eRA Commons Frequently Asked Questions - Electronic Research Administration
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eRA Commons Frequently Asked Questions

    I. General Questions
    1. What is eRA Commons?
    2. Do I have to have my browser configured a certain way to use eRA Commons?
    3. I seem to be experiencing a problem with the browser when using an eRA module.

    II. eRA Commons Registration
    1. Do I need an eRA Commons account?
    2. How do I register my organization/institution with eRA Commons?
    3. How does a Principal Investigator (PI) get registered in eRA Commons?
    4. If I am an individual Research Fellow, how do I register in the eRA Commons?
    5. How long does the registration process take?
    6. What is an IPF number?
    7. How do I find my organization's DUNS number?
    8. If I do not have a DUNS number, how do I obtain one?

    III. Accounts Log In and Password
    1. How do I select a user name for eRA Commons?
    2. If I have forgotten my password, or have been locked out due to failed log-in attempts, what should I do?
    3. How do I change my password?
    4. I have changed institutions. Do I need a new Commons account?
    5. Where will Notice of Award (NoA) notices be sent?
    6. I am the Signing Official for my institution. Will I receive all of the NIH eRA Commons e-mail messages?
    7. If I do not see the module I need on the eRA Commons selection bar, what should I do?
    8. I am a Signing Official for my organization but I am not listed within the Institution Profile?
    9. How do I locate my grant if it does not appear in the Grants List within eRA Commons?
    10. I received a message from Commons stating: WARNING: The eRA Commons account has 'SO' and 'PI' roles. What should I do?
    11. How do I change the institution affiliation listed in Commons?
    12. I am affiliated with a new institution, but the old institution is still being displayed in Commons when I login.

    IV. Roles in eRA Commons
    1. What is the Signing Official (SO) Role?
    2. What is a Principal Investigator (PI) Role?
    3. What is an Account Administrator (AA) Role? Does a Signing Official (SO) need to assign an AA?
    4. What are the other roles available in eRA Commons?
    5. How do I add a role to an individual registered in Commons?

    V. Creating Accounts; Delegating and Revoking Authority; Affiliating
    1. I am the Signing Official for my institution. Can I delegate administrative authority to another administrative account?
    2. How does a Signing Official create a new account for someone else in his/her organization?
    3. How do I revoke Submit authority that was delegated to a non-SO account?
    4. How does a PI delegate Progress Report authority to another user?
    5. How do I revoke Progress Report authority from another PI?
    6. How does an SO affiliate a PI to a new organization?
    7. How does an SO unaffiliate a PI?
    8. How do I edit a Commons account, if I have the appropriate role?

    VI. Personal Profile
    1. How do I update my email address?
    2. How does the PI delegate Personal Profile (PPF) update authority?
    3. How do I revoke Personal Profile (PPF) update authority?

    VII. Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)
    1. Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)

    VIII. Financial Status Report
    1. How do I add the Financial Status Report (FSR) role?

    IX. Grants Closeout
    1. What is Grant Closeout and how do I close out my grant in eRA Commons?

    X. Just in Time
    1. How do I know when I should submit Just-in-Time information?
    2. Why does the Just-in-Time (JIT) link appear in eRA Commons's Status section when I have not been asked to submit the information?

    XI. No Cost Extension
    1. How do I request a no cost extension?

    XII. Reference Letters
    1. How does a referee submit reference letters for an applicant?
    2. How long will it take for a reference letter to show in the system after someone has submitted one on your behalf?

    XIII. Internet Assisted Review
    1. How do I sign my electronic Conflict of Interest (eCOI) form?
    2. The Scientific Review Officer (SRO) has informed me that my personal information is not up to date. How do I update my reviewer information in eRA Commons?
    3. I am a reviewer assigned to a study section, but when I log in to eRA Commons, I cannot find any meetings. What should I do?
    4. Where do I find the password for the CD I received for the review meeting
    5. I am a reviewer and have been asked to enter my banking information to receive payment for my participation in a review meeting. Where do go to enter that information?

    XIV. Summary Statement
    1. How do I access my Summary Statement?

    XIV. My NCBI
    1. When will changes that I make to my bibliography in My NCBI transfer to the eRA Commons?
    2. Can I add a citation to an RPPR via My Bibliography?
    3. What do each of the grant-paper association statuses mean?
    4. Will associating a citation to different years of the same grant result in each association displaying as a separate line in Commons?
    5. I entered my citation in the eRA Commons and not via My Bibliography. Why does my citation not display a grant-paper association status?

    XIV. xTrain

      A. Appointments & Re-appointments

    1. At what point can I use xTrain to make appointments for a new budget year?
    2. How do I make an appointment in the final year of a training grant when future year funding is not yet known?
    3. If appointments are not routed through the Business Official, how can BOs keep track of the training grants for their institution?
    4. Why is my Personal Profile information not populating on the PHS 2271 Statement of Appointment form until the form is submitted?

      B. Termination Notices

    1. Who can initiate/submit a termination notice?
    2. Is an amendment necessary if a trainee terminates early?
    3. What should I do when I get an early termination error message?
    4. How should I terminate a fellow when there is a change of institutions?

      C. eRA Commons Accounts & Role

    1. How can a Signing Official perform submit actions in xTrain?
    2. If a PD/PI delegates authority to an assistant (ASST), can that assistant perform all the same functions and receive the same notifications as the PD/PI?
    3. If a PD/PI wants to delegate xTrain authority to an individual and that individual is not listed with the Current Institution Users, how does he/she have them added to the list?
    4. What Commons Personal Profile fields are checked by xTrain?
    5. The Trainee Specific Information screen within a trainee's Personal Profile includes the question "Are you from a disadvantaged background?" What does "disadvantaged background" mean in this context?
    6. I am attempting to view my appointments in X-Train, but I am unable to route to PI or enter information in the fields.

