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.
    4. Where do I go to find old grant information?
    5. What do the various status notes for applications and awards mean when looking at the Status screen? For example, statuses such as Council deferred or Pending Council Review.
    6. When submitting PDFs to eRA Commons, particularly for RPPRs and Just-in-Time, I am getting an error telling me to ensure all files are flattened PDFs. What does flattening a PDF mean and how do you do it?

    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 username 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 switched 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 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. May I be affiliated with more than one institution in eRA Commons?
    11. If I am a PI affiliated with more than one institution, is there a way I can toggle between institutions once I am logged in to eRA Commons?
    12. I am affiliated with a new institution, but the old institution is still being displayed in eRA Commons when I log in. How do I change the institution displayed?
    13. How do I find who my signing officials are at my institution?
    14. My name has changed since I got an eRA Commons username. How do I change my user name in the system?

    IV. Roles in eRA Commons
    1. What roles are considered scientific accounts in eRA Commons?
    2. What roles are considered administrative accounts in eRA Commons?
    3. What is the Signing Official (SO) Role?
    4. What is a Principal Investigator (PI) Role?
    5. What is an Account Administrator (AA) Role? Does a Signing Official (SO) need to assign an AA?
    6. What are the other roles available in eRA Commons?
    7. 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 assign 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 progress report 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 manage a Commons account, if I have the appropriate role?
    9. How do I search for an eRA Commons User ID?
    10. Are senior/key personnel on a grant application required to obtain a Commons username?
    11. What are the options for providing an eRA Commons username that meet the new requirement of senior/key personnel needing a eRA Commons Username (user ID) effective for all submission for due dates on or after January 25, 2022?
    12. What are the options for obtaining an eRA Commons username (Commons ID) for a senior/key person who isnt affiliated with a registered organization?

    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. Federal Financial 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 Common'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

      A. IAR Online Critique FAQs for Reviewers

    1. Is there an offline mode if Internet connectivity is not available?
    2. Is there a downloadable Word critique template that can still be uploaded if the reviewer is in a location without internet access?
    3. Can I download my submitted critiques?
    4. Can I, as a reviewer, download other reviewers critiques?
    5. How can I get more screen space to write a critique?
    6. I lost the left navigation bar that contained all the headings and I do not know how to get it back?
    7. How much space in the text boxes do I have to write the comments, strengths and weaknesses for each criterion?
    8. Is there a way I can easily tell if I have forgotten to fill out a section or two?
    9. If I accidentally enter comments into the wrong applications online critique, is there an easy way to copy and paste these comments and scores into the correct online critique?
    10. How do I enter Greek characters or other special characters in the online critique?
    11. I cannot remember if I submitted a critique. Is there an easy way to tell if I have submitted a critique?
    12. When I am working on several applications, is there a way to easily tell on which application I am currently working?
    13. Do I need to click the save button?
    14. I entered some material, then realized it was all wrong, so I clicked Cancel. But when I went back into the critique, all the wrong material was still there.

      B. Pre-Meeting and Post-Meeting Conflict of Interest (IAR)

    1. A reviewer did not upload critiques or scores and did not sign the pre-meeting COI certification. Will the reviewer be able to upload critiques and criterion scores (original or revised) and enter final scores?
    2. A reviewer uploaded critiques and scores before the new COI certifications came online but did not sign the pre-meeting COI. Will the reviewer be able to enter final scores?
    3. What are the other scenarios under which a recertification of the pre-meeting COI is required?
    4. A reviewer signed a pre-meeting certification on the old COI certification. Will there be a mix of old and new certifications in each meeting during the transition?
    5. A reviewer does not sign the post-meeting COI certification. Can the reviewer still upload revised critiques and scores?
    6. A reviewer identifies a new conflict during the meeting. There is no option to sign the pre-meeting COI. Will the reviewer be able to enter final scores and revised critiques and criterion scores?

      C. FAQs for Reviewers

    1. 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?
    2. 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?
    3. 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. View Review Outcome
    1. How do I access the Summary Statement?

    XV. 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. How do I acknowledge my specific funding in a publication?

    XVI. 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. How can business officials (BOs) keep track of the training grants for their institution?
    4. To which grant year should a trainee returning from a leave of absence be appointed?

      B. Termination Notices

    1. Who can initiate/submit a termination notice?
    2. Is an amendment necessary if a trainee terminates early?
    3. Who can modify the stipend on an early termination?
    4. How should I terminate a fellow when there is a change of institutions?
    5. Who can modify the stipend on an early termination for T, K, and R awards and fellowships?

      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 xTrain, but I am unable to route appointments or enter information in the fields. What should I do?

      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 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 first 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 appointing a trainee for a new fiscal year, but the stipend dropdown menu is only providing me the old stipend amount.
    7. I am trying to process a termination/appointment for a trainee, but an action link is not available.

    XVII. LikeThis
    1. Who can view the text one enters in My Scientific Text?
    2. How is LikeThis different than RePORTER Matchmaker?
    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?

    XVIII. Administrative Supplements (Type 3s)
    1. Are administrative supplements required to be submitted electronically?
    2. Can I submit the administrative supplement request through the eRA Commons streamlined method?
    3. Who has the authority to submit an administrative supplement using the ASSIST method?
    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. I see the status of the request as "Accepted for Consideration." Does that mean the supplement request will be funded?

    XIX. 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?

    XX. Extramural Trainee Reporting And Career Tracking (xTRACT)
    1. What is xTRACT?
    2. Who should use xTRACT?
    3. Are applicants or grantees required to use xTRACT?
    4. Does the requirement to use xTRACT to create Training Data Table 8 for submission with RPPRs extend to Final RPPRs?
    5. When preparing Training Data Table 8 in xTRACT, what do I do if I don't have information on the dates of a trainee's subsequent employment?
    6. When preparing Training Data Table 8 in xTRACT, how do users designate which students and post-doctorates should appear in Part I or Part II of the Table?
    7. My institution already has a database for training-related data. Can data be submitted to xTRACT via an Excel spreadsheet or application programming interface (API)?
    8. Can xTRACT be used to create data tables for undergraduate programs (e.g., T34s)?
    9. Will the PDF Watermark disappear once the xTRACT RTD is finalized?
    10. I would like to add a department to my list of Participating Departments and Programs but do not see the department I am looking for, in the available list of selections. Am I able to enter a department that does not appear on this list?
    11. Am I able to view my awarded grant information within the xTRACT module?
    12. Are prior-submitted PDFs available for viewing, when working on a future submission of the same grant?
    13. Is it possible to change the type for a Non-NIH Funding Source?
    14. How can xTRACT users correct trainee-entered degree dates that differ from the official degree conferral dates at the institution?
    15. How do I enter a trainee's dual degrees in xTRACT, when the system only allows for one terminal degree?
    16. How should xTRACT users handle situations where a post-doctoral trainees appointment to the training grant precedes the official conferral of the doctoral degree?
    17. How should I enter a participating interdepartmental program in xTRACT?

    XXI. ORCID iDs
    1. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs for those appointed to research training grants, research education awards, and institutional career development awards apply to all types of appointments in xTrain?
    2. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs apply to fellowship and mentored career development non-competing renewals (i.e., those submitting an RPPR)?
    3. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs apply to individuals supported via administrative supplements to enhance diversity?

    XXII. PI Verification of Preferred eRA Commons Account
    1. Why are principal investigators being asked via email to log into eRA Commons and indicate a preferred eRA Commons account?
    2. How does a PI indicate a preferred eRA Commons account?
    3. Can a PI make changes after choosing the preferred Commons account and submitting the request?
    4. What does the "Im not sure" option in the drop-down menu under Account Ownership mean?
    5. How long does it take after the PI indicates a preferred eRA commons account for the multiple accounts to be merged? Will the PI be notified?
    6. Once a PI has indicated a preferred account, will the PI still have access to the accounts that will be collapsed? Will any actions taken within those accounts in the interim be reflected in the merged account?
    7. Will this effort also include merging administrative accounts (Signing Official, etc.)?
    8. What is the impact on ongoing transactions in Commons (checking of scores, etc.) if the PIs accounts are pending a merger?
    9. As a PI, I know I have more than 2 Commons accounts, but the Account Verification screen displays only 2 accounts.

    XXIII. Human Subjects System (HSS) FAQs (for PIs and SOs)
    1. Why does the Human Subjects link not appear for my newly submitted grant application in eRA Commons?
    2. When I click on the Human Subjects link in eRA Commons, why do I land in ASSIST?
    3. How do I access HSS for my grant/application?
    4. Can a PI or SO delegate HSS tasks?
    5. Why cant I edit Section 1 of the human subjects study record?
    6. I am a principal investigator. Why cant I submit the study record with the enrollment data?
    7. How will an SO know that a study record is ready for submission?
    8. What guidance do I follow for filling out the enrollment forms?
    9. How are NIH staff notified if a study record is changed?
    10. I created an extra inclusion record in error. How do I delete it?
    11. How do I update a study enrollment form?

    XXIV. Access eRA Modules via Two-Factor Authentication
    1. What is two-factor authentication?
    2. Why is eRA using two-factor authentication?
    3. How do eRA users obtain two-factor authentication for their account?
    4. What is Login.gov?
    5. What is an InCommon Federated Account?
    6. What is the timeline for eRA requiring users to switch to two-factor authentication for its modules?
    7. Who is exempt from NIHs adjusted timeline and approach to two-factor authentication for eRA modules?
    8. What is the timeline for principal investigators and others with only a scientific account?
    9. What is the timeline for signing officials and others with one or more administrative accounts?
    10. What is the timeline for users with both a scientific and administrative account?
    11. Does a user need to have an eRA account at the time of the application submission in order to be transitioned to two-factor authentication?
    12. Can a user choose to have both Login.gov and an InCommon Federated account on their eRA user account?
    13. What happens if I am required to move to two-factor authentication to access eRA systems and I do not switch?
    14. Can I create and use multiple Login.gov accounts to accommodate multiple eRA accounts?
    15. How do I create a Login.gov account?
    16. What email address do I use to create a Login.gov account and does it need to match the email address in my eRA account profile?
    17. If I have more than one Login.gov account, can I use any of them to log in to eRA?
    18. What if I already have a Login.gov account?
    19. I am having trouble with my Login.gov account, who can I contact?
    20. If I have more than one eRA account, can I use my Login.gov account for all of my eRA accounts to log in to eRA?
    21. How is the Login.gov process affected if a user's eRA Commons account password expires? Or if the user changes his or her eRA account password in Commons?
    22. I clicked on the Login.gov link on the eRA Commons login page and had just completed creating my Login.gov account when the browser session to eRA Commons ended. Do I have to start all over again?
    23. I tried to login using Login.gov, but it did not work. What should I do?
    24. If I am required to use Login.gov, do I need periodically update my eRA account password?
    25. Am I able to login using my eRA account credentials or my InCommon Federated account credentials once I am transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication? Updated
    26. I am not receiving the email address verification email from Login.gov when creating a new account, what do I do?

