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eRA Two-Way Correspondence Reference Sheet

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What is two-way correspondence?

Two-way correspondence is a feature that will allow SAMHSA grantors and grantee users to correspond via email using special tags and have the email thread automatically stored in the eRA system. Only the first email must be started through eRA system; all replies can be done through Outlook or your email client of choice.

Starting a correspondence in the system will generate three identifying tags that MUST NOT be changed:

  1. Grant number in the subject line. The Subject line will start with the grant number and this cannot be modified, but you may add any additional text after the grant number.
  2. Correspondence mailbox (eracorrespondence@od.nih.gov) included in CC line. Additional recipients may be added in the TO or CC lines, but the correspondence mailbox address cannot be removed.
  3. Unique token at the end of the email. The body of the email is completely open to editing except for the token. The token should not be moved, deleted, or modified in any way.

Responding to two-way correspondence initiated by SAMHSA

As long as these three identifying tags are not removed or modified, the email thread can continue, and all replies will be automatically stored in the eRA system. If the identifying tags are removed or modified, then the correspondence will be treated like a regular email message, and will not be stored in the eRA system.


Follow these steps to ensure the correspondence continues to be processed properly:

  1. Use “Reply All” when responding to official correspondence. This will include the correspondence mailbox in the CC line.
  2. Do not alter the subject in your response, especially the grant number at the start of the subject.
  3. Do not delete the unique token at the end of the email.
  4. Supported attachment file formats are: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, PDF, .msg.

Viewing two-way correspondence in the eRA Commons

You can view correspondence in the eRA system by following these steps:

  1. Log in to eRA Commons.
  2. Access the Status tab by clicking Status from the colored tiles located on the left side of the eRA Commons Homepage. 
    • If you have the Signing Official (SO) role, search for the appropriate grant by inputting search criteria.
    • If you have the Principal Investigator (PI) role, select List of Applications/Grants.
  3. Click on the Application/Award ID to be taken to the Status Information page.
  4. From the Status Information page, scroll down to the Correspondence section.
  5. Click the Correspondence Tracking hyperlink to open the Correspondence Tracking screen.
    • From this screen you can view the full information for each correspondence including:
      • the subject line
      • when the correspondence was started
      • when it was last responded to
      • who started it
      • who it was sent to
      • what application it is tied to
      • a sample of the body of the email
      • any attachments including hyperlinks to view them
      • a “View” hyperlink that will show you the message formatted as an email
  6. Use the Choose Application drop-down to view correspondence for a specific application or for the grant family.
  7. Expand Correspondence using the + icon to view responses.
  8. Use the Filter box to search for a specific message or click on a column header to sort by that column.

Initiating two-way correspondence from within eRA Commons as a grantee

  1. Log in to eRA Commons.
  2. Access the Status tab by clicking Status from the colored tiles located on the left side of the eRA Commons Homepage.
    • If you have the Signing Official (SO) role, search for the appropriate grant by inputting search criteria.
    • If you have the Principal Investigator (PI) role, select List of Applications/Grants.
  3. Click the Three-dot ellipsis icon (…) to access the Correspondence Action to generate correspondence:
    • On the Generate Correspondence screen, select your recipients, enter the subject line, type text in the body of the message, and include attachments.
    • Attachments formats supported: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, PDF, .msg. In the future, the system will support other attachment formats.
  4. Select the option to Send correspondence when ready.

Initiating two-way correspondence from within eRA Commons as a grantee from the Status Information page

  1. Log in to eRA Commons.
  2. Click on the Status tab.
    • If you are a Project Director (PD), click on the right arrow under List of Applications/Awards to be taken to a list of your applications and awards. Expand a grant family by clicking on the + icon so you can view individual applications/awards.
    • If you are a Signing Official (SO), use the General Search to search for your Application or Award.
  3. Click on the Application/Award ID to be taken to the Status Information page for an application or award.
  4. From the Status Information page, scroll down to the Correspondence area.
  5. Click Correspondence Tracking.
  6. Click Initiate New Correspondence to open the Generate Correspondence screen:
    • On the Generate Correspondence screen, select your recipients, enter the subject line, type text in the body of the message, and include attachments.
    • Attachments formats supported: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, PDF, .msg. In the future, the system will support other attachment formats.
  7. Click the Generate Email button to Send correspondence when ready.

Alternatively, you can send Correspondence using a Mail Client

  1. On the Generate Correspondence screen, access the hyperlink on the right hand side to generate correspondence using your system email client with the following prepopulated elements:
    • GPO and GMS email addresses in TO line;
    • eracorrespondence@od.nih.gov in the CC line (DO NOT REMOVE OR ALTER THIS);
    • The grant number at the start of the subject line (DO NOT REMOVE OR ALTER THIS);
    • A placeholder in the subject line after the grant number to input a custom information; and
    • A Correspondence Token at the end of the email body (DO NOT REMOVE OR ALTER THIS).
  2. Attachments formats supported: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, PDF, .msg. In the future, the system will support other attachment formats.
  3. Draft your email and Send when ready.
eRA Grants Contact

Need Help? Contact Us

Budget and grant-specific questions: Contact your assigned Grants Management Specialist (GMS)

Program-related questions: Contact your assigned Grants Project Officer (GPO)

General questions: Call SAMHSA's Division of Grants Management at 240-276-1400

Submitting applications questions: Contact the Grants.gov Helpdesk at support@grants.gov

Technical questions: Contact the eRA Service Desk

Last Updated
Last Updated: 04/24/2023
Last Updated