      D. Additional xTrain Topics

    1. Does anything need to be done in xTrain if a trainee takes parental leave?
    2. Does anything need to be done in xTrain if a trainee takes an unpaid leave of absence?
    3. When appointing a trainee to a short-term training appointment or preparing a termination notice for a trainee who is terminating early, what should I do if the stipend amount computed by xTrain differs from the amount calculated by my institution?
    4. Will using xTrain remove the need for signed paper forms?
    5. Why am I getting this error message: "Stipend amount must be entered and be greater than zero."
    6. I've entered an advanced degree. Why isn't this degree appearing on the PDF form?

      E. Troubleshooting xTrain Issues

    1. I am re-appointing a trainee. Why is the correct stipend amount not appearing in xTrain?
    2. I do not see the "Initiate Termination Notice (TN)" link in xTrain. How can I initiate the termination notice for a fellow?
    3. I am the BO/Sponsor/ ASST and I am trying to edit the stipend amount in an early termination but the field is grayed out. How can I make this change?
    4. I am processing a termination for a trainee who was appointed for 3 years. The 1st year is incorrect on the termination notice, how do I edit the stipend amount?
    5. What do I do if the stipend amount for a fellowship is incorrect in the termination?
    6. I am processing an early termination for a particular grant mechanism (K12, KL2, KM1 and R25, R90, RL5, RL9) and I cannot edit the stipend amount.
    7. I am appointing a user for a new fiscal year but the stipend drop down menu is only providing me the old stipend amount.
    8. I am trying to process a termination/appointment for a trainee but an action link is not available.

    XIV. LikeThis
    1. Who can view the text one enters in My Scientific Text?
    2. How is LikeThis different than RePORTER?
    3. How do I access LikeThis?
    4. How can I provide feedback on LikeThis?
    5. Why are some of my applications not appearing on the My Applications tab?

    XIV. Administrative Supplements (Type 3s)
    1. Are administrative supplements required to be submitted electronically?
    2. Should I submit the administrative supplement request through the eRA Commons or Grants.gov?
    3. Who has the authority to submit an administrative supplement?
    4. Who can view the supplement once it is submitted?
    5. What does it mean if I see the "Initiate Request" option in the Administrative Supplements Status screen?
    6. Can I use the electronic administrative supplement requests for complex (multi-project) grant applications?
    7. I see the status of the request as "Accepted for Consideration." Does that mean the supplement request will be funded?

    XIV. Change of Institution/Relinquishing Statement (Type 7s)
    1. How do I electronically submit a Change of Institution for a grant?
    2. What is a Relinquishing Statement?
    3. Which types of grants can be relinquished?
    4. Who can initiate a Relinquishing Statement?
    5. Where do I go in eRA Commons to initiate a Change of Institution request?
    6. Can I submit more than one Relinquishing Statement?
    7. How will the receiving institution know that a Relinquishing Statement has been submitted?
    8. Does a Change of Institution need to be approved by anyone?
    9. How do I change the email address for the new institution?
    10. How do I assign my Change of Institution request to an institution that is not in eRA Commons?

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    I. General Questions
    1. What is eRA Commons?

      The eRA Commons is an online interface where signing officials, principal investigators, trainees and post-docs at institutions/organizations can access and share administrative information relating to research grants.

    2. Do I have to have my browser configured a certain way to use eRA Commons?

      Yes, to use the functionality of the eRA Commons, you must enable JavaScript on your browser. For instructions on enabling JavaScript, check your browser's help text. 

    3. I seem to be experiencing a problem with the browser when using an eRA module.

      Does this occur with a browser we support (See eRA Browser Support)? If not, please contact the eRA Help Desk, who will assist with known issues and possible workarounds.


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    II. eRA Commons Registration
    1. Do I need an eRA Commons account?

      Signing Officials and Principal Investigators from applicant organizations do need an eRA Commons account, as do other people who may be assisting in the process of grant application submission.

    2. How do I register my organization/institution with eRA Commons?

      Only individuals with legal signing authority - the Signing Official - can register their organization in Commons. The Signing Official typically has a title such as: President, CEO, Executive Director, Dean, Chancellor, Provost, Owner, or Partner. Please note both the applicant organization and the Principal Investigator (through the Signing Official) need to register in eRA Commons. [Remember that the user's applicant organization MUST also be registered with Grants.gov and the System for Award Management (SAM) before they can successfully submit an application to NIH. [To register at Grants.gov:http://www07.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants.html; to register at SAM:https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/ ]

      Follow these steps to register your organization in Commons.

    3. How does a Principal Investigator (PI) get registered in eRA Commons?

      Once the applicant organization is registered in eRA Commons, the organization's Signing Official can register the Principal Investigator by creating an account with the PI authority role. When a Signing Official creates an account for a PI, the PI will receive an email to go to the Commons to verify the PI's profile information. (This email is sent only when PI has prior NIH support, otherwise the account is created right away)

    4. If I am an individual Research Fellow, how do I register in the eRA Commons?

      Please see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-07-003 Guidance to Applicant Organizations about Registering Research Fellows in the eRA Commons

    5. How long does the registration process take?

      The Applicant organizations must start the registration process at least four weeks before the grant application submission deadline. Allow time for the PI to register once the organization has been registered in Commons. A PI must confirm Commons registration before application submission. 

    6. What is an IPF number?

      The Institution Profile (IPF) number is an internal NIH identifier that uniquely identifies and associates institutional information within NIH electronic systems. The NIH assigns an IPF number after the institution submits its request for registration. This is not a number that the applicant organization needs to know.

    7. How do I find my organization's DUNS number?

      You can contact your office of sponsored research to find the number.   However, if you are registered in Commons, you can find your DUNS number byviewing your institutional profile


      Visit the Dun and Bradstreet Web site to see if your organization already has a DUNS number.

    8. If I do not have a DUNS number, how do I obtain one?

      To obtain a DUNS number, please visit the Dun & Bradstreet Web site athttp://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do


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    III. Accounts Log In and Password
    1. How do I select a user name for eRA Commons?

