What is eRA?
The electronic Research Administration (eRA) is the NIH infrastructure that provides for the secure receipt, review and administration of electronic grants. eRA provides full grant life-cycle systems: from initiative management, through receipt, referral to proper reviewers, electronically assisted review, flexible award processing, post award program management and oversight, fiscal administration, reporting and closeout. As of August 2006, eRA is in use by about 7,300 research institutions worldwide.
The system helps HHS achieve its missions of medical discovery and science management by:
- Electronically capturing, managing, and protecting research grant-related data
- Reducing administrative overhead
- Reporting research grant-related data as information to NIH and extramural communities
- Enabling the synthesis of the information into knowledge that can guide the management of the NIH research portfolio and improve the Nation痴 health
The development of the eRA system has been a collaborative endeavor of the entire NIH community and its partners. Partners include the scientists and administrators of biomedical research institutions, commercial vendors who assist investigators with application submission and grant-related transactions, and the public beneficiaries of these efforts.
The integrated eRA system comprises two main interfaces: the internal system, IMPAC II, used by NIH staff; and the external system, the NIH eRA Commons, accessed by the grantee community through the Internet. eRA also supports electronic submission of grant applications through . Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for more than $400 billion worth of federal grants. Grants.gov is the single access point for more than 1,000 grant programs offered by all federal grant-making agencies.
NIH established eRA in 1999 in response to the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), Public Law 105-277, that required federal agencies to make transactions electronic, when practicable, by October 2003. eRA also implements other legislative mandates including:
- Privacy Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-579) and Amendments末establishes the foundation of federal policy for protecting and sharing personal information
- Government Performance Results Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-62)末strives to improve federal program effectiveness by focusing on measurable results and service quality
- Information Technology Management Reform Act (Clinger-Cohen Act) of 1996 (Public Law 104-106)末calls for sound investment through capital planning that is tied to agency missions and strategic goals
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-220)末ensures accessibility for all users
- Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-107)末requires streamlining of grants
- E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347)末furthers the President's Management Agenda that promotes electronic Government services
- Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (Title III of Public Law 107-347)洋andates attention to security in all agency applications and accountability to OMB and Congress
Every year, NIH invests billions of dollars in grant awards to investigators worldwide. eRA is working to eliminate the hundreds of millions of pieces of paper previously needed to:
- Record, review and process the 70,000 research and training grant applications received each year
- Support more than 3,500 meetings held each year to review the applications
- Conduct more than 80 meetings of National Advisory Councils that perform second-level review
- Administer more than 55,000 awarded competing and non-competing grants
- Respond to thousands of grant-related queries from the public
- Maintain patent and invention records for 25 agencies
- Report on all grants awarded since 1973