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2014

Highlights of eRA Commons' Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, April 24

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scheduled Downtime for April Release:
eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, April 24, and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, April 25, 2014. When the system is available again, you will see new features and functionality have been added to the system.   The following are highlights of eRA Commons' upcoming April 24-25 software release. These are just some of the many features being rolled out for this release; check out the release notes for more information on features and fixes.

Highlights of eRA Commons' April Software Release
Updates in eRA Commons

NIH is making several changes to the Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) module to improve institutional reporting and promote compliance:

  • The FCOI Annual Report link in eRA Commons will appear closer to when it is due:
    • For ongoing projects:  The Annual Report link will appear 75 days prior to the next budget period start date, following the submission of an Original Report or Annual Report when there is a future noncompeting year pending within a current competitive segment.
    • For eRA Commons No Cost Extensions:  The Annual Report link will appear the day after the grantee takes action to extend the project via the Commons.
    • For Notice of Award (NoA) extensions:  An Annual Report link will not be available.  Instead, until eRA implements a change in the FCOI module, the NIH will send the grantee a "Request for Additional Information" asking the grantee to provide a status of the FCOI and any changes to the management plan, if applicable, prior to the issuance of the revised NoA. 
  • FCOI Signing Officials (SOs) Will Receive an Email Reminder That Annual Report is Due: 
    • An email reminder will now be sent to the FCOI SO, when the Annual Report link becomes available in the FCOI module (as described above). 
  • FCOI Reports to be Submitted under the Current, Active Grant Year:
    • When an FCOI SO enters a grant number for a grant year that is not the current, active grant year, a warning message will appear to allow the SO to select another grant year, if appropriate. 
    • Future Annual Reports will be submitted under the currently funded grant year (e.g., year 04) without regard to the grant year in which the Original Report was submitted (e.g., year 01).  This is a change to the way the system currently functions. 
  • Revised FCOI Reports May Be Submitted up to 150 days After Submitting an Original Report:
    • Revised FCOI reports are only needed following the completion of a Retrospective Review when the grantee needs to:
      1. provide new FCOI information that results in a change to a previously submitted FCOI report (e.g., an increase in value of a previously reported significant financial interest (SFI), discovery of a new SFI, or changes to the management of the FCOI, etc.) or
      2. provide a Mitigation Report if bias is found. 
    • Grantees should not submit a Revised FCOI report to notify NIH that either the Retrospective Review has been completed or that bias is not found. 
    • When the Original Report is submitted and the grantee indicates that the Retrospective Review is not completed, the system will allow the Institution to submit a Revised FCOI report up to 150 days after the Original Report's submission date. 
  • New FCOI Roles in Commons Replace FCOI Delegations:
  • Two new roles have been added to Commons for those who work with the Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) module. Only an organization's Signing Official (SO role) can assign these roles.
    • FCOI_ASST: Assign the FCOI_ASST role to those users in the institution who will assist in working on the FCOI reporting process. These users can initiate, edit, view, search, and delete forms.
    • FCOI_View: Assign the FCOI_View role to those users who need authority to search for and view FCOI information entered by the institution, but who will not need to perform any data entry or make changes to the information. These users will have read-only access to the FCOI report and data.
  • Only an organization's Signing Official (SO role) can assign these roles.

Prior to this release, Commons users with the ASST role could be delegated the authority either to assist with FCOI tasks (FCOI Asst authority) or to view FCOI information (FCOI View authority). These new roles replace the former authorities, but provide the same levels of access to FCOI module. Starting with this release, SOs can assign a Commons user to one of the new roles and do not need to use the Delegation feature of Commons for FCOI purposes. 

NOTE: With this release, eRA has assigned current ASST users delegated with either of the two FCOI authorities (FCOI Asst and FCOI View) to the corresponding new role as described above. For these existing users, the SOs do not need to assign the new roles.

  • FCOI Corrections - A Change in Business Process when Grantees Identify Errors in Submitted Data:
    • Corrections to some FCOI report data can be made without NIH taking action to rescind the Original report and requiring the grantee to submit a new report.  Depending on the error, the options are:
      • Errors in the following data  can be corrected only by NIH rescinding the Original Report and requiring the grantee to submit a new report:
        • Grant Number,
        • Investigator Name with the conflict, and
        • Subrecipient information

    When these corrections are needed, the FCOI SO should contact the Grants Management Specialist/Officer identified on the latest Notice of Award to ask NIH to rescind the FCOI report. 