      You can select any user name you would like as long as it is at least six characters and no more than 20 characters in length. It can be a combination of letters and numbers. Each user name must be unique within the eRA Commons community. Special characters, including spaces, may not be used. 

      Note that your Commons ID will stay with you for life, so choose a user name wisely.

    2. If I have forgotten my password, or have been locked out due to failed log-in attempts, what should I do?

      Remember that an institutional official (SO or AO) can reset your password. If you still experience trouble, contact the eRA Commons Help Desk for assistance. Note that all passwords should be kept private and secure. 

    3. How do I change my password?

      Follow these steps to change the password.

    4. I have changed institutions. Do I need a new Commons account?

      If you are a Principal Investigator, no; if you are a Signing Official, yes. PIs should maintain a single Commons account throughout their career, which will be affiliated with each new institution to which they move. PIs should work with the SO at the new institution to complete the affiliation process. A SO will need a new account with their new institution. Follow these steps for the SO to affiliate the PI

    5. Where will Notice of Award (NoA) notices be sent?

      Notices of Grant Awards (NoAs) are sent to the email address specified in the Institutional Profile (IPF). The Signing Official (SO) can update the NoA email address through the institutional profile update function in the eRA Commons. Additionally, the SO can provide a contact name and email address for NIH to communicate general issues with the institution and associated data. This contact information is in addition to the NoA email address.

    6. I am the Signing Official for my institution. Will I receive all of the NIH eRA Commons e-mail messages?

      The SO can assign a specific e-mail address to receive eRA Commons messages by updating the Institution Profile (IPF) section of the Commons. The e-mail address used in the section "Policy Announcements and Notifications E-mail Address:" will receive all policy announcements and notifications that are sent to registered users of the NIH eRA Commons. This address will not receive Notices of Award. The SO can enter an e-mail address to receive NoAs in the "NoA E-mail" section of the IPF.

    7. If I do not see the module I need on the eRA Commons selection bar, what should I do?

      Modules are visible to users according to the role they have been assigned for a particular module. These roles are largely assigned by the Signing Official, except for the IAR role that is enabled by a Scientific Review Officer. Contact the Signing Official or Office of Sponsored Research or equivalent office at your institution. If you cannot locate the appropriate person at your institution, contact the eRA Commons Help Desk by submitting a Web ticket at /help/ or by calling them at 1-866-504-9552 between the hours of 7 a.m. to 8.p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).

      • The list of Signing Officials can be found in the Institution Profile
        • Log in to eRA Commons
        • Select Institution Profile tab followed by the Basic tab
        • List of Signing Officials are listed at the bottom of the screen under Signing Officials

    8. I am a Signing Official for my organization but I am not listed within the Institution Profile?

      The Signing Official would need to update their Employment(s) in order to be displayed as a Signing Official within the Institution Profile.

    9. How do I locate my grant if it does not appear in the Grants List within eRA Commons?

      If your grant does not appear in the Grants List within eRA Commons, please contact the eRA Help Desk by submitting a Web ticket at /help/ or by calling them at 1-866-504-9552 between the operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8.p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays). Your Help Desk contact will assist you and work with the appropriate NIH parties to correct this problem. 

    10. I received a message from Commons stating: WARNING: The eRA Commons account has 'SO' and 'PI' roles. What should I do?

      eRA requires separate Principal Investigator (PI) and Signing Official (SO) accounts. Should you have both roles associated with one Commons account, you can resolve this issue by creating a separate eRA Commons account for the Signing Official, then deleting the 'SO' role from the account included in the submission. 

      Follow these steps for to separating the SO and PI roles in eRA Commons:

      • Log into eRA Commons
      • Select the Admin tab followed by the Accounts sub-tab
      • Select Manage Accounts sub-tab
      • Select the Create new NIH Profile button.
      • Fill out the Create a New Account form and select the Role of SO
      • Confirm information displayed and click Continue
      • Once all the steps are completed, you will see a message in red at the top of the screen indicating that the account was created successfully.
      • When the account is created, the individual will receive two emails. One email confirms the account has been created. The second email provides a temporary password log-in to eRA Commons
      • Once the new SO account has been created, log into eRA Commons with the new SO account (account with the role of SO only).
      • Select the Admin tab followed by the Accounts sub-tab
      • Select Manage Accounts sub-tab
      • Enter the last and first name of the individual
      • Click Search
      • Locate the desired individual in the search results and click the "Edit" link below the Action column (the account with both the SO and PI role)
      • On the Edit Account screen, select ONLY the PI role from the Role drop down menu
      • In the field marked 'Reassign Account,' select the drop down menu and select the USER ID for the new SO account
      • Click Submit
        • There should now be two separate accounts. The original account will have only the PI role, and the new account will have the SO role

    11. How do I change the institution affiliation listed in Commons?

      Follow the steps to change affiliations in Commons

    12. I am affiliated with a new institution, but the old institution is still being displayed in Commons when I login.

      Please follow the steps on changing the institution affiliation.


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    IV. Roles in eRA Commons
    1. What is the Signing Official (SO) Role?

      The Signing Official (SO) has institutional authority to legally bind the institution in grants administration matters. The individual fulfilling this role may have any number of titles in the grantee organization. The label "Signing Official" is used in conjunction with the eRA Commons. The SO can register the institution, and create and modify the institutional profile and user accounts. The SO also can view all grants within the institution, including status and award information. An SO can create additional SO accounts as well as accounts with any other role or combination of roles. See eRA Commons Roles (PDF - 183 KB). 

      For most institutions, the Signing Official (SO) is located in its Office of Sponsored Research or equivalent. 

      The list of Signing Officials can also be found in the Institution Profile

      • Log in to eRA Commons
      • Select Institution Profile tab followed by the Basic tab
      • The list of Signing Officials is listed at the bottom under Signing Officials

        If you are unable to identify your SO, contact the NIH eRA Commons Help Desk at commons@od.nih.gov.