    XXV. Trainee Diversity Report
    1. What is the electronic Trainee Diversity Report?
    2. What data is captured in the electronic Trainee Diversity Report?
    3. What is the source of the information in the Trainee Diversity Report?
    4. From which eRA module can the report be generated?
    5. Can we modify the information that prepopulates in the electronic trainee diversity report?
    6. Can the report be submitted more than once?
    7. Who can submit the report?
    8. What resources are available on the Trainee Diversity Report?

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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 federal awards. Users can shepherd their application in eRA Commons through the grant’s lifecycle from receipt to closeout.

       

    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. Also see eRA’s Browser Compatibility statement.


    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 Compatibility statement)? If not, please contact the eRA Service Desk , who will assist with known issues and possible workarounds.


    4. Where do I go to find old grant information?

       As a principal investigator, all applications and grants information can be found on the Status screen under List of Applications/Grants. A signing official will go the Status screen and use the search tools provided, such as the General Search, or the Closeout search for awards that have ended and are closed. However, if the information you are looking for is more than 10 years old, you will need to put a request in through the eRA Service Desk

    5. What do the various status notes for applications and awards mean when looking at the Status screen? For example, statuses such as Council deferred or Pending Council Review.

      See eRA Commons’ Statuses for a complete list of status notes and their definitions.

    6. When submitting PDFs to eRA Commons, particularly for RPPRs and Just-in-Time, I am getting an error telling me to ensure all files are flattened PDFs. What does flattening a PDF mean and how do you do it?

      A PDF that has fillable fields, electronic signatures, text boxes or images inserted, becomes layered with each of these elements representing a layer. Flattening a PDF merges these separate elements into one flat layer. There are a number of methods to flatten a PDF, the easiest of which is to print it as a PDF.

      To do this, go to File>Print, select the printer option from the menu that has a PDF option. Depending on the software available to you, the specific option may vary from the one shown below. Click the Print button and name the file.

      To do this, go to File>Print, select the printer option from the menu that has a PDF option. Depending of the software available to you the specific option may vary from the one shown below. Click the Print button and name the file.

      Figure 1: A print dialog box with the Printer field set to Adobe PDF

      In this process, you are exporting the layered PDF to the printer and saving it as a simple (flattened) PDF.


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

      Yes. To do anything in eRA Commons, you will need an account. The only exceptions are to run Quick Queries or for a referee to submit a reference letter; an eRA Commons account is not required for these two purposes.  See list of eRA Commons Roles & Privileges.

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

      Only individuals with legal signing authority - the signing official (SO) - can register their organization in Commons. The SO typically has a title such as: President, CEO, Executive Director, Dean, Chancellor, Provost, Owner, or Partner. Please note

      that the SO registers the applicant organization in eRA Commons and an SO account is automatically created. The SO (or an Account Administrator) then creates an account for the principal investigator.  If a PI already has an existing eRA Commons account with another organization, the SO can affiliate the PI to the current organization.

    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 or Accounts Administrator/Business Official (AA/BO) 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). See steps to ‘Create a New Commons Account for an Individual (e.g. PD/PI).’ Also watch a video tutorial on How Signing Officials Create Accounts in eRA Commons

    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 six weeks before the grant application submission deadline to allow plenty of time to address unforeseen issues along the way. Allow time for the PI to register once the organization has been registered in Commons. A PI must confirm eRA Commons registration before the 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. You can find it via the IPF tab in eRA Commons. See Institutional Profile online help and the Manage Institutional Profile webpage. The NIH assigns an IPF number after the institution registration has been approved. The number is used by applicant organizations to search for grants and search for pending progress reports through the Quick Queries tools. 

    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 by viewing your institutional profile.  See steps and screenshots in Institution Basic information in the IPF online help.

      Visit the Dun and Bradstreet website 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 website



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

      Working with your signing official or account administrator, you can select any username 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 username 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 username wisely. We suggest that you not make the ID institution-specific, in case the PI moves to another institution.

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

      You can reset your password by going to the Forgot Password/Unlock Account link on the eRA Commons home page below the Commons login. An institutional official (SO or AO) can also reset your password. After you reset the password, remember to clear your browser cache, so that the system does not try and log you in with the old password. If you still experience trouble, contact the eRA Service Desk for assistance. Note that all passwords should be kept private and secure. Also see Having Trouble Logging in to eRA Commons?.


    3. How do I change my password?

      Follow these steps to change the password.  Do not copy and paste your password as spaces may also be pasted; instead, type in your new password. Also see Having Trouble Logging in to eRA Commons?.


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

      If you are a Principal Investigator, or have a scientific role or are a trainee, no; if you are a Signing Official or have another administrative role, 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. Also see ‘Switching Institutions? Stick with your existing eRA Commons Account.’


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

      Notices of Grant Awards (NoAs) are sent to the email address specified in the Institution Profile (IPF). The Signing Official (SO) can update the NoA email address via the Institutional Profile tab in the eRA Commons. See steps and screenshot for updating the Institution Contact Information. Additionally, the SO can provide a contact name and email address in the IPF for NIH to communicate general issues with the institution and associated data. This contact information is in addition to the NoA email address. The NoA can be found in the Other Relevant Documents section of the eRA Commons Status Information screen. See steps and screenshots for ‘Viewing the Notice of Award’ in the eRA Commons online help.

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

      The SO can assign a specific email address to receive eRA Commons messages by updating the Institution Contact Information screen via the Institution Profile (IPF) tab of the Commons. There are currently seven specific fields the SO can assign contact information to:

      Notice of Award Email: NIH will use this address to send all notices when an application is awarded.

      • Announcements and Notifications: NIH will use this address for reminders, system notifications and other messages.
      • Closeout Correspondence Email: NIH will use this address to send any closeout related communications.
      • Financial Conflict of Interest Correspondence Email: NIH will use this address to send any FCOI related communications.
      • Contact Name, Phone, and Email: NIH will use this information as the primary contact for this institution.

       

      See steps and screenshot for updating the Institution Contact Information. The SO can enter an email address for Notice of Award to receive NoAs.

    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 or the accounts administrator, 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 Service Desk by submitting a Web ticket at https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp  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 the Institution Profile tab, followed by the Basic Information tab
      • You will see a row titled Signing Officials and TTO Administrators. Click the plus sign to view the name(s) of the signing official(s).

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

      The signing official will need to update the Employment(s) field(s) in the Personal Profile section of eRA Commons to see their name displayed as a signing official within the Institution Profile. See steps and screenshots to View and Edit Employment.

    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 Service  Desk by submitting a Web ticket at https://public.era.nih.gov/commonshelp/ 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 Service Desk contact will assist you and work with the appropriate NIH parties to correct this problem.


    10. May I be affiliated with more than one institution in eRA Commons?

      Yes, if you are a principal investigator or have a scientific role. SOs cannot be affiliated with more than one institution.

    11. If I am a PI affiliated with more than one institution, is there a way I can toggle between institutions once I am logged in to eRA Commons?

      Yes. If affiliated with multiple institutions, the name of the default institution displays as a link within the Welcome section located in the upper right corner of each Commons page. To change institutions:

      • Click on the Institution name link located in the upper right corner of the Commons home page
      • The Change Affiliation screen opens, listing all the institutions with which you are affiliated
      • Select the institution you would like displayed and click Submit
      • The Commons home page will be displayed with the affiliated institution you selected

      For screenshots and steps, see ‘Changing the Displayed Affiliated Institution’ in the eRA Commons online help.

    12. I am affiliated with a new institution, but the old institution is still being displayed in eRA Commons when I log in. How do I change the institution displayed?

      Please follow these steps on Changing the Displayed Institution Affiliation.

    13. How do I find who my signing officials are at my institution?

      For most institutions, the signing official (SO) is in the Office of Sponsored Research or equivalent. You can find the list of signing officials for your institution in the Institution Profile.
      1. Log in to eRA Commons.
      2. Navigate to the Institution Profile module, then click the Basic Information tab.

      You see a row titled Signing Officials and TTO Administrators*.

      1. Click the plus sign to view the name(s) of the signing official(s).
         
      If you are unable to identify your SO, contact the eRA Service Desk.
      * * A Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Administrator supports the Technology Transfer/Licensing Office or Office of Research and Development at the grantee organization. The TTO administrator can submit inventions, patents, and utilization reports in iEdison, request waivers and create iEdison accounts.

    14. My name has changed since I got an eRA Commons username. How do I change my user name in the system?

      Contact the eRA Service Desk, who will work with your institution’s signing official to create a new Commons account and username for you. The service desk will then merge the profile associated with your old Commons account and username with the profile of your new Commons account.  Note that your Commons ID will stay with you for life, so choose a username wisely. We recommend that usernames do not contain words or phrases that could change (such as surnames or names of institutions).


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    IV. Roles in eRA Commons
    1. What roles are considered scientific accounts in eRA Commons?