    • Errors to the following data  can be corrected by NIH sending the Institution a "Request for Additional Information," which allows the grantee to make the correction and submit the corrected FCOI report:
      • FCOI data (entity name and significant financial interest data)
      • Responses to the compliance questions (i.e., questions numbered 4, 5 or 6). 
    When these corrections are needed, the FCOI SO should write to the NIH Grants Management Specialist/Officer identified on the Notice of Award to explain the nature of the error and the need to make a correction. 
  • Other FCOI Changes:
    • Only one revision will be allowed to the original FCOI report
    • Revisions to annual reports will no longer be accepted
    • If NIH rescinds any FCOI record, the entire FCOI record (original, annual and revised reports) will be rescinded

For more information on these changes in FCOI, please see Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-081, the FCOI Online Help (accessed by clicking on the question marks on the screens of the FCOI module) and the FCOI User Guide.

  • RPPR Open for all Type 5 Non-SNAP Progress Reports
    Beginning on April 25, NIH will open up the use of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) in eRA Commons for the electronic submission of annual progress reports for all Type 5 non-SNAP progress reports. For more information, please see the Submit Progress Report page, the Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-079, and the updated NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Instruction Guide.
  • Online Help Now Available from Within eRA Commons
    • Online Help for Account Management, used by authorized eRA Commons users to create and manage accounts, can now be accessed from specific Account Management forms within eRA Commons. The question marks for help will take you to the specific information for that form or topic. 
    • Federal Financial Report (FFR) also has new online help topics. FFR topics can be accessed from the Contents panel of the online help or by selecting one of the help  ('?') icons found on most screens.

Updates in eSubmission

  • Reorder Components in ASSIST
    ASSIST now provides the option to set the order of different components within a component type. Previous to this release, components had to be created in the order in which you wanted them to appear in the final application image. You didn't have a lot of options if you entered 6 projects and then decided that you wanted the fourth project to appear first. Starting with this release, the order of the components (e.g., Project-001, Project-002, etc.) can be controlled and modified before final submission.

    Refer to the online help for ASSIST for more information regarding this and all ASSIST features.

NOTE: The ability to submit help tickets online will not be available during the downtime listed above. However, customers can always email the eRA Help Desk at that time; commons@od.nih.gov (for eRA Commons support).





eRA Commons and ASSIST Will Be Offline Memorial Day Weekend

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In the interest of giving you as much advance notice as possible for planning purposes, we would like to let you know about an extended downtime that eRA has currently scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend in May 2014.

All systems, including eRA Commons and ASSIST will be offline while our systems are upgraded and the information in the databases will be converted to support Unicode compatible data.

Unicode is a computing standard that allows systems to handle virtually any type of text expressed in the world's writing systems.  As a result of this upgrade, eRA systems will be able to accept Greek characters as they appear in the original scientific text submitted by grantees. For instance, Greek characters will now appear in progress reports without resulting in garbled text.

We will share more details about the downtime in May as the date approaches.





 

Issues Resolved with Notice of Award Email Notifications for Grantees

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The two issues affecting the Notice of Award (NoA) emails for most NoAs issued since the January system wide upgrade (1/31/2014) have been resolved.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.




 

Issues Identified with Notice of Award Email Notifications for Grantees

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We aware of two issues affecting the Notice of Award (NoA) emails for most NoAs issued since the January system wide upgrade (1/31/2014):

  • Email notifications are being sent without the attached NoA in PDF format.
    • Workaround: The PDF can be viewed on the Detailed Status Information screen in Commons, accessible after clicking on the relevant Application ID. See online help for further information.
  • Some of the NoA email notifications are being sent twice.

We are currently working to resolve these issues and will keep you informed. Thank you for your patience.





 

RPPR Issue For Multi-Project Grants Resolved

Sunday, February 2, 2014

We are pleased to let you all know that we have resolved the issue affecting RPPRs for multi-project grants, ahead of schedule.

Signing Officials can go ahead and start submitting RPPRs for multi-project grants.

We appreciate your patience as we worked to resolve this issue.

(Original message below sent Saturday, February 1 at 2:40 p.m.)





NIH Application Processing Back to Normal

Saturday, February 1, 2014

We have resolved the issue that was preventing NIH's retrieval of grant applications from Grants.gov since Friday morning.

The backlog of applications has been cleared and all applications are processing normally, as of 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Please note that NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-047 extended the submission deadlines of applications due yesterday and Monday to Tuesday, February 4.

Thank you for your patience.

(Original message below sent Friday, January 31 at 3:48 p.m.)





