Electronic Council Book

What is the purpose?

The authorized NIH and partner agency staff only Electronic Council Book (ECB) is an online 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.

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 ECB 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 that members can use in the ECB to retrieve specific lists of applications.
  • A 'Council Information Page' feature that provides funding agencies the ability to create and manage customized web pages for council members. The page is organized by 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.
  • Note that Intramural boards of scientific review at NIH can use the Electronic Council Book as well.

Online help is available for these tools.

What are the benefits?

For ECB Administrators (internal)

  • ECB is extremely flexible, providing tools that allow funding agencies  to customize system rules to accommodate their council business process.
  • Ability to manage all aspects of the council business process including special assignments, Early Concurrence, conflicts of interest (COIs), and voting.
  • Powerful table filters that help users narrow their search results by project number, summary statements, PI name, institution, etc.
  • Direct links to application information in the Grant Folder module for quick reference.
  • Ability to create customized council information pages for voting by council members.
  • Ability to manage council members who participate in council reviews.
  • Provides robust features for managing conflicts of interest between council members and grant applications.
  • Provides a number of reporting tools that include both standard and custom report options.

For Council Members (external)

  • ECB serves as a single point of access for 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.
  • Council members will register in eRA Commons to access ECB and follow the standard login process (including the option to use Login.gov).
  • Council members will be able to reset password themselves, without relying on ECB administrators.

Who can use the ECB Module?

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