      Here is a table of eRA Commons scientific roles:

        Scientific roles for research

        Scientific roles used for reporting

        Principal Investigator (PD/PI)

        Undergraduate

        Scientist

        Trainee

        Graduate_Student

        Project_Personnel

        Sponsor

        Postdoc

       

        Assistant (ASST) – used in conjunction with specific delegations to assist PIs with various tasks

       

      For more information on eRA Commons roles, please review the eRA Commons Roles document for full descriptions of the roles, and the eRA Commons Roles & Privileges Matrix for a quick view of roles and their capabilities.

    2. What roles are considered administrative accounts in eRA Commons?

      Here is a table of eRA Commons administrative roles:

        Administrative roles to support grants     management

        Administrative role for special reporting     scenarios

        Signing Official (SO)

        Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)

        Administrative Official (AO)

        Financial Conflict of Interest Assistant (FCOI_ASST)

        Account Administrator (AA)

        Financial Conflict of Interest View (FCOI_View)

        Business Official (BO)

        Financial Status Reporter (FSR)

        ASSIST Access Maintainer         (ASSIST_ACCESS_MAINTAINER_ROLE) 

        Public Access Compliance Report (PACR)

       

      For more information on eRA Commons roles, please review the eRA Commons Roles document for full descriptions of the roles, and the eRA Commons Roles & Privileges Matrix for a quick view of roles and their capabilities.

       

    3. 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 & Privileges Matrix.

      For most institutions, the signing official (SO) is in the 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 the Institution Profile tab, followed by the Basic Information tab
      • You will see a row titled Signing Officials and TTO Administrators. Click the plus sign to view the name(s) of the signing official(s).

      If you are unable to identify your SO, contact the eRA Service Desk.


    4. 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 & Privileges Matrix.


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

      The account administrator role can create/edit all Commons accounts (except an SO account and 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 & Privileges Matrix.


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

      To view a list of roles available in eRA Commons, see eRA Commons Roles & Privileges Matrix .


    7. 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 assign 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 progress report 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 unaffiliate a PI.


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

      Please see the Manage User Accounts topic in the eRA Commons online help.

       

    9. How do I search for an eRA Commons User ID?

      Only SOs and Account Administrators (AAs) can look up a person’s eRA Commons User ID. They will access the Account Management System (AMS) by following these steps: Accessing AMS. Then they will look up the desired account by following the steps to Search for Commons User Account. The User ID will be listed in the first column of the search results.


    10. Are senior/key personnel on a grant application required to obtain a Commons username?

      Yes, effective for all submission for due dates on or after January 25, 2022, NIH will require all individuals listed on the R&R Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Form to have an eRA Commons username (Commons ID).

      To obtain a Commons username, one must contact the eRA Commons signing official (SO), administrative officer (AO) or an account administrator (AA), all of whom have the privileges to search for and affiliate or create an account. Before creating a new account, it is important to first search to see if the user already has an existing eRA Commons username.

      Follow these steps to search for a username in eRA Commons:

      • After logging into eRA Commons, click the Account Management (Admin) button.
      • Select the Admin tab, then Accounts, then Account Management.
      • The Account Management System’s Search Accounts screen will open in a new browser window.
      • On the search accounts screen, make sure the checkbox for Search only within my organization is not checked. You want to search the entire Commons database for the user so that you do not create a duplicate account.

      NOTE: When searching outside of your organization, it is possible to exceed the maximum of 500 results that can be displayed. Make sure you have enough information from your user to do a thorough search.

      • Enter the search criteria, using as much information on the user as is available to you. But remember some users may have a legal name that is different from what they use every day, for example “Bill” for “William”. The percent sign (%) may be used as a wildcard for the different name fields to assist in broadening the search.
      • When done, select the Search button.

      You can also reference the Create or Edit a New Commons Account section of the online help for detailed instructions.

    11. What are the options for providing an eRA Commons username that meet the new requirement of senior/key personnel needing a eRA Commons Username (user ID) effective for all submission for due dates on or after January 25, 2022?

      There are several eRA Commons roles that can be used to meet the new requirement of senior/key personnel needing a eRA Commons Username (user ID)  but are limited in their ability to access information on the awards and applications of your institution.

      The following eRA Commons roles can only view the Institution Profile (IPF) of the affiliated organization and can only view and edit their own Personal Profile (PPF):

      UNDERGRADUATE

      GRADUATE_STUDENT

      POSTDOC

      SCIENTIST

      PROJECT_PERSONNEL

       

       

      For more information on eRA Commons roles, see:

      A user could also register themselves as an independent scholar (unaffiliated/independent applicant) and then be affiliated by the host institution.  See steps.

    12. What are the options for obtaining an eRA Commons username (Commons ID) for a senior/key person who isnt affiliated with a registered organization?

      There are several options:

      • The senior/key individual’s organization can register in eRA Commons and provide a Commons username (Commons ID) for them.

        This is a good option if there is sufficient time (registration can take several weeks to complete) and the organization either has multiple individuals serving as senior/key on NIH grant applications or the organization is considering becoming an applicant organization themselves in the future.

      • The applicant organization can create an eRA Commons account for the senior/key individual and assign a role that is solely used for reporting purposes.

        Individuals with these roles can only view the Institution Profile (IPF) of the affiliated organization and view/edit their own Personal Profile (PPF):
        • UNDERGRADUATE
        • GRADUATE_STUDENT
        • POSTDOC
        • SCIENTIST
        • PROJECT_PERSONNEL

      This is the quickest option and within the control of the applicant organization.  A single Commons ID can be affiliated with multiple organizations. It doesn’t matter which organization initially establishes the account.

       

      Reminder: Individuals needing scientific roles (Program Directors, Principal Investigators, Scientist, Post-Doc, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Project Personnel) should only have one eRA Commons username for the life of their research career. It is important that the signing official (SO), or account administrator (AA) check to ensure a person does not already have an eRA Commons username. If the person has an existing username, the SO or AA can then affiliate them to their institution if the person is changing institutions. Before creating a new account, it is important for the person creating the account to first search to see if the user already has an existing eRA Commons username.

      For more information on eRA Commons roles, see:


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

            Follow the steps 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 39 below)

       

    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. Federal Financial 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 RPPR. The PI or SO should follow these steps to locate the Grants Closeout link in eRA Commons.

      See Closeout Status for more information.

      Note about Interim RPPR and Final RPPR

      The Interim RPPR (IRPPR) is used when you are submitting a Competing Renewal application (Type 2). If you opt NOT to apply for a Competing Renewal, complete the Final RPPR as you normally would within 120 days of the project end date. If you are going to complete a Competing Renewal application (or have already submitted such an application), you will submit an Interim RPPR. This must be submitted within 120 days of the project end date. 

      If you are awarded the renewal, the Interim RPPR will be treated as your annual RPPR and no other progress reporting will be needed for that segment of the study. If the application is NOT awarded, then the Interim RPPR will be accepted as the Final RPPR.

       



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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 30 or less.


    2. Why does the Just-in-Time (JIT) link appear in eRA Common'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?

      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.

      If you are not eligible for an automatic no cost extension, you can request prior approval from NIH for a no cost extension when the grant meets certain conditions. Please see Prior Approval: Request a No Cost Extension for details.

       


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

      A referee does not need to log in to eRA Commons to submit a reference letter. The ‘Submit a Reference Letter’ link is on the eRA Commons landing page.

      Go to ' How Do I Submit a Reference Letter' in the Commons online help. Also see the video tutorial on Submitting Reference Letters through eRA Commons. See frequently asked questions about Letters of Reference.

    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

      A. IAR Online Critique FAQs for Reviewers

    1. Is there an offline mode if Internet connectivity is not available?

      No. You can write the critiques in a Word document and copy and paste into the online critique once you have access to the Internet. Additionally, if you want an offline copy of the review criteria to which to refer, you can click the Print button and print the online critique to a PDF and save the PDF to your local hard drive.

    2. Is there a downloadable Word critique template that can still be uploaded if the reviewer is in a location without internet access?

      Not if the meeting is online critique compatible. You can write the critique in a Word document and copy and paste into the online critique once you have access to the Internet

    3. Can I download my submitted critiques?

      Yes. Once you submit a critique, the system will navigate back to the List of Applications screen. You can click the ‘View’ link in the Action column to download the critique in a PDF format. This process has not changed with online critiques.

    4. Can I, as a reviewer, download other reviewers critiques?

      Yes. The process has not changed. Please see the steps and screenshots on the View All Critiques webpage.

    5. How can I get more screen space to write a critique?

      Click the triangle icon to collapse the left navigation bar. That will give the reviewer more screen space.


      Figure 1: The triangle icon to collapse the left navigation bar on the Online Critique screen

       

    6. I lost the left navigation bar that contained all the headings and I do not know how to get it back?

      To restore the blue navigation bar at left, click the triangle shown below, which will be at the upper left of the Online Critique screen anytime the heading pane is collapsed.

    7. How much space in the text boxes do I have to write the comments, strengths and weaknesses for each criterion?

      The space in each section will expand automatically as you are writing text. There is currently no limit on how much text can be entered.

    8. Is there a way I can easily tell if I have forgotten to fill out a section or two?

      Yes. When you complete an online critique, save and click Submit, a warning message pops up listing sections that have not been completed. You have two options – ‘Continue with Submission’ or ‘Go Back and Edit.’ If you choose to go back and edit, on the critique itself, incomplete sections will be outlined in orange and an orange exclamation mark icon will appear next to the incomplete section. You can then enter the text and save and submit again.

      Figure 2: Orange exclamation mark icons highlighting missing sections in the online critique

    9. If I accidentally enter comments into the wrong applications online critique, is there an easy way to copy and paste these comments and scores into the correct online critique?

      Yes, just the way you would copy and paste from a Word document. You should ensure the critique entered for the wrong application is deleted.

    10. How do I enter Greek characters or other special characters in the online critique?

      You can click on the Omega symbol in the editing bar that appears just above the text section (see screenshot below). This will open a keyboard with Greek and other special characters. It is very important that reviewers use this keyboard to enter these characters, as it will ensure these characters are subsequently rendered properly in the critique in the IAR module.