NIH Extends Submission Deadlines to Tuesday; RPPR Fix Coming Monday

Friday, January 31, 2014

NIH Extends Deadlines
Due to the system issue preventing NIH's retrieval of grant applications from Grants.gov since this morning, NIH is extending the submission deadlines for applications due today, Friday, January 31, and Monday, February 3, to Tuesday, February 4. These applications need to be submitted, per NIH policy, by 5 p.m. local time of the submitting organization on the deadline date.

Please see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-047 for details.

Update on RPPRs For Multi-Project Applications
We have identified the issue that is affecting RPPRs for multi-project applications (see email below) and hope to have a fix in place by close of business Monday, February 3.

(Original message below sent Friday, January 31 at 12:37 p.m.)





Issue Retrieving Apps from Grants.gov; Also, Hold Off on Submitting RPPRs for Multi-Project Grants

Friday, January 31, 2014

Two issues have inadvertently risen, following eRA's January software release. We are investigating both issues as a high priority and are hoping for a quick resolution.

Issue Retrieving Applications from Grants.gov
NIH systems have been unable to retrieve applications from Grants.gov this morning.  Once we address the system issue, applications will process as usual. 

Hold Off on Submitting RPPRs for Multi-Project Grants
We have identified an issue with the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for multi-project grants. 

Any information entered for the Overall Component is being erroneously copied into the sections for the other components on the PDF. The data entered in each section within the components is not lost; it is simply not being displayed correctly.

There is no workaround for this issue.  We ask that Signing Officials refrain from submitting RPPRs until notified by eRA that a fix is in place.





Highlights of eRA Commons' Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, January 30

Monday, January 27, 2014

Highlights of eRA Commons' January Software Release
The following are highlights of eRA Commons' upcoming January 30-31 system-wide software release. These are just some of the many features being rolled out for this release; check out the release notes for more information on features and fixes.

A Reminder About RPPR and Multi-year Funded Grants

  • Changes in Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR):
    With this release, NIH multi-year funded (MYF) awards must be submitted using the RPPR module in eRA Commons. This change goes into effect January 31, 2014. Grantees are able to initiate multi-year funded award progress reports via the Status screen in eRA Commons. For more information, please see the Submit Progress Report page, the Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-026, and coming soon will be the updated NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Instruction Guide that will be available on or about the time of the release.
  • Project Title Field Expanded
    With this release, eRA systems and databases will be able to accept grant application titles up to 200 characters. The project titles will no longer be truncated to the previous limit of 81 characters. Not all eRA screens and reports will reflect the expanded project title with this initial implementation. Over time these will be updated.
    NOTE: When submitting a Revision application, applicants must use the exact project title displayed in eRA Commons for the awarded application.  If the project title of the awarded grant was previously truncated to 81 characters, then only those 81 characters can be used for the Revision application.
  • Improved Continuous Submission Eligibility  Information
    Principal Investigators (PIs) and Signing Officials (SOs) will be able to view real time eligibility for continuous submission within eRA Commons. 
  • PIs Access to Continuous Submission Eligibility Information
    Principal Investigators will go to the Personal Profile tab of eRA Commons. The Reviewer section of the Personal Profile displays the Continuous Submission Eligibility information. PIs can review their eligibility based on the current appointed membership and/or recent substantial service.
  • SOs Access to Continuous Submission Eligibility Information
    Signing Officials will go the Admin>Accounts>Advanced Search within eRA Commons.  On the Account List form, they can search for a PI by Commons ID and/or name.  The Account Search Results includes a column for CS Eligibility Details.  The column will display Yes or No. These will be hyperlinked to a summary of the PI's Continuous Submission Eligibility status.
  • Administrative Supplements Online Help Now Available from Within eRA Commons
    Online Help for Administrative Supplements can now be accessed from specific Administrative Supplement screens within eRA Commons. The question marks for help will take you to the specific information for that screen or topic.  Previously, Administrative Supplements help was only available by launching the Commons Online Help from another screen and searching for Administrative Supplement topics.

Scheduled Downtime for January Release:
eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, January 30, and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, January 31, 2014.

NOTE:The ability to submit help tickets online will not be available during the downtime listed above. However, customers can always email the eRA Help Desk at that time; commons@od.nih.gov (for eRA Commons support); helpdesk@od.nih.gov (for IMPAC II support) and rcdchelpdesk@od.nih.gov (for RCDC support).





New Videos on Navigating Status Available

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We are pleased to inform you there are three new tutorial videos available for viewing to help you navigate the Status screen in eRA Commons.  These videos are the first three in a series that will look at the Status option in detail.

