for grants.

A yearly renewal with SAM is needed to keep your registration active.

Go to to create a user account, register your entity (organization), renew your registration or search SAM records. The Help tab includes User Guides, Quick Start Guides, helpful hints and webinars to help you navigate the site.

How often do I need to update my SAM registration?

A yearly renewal with SAM is needed to keep your registration active. You will not be able to successfully submit an application to if your SAM registration has expired. NIH does not consider an expired SAM registration a valid reason for submitting late.

My organization already has a DUNS number. Do we need to establish a different one for submissions?

Your organization will need to determine if the already established DUNS number is being used for grant applications. Keep in mind that since applications to the NIH have required a DUNS number since October 1, 2003 most applicant organizations have already fulfilled this registration step.

If your organization has multiple DUNS numbers,

be aware that the same DUNS number must be used for your and eRA Commons registrations as well as on the application itself.

I seem to be receiving a lot of unnecessary email solicitations and spam after I obtained a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number for my organization as part of the registration process. How can I prevent this spam?

As a result of obtaining a DUNS number, you might be included on D&B’s marketing list that is sold to other companies [Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is the commercial company that provides the DUNS number]."

If you do not want your name or company name included on this marketing list, D&B has asked that you contact them anytime at 1-866-705-5711 to request removal from that list.

C. Registration in Commons

What is involved in the NIH eRA Commons registration process?

Applicant organizations submitting grants to NIH must complete a one-time registration in the eRA Commons (Register Grantee Organization ). Be sure to follow all instructions, including responding to the email verification email and providing a Signing Official signature for our records.

  • To find out if an organization is already registered in eRA Commons, check our Commons Registered Organizations query.
  • The individual designated as the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) on a grant application must also be registered in eRA Commons. The PD/PI must hold a PI account and be affiliated with the applicant organization. This registration must be done by an organization official or their delegate who is already registered in the Commons. To register PIs in the Commons, refer to the User Guide found at: .

Who needs to be registered in the eRA Commons?

The following individuals must be registered eRA Commons:

  • At least one Signing Official (part of eRA Commons organization registration)
  • PD/PI(s)
  • Sponsor on a Fellowship application (NOT-OD-14-129 )
  • Component leads of multi-project applications
  • Anyone doing application data entry in ASSIST

Though not needed for a competing grant application, if awarded, the following additional individuals listed on RPPR progress reports will also need to have Commons IDs:

  • Post Docs (NOT-OD-09-140 )
  • Individuals in graduate and undergraduate student roles (NOT-OD-13-097 )

Do the PD/PI and SO require separate accounts in Commons (even if the PD/PI and SO are the same person)?

Yes, both the PI and SO need separate accounts in Commons. Only an SO has the ability to 'reject' an application in Commons to address warnings or if the assembled application does not reflect the submitted application package due to eRA Commons or NIH system issues. If an SO is given a PI role, it overrides the SO’s privileges such as the ability to reject the application, submit eSNAPs or Just-In-Time information and request No Cost Extensions. Therefore, if you are the SO for your organization as well as a PD/PI of the grant, you will need two separate accounts with different user names — one with SO authority and one with PI authority. When an institution is registered, an SO account is created. Log on to the account with the SO authority role and create another account with PI authority.

It is acceptable to combine scientific roles on the same account (e.g. PI, IAR, Graduate Student, Post-Doc, Project Personnel, Scientist, Sponsor, Trainee, Undergraduate).

No, the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) designated on a grant application must have a PI role on the eRA Commons account in addition to the Internet Assisted Review (IAR) role. The PD/PI should work with a Signing Official or Account Administrator at their organization to verify that they have a PI role.

NIH does not have minimum hardware requirements.

If you chose to submit using's downloadable forms, then you must meet the minimum requirements for the Adobe Reader software used with the application forms (see Adobe's system requirements ).

What software do I need to have loaded before I can begin using

You need the following software:

NIH requires all text attachments to be submitted as PDF files, so NIH applicants need a program to convert text documents to PDF format.

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