What Are the Options for Obtaining an eRA Commons Username (Commons ID) For a Senior/Key Person Who Isn’t Affiliated With a Registered Organization?


Beginning with application due dates on or after January 25, 2022, NIH will require eRA Commons IDs in the Credential field of the Sr/Key Person Profile form for all individuals listed on that form (NOT-OD-21-109). Given this expanded requirement, we’ve received an increase in inquiries related to obtaining and including eRA Commons IDs, especially for individuals not affiliated with an eRA Commons registered organization.

First, find out who does and doesn’t already have an ID. eRA Commons ID is a field on the biosketch format page. Since biosketches are required for everyone listed on the form, reminding folks to include their eRA Commons IDs on their biosketches before providing them is an easy way to gather existing IDs for use when entering Credential information into the form.

For individuals that don’t have an eRA Commons ID and aren’t affiliated with an organization registered in eRA Commons, there are several options for obtaining one:

  1. The senior/key individual’s organization can register in eRA Commons and provide a Commons username (Commons ID) for them. This is a good option if there is sufficient time (registration can take several weeks to complete) and the organization either has multiple individuals serving as senior/key on NIH grant applications or the organization is considering becoming an applicant organization themselves in the future.
  2. The applicant organization can create an eRA Commons account for the individual and assign a role that is solely used for reporting purposes
    Individuals with these roles can only view the Institution Profile (IPF) of the affiliated organization and view/edit their own Personal Profile (PPF):

      • POSTDOC

    This is the quickest option and within the control of the applicant organization. A single Commons ID can be affiliated with multiple organizations. It doesn’t matter which organization initially establishes the account.

  3. The senior/key individual can register themselves as an organization using our Special Instructions for Unaffiliated/Independent Applicants.

    This is a good option for independent consultants or other individuals who are not affiliated with an organization.


  • Individuals needing scientific roles (Program Directors, Principal Investigators, Scientist, Post-Doc, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Project Personnel) should only have one eRA Commons ID for the life of their research career. It is important that the signing official (SO), or account administrator (AA) check to ensure a person does not already have an eRA Commons ID. If the person has an existing ID, the SO or AA can then affiliate them to their institution if the person is changing institutions. Before creating a new account, it is important for the person creating the account to first search to see if the user already has an existing eRA Commons ID.
  • For more information on eRA Commons roles, see:

Before submitting your comment, please review our blog comment policies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *