The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed a web-based system for use in preparing and submitting proposals. It is called the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking or ASSIST for short. This system can be used instead of Grants.gov for proposal submissions. Currently ASSIST can be used as an option for submitting R01, R03, R21, U01, K (except K12 and KM1), and multi-project applications. Additional application mechanisms will transition to ASSIST during the next year.
One of the great features of ASSIST is its ability to check for eRA Commons errors and warnings before the proposal is submitted, eliminating the need for changed/corrected applications to be made via Grants.gov. You are also able to view the application, including attachments, as one PDF which is not possible prior to submission using Grants.gov.
If this is a system that you may be interested in using, all you need to get started is your eRA Commons user ID. Once you have initiated the proposal in ASSIST, you will have the ability to provide access to others by entering their eRA Commons user ID. They can then edit and view the application. The forms packages are similar to the NIH Grants.gov packages and some pages are pre-populated from your eRA Commons profile.
The Office of Sponsored Programs can also set up an eRA Commons Assistant (ASST) account for departmental grant coordinators and administrative staff so that they can help Principal Investigators enter the proposal in ASSIST. You can request an eRA Commons account here.