IMPORTANT NOTES: These instructions are specific to Montana INBRE faculty and student participants only. ALL steps listed below must be completed for your eRA Commons account registration to be complete. Steps were last updated October 2021. If you see something incorrect or out of date below, please contact Montana INBRE staff to alert them to the change.

NEW for 2021: The National Institute of Health now requires all eRA Commons accounts to be protected with two-factor authentication (2FA). Each Montana institution is in charge of defining its own method for complying with mandate. Details and institution-specific instructions are in "STEP 3" below.

STEP 1 – Request an eRA Commons User ID

Find the correct person at your institution who can initiate an eRA Commons account

  • Reach out to your institution’s main research office, grants management office or office of sponsored programs and ask for the correct person to initiate a new NIH eRA Commons account for your particular funding source
  • For Montana INBRE-funded faculty and students located at

Once you have identified the correct person, request a new eRA Commons account via email. In your email, provide the following information:

  • Inform them who you are – make sure to spell out your first and last name as you would like it to appear in the federal system
  • Inform them that you are funded by Montana INBRE and are requesting a new eRA Commons account
  • Inform them as to your current academic level (faculty investigator, undergraduate student research or graduate student researcher, or a post-doc)
  • Inform them of your Montana INBRE role (i.e. faculty project leader, under/graduate student researcher, intern, research assistant, etc.)
  • If different from the email account you are using to contact OSP, provide the email address that you would like to have associated with your new eRA Commons account

STEP 2 – Complete “Personal Profile” Section

Once your account has been initiated, you will receive an email from eRA Commons (NIH) with your Username and a temporary password. You can now log onto eRA Commons (https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/).

  • From https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/ find “Commons Log-in” button and enter your UN and temporary password
  • When prompted, replace the temporary password with a new secure one and, if required, set up two-factor authentication (more on 2FA in Step 3 below)
  • From the main Commons page select the “Personal Profile” button; from the “Personal Profile Summary” page, complete the required profile sections; NOTE: Unless all these sections are completed, your account will NOT be activated; the information required is fairly straightforward, but if you run into problems, call the INBRE office at 994-5214 or e-mail inbre@montana.edu
  • IMPORTANT: All graduate-level students must list at least one degree in the Personal Profile “Education” section for your account to be fully activated
  • Once all your required profile information is entered and saved, you’ll be able to exit the eRA system, and your account will be fully activated

STEP 3 – Set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for your eRA Commons Account

The National Institute of Health will soon require all faculty investigators and students funded by NIH to set up and use two-factor authentication (2FA) when logging into NIH’s eRA Commons accounts. Methods vary by institution. Choose your institution below for detailed instructions and contact links.

Instructions below courtesy of MSU's OSP and UIT offices. For questions or technical support, please contact MSU UIT's Jason Rosen jason.rosen@montana.edu or Justin van Almelo justin.vanalmelo@montana.edu

  1. On your smartphone, go to your mobile application store (ex: Google Play or Apple's App Store)
  2. Search for the “Duo Mobile” app and install
  3. Go to https://www3.montana.edu/duoenroll/ and request Enrollment for a Duo account
  4. Open the Enrollment email sent by Duo and follow the enrollment instructions to setup your Duo account
  5. Your Duo account is now setup; Note: it may take up to one hour from completing your Duo account setup (step 4), before the MSU Single-Sign-On service begins prompting for you to use Duo, you may want to allow for that time before completing the remaining steps
  6. Go to: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/
  7. In the field below the heading "Login with Federated Account" type "Montana" and then choose "Montana State University - Bozeman" from the list (note: choose MSU-Bozeman even if you are at an affiliate MSU campus)
  8. You will be redirected to MSU's single-sign-on website; use your NetID credentials to login and complete 2FA using the Duo Mobile ap on your smartphone
  9. Once the single sign on plus 2FA is completed, your browser will be redirected to NIH
  10. NOTE: The first time you access the NIH site with your MSU SSO account, you will be prompted to also enter your NIH username and password to link the two accounts. Once done, you shouldn't be prompted to enter these again.

If you need assistance with the 2FA process, please contact UM IT: https://www.umt.edu/it/; Questions related to compliance with this NIH directive may be posed to UM's Office of Sponsored Programs: https://www.umt.edu/research/ORSP/

  1. Go to: https://public.era.nih.gov/commonsplus/
  2. In the field below the heading "Login with Federated Account" type "Montana" and then choose "The University of Montana" from the list
  3. You will be redirected to UM's single-sign-on website; use your university credentials and DUO to login
  4. Once single sign on plus 2FA is completed, your browser will be redirected to NIH
  5. NOTE: The first time you access the NIH site with your UM SSO account, you will be prompted to also enter your NIH username and password to link the two accounts. Once done, you shouldn't be prompted again.

Instructions are currently unclear. Please check with your institution’s research office or office of sponsored programs to see if you should use UM Missoula's Federated login method (instructions above) or NIH’s “LOGIN.GOV” method (instructions below).

Once your institution's designated official provides clarity on the method you should use, please contact william.stadwiser@montana.edu so we can update this webpage with accurate instructions. 

Use “LOGIN.GOV” method:

  1. Make sure you know your eRA Commons password. If you need to reset your eRA account password, please do so first before proceeding with 2FA setup by using the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link
  2. Next, go to the eRA commons home screen and select the “LOGIN.GOV” option.
  3. Follow NIH’s “LOGIN.GOV” Instructions available here: https://era.nih.gov/files/2FA_flyer.pdf

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