Status Screen Overview (tutorial #1) goes through the steps of how to get to the Status search options if you are a Signing Official (SO) or a Principal Investigator (PI); it outlines the importance of the Status screen; it also highlights some of the critical actions that must be taken to manage a grant application from submission to award to closeout.

Signing Official: Finding Information (tutorial #2)  is focused on the tools available to a Signing Official.  The video reviews the three ways an SO can search for a grant application, and the various other search options available to them.

Status Search Results (tutorial #3) covers the results of a search. The video highlights how search results are displayed and organized and the importance of checking the items listed in the Action column.





2013


eRA Commons and ASSIST Unavailable December 21-22 for Maintenance

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Just a reminder that all eRA systems, including eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable during this time:

  • From 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 21 to 4 a.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 22

This downtime is to upgrade critical network infrastructure at the NIH.

We are sorry for any inconvenience. 

(Original message below sent Friday, November 18 at 10:26 a.m.)





Intermittent Log-in Issues Have Been Resolved

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The technical problems that created intermittent log-in issues with eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR have been resolved. eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR are available again.

We appreciate your patience

(Original message below sent Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM ET.)





 

Intermittent Log-in Issues Affecting eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Due to an ongoing technical problem, users may be experiencing intermittent log-in issues with eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR. Once logged in, if a user clicks on a link or tab, he or she may be returned to the main log-in screen again.

NIH is working to diagnose the problem and will provide updated information as soon as possible.





 

New URL for IAR Demo on Reviewer Reimbursement

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The demo on 'Reviewers: Getting Reimbursement of Expenses & Honoraria' has been updated and posted. Since YouTube provides a unique URL for each posting, the URL for this video has changed. The new URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJDx14QnGuA&feature=youtu.be. If you have sent this link to reviewers, please inform them of the new link. If any Institute/Center has the direct link on their website, please make sure to update the URL. Note that this tutorial walks reviewers through the process of entering information in the Secure Payee Registration System (SPRS) to get paid the honoraria and expenses for their review-related service.

All IAR demos can be found on the eRA Video Tutorials page of the eRA website:

In addition, the PDF instructions for reviewer reimbursement have been updated to reflect the changes in the eRA Commons Personal Profile. The URL remains the same at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/guidelines_general/Reviewer_Reimbursement_Instructions.pdf.

If you have any questions, please contact eracommunications@mail.nih.gov.

(Original message below sent Friday, Nov. 8, at 9:40 a.m.)





The ALL NEW Electronic Research Administration Web Site Now Available

Thursday, November 21, 2013

As promised, the new eRA web site is now available.  You can access the new pages by going to the OER page and clicking on the eRA tab, or you can use the traditional URL of http://era.nih.gov.  Both options will bring you to the new pages.

We will welcome your feedback on the new design. Suggestions for specific improvements are particularly welcome. Please send any comments about the impending change to eracommunications@mail.nih.gov.
We look forward to hearing from you.

(Original message below sent Monday, November 18, 2013, 2:17PM ET)





Coming Soon the ALL NEW Electronic Research Administration Web Site

Monday, November 18, 2013

It has six months since we started the redesign of the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) web site. We are excited to announce that on Thursday, November 21, we will launch the new design!

The old eRA home page on the left, the new eRA home page on the right.
Figure 1.0: The old eRA home page on the left, the new eRA home page on the right.

The new design is more graphical, focusing on processes. The less text heavy approach is designed to make the pages easier to navigate, and less overwhelming. 

With the idea of making the site as useful as possible, applicant steps are broken down into major chunks and each chunk integrates:

  • Links to the specific section of the online help, with step-by-step information on basic tasks
  • Policy links, where appropriate.
  • Communication resources, from fliers to presentations to FAQs.

The URL for the home page of the site (http://era.nih.gov/) will remain the same as will most other URLs, so as not to inconvenience you.

We will welcome your feedback on the design once we launch. Suggestions for specific improvements are particularly welcome. Please send any comments to eracommunications@mail.nih.gov.




eRA Commons and ASSIST Unavailable December 21-22 for Maintenance

Monday, November 18, 2013

In the interest of giving you as much advance notice as possible for planning purposes, we would like to give you a heads up on scheduled maintenance in December.

All eRA systems, including eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable during this time:

  • From 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 21 to 4 a.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 22

This downtime is to upgrade critical network infrastructure at the NIH.

Please note as well, the eRA maintenance normally scheduled for December 7-8 has been cancelled.





 

Check Out the ALL NEW eRA Commons Online Help From Screens

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We are pleased to let you know that a brand new eRA Commons Online Help is now available from the eRA Commons screens. No need to reach for that bulky user guide. Simply click on the question marks on any Commons screen and you will be taken to the new help for that particular topic (see example of Status – General Search screen below).

