The Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is a tool developed by the NIH to allow institutions to electronically prepare, submit, and track grant applications through Grants.Gov to NIH. The system was originally created for multi-project submissions (PPGs), however, the success of the system has led NIH to expand its use to single-project submissions as well. By the end of 2015, almost all cooperative agreement and grant programs can be submitted via ASSIST.
ASSIST allows for pre-population of data from investigators eRA Commons profiles, collaboration with multiple investigators, secure login via eRA Commons accounts, and validation of business rules before submission.
Please see the Review Priorities documents which outline both the department's and HS SPPO's responsibilities in reviewing ASSIST applications.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Fund managers do not have edit rights to the ASSIST application and must be assigned these rights by HS SPPO.
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, they must update the rights in the "Maintain Access" tab of ASSIST.
The ASSIST was developed to mimic the 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 are in the SF424 Adobe Forms. For more information on the pages and attachments, please follow the SF424 Walk-Thru
For additional guidance on using the system, please refer to the ASSIST User Guide
To submit your ASSIST application to HS SPPO for review, please follow the instructions for EPRS or ePD. Instead of uploading a draft of the application package, please enter the the ASSIST Identifier in the comments field for EPRS or in the Internal Comments under Abstract in ePD. The Submission Status in ASSIST should still say "Work in Progress" at this time.
To submit your ASSIST application to HS SPPO for submission, please update the Submission Status in ASSIST to "Ready for Submission" and then follow the routing instructions for EPRS or ePD. 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."
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. HS SPPO will reject and resubmit for the following reasons:
- To address errors in the Grants.gov 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.
- To address particular warnings in the submission process that requires rejection of the submitted application and resubmission of a changed/corrected application. Warnings do not always need to be addressed. They require analysis to determine whether or not it is an issue that requires rejection and resubmission or if it can safely ignored. Departments need to work with their HS SPPO Analyst to determine whether this is the case or not.
- 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 Grants.gov. If this occurs, departments should work with their HS SPPO Analyst to reject and resubmit a changed/corrected application to NIH. In these types of cases, HS SPPO requires a cover letter, from the PI, explaining why there is a need for the rejection and resubmission of the submitted application.
Please note, the eRA Commons system retains copies of all submitted application packages, including versions that have been rejected and resubmitted, thus HS SPPO 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 deadine has passed, the application then moves on to the Division of Receipt and Referral at the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). When this ocurrs, 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 'as is' or if they need to withdraw it and submit it at a later date.