    2. What is a Principal Investigator (PI) Role?

      A Principal Investigator (PI) is designated by the grantee organization to direct the project or activity being supported by the grant. The PI is responsible and accountable to the grantee for the proper conduct of the project or activity. The role of the PI within the eRA Commons is to complete the grant process, either by completing the required forms via the eRA Commons or by delegating this responsibility to another individual. A PI can access information for any grant for which they are designated the PI. See eRA Commons Roles (PDF - 183 KB). 

    3. What is an Account Administrator (AA) Role? Does a Signing Official (SO) need to assign an AA?

      The Account Administrator role is able to create/edit all Commons accounts (except IAR accounts). Note: The AA cannot create/modify an Institutional Profile or user's Personal Profile. The creation of an Account Administrator (AA) is at the SO's discretion and does not need to occur. See eRA Commons Roles(PDF - 183 KB). 

    4. What are the other roles available in eRA Commons?

      To view a complete list of roles available in eRA Commons, see eRA Commons Roles.

    5. How do I add a role to an individual registered in Commons?

      Follow these steps to add a role to an individual registered in Commons.


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    V. Creating Accounts; Delegating and Revoking Authority; Affiliating
    1. I am the Signing Official for my institution. Can I delegate administrative authority to another administrative account?

      An SO can create accounts for others to help administer tasks in the eRA Commons. The SO can assign the appropriate roles for these users (SO, AO, AA), depending on their function. Note that if the SO delegates his/her role, he/she is effectively giving the SO role to that person.

    2. How does a Signing Official create a new account for someone else in his/her organization?

      Follow these steps for the SO to create a new account for someone in his/her organization

    3. How do I revoke Submit authority that was delegated to a non-SO account?

      Only users in the SO role can revoke Submit authority. The SO should follow these steps to revoke Submit authority delegated to a non-SO account.

    4. How does a PI delegate Progress Report authority to another user?

      The PI must follow these steps to delegate Progress Report authority to another user.

    5. How do I revoke Progress Report authority from another PI?

      Follow these steps for revoking Progress Report authority from another PI.

    6. How does an SO affiliate a PI to a new organization?

      Follow these steps for an SO to affiliate a PI

    7. How does an SO unaffiliate a PI?

      Follow these steps for an SO to unaffiliated a PI.

    8. How do I edit a Commons account, if I have the appropriate role?

      Follow these steps to edit a Commons account.


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    VI. Personal Profile
    1. How do I update my email address?

      Follow the steps listed in the 'Name and ID' section of the online Personal Profile help.

      Note: If someone other than the Principal Investigator (PI) will be adding the PI's information, he/she must have updating authority. (See Question VI. 2below)

    2. How does the PI delegate Personal Profile (PPF) update authority?

      The PI must follow these steps to delegate Personal Profile update authority.

    3. How do I revoke Personal Profile (PPF) update authority?

      Follow these steps for revoking Personal Profile update authority.


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    VII. Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)
    1. Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)

      Please review the entire list of RPPR FAQs.


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    VIII. Financial Status Report
    1. How do I add the Financial Status Report (FSR) role?

      Only an account holder with authority to edit accounts (SO, AO, AA) can add the Financial Status Report (FSR) role to a profile. Follow these steps for adding the FSR role to a profile.

      Note that the FSR has been replaced by the Federal Financial Report, but the FSR role has not been renamed.


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    IX. Grants Closeout
    1. What is Grant Closeout and how do I close out my grant in eRA Commons?

      Grants Closeout is a feature within eRA Commons that allows a grantee to electronically file the information necessary to complete grant closeout requirements. It interfaces with the Closeout system used by Agency staff to track and monitor this business process. The closeout documents include the final Federal Financial Report, the final Invention Statement and Certification and the final Progress Report. The PI or SO should follow these steps to locate the Grants Closeout link in eRA Commons.

      See Closeout Status for more information.


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    X. Just in Time
    1. How do I know when I should submit Just-in-Time information?

      Applicants should not submit any JIT information until it is requested by the grantor agency. NIH issues just-in-time emails for all applications that receive an overall impact score of 40 or less. 

    2. Why does the Just-in-Time (JIT) link appear in eRA Commons's Status section when I have not been asked to submit the information?

      The Just-in-Time link appears for all grant applications within 24 hours after the score is released to ensure its availability should the grantor agency request the Just-in-Time information. Applicants should not see this link as an indicator of the need to submit JIT information and should rely on a specific request from agency staff.

      See Just-in-Time for more information.


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    XI. No Cost Extension
    1. How do I request a no cost extension?

      How do I request a no cost extension? 
      No Cost Extensions may be performed automatically one-time only by the Signing Official (SO) no earlier than 90 days before the end of the project and no later than the end date. The SO should follow these steps to request a no cost extension.

      See 'No Cost Extension' for more information.

      Note: There can only be one no cost extension through Commons per grant. If you have applied previously for an extension for this grant, an Extension link will not be available. Any future request needs to be directed to a Grants 


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    XII. Reference Letters
    1. How does a referee submit reference letters for an applicant?

      Got to ' How Do I Submit a Reference Letter' in the Commons online help. Also see the demo on Submitting Reference Letters through eRA Commons. See frequently asked questions about Letters of Reference on the Applying Electronically Web site.

    2. How long will it take for a reference letter to show in the system after someone has submitted one on your behalf?

      Submitted reference letters post immediately. See instructions for ensuring reference letters have been submitted.  If you do not see the list of letters in Personal Profile, the letters have not been submitted. 


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    XIII. Internet Assisted Review
    1. How do I sign my electronic Conflict of Interest (eCOI) form?

      See instructions for signing the  Pre-Meeting Conflict of Interest Form and the  Post Meeting Conflict of Interest Form

    2. The Scientific Review Officer (SRO) has informed me that my personal information is not up to date. How do I update my reviewer information in eRA Commons?

