eRA Strategic Plan

eRA outlines its strategic goals for the five years from FY2022 to FY2027 to advance the best and most effective investment of information technology and align with the needs of HHS’s Grants Management Quality Service Management Office (QSMO), which has been charged with transforming government-wide grants management. eRA aims to focus on the five pillars of its strategic plan spelled out below.

service orientation

Partnerships and Collaborations

eRA will maintain its focus on partnerships and collaborations with customers through active participation in stakeholder committees and user groups to create rapport and trust and increase eRA’s understanding of their needs and priorities. We will ensure that eRA’s services are aligned with the business processes and goals of our partners to empower and enable applicants, recipients, and federal awarding agencies to deliver on their mission efficiently and effectively.

We will:
  • Use iterative development to integrate customer feedback throughout the development cycle
  • Provide opportunities for demonstrations, access to libraries of interactive training tools
  • Continue to enhance recipient institutions with value-added services that support their internal workflows

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continuous system modernization

Continuous System Modernization

eRA supports one of the largest grants management systems in the world. Our system modernization will continue to ensure optimal levels of performance, security, and agility to support the business needs of our customer agencies and the applicant, reviewer, and recipient communities.

We will focus on:
  • Enhancing system functionality and flexibility across business processes
  • Adopting new solutions and services, including cloud computing and mobile access
  • Achieving efficiencies through process optimization and automation

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security first

Security First

eRA has made information security and compliance a priority for many years, and it remains an important focus, as underscored by the President’s May 12, 2021 Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Many of its requirements and recommendations have already been or are currently being implemented by eRA.

These include:
  • Data and service protection
  • Mandate multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users
  • Encrypt data in transit within the eRA boundary; eRA already encrypts all data at rest and all data in transit external to eRA
  • Complete the implementation of the requirements of the NIH Vulnerability Disclosure Program
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prioritizing user experience

Prioritizing User Experience

eRA will continue to have and to strengthen a strategic focus on user experience by incorporating elements of user-centered design into our everyday processes. We engage often with users to ensure a positive user experience with a quality product that evolves over time in concert with their needs.

We accomplish this with:
  • Intuitive, consistent user interfaces across the enterprise using industry standard best practices
  • Continuous evaluation of user workflow to increase efficiency and ease of use
  • Mobile-friendly responsive designs that are equally effective on tablets, laptops, large screens, and phones

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integration artificial intelligence

Integration of Artificial Intelligence

eRA systems and services result in a wealth of data which is the basis for data-driven decision making, simple and/or complex analytics, program planning and predictive modeling. We focus on utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) by deploying Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Thesaurus-Based indexing to categorize disease/condition areas, automate the assignment of grant applications, and conduct powerful searches to find like characteristics in grants, researchers, and reviewers.

AI will allow us to:
  • Support growing business needs and the expansion and analysis of rich data sets
  • Develop solutions to support new business processes, improve workflows, and reduce administrative burden
  • Expand cross-agency collaboration, data sharing, and data analytics

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