More ASSISTance Options for Submitting Your Application to NIH


I’m excited to tell you about a new option for submitting your R01 applications to NIH. Today, we made ASSIST (the Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking) available as an option for submitting your R01 applications, as well as most individual career development (K) award applications.

ASSIST is a web-based system that was developed by NIH, in close partnership with, to address common application submission challenges identified by the community. We first launched ASSIST in 2012 for multi-project applications since these complex applications didn’t fit with existing electronic submission methods at the time.  Since then, we’ve expanded ASSIST as an optional method of application submission for single project applications such as the R03 and R21.

You still have the option to use downloadable forms and submitting these to, as well as your institution’s system-to-system solutions that send application data directly to ASSIST has many great features that are unavailable in downloadable forms. Multiple users can collaborate on one application submission, and applications can be pre-populated with eRA Commons profile data. Perhaps most importantly, you can preview and print your application and validate the application against NIH and systems to check for errors BEFORE you submit your application. After you submit, ASSIST allows you to track your application’s submission status through both and eRA commons as well.

Those that have used ASSIST have given us overwhelmingly positive feedback  – describing it as “remarkably painless”, “a dream,” and “invaluable to the preparation process” – so I’m pleased that it is now an option for our R01 applicants, since we receive more competing R01 applications per year than applications for any other type of grant program. It’s a major milestone, and we won’t stop there: we plan to eventually enable all applications for competing grants to be submitted through ASSIST, and as we go on, these will be announced in the NIH Guide and Extramural Nexus when available. I’m sure you will want to give the new ASSIST a try.


  1. You describe ASSIST , but offer no informatoin as to how to access the system. How do I find it?

    1. The home page for the ASSIST system is located at: When applying, a button to use ASSIST is linked from the required application instructions section of funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) if ASSIST as an option for that opportunity.

  2. Once I’ve started an application in ASSIST, how do I grant other participants access to the application? They already have NIH registrations.

    1. Visit the online help topic titled “Add Access for a New User,” which gives steps for how to add someone.: link
      The overall topic on Managing Access also describes who can add and remove individuals depending on their user role.
      In-line help is also available in the system. Hope this, and the user guide, helps!

      1. I’m told (and read) that only the SO/ASO (research office) can add new editors. This is a difficulty at some institutions where these officers are overloaded/overworked and can be slow to respond to requests (and frankly sometimes may decline requests due to this overwork situation, just to get them off their desk). It is hard for me to understand why a PI would not be able to control editing of his or her own application?

        1. PIs are automatically given access to edit an application once they are added as the PD/PI. Just like in eRA Commons, SOs (as they have signature authority) are responsible for providing and managing access to the application to other users, since granting access to an application may expose data (such as budgets and salaries) to users outside their institution.

  3. If we submitted a new application (A0) last year via the forms, are we able to submit the submission application (A1) via ASSIST?

    1. Yes, you can submit the A1 via ASSIST. However, the information in the A0 you submitted last year via will not automatically transfer over ASSIST, so you will have to enter it.

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