      Please see the instructions to fill out the 'Reviewer Information' section of the Personal Profile in eRA Commons.

    3. I am a reviewer assigned to a study section, but when I log in to eRA Commons, I cannot find any meetings. What should I do?

      • Please verify that you have received an email invitation from the SRO to participate in the meeting. When asked to participate in a review meeting, you will receive an email from the SRO informing you that you can access IAR. If you do not have an eRA Commons account, the email directs you to create a new eRA Commons account. If you already have an eRA Commons account, you are directed to access the eRA Commons log in screen. In the latter case, follow the link in the email to access the eRA Commons, which includes IAR 

        Note: If you do not have an email invitation, please contact the SRO
      • You could also have logged into eRA Commons with the wrong account. 
        Note that you should have only one account in eRA Commons. Make sure you are using the account listed on the invitation email

    4. Where do I find the password for the CD I received for the review meeting

      Follow the instructions for obtaining the CD password

    5. I am a reviewer and have been asked to enter my banking information to receive payment for my participation in a review meeting. Where do go to enter that information?

      You have to enter your home address in the Personal Profile section before you can access the Secure Payment Reimbursement System (SPRS) to enter your banking information. See instructions for Updating the Reviewer Information section of Personal Profile and instructions for How Do I Register for Payments?


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    XIV. Summary Statement
    1. How do I access my Summary Statement?

      Only the Principal Investigator (PI) can access the grant application's Summary Statement. The PI should follow these steps to view his/her application's summary statement.


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    XIV. My NCBI
    1. When will changes that I make to my bibliography in My NCBI transfer to the eRA Commons?

      All changes made in the My NCBI system will appear instantaneously in the eRA Commons.

    2. Can I add a citation to an RPPR via My Bibliography?

      You may propose a grant-paper association in My Bibliography, but in order to add a paper to an RPPR, you will have to do so in eRA Commons.

    3. What do each of the grant-paper association statuses mean?

      • For a list of possible status values and their associated action values for the My Bibliography grant-paper associations, see  eRA Commons User Guide, Section 8.7 Publications (January 2012):

        Possible Status Values

        Possible Action Values

        Details

        Proposed

        Reject/Confirm

        The PI can either reject or confirm the proposed grant-paper association.

        PI Confirmed

        Reject

        The PI can reject the confirmed grant-paper association.

        Rejected

        Confirm

        The PI can confirm the rejected grant-paper associations.

        Official

        N/A

        The grant-paper association was confirmed by the PI, added to eSNAP and the eSNAP was submitted to the agency.

    4. Will associating a citation to different years of the same grant result in each association displaying as a separate line in Commons?

      Yes. Each citation, whether to one or multiple years of a grant award, is treated as its own separate entity in eRA Commons.

    5. I entered my citation in the eRA Commons and not via My Bibliography. Why does my citation not display a grant-paper association status?

      Because My NCBI's My Bibliography is the primary location for PD/PIs to manage their bibliographies, and in the interest of maintaining accurate and complete data, eRA Commons does not allow a PD/PI to enter his or her citations directly into Commons. As such, grant-paper association statuses will appear only for citations added to a My Bibliography account that is linked with a Commons account.


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    XIV. xTrain

      A. Appointments & Re-appointments

    1. At what point can I use xTrain to make appointments for a new budget year?

      The link for making a new appointment to a training grant, institutional career development award or research education award will be available as soon as the Notice of Award for the new budget period has been issued. Follow these steps to make appointments.

    2. How do I make an appointment in the final year of a training grant when future year funding is not yet known?

      xTrain allows future year appointments to extend beyond the project period end date when future year funding is unknown. When the appointment end date exceeds the project period end date, however, the submission of the appointment will be accompanied by the following warning message, "If continued funding is not provided through a competitive renewal, this grant will need to be extended to cover the full period of appointment." Follow these steps to make appointments.

    3. Why does the PHS 2271 Statement of Appointment form, which is displayed when I initiate a re-appointment or amend a previous appointment, look different than the one originally submitted to the agency on paper?

      When the agency received the original paper forms, the information contained in the forms was entered into the eRA databases for further agency processing and the original paper documents were placed in the official agency grant file. The xTrain system uses the most recent version of the appointment form; therefore, the original paper-based information is pulled from the eRA databases and displayed in the most recent form version. There may be some fields in the newer form that are not populated because the information was not collected during the original submission.

    4. If appointments are not routed through the Business Official, how can BOs keep track of the training grants for their institution?

      BOs can log into the system at any time to see the status of all the appointments and terminations at their institution for which they are the Business Official by logging into eRA Commons, pressing the xTrain tab, and searching for the desired grants. Follow these steps to view training grants.

    5. Why is my Personal Profile information not populating on the PHS 2271 Statement of Appointment form until the form is submitted?

      For all trainees, the PDF form is populated with the role information at the time of submission. This is by design and is not an error. The PDF for trainees with new accounts will therefore have blank values until submission of the appointment. Trainees with existing accounts will see the old information on the form until submission. Note: Personal Profile information is validated when the form is routed back to the PD/PI. The form cannot be routed until the information is complete and no error messages are received. Follow these steps to view the most recent Appointment or Termination form.


      B. Termination Notices

    1. Who can initiate/submit a termination notice?

      Go to the xTrain online help to learn who can initiate/submit termination notices.

    2. Is an amendment necessary if a trainee terminates early?

      No. When the termination notice is prepared, the new termination date should be included. The system will auto-amend the last appointment to reflect the new termination date.

      Learn more about early terminations.

    3. What should I do when I get an early termination error message?

      xTrain currently does not allow users to modify the termination date more than once; if you attempt to do so, you will get an error message. The workaround is to delete the termination notice and start again. See the xTrain online help to learn more about processing termination notices as a Trainee and as a Business Official.