      Figure 3: Omega symbol in the editing bar to click to add Greek characters and other special characters.

    11. I cannot remember if I submitted a critique. Is there an easy way to tell if I have submitted a critique?

      Yes, the word SUBMITTED appears at the top of the online critique if you return to it after previously submitting. In addition, on the List of Applications or List of My Assigned Applications screen, the column titled Submitted Date is filled in with a date and time if a copy was submitted.

      If you see the word DRAFT at the top of the online critique, it means that you are working on unsubmitted material, which will remain a draft version until you click Submit and go through the submission process.

      Figure 4: The word ‘DRAFT’ appears in the header when you are working on unsubmitted material

       

    12. When I am working on several applications, is there a way to easily tell on which application I am currently working?

      Yes. The grant number and the name of the principal investigator appear on the top of the screen as well as on a gray information bar. The gray bar moves with you as you move through the critique, so it is always there as a reminder. In addition, the browser tab shows the PI and grant number too, in case you have many tabs open.

      Figure 5: Grant number and name of principal investigator appears at the top of the screen and in the gray information bar.

    13. Do I need to click the save button?

      The system autosaves every minute and for text boxes, also autosaves each time you click into another field.  You can also click the Save button on the top of the critique. Clicking the Save & Exit button will take you back to the List of Applications screen in IAR. The Cancel button also takes you back to the List of Applications screen, but all entered data since the last autosave or since the last manual save (where you clicked Save) will be lost.

    14. I started to work on the critique and then left the screen to do something else. Now when I return, all the fields are non-editable with a small sign next to each field. Why can I no longer edit?

      The first time you go into the online critique, it is automatically in edit mode. If you then click Cancel or Save & Exit, you are returned to the List of Applications screen. When you next access the application critique you have started, the critique will be in read-only mode and you must click the blue Edit button at the top right of the Online Critique screen.

      Figure 6: You have to click the Edit button if you return to the Online Critique screen after entering your initial comments

    15. I entered some material, then realized it was all wrong, so I clicked Cancel. But when I went back into the critique, all the wrong material was still there.

      If you want to blank out an online critique completely, click the Delete button instead of Cancel. When you click Cancel, only the material you entered in the last minute or since the last time you changed fields is lost. However, use the Delete button with caution, as it deletes the entire draft data, the submitted critique or any draft critique that has been created over a submitted version. Once deleted, none of this can be recovered.


      B. Pre-Meeting and Post-Meeting Conflict of Interest (IAR)

    1. A reviewer did not upload critiques or scores and did not sign the pre-meeting COI certification. Will the reviewer be able to upload critiques and criterion scores (original or revised) and enter final scores?

      No. The pre-meeting COI certification needs to be signed before the reviewer can upload critiques and criterion scores.  IAR will not allow a reviewer to submit critiques or criterion scores without signing the pre-meeting COI certification.

    2. A reviewer uploaded critiques and scores before the new COI certifications came online but did not sign the pre-meeting COI. Will the reviewer be able to enter final scores?

      No, the reviewer will need to first sign the pre-meeting COI certification.  The pre-meeting COI certification will remain available until the certification is signed.  If the meeting has started, the link will appear for the reviewer to sign and then the pre-meeting COI link will convert to the post-meeting COI link. 

    3. What happens if an additional conflict is discovered before the meeting or under other scenarios (meeting date changes and certifications reflect the previous date, etc.)?

      A recertification will be required if an additional conflict is discovered before the meeting. If the conflict is reported before the meeting starts, the pre-meeting COI certification will be available (even past the meeting start date and time) until the pre-meeting form is certified.  Once certified the post form will appear until the end of the Edit phase.

    4. What are the other scenarios under which a recertification of the pre-meeting COI is required?

      These are the scenarios:

      • If the meeting date changes
      • If the SRO changes the reviewer’s Fed/Non-Fed status
      • If the meeting agenda changes from grants to contracts or vice versa

    5. A reviewer signed a pre-meeting certification on the old COI certification. Will there be a mix of old and new certifications in each meeting during the transition?

      To avoid any confusion, if one reviewer signs an old COI certification, the remaining reviewers of the panel will be presented with the old COI certifications. The same goes for the new certifications.

    6. A reviewer does not sign the post-meeting COI certification. Can the reviewer still upload revised critiques and scores?

      Yes, if the pre-meeting COI certification is signed, the system will allow the reviewer to complete the meeting phases.  There is no system block if the reviewer fails to sign the post-meeting certification. The post-meeting COI certification must be electronically signed at the time the reviewer completes participation in the study section meeting. Paper certifications will no longer be accepted.

    7. A reviewer identifies a new conflict during the meeting. There is no option to sign the pre-meeting COI. Will the reviewer be able to enter final scores and revised critiques and criterion scores?

      If the pre-meeting COI form is signed, and a conflict is entered after the meeting begins, the reviewer will be able to enter final scores and revised critiques.  The new conflict will be covered by the post-meeting COI certification.


      C. FAQs for Reviewers

    1. 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.


    2. 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?

      1. 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. See the steps in Creating an Account to Access IAR in the IAR online help. Note: If you do not have an email invitation, please contact the SRO
      2.  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.

    3. 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?

      Please complete all sections of the Reviewer Information page of the Personal Profile section. While in the edit mode, click on the Secure Payment Reimbursement System (SPRS) link 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. View Review Outcome
    1. How do I access the Summary Statement?

      Review outcomes are found in summary statements (PDF documents that combine reviewers’ written comments and the scientific review officer’s summary of the review discussion of your application). The summary statement is available on the eRA Commons’ Status Information screen, under Other Relevant Documents.

      The principal investigator (PI) can access the grant application's summary statement by following these steps to view his/her application's summary statement.

      The signing official (SO) can access the grant application's summary statement by following these steps to view an application’s summary statement.

       


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    XV. 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 to add a paper to an RPPR, you will have to do so in eRA Commons.

      • Use the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) System to upload manuscripts or associate papers with your award. You will be automatically logged into the NIHMS with your NIH eRA Commons User ID. You can also submit manuscripts through the NIHMS via the NIH Public Access website.

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

      Here is a list of possible status values and their associated action values for the My Bibliography grant-paper associations

      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. How do I acknowledge my specific funding in a publication?

      To acknowledge your federal funding in publications, please refer to the policy and compliance web page for Communicating and Acknowledging Federal Funding.


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    XVI. 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 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. How can business officials (BOs) keep track of the training grants for their institution?

      Business officials can see the status of all the appointment and termination at their institute by logging into eRA Commons, clicking the xTrain tab and search for the desired grants.  They can see all the grants for which they are the assigned business official.  You can follow these steps to view training grants.

    4. To which grant year should a trainee returning from a leave of absence be appointed?

      When a trainee returns from a leave of absence, the trainee should be appointed to the grant year that coincides with the return date.

      For instance, say the trainee was appointed initially to grant year 14 with a budget period of 4/01/2019—3/31/2020 and returned from leave on October of 2020. Since the budget period for year 14 ended prior to the trainee’s return, the trainee should be appointed to year 15 of the grant. That is because the budget year for year 15 coincides with the return date of the trainee.

      Note that xTrain requires an appointment start date to fall within the budget period of a grant year.  If a grantee tries to appoint a returning trainee to the year when the trainee was originally appointed but the budget period has ended for that year, xTrain will not allow that appointment.


      B. Termination Notices

    1. Who can initiate/submit a termination notice?

      A principal investigator (PI), PI delegate (ASST with xTrain Delegation), sponsor (for fellowship), sponsor delegate and business official (BO) can initiate a termination notice.  To see who can submit a termination notice, go to the xTrain online help topic ’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. Who can modify the stipend on an early termination?

      Only the principal investigator (PI) can modify the stipend on an early termination for training grants (T), institutional career development awards (K12/KL2), and research education (R25) awards. For Fellowships, the business official (BO) can also make changes to stipends.  It is important to note that delegates cannot make changes to stipends.

    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. This is done outside of the xTrain module. Please contact your grants management specialist or the awarding Institute/Center for more information. 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 the xTrain Termination of Fellowships Quick Reference Guide for Institution Users.


    5. Who can modify the stipend on an early termination for T, K, and R awards and fellowships?

      Only the principal investigator (PI) can modify the stipend on an early termination for T, K and R. On fellowships the business official (BO) as well the PI can make changes to the stipend on an early termination.


      C. eRA Commons Accounts & Role

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

      For signing officials to perform submit actions in xTrain, they must also have the business official (BO) 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 to the agency. Learn more about xTrain external user rolesaccessing xTrain as an ASST, and assigning 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?

      The following fields on the Personal Information screen are checked by xTrain:

      • Degree (If the appointment level is predoctoral or above, at least one degree must be entered)
      • Race
      • Gender
      • Birth Date
      • Email
      • Citizenship

       

      List of Degrees

      xTrain will check Degree information as part of the Appointment process as follows: 

      • PRE-BACCALAUREATE: does not have a bachelor’s degree
      • PRE-DOC: should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
      • POST-DOC: must have a PhD, MD, or equivalent

       

    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?

      Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are defined as those who:

      1. Come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml.
      2. Come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

      The two categories above are intended to refer to an individual’s situation while residing in the United States and particularly before graduating from high school.


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

      The Sponsor is a person who mentors Fellows and can initiate and facilitate the termination of a fellowship. The Sponsor can submit the Termination Notice for foreign and federal fellowships only.


    7. What is the Sponsor Delegate role?

      Users with this authority can perform actions similar to the Sponsor role but they are not able to submit the fellowship Termination Notice to the Agency.


    8. I am attempting to view my appointments in xTrain, but I am unable to route appointments or enter information in the fields. What should I do?

      If you are a PI affiliated with more than one institution, it is important to check which institution is displayed when you log into eRA Commons. You will only be able to access information pertaining to your selected institution. The institution is displayed on the upper right corner of the eRA Commons screen under your user ID information. See the eRA Commons online help for steps on ‘Changing the Displayed Affiliated Institution.’



