Electronic Council Book

What is the purpose?

The authorized NIH and partner agency staff only Electronic Council Book (ECB) is a web-based system that provides a variety of services in support of the second level of review of grant applications by a review group (hereafter referred to as the Advisory Council) at the funding agency.

The ECB system currently includes three functional modules:

  • The Electronic Council Book 'Council Member Interface' (often referred to as the 'Council ECB') is the front end tool used by Advisory Council members to query and view basic application data and summary statements and, when appropriate, vote on applications as part of the Early Concurrence process. The 'Council ECB' also includes a web portal feature that makes possible the creation of IC specific web pages for posting documents, custom project lists, and other council related content.
  • The Council Portal and Archive (CPA) module is for NIH and OpDiv staff users of the Electronic Council Book. The CPA replicates all the functions and content of the Council ECB and also includes an archive of data from previous council periods (dating to May 2007).
  • The Council Administration Module is the back end configuration tool used by agency staff for managing all aspects of the council business process; including special assignments, conflicts of interest, Early Concurrence, IC specific web pages and documents, as well as council member user accounts.

What are the features of the Electronic Council Book module?

In preparation for Advisory Council meetings, the ECB can be configured by each organization (via the Council Administration Module), to provide some or all of the following services:

  • Flag specific applications as discussion items and/or assign specific applications to one or more council members for review.
  • Create institution and person affiliations data for council and/or staff members to enable the automatic identification of conflicts of interest.
  • Create saved queries and "shopping carts" that members can use in the ECB to retrieve specific lists of applications.
  • A 'Council Information Page' feature that gives granting organizations the option of creating and managing custom web pages for the ECB that are organized into tabs and categories containing documents and project lists in support of the council business process.
  • Attach supporting documents to an application or group of applications.
  • View and download summary statements into a zip file or single PDF file.
  • Setup and manage an Early Concurrence review process, whereby applications are identified as being eligible for council review in advance of the actual meeting. Successful Early Concurrence applications may be eligible for immediate award processing, depending on the guidelines established by each organization.
  • Early Concurrence features available in the ECB include facilities for creating and managing special Early Concurrence panels, assigning members and applications to these panels, and creating custom business rules for managing the entire voting process, to name a few. The ECB Council Member interface includes a special voting tool as part of the Early Concurrence feature.
  • Recent enhancements now make it possible for INTRAMURAL boards of scientific review at NIH to use the Electronic Council Book as well.

Online tutorials, as well as classroom training, are available for these tools.

What are the benefits?

  • ECB serves as a single point of access for IC council members who need to obtain information about grant applications scheduled for review at their National Advisory Council meetings, including specific project assignments, summary statements, other supporting documents and meeting specific information.
  • ECB is extremely flexible, providing tools that allow ICs to customize system rules to accommodate their council business process.
  • ECB provides a variety of data display options that allow ICs to use only those system features they require.
  • ECB provides robust features for managing conflicts of interest between council members and grant applications.
  • ECB also provides a number of reporting tools that include both standard and custom report options.

Who can use the ECB Module?

The ECB modules can be used by Advisory Council members and staff as well as data administrators who are given access to the module.