Screenshot of Status – General Search screen, with the question mark that leads to the online help.
Figure above: Screenshot of Status – General Search screen, with the question mark that leads to the online help.

This searchable, easy to use online help includes general information, step-by-step instruction, and screenshots to help you navigate and work with the system. Certain topics contain links to guide notices and policy information or to related user guides (where applicable).

The first topic titled About the Help System offers a useful reference explaining the features found in the online help, including navigation, links, search bar, and hidden/displayed images. It is worth noting that you can access the entire help system for eRA Commons from this link. You do not need to be logged into Commons to access the information.

Hand in hand with the creation of the Commons Online Help is a new version of the eRA Commons User Guide in PDF format. You can access the updated guide, as well as individual guides to Commons modules, at the following site: http://era.nih.gov/commons/user_guide.cfm.

We welcome your feedback on this online help. Suggestions for specific improvements are particularly welcome. Please send any comments to eracommunications@mail.nih.gov.





Brand New IAR Demos Now Available

Friday, November 8, 2013

eRA Resources

Three new demos to help reviewers navigate the Internet Assisted Review (IAR) system are now available on the eRA website. These short demos are part of a 10-part series we are developing and posting on YouTube.

We encourage you to make your reviewers aware of these resources.





New Features for eRA Commons Coming Thursday, November 7

Monday, November 4, 2013

Highlights of eRA Commons's November Software Release
The following are highlights of eRA's upcoming November software release for eRA Commons. This is just a sampling of the features being rolled out for this release and will be available Thursday, November 7, 2013; detailed information can be found in the Release Notes.

  • RPPR Open Pilot to All Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Institutions
    The Research Performance Progress Report in eRA Commons will accommodate submission of non-SNAP awards, including multi-project (complex) and training awards, as part of a pilot open to members of the FDP. For more information on this, see NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-113.

    Training for non-SNAP RPPR training originally scheduled in October has been moved to Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST.  For registration information on this training go to: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/262932326
  • BioMedical Workforce (BMW) Initiative Tied to  RPPR
    Data from the new Personal Profile is used as part of the NIH initiative to track the diversity of the biomedical research workforce so that informed decisions can be made about training of the optimal number of people for the appropriate types of positions that will advance science and promote health. As part of the validation process for RPPR submissions, eRA Commons will provide warnings when information on the Personal Profile is missing from key personnel identified in the report.
  • Super Storm Sandy Reporting Link Now On the Status Screen
    If you are one of the many institutions that received special administrative supplement funding as a result of the devastating effects of Super Storm Sandy, a link will now appear in eRA Commons Status screen to allow grantees to submit  quarterly progress reports to a new reporting site and view these submissions. Grantees currently have the ability to submit these reports only by clicking on a link in an email notification.
  • eRA Commons No Longer Accepts Full Social Security Numbers
    As part of the ongoing effort to protect your information, the Personal Profile or any other data fields in eRA Commons no longer accept a full Social Security Number (SSN) beyond four digits.
  • NIH Review Roster URL Has Changed
    The public roster webpage "NIH Scientific Review Group (SRG) Roster Index" that hosts the rosters for NIH review meetings has moved to a new, more secure technology that has been developed by eRA and has a new URL. The old URL, http://era.nih.gov/roster, has changed as of October 24, to http://public.era.nih.gov/pubroster.  Please update your bookmarks accordingly.

No Scheduled Downtime for November Release:
Because of the temporary government shutdown, the fall system-wide release that was scheduled for October 17-18 is being completed in stages. The initial steps were taken on October 30-31 during scheduled downtime. As a result, the features outlined above will be implemented without any downtime.  Users should see no disruption of services as these changes are put into place.





Scheduled Downtime for Upcoming Commons Release on Wed, Oct. 30

Monday, October 28, 2013

Due to the government shutdown, eRA's system-wide release that was scheduled for October 17-18 is being completed in stages. The initial steps will take place October 30-31. eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, Oct. 30 and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 31.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.

The second stage of the release will occur on November 7, 2013. However, for that release, no downtime is scheduled. A more detailed communication with the highlights of the release will be sent as that date approaches.





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Are Now Accessible

Monday, October 21, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR are available for you to access.

