Developed, managed and supported by NIH's Office of Extramural Research, eRA provides mission-critical IT infrastructure to manage the receipt, processing, review, award and monitoring of about $34 billion in research and non-research grants awarded annually by NIH and other grantor agencies in support of the collective mission of improving human health.
eRA is often at the crux of important changes in policy and process. It is the largest research grants management system in the federal government in terms of the number of applications, accounting for over 50 percent of the grant applications received by Grants.gov, the fed-wide portal for finding and applying for grants. eRA has been determined to be a high value asset by HHS.
As one of two Grant Centers of Excellence in HHS, eRA provides IT solutions and support for the full life cycle of grants administration functions for the NIH as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Veterans Administration (VA).
Figure 1: Graphic showing the breadth and depth of the eRA program
eRA operates and maintains 60-plus custom-made, large, complex and critical systems. These systems are carefully designed to address the complexity of regulatory and policy requirements related to peer review and grants management processes dealing with medical research. The systems incorporate policy requirements addressing conflict of interest, research involving human subjects, reporting on inclusion of minorities and children in research, public access and more.
Here are some 2018 numbers that show the breadth and complexity of the eRA program:
- 161,000 grant applications and awards processed
- $34 billion in award obligations processed
- 800,000 registered users
- 235,000 active users, both domestic and worldwide
- 18,500,000 logins to eRA systems
- 3,500 review meetings conducted
- 62,500 reviewers participated
- 5,200,000 electronic documents added
- 1,700 Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) published
- Patent and invention records maintained for 32 federal agencies (see iEdison website).
eRA's focus is on supporting the mission of serviced agencies by providing tools to electronically manage and report on grants in a way that:
- Maximizes efficiencies
- Provides a strong and scalable infrastructure
- Is responsive to evolving customer needs
- Employs sound management controls
- For institutional enquiries about obtaining eRA services and information on eRA's costing model, contact eRA Director Inna Faenson at email@example.com.
- eRA is engaging in business process modeling, a process that can successfully be implemented for other complex enterprise systems. If you are interested in finding out more, here is a link to a white paper (PDF - 623 KB) on an undertaking by eRA, in collaboration with other Institutes across NIH, to model the Peer Review process.