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Find information about the use of the NIH ASSIST application.

The Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is a web-based tool developed by the NIH to allow institutions to electronically prepare, submit, and track grant applications through to NIH. The system supports both single-project and multi-project (PPG) submissions.

ASSIST allows participants to login via eRA Commons accounts, pre-populate data from the investigator’s eRA Commons profiles, delegate application responsibilities to multiple users within and outside the organization, and validate business rules before submission.

ASSIST is a web-based version of the SF424 Adobe PDF forms (grant application package). When you view the pages in an ASSIST application, you will see that the tabs across the top are the same pages that are in the SF424 forms. 

Specific instructions on using the system can be found in the ASSIST User Guide (PDF) and instructional guides at the NIH eRA ASSIST Training page.

Please see the Review Priorities documents which outline both the department's and SPO's responsibilities in reviewing ASSIST applications.

Application Initiation

All users with eRA Commons accounts have the capability to initiate applications in ASSIST.  To initiate a single-project application in ASSIST, search for the Funding Opportunity Announcement in ASSIST. The system will ask for the title of the project and the PI's eRA Commons User Name. Entering the User Name at this point will allow the system to pre-populate some of the institutional information required for submission. Once this information is entered, the application will be assigned an Application Identifier. Please e-mail this number along with the fund manager's name to Fund managers do not have edit rights to the ASSIST application and must be assigned these rights by the SPO. To initiate a multi-project application in ASSIST, please follow the Multi-Project Grant instructions
Please note that PIs automatically have edit rights to the entire application. If the fund manager chooses to only give the PI view access, then they must update the rights in the "Maintain Access" tab of ASSIST.

Review and Submission

When the proposal is ready for Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) review, be sure a Kuali Research (KR) Record has been created. Enter the ASSIST Identifier in the Abstract tab in the KR Proposal Development record. The ASSIST status should say "Work in Progress" at this time and routed to SPO.

The system will automatically validate the application while it is changing from “Work in Progress” to “Ready for Submission.” If there are any errors or warnings, it will alert you before moving to “Ready for Submission.”

For multi-project applications, each project and core must be validated individually first. The status for each individual component should be updated to Complete, then Final. Then the entire application is validated as a whole and the submission status is updated to "Ready for Submission."

ASSIST Walk-Thru and Guides

The ASSIST was developed to mimic the retired SF424 Adobe Forms. The result is a web-based version of these forms. When you view the pages in an ASSIST application, you will see that the tabs across the top are the same pages that were in the retired SF424 Adobe Forms. 

NIH has created two very helpful annotated forms for the NEW Forms G as well as a high-level summary of the changes: 

Moreover, NIH created a very helpful video walk-thru tutorial with regard to the new ASSIST section called the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form (Forms F).

For additional guidance on using the system, please refer to the ASSIST User Guide. For more information on the application forms, please refer to the SF424 R&R General Application Guidelines

Submissions to the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO)

To submit your ASSIST application to the SPO for review, please follow the instructions for PD. Uploading a draft of the application package as a placeholder is no longer required. The ASSIST Identifier number should be listed in the Basics section, under Delivery Info: Submission Description in PD. Note, the Submission Status in ASSIST should still say "Work in Progress" at this time. 

To submit your ASSIST application to the SPO for submission, please update the Submission Status in ASSIST to "Ready for Submission," then follow the routing instructions for PD. In order to update the Submission Status, you must Validate the application first. 

For multi-project applications, each project and core must be validated individually first. The status for each individual component should be updated to Complete, then Final. Then the entire application should be validated as a whole and the submission status updated to "Ready for Submission."

Reasons to Reject and Resubmit

Per NIH policy, institutions have the ability to reject and resubmit corrected/changed applications. This can be done, up to two business days after submission of the application, but prior to the actual deadline. The SPO will reject and resubmit for the following reasons:
To address errors in the submission process that have stopped the application from reaching eRA Commons and NIH. Errors must always be addressed. 
  • With ASSIST applications, most errors are discovered prior to submission of the application when the application is validated, but some system errors will still only be caught after submission through the system. These must be addressed as well in order to have a successful submission. 
  • If the assembled PDF of the submitted application in eRA Commons does not accurately reflect the submitted application package due to system issues with eRA Commons, ASSIST, or If this occurs, departments should work with their SPO Analyst to reject and resubmit a changed/corrected application to NIH. In these types of cases, SPO requires a cover letter, from the PI, explaining why there is a need for the rejection and resubmission of the submitted application. 

Please note, that the eRA Commons system retains copies of all submitted application packages, including versions that have been rejected and resubmitted, thus the SPO highly recommends that applications are only rejected and resubmitted if it is absolutely necessary for a successful review.

Once the application viewing window has closed and/or the deadline has passed, the application then moves on to the Division of Receipt and Referral at the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). When this occurs, the eRA Service Desk can no longer assist with changes to the submitted application. You do have the option of contacting the assigned Scientific Review Officer (SRO) to your application for advice and guidance. However, NIH does have a strict policy on Post-Submission Application Materials and the Principal Investigator will need to decide whether they want to allow their application to go forward or if they need to withdraw it and submit it at a later date.

For more information or questions email