      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. 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. It is very important that termination is accepted by the agency before resumption of support for the trainee. Upon the trainee's resumption of Kirschstein-NRSA support, the organization must submit a new 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.’

      List of Degrees

      xTrain will check Degree information as part of the Appointment process as follows: 

      • PRE-BACCALAUREATE: does not have a bachelor’s degree
      • PRE-DOC: must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
      • POST-DOC: must have a PhD, MD, or equivalent


      E. Troubleshooting xTrain Issues

    1. Why cannot I see the trainees 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 Service 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. 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.


    3. 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 Service Desk for assistance. 
      See the xTrain online help to learn more about terminating fellowships.


    4. 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

       


    5. 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 List for Grants screen. On occasion, the Sponsor's account is not automatically associated with the grant for which they are the official Sponsor. If this issue occurs, the Sponsor should contact the eRA Service 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. 

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

      For Training grants, only the Principal Investigator (PI) can edit the stipend amount on the termination notice when processing an early termination. For Fellowships, either the Fellow, or the Business Official may make the change.

    7. I am processing a termination for a trainee who was appointed for 3 years. The first 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. 


    8. 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. 

      Once the amendment is accepted by the agency, you can initiate the termination and it will display the correct stipend amount.

       


    9. I am appointing a trainee for a new fiscal year, but the stipend dropdown menu is only providing me the old stipend amount.

      The stipend level dropdown 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 02/01/2018 but the budget start date of the Grant is 06/01/2017, the stipend to be paid would reflect FY2017's stipend level. 

       


    10. 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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    XVII. 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 Matchmaker?

      LikeThis gives users the ability to find awarded projects that are similar to their own submitted applications on file in eRA Commons (both unfunded and funded). RePORTER Matchmaker allows users to find awarded projects based on scientific text only, but does not require an eRA Commons login. 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 Service 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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    XVIII. Administrative Supplements (Type 3s)
    1. Are administrative supplements required to be submitted electronically?

      Yes. Effective July 25, 2020, the streamlined submission method through the eRA Commons will be discontinued and replaced with the option to initiate the administrative supplement application within eRA Commons and leverage technology available in NIH ASSIST to complete submission. All supplement applications to existing single and multi-project awards must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov using NIH ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace, or institutional system-to-system (S2S) solutions. This also means that paper submissions will no longer be accepted.  [See Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-128 for more information]

    2. Can I submit the administrative supplement request through the eRA Commons streamlined method?

      No. The previous method of direct submission via eRA Commons (streamlined method) is no longer available.  Administrative supplements must be submitted to Grants.gov using NIH ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace, or institutional system-to-system (S2S) solutions [See Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-128 for more information]. Note that an administrative supplement application can still be initiated via eRA Commons to take advantage of pre-population and other features and the submission completed in ASSIST. This functionality will be available even if responding to a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) that indicates “the process for Streamlined Submission using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative.”

      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.

      Note that NIH is requiring that all applications for (single and multi-project) diversity supplements must be submitted electronically as of January 25, 2018 (See NOT-OD-18-111)

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

      Only the authorized organization representative (AOR) with the eRA Commons signing official role can submit an administrative supplement request. Administrative supplements can be initiated, and data prepopulated by any user if their external organization ID is the same as the external organization ID of the Parent Grant. Follow these steps for submitting an administrative supplement through the ASSIST. Note that these steps are for NIH grantees and applicants only.

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

      Note that these steps are for NIH grantees and applicants only.

      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 steps to 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 also these 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 Service Desk to link the document 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.

      A PD/PI should follow these steps to edit a Relinquishing Statement. An SO should follow the steps outlined here.

    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.



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    XX. Extramural Trainee Reporting And Career Tracking (xTRACT)
    1. What is xTRACT?

      The Extramural Trainee Reporting and Career Tracking (xTRACT) system is a new module in the eRA Commons that allows applicants, grantees, and assistants to create research training data tables for progress reports and institutional training grant applications.  Because xTRACT is integrated with eRA Commons, some training data will be prepopulated in the system, including trainee names, selected characteristics, institutions, grant numbers, and subsequent NIH and other HHS awards.

    2. Who should use xTRACT?

      xTRACT may be accessed by eRA Commons users with the following roles: signing officials (SO), principal investigators (PI), and assistants (ASST) with the appropriate delegation.  Individuals with these roles may use xTRACT to create data tables for T32, TL1, T90/R90, and T15 training grants for Research Performance Progress Reports and applications.

      It should be noted that Commons users holding these roles in conjunction with other types of predoctoral, postdoctoral, career-level training, education, and career development activities that use training data tables (e.g., T35, R25, K12/KL2 awards) can also use xTRACT on a pilot basis. This permits them the opportunity to become familiar with xTRACT and its features. However, they may wish to wait for future editions of the system, which will include features tailored to their specific types of awards.

       

    3. Are applicants or grantees required to use xTRACT?

      Training grant recipients are required to use the xTRACT system to prepare the required data tables for Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs). As described in NOT-OD-19-108, this requirement applies to NIH and AHRQ T15, T32, T90/R90, and TL1 RPPRs.  System validations in the RPPR module will check to ensure that the data tables were created via xTRACT, and users will not be able to submit RPPRs that are not in compliance. 

      The use of xTRACT to prepare the data tables for new and renewal training grant applications is not mandatory at this time but may be required in future years.  Applicants for new or renewal training grant awards are encouraged to take steps now to gain experience with the system prior to its required use.

    4. Does the requirement to use xTRACT to create Training Data Table 8 for submission with RPPRs extend to Final RPPRs?

      Yes, xTRACT must be used to create Table 8 for submission with an Interim and/or Final RPPR.

    5. When preparing Training Data Table 8 in xTRACT, what do I do if I don't have information on the dates of a trainee's subsequent employment?

      The xTRACT system requests information about the start date for a trainee’s subsequent employment in order to aid users in determining which position should appear in the ‘initial position’ column on Table 8 and which is the ‘current position.’ If the start date is not readily available, but enough information is known to determine which position was the initial one and which is the current one, users may enter estimated start dates.  The employment start dates entered into xTRACT will not appear on the completed table.

    6. When preparing Training Data Table 8 in xTRACT, how do users designate which students and post-doctorates should appear in Part I or Part II of the Table?

      After information about their sources of support during training is entered in xTRACT, students and post-doctorates who are identified as having support from ‘this training grant’ will automatically appear in Part I of Table 8, and those who are not supported by the training grant will appear in Part II, as “clearly associated” students or postdocs.

    7. My institution already has a database for training-related data. Can data be submitted to xTRACT via an Excel spreadsheet or application programming interface (API)?

      Institutions that wish to submit training-related data to the xTRACT system in batches may currently upload data on (a) non-NIH sources of support, (b) participating faculty and (c) participating trainees/students.  Instructions for bulk uploads can be found in the Online Help for:

      Additional upload features are planned and are expected to be introduced gradually over time.

    8. Can xTRACT be used to create data tables for undergraduate programs (e.g., T34s)?

      Not at this time.  Applicants for programs targeted to undergraduates (e.g., T34 awards) should not use the xTRACT system at all at this time but should instead use the fillable tables designed for undergraduate programs.

    9. Will the PDF Watermark disappear once the xTRACT RTD is finalized?

      Yes.  Upon finalizing your Research Training Dataset (RTD), the PDF will be regenerated without watermarks.  The watermarks only appear when previewing the PDF in its unfinalized/draft form.

    10. I would like to add a department to my list of Participating Departments and Programs but do not see the department I am looking for, in the available list of selections. Am I able to enter a department that does not appear on this list?

      Since the department selections that you see in xTRACT are taken directly from your organization's institutional profile in the Commons, xTRACT does not provide the ability to add departments to this list.  To have a department added to your organization's profile (and thus available for selection in xTRACT), a Signing Official from your organization may contact the eRA Service Desk to request the change.

    11. Am I able to view my awarded grant information within the xTRACT module?

      Information on the grant itself is not directly available in xTRACT.  However, this information can be accessed via the Status feature in Commons.


    12. Are prior-submitted PDFs available for viewing, when working on a future submission of the same grant?

      Previously submitted PDFs of training tables are not available in xTRACT but can be viewed by accessing the Status feature in Commons, and then clicking the corresponding e-Application link for the desired support year.


    13. Is it possible to change the type for a Non-NIH Funding Source?

      Yes, the type associated with any Non-NIH Funding Source may be edited using the Institution Data / Maintain Funding Sources feature.

    14. How can xTRACT users correct trainee-entered degree dates that differ from the official degree conferral dates at the institution?

      If trainees enter degree dates in their eRA Commons Personal Profiles, those dates will automatically appear in the xTRACT system.  If those degree dates are inconsistent with the official degree conferral dates in institutional records, xTRACT users should edit the records in xTRACT to modify the dates drawn from the eRA Commons.  The edited date will then display as an xTRACT record, and the change will not affect a trainee’s Commons Personal Profile. However, for this reason and more, users are strongly encouraged to ensure that their Personal Profile is accurate and up to date.

    15. How do I enter a trainee's dual degrees in xTRACT, when the system only allows for one terminal degree?

      Both of the degrees earned should be entered into xTRACT and designated as earned “during training.”  One should be designated as the “terminal degree,” but this classification will not appear on the training table itself.  For institutions that do not award dual degrees simultaneously, the trainee should be designated as “in training” until both degrees are awarded and at that point, both degrees and their conferral dates may be entered.  

    16. How should xTRACT users handle situations where a post-doctoral trainees appointment to the training grant precedes the official conferral of the doctoral degree?

      Trainees may be appointed to training grants as postdoctorates, as long as their predoctoral institutions provide documentation that they have met the requirements for the degree.  In such situations, an xTRACT user may enter the date that the individual formally met the requirements for the degree.

    17. How should I enter a participating interdepartmental program in xTRACT?

      Depending on the nature of the program, xTRACT users may simply enter the name of the interdepartmental program (e.g., Neuroscience Graduate Program, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program) or all the departments and/or divisions participating in the program.  In determining which approach to take, xTRACT users may wish to keep in mind that whatever choices they make will appear in Table 1 and, if applicable, Table 6A of the final research training data table set created by xTRACT.