    4. How should I terminate a fellow when there is a change of institutions?

      The original institution should send verification of the stipend, period of support, and other necessary information both to the new institution and to NIH. By accepting the fellowship transfer, the new institution also assumes responsibility for terminating the entire fellowship award in xTrain. See the xTrain online help to learn more about initiating termination notices for fellowships. See also thexTrain Termination of Fellowships Quick Reference Guide for Institution Users.


      C. eRA Commons Accounts & Role

    1. How can a Signing Official perform submit actions in xTrain?

      In order for Signing Officials to perform submit actions in xTrain, they must also have the "Business Official" role. For more information about the Business Official role and how to assign it to a user's eRA Commons account, see the xTrain External/Institutional User Guide. See also the xTrain online help for more information about setting up an account.

    2. If a PD/PI delegates authority to an assistant (ASST), can that assistant perform all the same functions and receive the same notifications as the PD/PI?

      The assistant can perform all the same functions and receive the same notifications as the PD/PI, except for submitting appointment forms (or termination notices for K12, KL2, R25, and KM1 activity codes) to the agency. Learn more about xTrain external user rolesaccessing xTrain as an ASST, andassigning and removing an ASST delegation.

    3. If a PD/PI wants to delegate xTrain authority to an individual and that individual is not listed with the Current Institution Users, how does he/she have them added to the list?

      The institution's Signing Official must add the ASST role to the individual's existing eRA Commons account or create an eRA Commons account with the ASST role for the individual if he/she does not already have an account. See the complete list of eRA Commons FAQs for more details and instructions. See also more information about xTrain external user rolesaccessing xTrain as an ASST, and assigning and removing an ASST delegation.

    4. What Commons Personal Profile fields are checked by xTrain?

      See the xTrain online help for information about which Personal Profile fields are checked by xTrain.

    5. The Trainee Specific Information screen within a trainee's Personal Profile includes the question "Are you from a disadvantaged background?" What does "disadvantaged background" mean in this context?

      See the xTrain online help for guidance in answering the question about having a disadvantaged background.

    6. What functions can a user with the Sponsor role perform in xTrain?

      See the xTrain online help for information about xTrain external user roles.

    7. What is the Sponsor Delegate role?

      See the xTrain  online help for information about xTrain external user roles.

    8. I am attempting to view my appointments in X-Train, but I am unable to route to PI or enter information in the fields.

      See the xTrain online help for accessing xTrain with multiple PI affiliations.


      D. Additional xTrain Topics

    1. Does anything need to be done in xTrain if a trainee takes parental leave?

      If the parental leave is 60 calendar days or less and the leave has been approved by the PD/PI on the training grant, no steps need to be taken in xTrain. Trainees may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to eight work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child, provided that individuals in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to this level of paid parental leave. Either parent is eligible for parental leave.

    2. Does anything need to be done in xTrain if a trainee takes an unpaid leave of absence?

      If a trainee requires an extended period of time away from research training (i.e., more than 15 calendar days of sick leave or more than 60 calendar days of parental leave per year), an authorized representative of the organization must seek approval from the agency for an unpaid leave of absence. Following approval of the leave of absence, and at the beginning of the leave, the organization should terminate the trainee's appointment to the training grant in xTrain. Upon the trainee's resumption of Kirschstein-NRSA support, the organization must submit a re-appointment via xTrain. Follow these steps for early terminations.

    3. When appointing a trainee to a short-term training appointment or preparing a termination notice for a trainee who is terminating early, what should I do if the stipend amount computed by xTrain differs from the amount calculated by my institution?

      NIH recognizes that institutional accounting systems may vary and may use different methods to calculate stipends for research training periods of less than one year. As a result, the xTrain system permits institutional users to overwrite the system-calculated stipend amounts for training appointments that are less than a full year. In such cases, the difference between the stipend amount provided by the institution and that calculated by xTrain must be reasonable and generally should not exceed $500.

    4. Will using xTrain remove the need for signed paper forms?

      Yes, with the following exceptions:

      • Permanent U.S. residents must submit a notary's signed statement certifying that they have (1) a Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), or (2) other legal verification of such status.
      • A signed Payback Service Agreement is required for first-time postdoctoral trainees appointed to Kirschstein-NRSA research training grants.

    5. Why am I getting this error message: "Stipend amount must be entered and be greater than zero."

      Users will get this error message when they enter a comma in the stipend amount. The value of the stipend should be only numbers.

    6. I've entered an advanced degree. Why isn't this degree appearing on the PDF form?

      On the Personal Profile, under the Degrees/Residency Tab, users are asked to indicate their "Terminal Research Degree." If an individual indicates yes ("Y") for any of their degrees, xTrain understands that to mean that there are no further degrees to be entered or expected in the future. Users should enter "Y" only after they have entered all their degrees, and only when their education is complete. If an xTrain user is pursuing an additional degree through an appointment to an institutional training, career development, or research education award, that degree should be entered as "in progress." See the xTrain online help for more information about the Personal Profile, including the List of Degrees.


      E. Troubleshooting xTrain Issues

    1. Why can't I see the trainee's full list of previous NIH support on the appointment form?

      xTrain populates the list of Kirschstein-NRSA support with grants associated with the trainee's eRA Commons account. The eRA Commons attempts to match existing support records to the trainee when the trainee's Commons account is created. Sometimes, multiple accounts are inadvertently created for a single trainee and the information associated with these accounts must be merged. Contact the eRA Commons Help Desk for assistance with consolidating multiple eRA Commons accounts. In addition, appointments previously submitted on paper may not have been entered into xTrain. If this is the case, contact the Grants Management Specialist listed in the latest Notice of Award.

    2. What should I do if appointments for a previous budget year, submitted on paper forms, do not appear in xTrain?

      Contact the Grants Management Specialist listed in the latest Notice of Award.

    3. I am re-appointing a trainee. Why is the correct stipend amount not appearing in xTrain?

      When re-appointing a trainee, you should enter the new start and end dates in the Period of Appointment for the re-appointment and then press the Save button. Once the dates are saved, the appropriate stipend amounts for the new time period will appear in the Stipend Level or Salary drop down menu. Select the appropriate stipend level from the list. 