As a result of the 16 day government shutdown, there are a few items that you need to keep in mind:

  • Error free applications submitted on or the two days prior to the shutdown will be held for viewing in the Commons on Tuesday and Wednesday Oct 22 and 23 to ensure applicants have 2 full days to check their application image before it moves on to NIH's Center of Scientific Review (CSR) for processing.
  • Because of large number of queued messages as a result of the shutdown and the number of waiting applications from Grants.gov, timing of email notifications may be off. Do not rely on email notifications concerning your application. Please proactively check the Commons late on Monday or on Tuesday for the status of any application submission.
  • Be sure to review the Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-003 posted on Friday, October 18, 2013 for more detailed information.




eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Will Be Briefly Unavailable Tonight at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR will be briefly offline tonight at 7 p.m., Tuesday, September 3, 2013.  Urgent maintenance steps are required due to a power outage that occurred this morning. We anticipate the downtime to be approximately 15 minutes in duration.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Will Be Available Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR will be available Sunday, July 28, 2013.  The NIH network maintenance originally scheduled for Sunday, July 28, 2013 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 29 has been postponed until the fall.  As such, we will not take those systems offline during that time.

Thank you.

(Original message sent Monday, July 22, 2013, 1:55 p.m.)





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Will Be Unavailable Sunday, July 28, Starting at 3 p.m.

Monday, July 22, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR will be unavailable Sunday, July 28, 2013 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 29.  During this time, NIH will complete network maintenance that may affect eRA systems.  As a precaution, those systems will be offline during the maintenance period.





Highlights of Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, July 18

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Highlights of eRA's July Software Release
The following are highlights of eRA's upcoming July 18-19 system-wide software release. These are just some of the many features being rolled out for this release; check out the release notes for more information on features and fixes.

  • Launch of Redesigned Personal Profile section in eRA Commons
    A sophisticated and intuitive personal profile section will make its debut in eRA Commons with this release. Some of the highlights: a dashboard to alert you to any missing information; ability to update your email address in multiple places at one time; short explanations for why certain data is being collected.
  • Changes to Accommodate SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act
    Under this Act, all small business applicants are required to register with the Company Registry Database at www.sbir.gov at the time of application.  Starting with this release, applicants will be given a warning if their registration file is not attached to an SBIR/STTR application. 

A Reminder About RPPR

  • Changes in Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR): With this release the option for initiating an eSNAP progress report will no longer be available. RPPR is a federally mandated reporting format for all federal grant agencies (NIH, NSF, DoD, etc.) designed to provide consistent information on the progress of federally funded research and research related activities.   RPPR replaced the eSNAP progress reports for SNAP awards and PHS 416-6 for Fellowship progress reports in May, and will eventually replace the use of the PHS 2590 for non-SNAP awards. For more information, please see the RPPR web page and the Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-061.

Scheduled Downtime for July Release:
eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, July 18 and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, July 19.
Note: The ability to submit help tickets online will not be available during the downtime listed above. However, customers can always email the eRA Help Desk at that time; commons@od.nih.gov (for eRA Commons support); helpdesk@od.nih.gov (for IMPAC II support) and rcdchelpdesk@od.nih.gov (for RCDC support).





eRA Commons and IAR Login Issue Resolved

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The technical issue that was resulting in "404 Page not found" error messages when logging into eRA Commons has been resolved.  All eRA Commons functions, including Internet Assisted Review (IAR) are back to normal operations.

Please remember not to access the eRA Commons login page via Google or other search engine. Only use the eRA Commons Login button found at /.

Original message sent Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 9:16 A.M.





eRA Commons is Experiencing Technical Issues

Thursday, June 13, 2013

eRA Commons is experiencing a technical issue when logging in.  If you receive a 404 "Page not found" error, please type "commons.era.nih.gov" into your browser address field and hit enter to see if this resolves the issue.

We hope to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. We will provide updated information as soon as possible.





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Will Be Unavailable June 8, 5pm-9pm

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR will be unavailable Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  During this time, NIH will complete network maintenance that may affect eRA systems.  As a precaution, those systems will be offline during the maintenance period.





Brand New 'IAR For Reviewers' User Guide Now Available

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A major, new version of the IAR for Reviewers User Guide is now available on the eRA website.

This 62-page user guide is an extensive update from the previous version, circa 2007. It includes the changes that came out of the 2009 Enhancing Peer Review initiative, including the new scoring scale, criterion scores, etc.  Actions such as how to access IAR, submit critiques and scores, obtain CD passwords, sign the Conflict of Interest forms and more are detailed, along with screenshots. An explanation of the IAR meeting phases is also included.

