Many federal agencies require the institution to register and setup an account for the PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on... in the electronic submission system before the proposal is prepared. Examples of this are:

  • NIH: eRa commons
  • NSF: Fastlane

Account setup in these systems can be requested by completing the electronic request form below. If you need a new account setup, please request as soon as possible as it may take up to 48 hours for the account to be active in the system.

If you need to register as an eRA Commons user at Boston Medical Center, please contact BMC Grants Administration office with the following information:
Full Name
e-mail address
eRA Commons Role (Postdoc, PI, Trainee, etc)

More information on Commons roles is available on the NIH site.

Per NIH policy, PIs should maintain a single Commons account throughout their career, which will be affiliated with each new institution to which they move. If it is possible that a Commons account was created for you at a previous institution, please let us know, and provide the name of the institution or your previous email address for confirmation.

The types of account in FastLane are:

  • PI (for PIs and Co-PIs)
  • Other Authorized User (for those assisting PIs with proposal preparation. The PI will need to provide this user with a proposal ID and proposal PIN)
  • Research Administration (for central office users)

Once your account has been set up, you will receive a confirmation email with your NSF ID number and temporary password. You will be prompted to change this password the first time you log in.

NSF implemented a convenient and secure process for resetting passwords. NSF awardees and applicants will be able to reset their own passwords. To do this, awardees and applicants can go to and click “Log In,” then “Forgot Password.” After entering their NSF ID and clicking, “Send Temporary Password,” they will be able to reset their passwords using the temporary password sent to their email address on file.

Passwords must be between 8 and 20 characters and use three of the four categories below:

  • Upper-case letter
  • Lower-case letter
  • Number
  • One of these special characters # & % ! @ ( )

In addition, the last six passwords cannot be reused, and accounts will be locked for five minutes after the tenth unsuccessful password attempt.

Need FastLane Help?

Learn more about password modernization, including accessing a getting started guide and FAQs.

You can also find helpful information by clicking Help in the top right-hand corner of or on FastLane, by clicking the FastLane Help in the top right-hand corner of the homepage.

  • If you are a PI or department administrator on the Charles River Campus, please fill out the form below to request access to the folders on the Office of Sponsored Programs shared server.
  • If you are a PI or department administrator on the BU Medical Campus, please go to
  • If you are having trouble accessing your folder, please email us at

  • Users can create their own NSPIRES accounts here.
  • Once your account has been created, you can request to be affiliated with Boston University.
  • Please make sure to enter your BU contact information in the address, phone and email fields. This information helps us confirm your BU affiliation.