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    XXI. ORCID iDs
    1. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs for those appointed to research training grants, research education awards, and institutional career development awards apply to all types of appointments in xTrain?

      No, it only applies to new appointments made through xTrain.  Reappointments and amendments will receive a ‘warning message’ if they are submitted in xTrain without an ORCID iD, but will be allowed to proceed, as there are occasions when institutions need to submit such appointments after the trainee has left the institution and is no longer readily available.

       

    2. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs apply to fellowship and mentored career development non-competing renewals (i.e., those submitting an RPPR)?

      No, the requirement applies only to individuals submitting competitive applications for fellowships or mentored career development awards.

    3. Does the requirement for ORCID iDs apply to individuals supported via administrative supplements to enhance diversity?

      No, the requirement applies only to individuals supported by formal research training, research education, and career development awards.


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    XXII. PI Verification of Preferred eRA Commons Account
    1. Why are principal investigators being asked via email to log into eRA Commons and indicate a preferred eRA Commons account?

      Scientists should have only one eRA Commons account that follows them throughout their research career. But sometimes PIs get a second or even a third eRA Commons account created for them.

      There are a few reasons it is important not to have duplicate accounts in Commons. NIH needs accurate information to track the careers of NIH funded researchers; it helps in the proper association of committee service for a reviewer to determine Continuous Submission status; and it keeps their grant record history together instead of being split across multiple accounts.

      Data Quality is sending targeted emails to PIs who are believed to have duplicate accounts. These PIs are instructed to log into eRA Commons and indicate their preferred Commons account. Once they indicate their preference, Data Quality will collapse their multiple accounts into the preferred account.

       

    2. How does a PI indicate a preferred eRA Commons account?

      eRA Commons has a new Account Verification screen for PIs to indicate their preference. Here are the instructions and screenshot. Those PIs who have current committee or grant involvement on a particular account are required to select that Commons account as preferred.

      The data associated with the deactivated eRA Commons account will be merged with the PI’s preferred account. This data includes grant and application data, review history, trainee positions, etc.

    3. Can a PI make changes after choosing the preferred Commons account and submitting the request?

      The PI will need to contact the eRA Service Desk to make any changes after submitting their preferred account choice.

    4. What does the "Im not sure" option in the drop-down menu under Account Ownership mean?

      The PI should select the ‘I’m not sure’ option if he or she is unsure about their affiliation with the grants, or if some of the grants belong to the PI and some do not. The PI should explain the reason for choosing this option in the comments field of the Account Verification screen (Grant #1 is mine, but Grant #2 is not mine).

      Data Quality will review these accounts manually and will not deactivate or collapse these accounts until they have enough information to decide.

       

    5. How long does it take after the PI indicates a preferred eRA commons account for the multiple accounts to be merged? Will the PI be notified?

      Data Quality will deactivate for a week any remaining account(s), after the PI indicates a preferred account and will merge the accounts by the end of the second week.

      The PI will be notified via email when the PI’s account is deactivated and again when the PI’s multiple accounts are merged.

       

    6. Once a PI has indicated a preferred account, will the PI still have access to the accounts that will be collapsed? Will any actions taken within those accounts in the interim be reflected in the merged account?

      No. The accounts that are to be collapsed will be deactivated for a week.  The PI can no longer take any action in eRA Commons at this stage via the accounts that will be collapsed until the collapse has occurred since the PI will not be able to log in to a deactivated account. The preferred account will still be available for transactions.

    7. Will this effort also include merging administrative accounts (Signing Official, etc.)?

      No, this effort is directed only at merging multiple scientific accounts for the same PI in eRA Commons into one. However, some accounts have a combination of scientific and administrative roles. Data Quality will split these roles, so the user will end up with 1 administrative and 1 scientific account. Data Quality will manually investigate and correct these accounts.

    8. What is the impact on ongoing transactions in Commons (checking of scores, etc.) if the PIs accounts are pending a merger?

      Those PIs who have current committee or grant involvement on a particular account are required to select that Commons account as preferred.

    9. As a PI, I know I have more than 2 Commons accounts, but the Account Verification screen displays only 2 accounts.

      This means that the account you do not see on the Account Verification screen is an administrative account (see Question 7) or that Data Quality was unable to identify additional duplicate accounts based on the available information.  If you know you have more than one scientific account and cannot see all of them on the Account Verification screen, please contact the eRA Service Desk.


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    XXIII. Human Subjects System (HSS) FAQs (for PIs and SOs)
    1. Why does the Human Subjects link not appear for my newly submitted grant application in eRA Commons?

      The Human Subjects link will only appear after an application has been through peer review. If an application/award does not propose to use human subjects, the link will not be present.

    2. When I click on the Human Subjects link in eRA Commons, why do I land in ASSIST?

      HSS is leveraging ASSIST for its screens. Hence the HSS screens may look familiar to you.

    3. How do I access HSS for my grant/application?

      You can access HSS through the RPPR and the Status tabs in eRA Commons. Check out the steps to access HSS in the online help or view a video on Accessing HSS. If an application/award does not propose to use human subjects, the link will not be present.

    4. Can a PI or SO delegate HSS tasks?

      By default, only the PI or SO can carry out activities in HSS. However, if a user has been provided the Progress Report delegation by an SO or PI, they can edit both the Research Progress Performance Report (RPPR) and HSS data.  However, they cannot route or submit to agency the RPPR.

    5. Why cant I edit Section 1 of the human subjects study record?

      Section 1 of the study record can only be updated by NIH staff.  Contact the NIH program official overseeing the grant for assistance with Section 1.

    6. I am a principal investigator. Why cant I submit the study record with the enrollment data?

      Only the SO can submit the application to NIH. The submission sends all updated study records associated with the application to NIH at one time. A future release will allow an SO to delegate the submit task to the PI.

    7. How will an SO know that a study record is ready for submission?

      The SO should log into the eRA Commons and click the Pending Human Subjects Action link on the Status page. The search screen in HSS is presented and allows SOs to search for post submission/human subjects studies that are ready for submission.

    8. What guidance do I follow for filling out the enrollment forms?

      The HSS enrollment forms are essentially the same as the Human Subjects Clinical Trial (HSCT) form for a regular competing application. Therefore, please follow the instructions from the SF424 (R&R) application guide: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/forms-f/general/g.500-phs-human-subjects-and-clinical-trials-information.htm#StudyRecord

       

    9. How are NIH staff notified if a study record is changed?

      Program officials and grant management specialists are notified automatically of study changes and can review those changes. Some changes may require prior approval (see NIH Grants Policy Statement Chapter 8.1.2.6).

    10. I created an extra inclusion record in error. How do I delete it?

      You can delete an inclusion enrollment report (IER) as long as it was not previously-submitted to NIH. Open the study record that contains the extra IER and click the ‘edit’ button under the Action column. Click the ‘edit’ button in the Action column of the IER that needs to be deleted, then click the ‘remove report’ button at the button of the screen, under the enrollment tables. Click ‘save and release lock’ to save the changes.

    11. How do I update a study enrollment form?

      In order to edit study information, the principle investigators (PIs) or signing officials (SOs) can access the HSCT form using the Human Subjects links in either the RPPR or through the Status screen in eRA Commons. Refer to Access Human Subjects System (HSS) for details.


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    XXIV. Access eRA Modules via Two-Factor Authentication
    1. What is two-factor authentication?

      Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security to keep accounts safe. As its name implies, two-factor authentication requires two different methods to sign into an account. Usually this means entering a memorized password and a unique code sent to a device (such as your phone) that you own. Requiring two methods makes breaking into your account much harder.

      Two-factor authentication is being used more often these days by private and government entities to protect user accounts. 

    2. Why is eRA using two-factor authentication?

      Two-factor authentication enhances the security of sensitive information that is stored in eRA modules and protects user accounts from being compromised.

      To make eRA user accounts more secure, eRA is requiring use of two-factor authentication instead of an eRA account username and password to access eRA modules (eRA Commons, Commons Mobile, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review).

      Switching to using two-factor authentication instead of a username and password is increasingly the industry standard for maintaining confidential information.

    3. How do eRA users obtain two-factor authentication for their account?

      eRA is offering its users two ways to comply with its two-factor authentication requirements:

      • use Login.gov
      • and/or use an InCommon Federated account* that support NIH’s two-factor authentication standards* (beginning September 15, 2021)

      These two options should be used instead of an eRA account username and password to access eRA modules (eRA Commons, Commons Mobile, ASSIST, and Internet Assisted Review), per NIH’s adjusted timeline for transition to two-factor authentication (See the Two-Factor Authentication: Access eRA Modules via login.gov webpage).

      Note:  If users are transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication prior to September 15, 2021, then they are required to use Login.gov. After September 15, 2021, users may begin to use an InCommon Federated account only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have two-factor authentication enabled for their InCommon Federated Account

      * When participating InCommon Federation organizations authenticate their own users

    4. What is Login.gov?

      Login.gov is a service that offers secure and private online access to government programs, such as federal benefits, services, and applications.

      Login.gov uses two-factor authentication, and stronger passwords that meet new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requirements for secure validation and verification. By using Login.gov, you’ll get an extra layer of security to help protect your profile against password compromises.

      Use of Login.gov has the advantage of allowing users to sign into various government agency systems with a single set of credentials. You can use your Login.gov credentials to access Grants.gov, the System for Award Management (SAM.gov), MyNCBI (see login tips), SciENcv, MyBibliography, and other Federal systems.

    5. What is an InCommon Federated Account?

      When organizations authenticate their own users to log in to eRA modules, it is called an InCommon Federated account. Currently, eRA supports only a limited number of organizations that participate in the InCommon Federation by allowing users to log in to eRA modules using their organization’s account credentials (username/password).

      Beginning September 15, 2021, eRA will be opening up the ability for all organizations that participate in the InCommon Federation to authenticate their own users to access eRA modules.  However, beginning on this date, two-factor authentication (also known as multi-factor authentication) will also be required.  This means that users will now have the option to use an InCommon Federated account only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and the user has it enabled for their InCommon Federated Account. 