      Follow these steps to make reappointments.

      Note: If the re-appointment has already been accepted by NIH with the incorrect stipend amount, you should first contact your Grants Management Specialist so he or she can revert the re-appointment to its prior state and then route it back to you to make the required changes.

    4. I do not see the "Initiate Termination Notice (TN)" link in xTrain. How can I initiate the termination notice for a fellow?

      If the "Initiate TN" link for a fellow is not visible in xTrain, contact the eRA Commons Help Desk for assistance. 

      See the xTrain online help to learn more about terminating fellowships.

    5. What should the Sponsor do if he or she is unable to certify the information contained in the termination notice?

      In unusual cases, the Sponsor may not be available to certify the information on the termination notice. When such situations occur, and the institution has tried unsuccessfully to include the Sponsor in the termination process, the Business Official may assume responsibility for certification and submit the termination notice to the agency via xTrain.

      See the xTrain  online help for more information about processing termination notices

    6. Why is the grant for which I am a Sponsor not appearing on the My Grants screen?

      After accessing xTrain, Sponsors are brought to the Search for Grants screen. On occasion, the Sponsor's account is not automatically associated with the grant for which they are the official Sponsor. This will sometimes occur when the name on the Sponsor's Commons account differs even slightly from the name indicated on the fellowship award. For example, the Commons account of "John J. Smith" will not be associated with a fellowship award if the name of record on the Sponsor's Commons account is "John James Smith." If this issue occurs, the Sponsor should contact the eRA Commons Help Desk to troubleshoot the issue. Be sure to enter the Sponsor name on the fellowship application just as it appears in the Sponsor's Commons account. This will ensure that the fellowship will be associated with the correct Sponsor when awarded. 

    7. I am the BO/Sponsor/ ASST and I am trying to edit the stipend amount in an early termination but the field is grayed out. How can I make this change?

      For Fellowship or Training grants, only the Principal Investigator (PI) or Fellow can edit the stipend amount on the termination notice when processing an early termination. 

    8. I am processing a termination for a trainee who was appointed for 3 years. The 1st year is incorrect on the termination notice, how do I edit the stipend amount?

      The stipend amount on the termination for a training grant is pulled from the accepted Statement of Appointment Form PHS 2271 for the trainee. To fix this issue, please delete the initiated termination, go back to the 1st year of the appointment and submit an amendment with the correct stipend amounts.  Once the amendment is accepted by the institution, you can initiate the termination and it will display the correct stipend amount. 

      **Please note if you are terminating the trainee early (last year of support), you can modify the date and the stipend in the termination notice. 

    9. What do I do if the stipend amount for a fellowship is incorrect in the termination?

      The stipend amount for a Fellowship pulls from the Notice of Award (NoA). If the previous support year has the incorrect stipend amount, you must contact the Grants Management Specialist (GMS) who can work with you in revising the NoA to the correct stipend. 

      **Please note if the fellowship is terminating early (last year of support), you can modify the date and the stipend in the termination notice to reflect the correct stipend amount. 

    10. I am processing an early termination for a particular grant mechanism (K12, KL2, KM1 and R25, R90, RL5, RL9) and I cannot edit the stipend amount.

      For K12, KL2, KM1 and R25, R90, RL5, RL9 grant mechanisms, the termination will not allow for an early termination. Please delete the initiated termination and process an amendment for the appointment with the correct end date. Once the amendment is accepted, you can initiate a termination and the system will pull the correct end date and stipend.

    11. I am appointing a user for a new fiscal year but the stipend drop down menu is only providing me the old stipend amount.

      The stipend level drop down menu is based on the budget year of the grant period and not the appointment period of the trainee. 

      Example: If a trainee appointment start date is 02/01/2014 but the budget start date of the Grant is 06/01/2013, the stipend to be paid would reflect FY2013's stipend level. 

    12. I am trying to process a termination/appointment for a trainee but an action link is not available.

      If a trainee has an appointment or termination in progress, the action links will not be available to make any new changes. The existing appointment/termination must be accepted or deleted before the action links will be available.


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    XIV. LikeThis
    1. Who can view the text one enters in My Scientific Text?

      The text you enter in My Scientific Text remains confidential and is not available to other users of this site.

    2. How is LikeThis different than RePORTER?

      LikeThis gives users the ability to find awarded projects that are similar to their applications (both unfunded and funded). RePORTER only captures information from awarded (funded) projects. See the LikeThis online help for steps to navigate LikeThis and view funded projects in RePORTER.

    3. How do I access LikeThis?

      Follow these steps to access LikeThis via a link on the eRA Commons landing page.

    4. How can I provide feedback on LikeThis?

      You can provide feedback via the eRA Commons Help Desk.

    5. Why are some of my applications not appearing on the My Applications tab?

      My Applications only displays applications from fiscal year 2007 forward. See the LikeThis online help for more information on the My Applications tab.


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    XIV. Administrative Supplements (Type 3s)
    1. Are administrative supplements required to be submitted electronically?

      Since Feb. 1, 2012, applicants have had the option of submitting a request for administrative supplements electronically through Grants.gov or directly through eRA Commons [See NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-12-024]. However, during the pilot, grantees can also submit on paper through the existing process.

    2. Should I submit the administrative supplement request through the eRA Commons or Grants.gov?

      Administrative supplement requests may be submitted through either process and each carries its own advantages. The benefit of submitting through eRA Commons is that the applicant can take advantage of the pre-population of data from the parent award. So it greatly simplifies administrative supplements requests for adding personnel, replacing or upgrading equipment, or purchasing additional supplies.

      Submitting through Grants.gov allows users to leverage the same process used for submitting competing grant applications. This is particularly useful for those applicants who make use of system-to-system submissions.