We are also excited about eventually making this user guide available as online screen help, directly accessible in digestible chunks of information from several screens within the IAR module itself (reviewers will click on question marks to get to the screen help). This should be available to reviewers sometime in the next two months, since the changes require a software release. In the meantime, we are making the online version available to you as a link: IAR for Reviewers Online Screen Help. Note that the content of both the user guide and online help are identical; the latter is easier to navigate and search.

We encourage you to check out both the guide and the online help.





Ext-UAT ASSIST and Commons Demo Environments Available Again

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Both the External User Acceptance Testing (Ext-UAT) environment for ASSIST and eRA Commons Demo have be restored and are available again.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this temporary situation may have caused.

(Original message sent Wednesday, May1, 2013 at 11:12 a.m. ET)





Ext-UAT ASSIST and Commons Demo Environments Offline

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Both the External User Acceptance Testing (Ext-UAT) environment for ASSIST and eRA Commons Demo are currently unavailable due to a technical issue. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Now Available

Monday, April 29, 2013

The issue with logins for eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR has been resolved.  These applications are once again available.

We appreciate your patience.

(Original message sent Monday, April 29, 2013 11:50 a.m.)





eRA Commons, ASSIST, and IAR Logins Unavailable

Monday, April 29, 2013

eRA Commons, ASSIST and IAR are experiencing technical issues with logins.  Once logged in, there may also be related slowness.

We hope to have the systems returned to full availability soon. We will provide updated information as soon as possible.

We appreciate your patience.





Do Not Bookmark eRA Commons Login Page

Friday, April 26, 2013

With our latest release last week, we would like to take a moment to remind you again not to bookmark your eRA Commons login page. As we shared with you in a news message in September 2012, book marking your login page can lead to error messages due to changes to the NIH network infrastructure. 

If you wish to bookmark a URL for Commons, keep it generic. Use https://public.era.nih.gov/commons and manually add this URL to your list of favorites/bookmarks.

Similarly, some customers get to the eRA Commons login page using a search engine like Google.  Searching for eRA Commons, NIH Commons or variations thereof may get you to the login page.  But it may also present you with this message:

It Works!

The links provided by search engines are not always complete and do not define the location you are seeking well enough to get you to where you need to be. 

So in the scenarios above, it is not necessary to call the Help Desk immediately.  Try typing in https://commons.era.nih.gov/ or bookmark /  and click on eRA Commons button on the right side of the page:

Right Navigation Images - eRA





RPPR Errantly Made Available for Non-SNAP Eligible Awards

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Due to a technical issue, eRA Commons is currently allowing for the initiation of a Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for non-SNAP awards.  Per Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-035, the RPPR process can only be used for SNAP and Fellowship awards.  We are working to have this issue corrected before Friday, May 3, 2013. 

Please do NOT initiate RPPRs for non-SNAP grants.

RPPR currently only supports streamlined progress reports for Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship awards, as it lacks the functionality to provide detailed budgets.  As such, the RPPR is not currently an acceptable format for a progress report for non-SNAP awards.

Submit your non-SNAP progress report using the standard paper process as described in the instruction guide for Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report PHS 2590 (Revised 08/2012).

If you inadvertently initiate an RPPR for a non-SNAP award, please revert back to the standard paper process and contact Scarlett Gibb at gibbs@mail.nih.gov so that the electronic report can be deleted from the database. Please provide all relevant information about the grant in question (grant number, organization/institution, PI Commons account name, etc.) to Scarlett.

We are sorry for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to correct the error.



Scheduled Downtime Means Help Desk Tickets Unavailable

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just a reminder that eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET tonight, Thursday, April 18. 

All systems are slated to be available by no later than 7 a.m. ET tomorrow morning, Friday, April 19. 

The downtime will allow for the deployment of new features in eRA's April system-wide software release.

Note: The ability to submit help tickets online will not be available during the downtime listed above. However, if you have the need to open a service ticket you can always email the eRA Help Desk during that time at helpdesk@od.nih.gov or call Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552, Phone: 301-402-7469, TTY: 301-451-5939.





Highlights of Upcoming Commons Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thu, April 18

Monday, April  15, 2013

Highlights of eRA's April Software Release for eRA Commons
The following are highlights of eRA's upcoming April 18-19 system-wide software release.

eRA Commons

  • The Expansion of Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) functionality
    • Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) link on Status screen can appear in two formats:
      • Public Compliance PRAM
        • This link will appear on the Status screen upon submission of an RPPR with publications that are not in compliance with the public access policy (current PRAM functionality).
      • IC Requested PRAM
        • IC Requested PRAM link will appear when the funding Institute/Center sends a request for additional material, information or clarification concerning a submitted RPPR
        • The grantee will submit a response to that request through the eRA Commons
    • See Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-035 for more information about RPPR and PRAM.
    • RPPR is replacing eSNAP for SNAP progress reports and the PHS 416-9 for Fellowship progress reports
      • All SNAP and F progress reports with start dates of July 1st or later will be required to use RPPR
      • For SNAP awards the initiate eSNAP option will remain available until July 2013; however, this is only to accommodate reports due before May 15th that are late.
      • If you initiate an eSNAP for a report due on or after May 15th, contact the  eRA Help Desk so that the eSNAP can be removed and an RPPR initiated in its place.
  • Other small issues within Commons have been fixed.  See the Release Notes for detailed information on these fixes.

