Back to eRA Home Electronic Research Administration
     Advanced Search
About eRA News Project Management Business Areas Tech Corner
About eRA
NIH Enterprise Architecture
IMPAC II and Commons Modules
System Architecture
Operating Principles
Get Involved

Reference Shelf
Frequently Asked Questions
Meeting Minutes
Site Index
Advanced Search

Key Links
NIH eRA Commons
Invention Reporting (iEdison)
CRISP on the Web

System Architecture

The primary objective of the eRA project is develop a government-wide solution to support end-to-end grants management activities that promotes citizen access, customer service and agency financial and technical stewardship.

The eRA system is structured with a public, external interface, the NIH eRA Commons (, where grantees and institutions can submit and track their grant applications and awards, and an internal NIH staff interface, comprising modules specific to every step of the grants process.

Architecturally, the eRA system has a Web-based interface, built on Oracle's Java 2, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform.

External and internal eRA systems access data from the same database, which is managed by Oracle 10g Database (Oracle 10g/DB) and Oracle 9i Application Server (Oracle 9i/AS) software, which is being migrated to 10gAS. Oracle 9iAS establishes a J2EE platform for building enterprise business applications for the Web. Responsible for more than 40 servers, the eRA technical team maintains the application system and database. The team works closely with NIH's Center for Information Technology (CIT) to provide comprehensive support for the eRA infrastructure.

Load balancers are used to provide scalable architecture in the external system, which ensures that the growing number of users receive reliable and consistent service.

The following are some of the key eRA system modules available to grantees and institutions (external modules) and NIH staff (internal modules).

Commons Modules (external users)

External Module



Provides the ability for an institution to create and manage user accounts associated with its institution. Additionally, it allows the institution's Signing Official (SO) to maintain the institution information on file at the NIH.


Allows Principal Investigators to review the current status of all their grant applications and review detailed information associated with their grants. Institution Officials (i.e., Signing Official (SO) or Administrative Official (AO) associated with the institution) can see a summary view of grant applications, review the Notice of Grant Award, and access the Progress Report face page.

Computer Retrieval of Information
on Scientific Projects (CRISP)

Provides users with a heavy-duty, text-search tool for querying the eRA database.

Electronic Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (eSNAP)

Allows institutions to electronically approve and submit Type 5 progress report information consistent with an Application for Continuation of a Public Health Service Grant (PHS Form 2590).

Financial Status Report (FSR)

Allows the electronic submission of financial information associated with a grant.

Institutional Profile


Institutional Registration and Accounts Administration 


Interagency Edison (iEdison)

Provides a tool for online reporting of inventions developed with government funding.

Internet Assisted Review (IAR)

Allows reviewer to submit critiques and preliminary scores for applications they are reviewing. Allows Reviewers, SRAs, and GTAs to view all critiques in preparation for a meeting. IAR creates a preliminary summary statement body containing submitted critiques for the SRA or GTA.

Just-in-time Submission (JIT)


Professional Profile


Demo Facility

Allows you to try most of the capabilities of the eRA Commons in a sample environment.

Commons Modules (internal users)

Internal Module


Committee Management (CM)

Provides data entry, query and reporting capabilities for managing committees and subcommittees, including chartered advisory committees and review meetings.

Grants Management (GM)

Allows NIH staff to process and manage grant-related information.

Program (PGM)

Enables Program Officials to conduct NIH research administration, including monitoring and administering their assigned grant applications as the grants move through all phases of the grant lifecycle.

Receipt and Referral (RR)

Allows NIH staff to enter new grants into the system, assign ICs and grant numbers, and refer grants to a review committee.

Review (REV)

Provides NIH review organizations with key information including application data, lists of prospective reviewers, committee rosters and reviewer assignments.

Training Activities (TA)

Supports NIH’s National Research Service Award business operations for processing appointments, terminations and payback obligations.


     Feedback and Help, Accessibility, Privacy