    3. Who has the authority to submit an administrative supplement?

      Only the Signing Official can submit an administrative supplement request, although a Principal Investigator or a person with an 'Assistant' role in eRA Commons can prepare the request and fill out the necessary forms. Follow these steps for submitting an administrative supplement through the eRA Commons.

    4. Who can view the supplement once it is submitted?

      The status of the administrative supplement can be viewed by the Principal Investigator, the Signing Official and a person with the 'Assistant' role in eRA Commons. See the eRA Commons online help for more information about submitting an administrative supplement. Submissions made via Grants.gov can also be tracked in eRA Commons.

    5. What does it mean if I see the "Initiate Request" option in the Administrative Supplements Status screen?

      eRA Commons will display all grants that are potentially eligible for an administrative supplement request on the Administrative Supplements Status screen. This should not be considered an invitation to submit or a promise of award. We suggest contacting the Program Official before submitting a request to determine the likelihood of it being awarded. See the eRA Commons online help for more information about the Administrative Supplements Status screen.

    6. I am working on a request in the eRA Commons. Why do I keep losing data that I am adding to various budget categories (Personnel, Equipment, Travel, etc.) on my request when I click to move to the next category?

      You must click the Save button when it appears at the bottom of the page before moving to the next item. The Add button creates the data fields, but you must click Save to move the data to the form that is saved in Commons. See the eRA Commons online help for steps to navigate each of the budget categories.

    7. Can I use the electronic administrative supplement requests for complex (multi-project) grant applications?

      In 2013 NIH started accepting some complex applications electronically (e.g., P50, P01). For details, see the transition timeline of activity codes transitioning to electronic submission of multi-project applications. A new electronic system, ASSIST is used to submit these multi-project applications. Each funding opportunity will clearly state whether electronic submission is required and will link you to the appropriate submission method (list of production multi-project FOAs that have transitioned to electronic submission).

    8. I see the status of the request as "Accepted for Consideration." Does that mean the supplement request will be funded?

      No, this status simply means that the request has been successfully passed along to the NIH Institute/Center (IC) for review. Another status option is Refused, which means the application has been sent back to the applicant. The grantee will receive an automatic notification with additional comments from the IC as to why the request is not moving forward. See the eRA Commons online help for more information on tracking the status of grant applications.


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    XIV. Change of Institution/Relinquishing Statement (Type 7s)
    1. How do I electronically submit a Change of Institution for a grant?

      The Change of Institution application has two parts. The institution currently holding the grant must complete a Relinquishing Statement via eRA Commons that states it is giving up the grant and identifies the receiving institution. The receiving institution must submit an application via Grants.gov using the Parent Funding Opportunity Announcement. The application package associated with the activity code of the grant must be used for the submission. The Relinquishing Statement and application can be submitted in either order, but both must be received before the request can be considered.

      Follow these Search/View Relinquishing Statements.

    2. What is a Relinquishing Statement?

      A Relinquishing Statement is a declaration by the original grantee institution that it has agreed to relinquish responsibility for an active grant. This must occur before the expiration of the approved project period.

    3. Which types of grants can be relinquished?

      A Relinquishing Statement may be submitted for any activity code. All awarded and active grants are eligible to be relinquished except for the ones with the following statuses:

      • 02 - Withdrawn
      • 21 - Ineligible organization - application withdrawn
      • 30 - Withdrawn by Institute/Center (IC)
      • 34 - Administratively withdrawn by IC prior to review or council
      Subprojects, Institutional Allowances, and Supplements are excluded from being eligible.

    4. Who can initiate a Relinquishing Statement?

      Only a Signing Official can initiate a Relinquishing Statement. A Project Director/Principal Investigator can view, edit, save, cancel changes, and route the Relinquishing Statement to the Signing Official to submit it through eRA Commons to  the grantor agency.

    5. Where do I go in eRA Commons to initiate a Change of Institution request?

      A Change of Institution request is initiated by the Signing Official for the original grantee institution that has agreed to relinquish responsibility for an active grant. The process is initiated from the Status tab and the Change of Institution link along the left side of the screen.

      Follow these steps to start, create, edit, and save a Relinquishing Statement.

    6. Can I submit more than one Relinquishing Statement?

      Only one Relinquishing Statement per active grant can be in progress at a time.

    7. How will the receiving institution know that a Relinquishing Statement has been submitted?

      eRA Commons will notify the receiving institution when a Relinquishing Statement has identified it as such. The receiving institution can view this Relinquishing Statement by logging into eRA Commons, clicking on Status and then the Change of Institution link to the left side of the window, and executing a query for the Relinquishing Statement in the Search for Relinquishing Statements window.

      Follow these steps to start, create, edit, and save a Relinquishing Statement. See alsothese sample email notifications.
      If the original grantee institution does not correctly identify the receiving institution when it sends the Relinquishing Statement, then eRA Commons  will not send a notification. The receiving institution will need to contact the eRA Commons Help Desk to link the document in order to view it in eRA Commons.

    8. Does a Change of Institution need to be approved by anyone?

      Yes. The NIH Institute that funded and is managing the grant must approve the change before the new institution will see it in eRA Commons. Contacting the funding institute prior to submitting any Change of Institution documents is highly recommended.

    9. How do I change the email address for the new institution?

      First, perform a search for the Relinquishing Statement. Click on the Manage Relinquishing Statement link on the Status Result - Change of Institution screen. Click the Edit link under the Action column and make the necessary changes. Click Save at the bottom of the form when done.

      Follow these steps to edit a Relinquishing Statement.

    10. How do I assign my Change of Institution request to an institution that is not in eRA Commons?

      From the Relinquishing Statement screen, click Search for a New Institution Name. The New Institution - Search screen will appear. At the bottom of the screen, type in the name of the institution and click Insert. Then complete the Relinquishing Statement as prompted.

      Follow these steps to start, create, edit, and save a Relinquishing Statement.

This page last updated on June 24, 2014
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