LikeThis  - Search Tool for Locating Funded Projects & Publications

  • Now retrieves publications from the MEDLINE Baseline Repository (MBR)
    • MBR is the U.S. National Library of Medicine's® (NLM) premier bibliographic database
    • Contains over 19 million references to journal articles in life sciences with a concentration on biomedicine
    • LikeThis users are now able to access a broader set of publications data
  • LikeThis is available as a link after logging into eRA Commons

Scheduled Downtime for April Release:
eRA Commons will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, April 18 and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, April 19.

After the April Release, make sure to review the Release Notes for detailed information on the changes.





Ext-UAT (Commons & ASSIST Demo Environments) Scheduled Downtime for Wed, Apr. 10

Friday April 5, 2013

This is to notify you that the External User Acceptance Test (Ext-UAT) environment, which includes eRA Commons and ASSIST Demo environments, will be down all day on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in preparation for the April system-wide software release.

Please note that this downtime does not affect the Production environment.

We are sorry for any inconvenience it may cause.





eRA Commons & ASSIST Offline Overnight Saturday, March 23

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

eRA Commons and ASSIST will be offline overnight during the weekend of March 23-24, as eRA upgrades a specialized database that stores user names and passwords for user authentication.

The upgrade is designed to improve recent log-in issues with eRA programs experienced by users.

eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable starting at 10 p.m. Saturday, March 23 until 5 a.m. Sunday, March 24.





Ext-UAT & Commons Demo Environments Offline The Weekend of March 15-17

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Both the External User Acceptance Testing (Ext-UAT) environment and the eRA Commons Demo systems will be periodically unavailable this coming weekend. It is anticipated the systems will go offline Friday, March 15, 5:00PM EST for 4-5 hours. Users may experience periodic disruptions throughout the weekend. Full service will be restored by 6:00AM EST, Monday, March 18, 2013.

We are sorry for the inconvenience it may cause.





eRA Commons Back In Service

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The technical issue that made eRA Commons unavailable has been resolved. 

We are sorry for this inconvenience.

(Original message sent  Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 3:45PM EST)





eRA Commons Offline

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Due to a technical issue, eRA Commons is currently unavailable.  We are working to identify and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  We will send an additional notification when we have more information.

We are sorry for this inconvenience.





Highlights of Upcoming Commons Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thu, Jan. 24

Monday, January  21, 2013

Highlights of eRA's January Software Release for eRA Commons
The following are highlights of eRA's upcoming January 24-25 system-wide software release.

xTrain

  • The Statement of Appointment (Form PHS 2271) has been modified to reflect the OMB approved revised list of Field of Training (FOT) codes and Specialty Boards
  • xTrain will now recognize the amendment date when an appointment has been modified and the trainee is appointed or reappointed before the original end date.  The system will no longer display an error message about overlapping appointment dates.
  • The fellowship will now be displayed under Prior Support when the trainee has an appointment and previously had a fellowship.
  • When fellowships are being terminated, only the years where the stipend amount is greater than zero and the status is either awarded or terminated will be displayed.
  • New online help for xTrain.  When you see a question mark (?) and click on it, it will take you to information about that page or content.  The question marks appear on the following screens: My Grants, Trainee Roster, Trainee Appointments and Terminations, Statement of Training Appointment, Termination Notice NRSA, and List of Grants.

eRA Commons

ASSIST

  • Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) pilot underway.
  • Users are getting their first experience developing multi-project applications on-line in the new ASSIST system as they prepare to submit for January due date.
  • Additional pilot opportunities will close over the next few months.
  • NIH will transition all multi-project applications to electronic submission by January 2014 (see Transition Timeline).
  • For information, see Submitting a Multi-project Application.

Scheduled Downtime for January Release:
eRA Commons will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, January 24 and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, January 25.

After the January Release, make sure to review the Release Notes for detailed information on the changes.

 

eRA News Archive








This page last updated on April 27, 2014
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