eRA Reminder: Switch Now to the Secure Use of to Access eRA Modules Before the Deadline of September 15, 2021

Protecting data through two-factor authentication is becoming second nature to many of us. It makes sense in today’s world to have two levels of security to protect confidential data.

Remember that the required use of to access eRA modules will help ensure the security of your personal and confidential information in these modules.

We encourage users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR) and Commons Mobile to begin using as soon as possible, well before the deadline of September 15, 2021, to avoid the last-minute rush. 

What’s involved: The two-factor authentication method involves creating an account at, a centralized government portal, and associating your eRA module account with it in a one-time process.

If you already have an eRA Commons account:

  • Make sure your Commons account is active and you know your password. If you need to reset your eRA account password, please do so by using the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link on the main Commons homepage.
  • Select the login option on the Commons home screen. Do not go straight to to create your account. See Figure 1.


Figure 1: Select the option from the eRA Commons login screen

Figure 1: Select the option from the eRA Commons login screen

  • Login to using your existing account or create a new account by selecting the Create Account option.
  • When you are redirected back to Commons, you will be guided through the process to associate your Commons account with your account (a one-time process).


If you do not have an eRA Commons account:


Once you are done setting up your account, and associating it with your eRA Commons account, you will log into eRA Commons using the option as identified in Figure 1.



Figure 2: The three steps involved to access eRA Commons/IAR via

If you have multiple eRA Commons accounts

  • can only be linked to one eRA Commons account
  • If you have multiple eRA accounts, it is recommended that you associate your account to the eRA account that you use to perform your review activities, as reviewers are transitioning to the required use of first.
  • eRA is working on a solution in the future for users with multiple eRA accounts.

Note: Once you start using to access eRA Commons or ASSIST; the use of other login methods such as Commons or ASSIST credentials (username/password) or InCommon federated credentials (use of an organization’s credentials) is not permitted. This requirement to use also applies to any activities you may subsequently do in eRA Commons as a principal investigator, reviewer, etc. 

NIH is currently working with the InCommon Federation (, the organization that coordinates federated authentication across universities/institutions, to implement support for the 2FA requirement by or before September 15, 2021.  It will be dependent upon each institution that participates in the InCommon Federation to implement support for 2FA and to express that via its federated login system. If your institution does not implement the needed 2FA support by the deadline, you will be unable to use your InCommon Federated credentials after September 15, 2021.

For more information on making 2FA a requirement, please see Guide Notice NOT-OD-21-040.