Research Topic

National Institutes of Health


The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is the nation’s medical research agency—making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. 


The eRA Commons is an online interface where signing officials, principal investigators, trainees, and post-docs at institutions/organizations can access and share administrative information relating to research grants.

The Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) system is used to prepare and submit grant applications electronically to NIH and other public health service agencies. This system is SPA's preferred method for all NIH proposals.

eRA Login

Create an eRA Commons account

The Signing Official (SO) at the organization is able to establish additional user accounts with varying degrees of access and capability depending on roles and responsibilities. Users who are assigned the following roles can create accounts: Signing Official (SO), Account Administrator (AA), Administrative Official (AO) and the Business Official (BO). If you or someone else needs an account, then please request one at the link below.

Request an Account

Recent Changes


  • Templates: NIH released new Biosketch and Other Support templates. For more information, please refer to NOT-OD-21-073 and NOT-OD-21-110.
  • Commons ID: All senior/key personnel must enter their valid Commons ID in the credential field of the Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile form (currently, only PI is required). Though not required, NIH expects everyone to adopt this standard starting 05/25/21. For more information, please refer to NOT-OD-21-109.
  • Forms-G: Unless otherwise indicated in the program guidelines, all applications should be submitted using the Forms-G forms.For more information, please refer to NOT-OD-21-169.

Sponsor Specific Guidance

These application instructions, along with the guidance in the funding opportunity announcement, will help grant application submissions to NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Please note that each activity code (research, training fellowship, etc.) has its own set of instructions. Use version G for all of these instructions. As a reminder, hypertext is only allowed in grant applications when specifically listed in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and form field instructions per NOT-OD-20-174.

NIH Application Guide

Proposal Guidance

  • Budget Types:
    • Modular Budget ($250k in direct costs in each period): Utilize the Current Salary Cap with no salary escalation.
    • Detailed Budget (> $250k in direct costs in any period): Utilize one of the following three budget methods. Each proposal must use a single method for all UIUC personnel:
      1. Institutional Base Salary (IBS) with salary escalation in out-years;
      2. Current Salary Cap with salary escalation in out-years; OR
      3. Current Salary Cap with no salary escalation in out-years.
  • Additional Resources:

Biosketch instructions and current NIH approved templates

  • Non-Fellowship Template
    • Section A: Cite up to 4 publications, factors impacting productivity, alternate names, other contributions to science not in Section C, and highlight ongoing or completed research projects from the past three (3) years.
    • Section B: No limit on entries, but must be in reverse chronological order.
    • Section C: List up to 5 contributions to science. Each contribution can include up to 4 publications. A link to full list of published works is allowed, but must be a .gov site.
  • Fellowship Template
Other Support

Other Support instructions and current NIH approved templates

Other Support Information: what to include, what not to include, and who must submit

Post-Proposal Guidance

Post-Submission Materials
Just-in-Time (JIT)

The Principal Investigator is responsible for initiating an RPPR in the eRA Commons system. While the RPPR is being edited it will display the status "Work in Progress." Once complete, the PI or their delegate must select the "Route" button from the RPPR menu. The next screen provides the option to select "Next Reviewer" from a drop down list of all users with the "Signing Official (SO)" in Commons, sorted alphabetically. Select the appropriate reviewer (see note below) and click "Submit" to route the RPPR to SPA for review and submission.

 Important: Please select the Award Management Coordinator for your project from the "Next Reviewer" drop down list. Selecting any other user, including the default option risks delaying the submission of your RPPR. If the RPPR is routed incorrectly, the PI should recall the RPPR, which re-enables the menu options and allows the PI to route to the correct reviewer.

Full instructions for managing RPPRs can be found on NIH's site here. To request submission of an RPPR, please submit an RPPR Request.

No-Cost Extension (NCE)

The PI can exercise their one-time authority to extend without funds the final budget period of a project period of a grant. This no-cost extension (NCE) can be up to 12 months in additional time. The PI would need to send an email to SPA staff to request the NCE. SPA submits the request through NIH's eRA Commons. After the first request, the appropriate campus department will write a letter requesting the additional NCE and submit it to SPA. In turn, SPA will forward the NCE request letter to NIH.

Related Documents and Resources

Revised Date