      For those who currently use an InCommon Federated account to login to eRA modules, their organization(s) will need to strengthen the security of their federated account authentication processes to support NIH's two-factor authentication standards by September 15, 2021, so that federated users are able to continue to use those accounts to log in; if not, those users will be required to switch to Login.gov to access eRA modules once they are required to transition to two-factor authentication according to eRA’s transition timeline.

      Note:  If users are transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication prior to September 15, 2021, then they are required to use Login.gov. After September 15, 2021, users may begin to use an InCommon Federated account only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have two-factor authentication enabled for their InCommon Federated Account

      Use of InCommon Federated accounts without two-factor authentication will no longer be permitted.

      Note: Federated accounts, currently limited to scientific accounts, will be opened up to administrative accounts effective September 15, 2021. However, if you have more than one administrative account, wait to switch any of your administrative accounts as eRA is working on a solution that will support users with multiple eRA accounts that should be available in mid-2022.

      See the Two-Factor Authentication: Access eRA Modules via an InCommon Federated Account webpage for further information.

    6. What is the timeline for eRA requiring users to switch to two-factor authentication for its modules?

      A deadline of September 15, 2021 had initially been set to require users of eRA Commons, Commons Mobile, ASSIST and IAR to use Login.gov, instead of their eRA Commons account username and password, to access those modules.

      To ensure a smooth transition and based on feedback from users, NIH is providing more time to make this transition than previously announced. Instead of requiring all users to transition to Login.gov by September 15, 2021, eRA will begin a phased approach beginning on that date for enforcing the two-factor authentication requirement for the NIH recipient community as described below.

      This phased approach will apply to everyone — all scientific account holders should take action now, while administrative account holders will be required to move to two-factor authentication in mid-2022.

      The new timing for enforcing the requirement depends on the type of user account and a new triggering event.

      The Type of User Account:
      This phased approach pertains to all scientific account holders but excludes administrative accounts until mid-2022.


      The Triggering Event:
      All PIs and key personnel associated with an application or Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) will be required to transition to the use of two-factor authentication 45 days after the submission of their competing grant application (Type 1 or 2) or their RPPR.
      After 45 days of this triggering event, these users will not be able to access eRA modules until they set up and use a two-factor authentication service provider - Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (that supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards).

    7. Who is exempt from NIHs adjusted timeline and approach to two-factor authentication for eRA modules?

      Users with Administrative Accounts
      NIH is exempting administrative account holders from the requirement to use two-factor authentication until mid-2022, when eRA will implement support for users with multiple accounts. However, reviewers who use an administrative account will still be required to use two-factor authentication as soon as they are enabled for a review meeting.

      Reviewers
      The transition for reviewers (those with an IAR role) is ongoing and unchanged. Reviewers will continue to be required to use two-factor authentication as soon as they are enabled for a review meeting. However, reviewers now have a new option to use an InCommon Federated account (only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have it enabled on their InCommon Federated account) and/or Login.gov.

      eRA Partner Agency Applicants/Recipients
      The updated plan applies only to NIH applicants/recipients; while eRA partner agency users are encouraged to move to two-factor authentication, they are not required to at this time (except for reviewers whose transition is ongoing; or applicants/recipients who apply to NIH or have an NIH grant). eRA partner agency users have the option to use a Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have it enabled for their InCommon Federated account).

    8. What is the timeline for principal investigators and others with only a scientific account?

      Users who only have a scientific account (principal investigator, etc.) should start using two-factor authentication now to access eRA modules before they are required to transition. They may use Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (beginning September 15, 2021, only if their institution supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have it enabled for their InCommon Federated account).

      Beginning September 15, 2021, all PIs and key personnel associated with an application or Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) will be required to transition to the use of two-factor authentication 45 days after the submission of their competing grant application (Type 1 or 2) or their RPPR.

      eRA will send reminder messages during the 45-day period to individual users who have not yet transitioned to using Login.gov.

      After 45 days of this triggering event, these users will not be able to access eRA modules until they set up and use a two-factor authentication service provider — Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (that supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards).

      Note:  If a user who has a scientific account (principal investigator, etc.) also serves as a reviewer and is enabled for a review meeting, then they will be required to transition to the use of two-factor authentication as soon as they are enabled for the review meeting.  This applies to all activities they conduct using their account and will be required to access any eRA external module, including Commons.

      For further information on eRA Commons scientific roles, please see the following:

    9. What is the timeline for signing officials and others with one or more administrative accounts?

      NIH is exempting administrative account holders from the requirement to use two-factor authentication until mid-2022, when eRA will implement support for users with multiple accounts. However, reviewers who use an administrative account will still be required to use two-factor authentication as soon as they are enabled for a review meeting.
      We encourage administrators [signing official (SOs), administrative officials (AOs), etc.] with only a single eRA administrative account to start using two-factor authentication now to access eRA modules.  They may use Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (only if the user’s organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and the users have it enabled for their InCommon Federated account).

      Administrators with multiple eRA administrative accounts should not yet transition their accounts unless they also serve as a reviewer.  For administrators who have multiple administrative accounts and serve as a reviewer, they should use the following guidance:

      1. For users who use one eRA administrative account to serve as a reviewer:
        1. If you have not already setup two-factor authentication for any of your eRA administrative accounts, then you should associate your Login.gov account with the eRA administrative account that you use to perform your review activities, as reviewers are transitioning now to the required use of two-factor authentication. There is nothing further that you need to do as your other eRA administrative accounts will automatically be excluded from the two-factor authentication transition until mid-2022.
        2. If you have already set up two-factor authentication for one of your eRA administrative accounts and that eRA administrative account is not the account that you use to perform your review activities, then you should contact the eRA Service Desk to adjust your two-factor authentication setup. Depending on which eRA administrative account has the IAR role, the Service Desk will assist you in moving your two-factor authentication setup to your eRA administrative account that has the IAR role (if needed) and grant a two-factor authentication exemption for your eRA administrative account that does not have the IAR role.
        3. If you have already setup two-factor authentication for one of your eRA administrative accounts and that eRA administrative account is the account that you use to perform your review activities, then there is nothing further you need to do. Your other eRA administrative accounts will automatically be excluded from the two-factor authentication transition until mid-2022.
      1. For users who use multiple eRA administrative accounts to serve as a reviewer:
        1. You should contact the eRA Service Desk to adjust your two-factor authentication setup. Depending on which eRA administrative accounts have the IAR role, the Service Desk will assist you in determining the appropriate next steps.

      For further information on eRA Commons administrative roles, please see:

    10. What is the timeline for users with both a scientific and administrative account?

      Users with both a scientific account and an administrative account (for instance, a principal investigator and a signing official) should start using two-factor authentication now to access eRA modules.  However, these users should use the following guidance:

      1. For users who serve as a reviewer:
        1. If you have not already setup two-factor authentication for any of your eRA accounts, then you should associate your Login.gov account with the eRA account that you use to perform your review activities, as reviewers are transitioning now to the required use of two-factor authentication.
          1. If you are a reviewer who uses an eRA scientific account, then simply set up two-factor authentication for that account. There is nothing further that you need to do as your eRA administrative account will automatically be excluded from the two-factor authentication transition until mid-2022.
          2. If you are a reviewer who uses an eRA administrative account, then set up two-factor authentication for that account. Once completed, you should contact the eRA Service Desk to get an exemption from two-factor authentication for your eRA scientific account.
        2. If you have already set up two-factor authentication for one of your eRA accounts, then you should contact the eRA Service Desk to adjust your two-factor authentication setup. Depending on which eRA account has the IAR role, the Service Desk will assist you in moving your two-factor authentication setup to your eRA account that has the IAR role (if needed) and grant a two-factor authentication exemption for your eRA account that does not have the IAR role.

       

      1. For all other users (who do not serve as a reviewer):
        1. If you have not already set up two-factor authentication for any of your eRA accounts, then you should associate your Login.gov account with the eRA scientific account.  Your eRA administrative account will automatically be excluded from the two-factor authentication transition until mid-2022.
        2. If you have already setup two-factor authentication for your scientific eRA account, then there is nothing further you need to do. Your eRA administrative account will automatically be excluded from the two-factor authentication transition until mid-2022.
        3. If you have already setup two-factor authentication for your eRA administrative account, then you should contact the eRA Service Desk to adjust your two-factor authentication setup. The Service Desk will assist you in moving your two-factor authentication setup to your eRA scientific account and grant a two-factor authentication exemption for your eRA administrative account until mid-2022.

       

    11. Does a user need to have an eRA account at the time of the application submission in order to be transitioned to two-factor authentication?

      In order for a user to be transitioned to two-factor authentication, the user must have an eRA Commons account (eRA Commons ID).  Beginning on 9/15/2021, all PIs and key personnel associated with an application or Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) will be required to transition to the use of two-factor authentication 45 days after the submission of their competing grant application (Type 1 or 2) or their RPPR.  Therefore, as long as the PIs and key personnel have an eRA Commons account established at the time of submission and the eRA Commons ID is included in the submission, those accounts will be transitioned to two-factor authentication. As stated in NOT-OD-21-109, beginning January 25, 2022, an eRA Commons ID must be entered in the “Credential, e.g. agency login” field for all Senior/Key Personnel (as defined in NIH GPS 1.2) listed on the R&R Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Form.  This means that these users will be required to have an eRA Commons account established prior to submission of the relevant applications (competing grant application (Type 1 or 2)).  This requirement does not apply to RPPR submissions, therefore only accounts existing at the time of the submission where the eRA Commons ID is included in the RPPR submission will be transitioned to require two-factor authentication.

    12. Can a user choose to have both Login.gov and an InCommon Federated account on their eRA user account?

      Yes. Users can set up and use both Login.gov and InCommon Federated accounts (beginning September 15, 2021, only if their institution supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have it enabled for their InCommon Federated account ) with an eRA user account. Note that InCommon Federated users who have already transitioned to use Login.gov can also use their InCommon Federated account once their organization’s federated account authentication process meets NIH’s two-factor authentication standards.

