Signing Official (SO)

An SO has institutional authority to legally bind the institution in grant-administration matters by providing signature approval on grant application submissions. The SO monitors grant related activities within the extramural organization and may have a number of titles. The SO can also create additional accounts for personnel at their institution, including new signing official accounts.

To find your signing official, see Finding Your Signing Official later in this topic.

If you hold an SO role, you have privileges to perform the following tasks:

  • Create additional signing official accounts; see Create or Edit a New Commons Account
  • Register the applicant institution in Commons
  • Create and update the Institutional Profile (IPF)
  • Create/delete/update all Commons accounts (except IAR and TRAINEE accounts).

    NOTE: An SO cannot modify another user's personal profile (PPF) unless designated to do so by that user

  • Create affiliation between an existing Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and/or IAR Commons account and the institution
  • Submit electronic grant application(s) on behalf of the institution via (outside of eRA Commons), if also registered with as the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR)
  • View status of all grant applications originating from their institution and any errors or warnings that may have been triggered
  • View Review outcome information, including summary statement, the overall impact score and percentile, if available; see How Does an SO See the Review Outcome?
  • View assembled image of submitted grant applications before they move on for further processing
  • Reject grant applications to address submission warnings
  • View award information for all grants awarded to the institution

    NOTE: An SO cannot view summary statements or priority scores.

  • Submit JIT information for a PD/PI
  • View the following Training Grant related items:
    • Trainee Roster
    • List of Grants
    • Grant Summary
    • Routing History
    • PDF-formatted Appointments/Amendments/Terminations
  • Delegate progress report authority to someone on behalf of the PD/PI
  • Delegate submit authority for progress reports to a PD/PI
  • Submit a progress report to the Agency (NIH)
  • Submit Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final RPPR)
  • Submit a one-time No-Cost Extension on behalf of the PD/PI
  • Assign the FCOI role for those using the Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) module

NOTE: An SO role cannot be combined with a PI role.

Finding the Signing Official

For most institutions, the signing official (SO) is in the Office of Sponsored Research or equivalent. You can find the list of signing officials for your institution in the Institution Profile.

  1. Log in to eRA Commons.

  2. Navigate to the Institution Profile module, then click the Basic Information tab.

You see a row titled Signing Officials and TTO Administrators*.
Portion of the screen showing the SO & TTO Admin component
  1. Click the plus sign to view the name(s) of the signing official(s).

If you are unable to identify your SO, contact the eRA Service Desk.

* * A Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Administrator supports the Technology Transfer/Licensing Office or Office of Research and Development at the grantee organization. The TTO administrator can submit inventions, patents, and utilization reports in iEdison, request waivers and create iEdison accounts.