      Note:  If users are transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication prior to September 15, 2021, then they are required to use Login.gov. After September 15, 2021, users may begin to use an InCommon Federated account only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have two-factor authentication enabled for their InCommon Federated Account

    13. What happens if I am required to move to two-factor authentication to access eRA systems and I do not switch?

      If you are required to move to two-factor authentication and do not switch, you will not be able to access eRA modules. Once your account is required to use two-factor authentication, you may use Login.gov and/or an InCommon Federated account (beginning September 15, 2021, only if the users’ organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and the users have it enabled for their InCommon Federated account). Setting up two-factor authentication now, before it is required, will reduce your risk of something not working with your Login.gov or InCommon Federated account, which could prevent system access.

      Note:  If users are transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication prior to September 15, 2021, then they are required to use Login.gov. After September 15, 2021, users may begin to use an InCommon Federated account only if their organization supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards and they have two-factor authentication enabled for their InCommon Federated Account

       

    14. Can I create and use multiple Login.gov accounts to accommodate multiple eRA accounts?

      Yes, but we do not recommend it as it will require you (and us) to take additional steps to consolidate your eRA accounts in mid-2022.  Please only use one Login.gov account and associate it with your scientific account (if you only have a scientific account), or your administrative account (if you only have an administrative account).  If you have multiple eRA accounts, please see the specific guidance provided about users who have a scientific account and an administrative account, or multiple administrative accounts.

    15. How do I create a Login.gov account?

      Here are the steps for the initial setup at Login.gov.  Also see 2FA flyer (Updated June 24, 2021) for steps and screenshots.

      IMPORTANT: Before completing the following steps, make sure your eRA account is active and you know your account password. If you are unsure of either, then use the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link on the main Commons home screen. Also, ensure that you not are not using old bookmarked URLs to access eRA Commons. The URL for eRA Commons is https://public.era.nih.gov/commons/

      Note: We have used eRA Commons as an example below.

      STEP 1 — Click on the Login.gov option on eRA Commons

      1. When you click on the Login.gov option on the eRA Commons home screen, you will be redirected to https://login.gov/

      Note: If you already have a Login.gov username and password, enter it. You will go directly to Step 3 below.

      STEP 2 — Create a Login.gov account

      1. Enter email address at login,gov
      2. Receive email verification
      3. Verify email address
      4. Create password
      5. Choose a primary authentication method – for instance, select phone
        1. Enter phone number
        2. Enter security code received by text message
        3. Set up is confirmed
      6. Your account creation at Login.gov is confirmed. Click Continue to return to eRA Commons.

      STEP 3 — Link your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account (one-time only)

      1. The eRA Commons Account Association screen is displayed. Enter your eRA credentials – username and password – to associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account. You will only do this once unless you decide to use a different Login.gov account. 

      YOU ARE DONE — You will be returned to eRA Commons. The next time you log into eRA Commons using Login.gov, you will be automatically be authenticated and re-directed to eRA Commons without having to log in again.

      Make sure you are not using old eRA system bookmarks that may interfere with the Login.gov process.

      Here are the URLs for

      1. eRA Commons:https://public.era.nih.gov/commons/
      2. ASSIST: https://public.era.nih.gov/assist/
      3. IAR: https://public.era.nih.gov/iar
      4. Commons Mobile:http://m.era.nih.gov/cmb

       

    16. What email address do I use to create a Login.gov account and does it need to match the email address in my eRA account profile?

      You can use any email address for your Login.gov account.  eRA does not require that the email address in your Login.gov account profile match the email address in your eRA account profile.  The first time you log in with your Login.gov account, you will be prompted to associate it with your eRA account.

    17. If I have more than one Login.gov account, can I use any of them to log in to eRA?

      You can only have one Login.gov account associated with your eRA account. If you have multiple Login.gov accounts and prefer to change the Login.gov account already associated with your eRA account, then you can change the association to use one of your other Login.gov accounts. Note that if you have multiple administrative accounts, wait to switch those administrative accounts as we are working on a solution that will support users with multiple eRA accounts in early 2022.

      Assume you have two Login.gov accounts, and Login.gov Account 1 is already associated with your eRA account. To change the Login.gov account associated with your eRA account, do the following:

      1. Log in to eRA using your other Login.gov account (Account 2)
      2. You will be redirected back to the eRA Account Associationscreen and asked to associate this new Login.gov account with an eRA account
      3. Enter your eRA credentials
      4. eRA will notify you that your eRA account is already mapped to another Login.gov account (Account 1) and provide the primary email address of the other Login.gov account
      5. You will be asked if you want to retain or replace the current Login.gov account association.
      6. If you decide to retain the existing association to Login.gov Account 1, your eRA session will end, and you will be prompted to go to Login.gov and logout of your active session for Login.gov Account 2. Then close all your browser windows and start the login process over user your existing Login.gov account (Account 1).
      7. If you decide to replace the current Login.gov account association, re-enter your eRA account password. Upon successful verification of your password, the account association will be updated, and you can immediately start using your new Login.gov (Account 2) account going forward.

       

    18. What if I already have a Login.gov account?

      IMPORTANT: Before completing the following steps, make sure your eRA account is active and you know your account password.  If you are unsure of either, then use  the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link on the main Commons home screen. Also, ensure that you not are not using old bookmarked URLs to access eRA Commons.  The URL for eRA Commons is https://public.era.nih.gov/commons/

      STEP 1 Click on the Login.gov option on eRA Commons

      1. When you click on the Login.gov option on the eRA Commons home screen, you will be redirected to https://login.gov/

      Enter your existing Login.gov username and password.  You do not need to create a new Login.gov account.

      STEP 2 — Associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account (one-time only)

      1. The eRA Account Association screen is displayed. Enter your eRA credentials – username and password – to associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account. You will only do this once.

      YOU ARE DONE — You will be returned to eRA Commons. The next time you log into eRA Commons using Login.gov, you will be automatically be authenticated and redirected to eRA Commons without having to login again

      Make sure you are not using old eRA system bookmarks that may interfere with the Login.gov process.

      Here are the URLs for

       

    19. I am having trouble with my Login.gov account, who can I contact?

      For any issues related to Login.gov, your eRA account or to associating your Login.gov account with your eRA account, please contact the eRA Service Desk at https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html

      You can also look up the Login.gov help at https://www.login.gov/help/

    20. If I have more than one eRA account, can I use my Login.gov account for all of my eRA accounts to log in to eRA?

      At this time, you can only have one Login.gov account associated with one eRA account. If you have multiple eRA accounts, then you are not going to be able to use the same Login.gov account for all your eRA accounts.  Once you associate a Login.gov account with one of your eRA accounts, that Login.gov account will be tied to only that eRA account. 

      If you have multiple eRA accounts, please see the specific guidance provided about users who have multiple eRA accounts.

    21. How is the Login.gov process affected if a user's eRA Commons account password expires? Or if the user changes his or her eRA account password in Commons?

      If the eRA Commons account is already associated with your Login.gov account, and the eRA Commons account password expires, the ability to log in to eRA Commons using Login.gov is not affected.

      If the eRA Commons account is not associated with your Login.gov account prior to the expiration of the eRA account password, then you will need to follow these steps before you can associate your Login.gov account with your eRA account:

      1. Close all browser windows to ensure you are disconnected from eRA Commons and login.gov.
      2. Reset the password using the Forgot Password/Unlock Account?link on the eRA Commons home page.
      • A temporary password will be sent to you using the email address on your eRA Commons Personal Profile.
      1. You need to log in to eRA Commons using the temporary password. You are then taken to the Change Password screen, where you establish a permanent password.
      2. Once this is done, you can complete the process of associating your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account by following the steps in the Two-Factor Authentication Flyer.

      Note: If you no longer have access to the email account where the temporary password is sent, you need to contact the eRA signing official at your institution who can assist with resetting your password.

    22. I clicked on the Login.gov link on the eRA Commons login page and had just completed creating my Login.gov account when the browser session to eRA Commons ended. Do I have to start all over again?

      Once you click the Login.gov link on the eRA Commons login page to initiate the process through Login.gov, you have 10 minutes to complete the steps from beginning to end. This is due to NIH login security policies that eRA is required to follow.

      In the scenario that you take longer than 10 minutes to complete the process, the browser session to eRA Commons will end (close) due to inactivity.  However, the Login.gov connection will still be active (open). 

      You will need to navigate directly to the Login.gov website by opening a new browser tab and entering the Login.gov URL (https://login.gov/). Click Sign in with Login.gov button at the top right of the screen.  This will bring you to the Login.gov account management screen.  Select the Sign Out link (at the top right of the screen) to end your Login.gov session.

      Remember, at this point you have already successfully created your Login.gov account, so there is no need to repeat the Login.gov account creation process.  

      Once logged out of Login.gov, return to the eRA Commons login page and select the Login.gov login option. Enter your Login.gov credentials and complete the two-factor authentication process you have already configured for your Login.gov account. You will then be redirected back to the eRA Commons Associate Your Account screen where you can complete the steps to associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account.

    23. I tried to login using Login.gov, but it did not work. What should I do?

      Before contacting the eRA Service Desk, please perform the following:

       

    24. If I am required to use Login.gov, do I need periodically update my eRA account password?

      Yes. While eRA has been transitioning users of eRA Commons, Commons Mobile, ASSIST and IAR to two-factor authentication using either Login.gov or an InCommon Federated Account that supports NIH’s two-factor authentication standards, users will still need to maintain their eRA Commons username and password for the time being.   

      Effective November 17, 2021, NIH moved from passwords to passphrases — a set of random words or a sentence at least 15 characters long. The change is designed to make passwords easy for users to remember but hard for others to guess.

      Users who reset passwords for any reason (expiration, forgotten password, etc.) must create a passphrase that meets the new requirements. As part of this policy, users must change their temporarily assigned password to a passphrase right after the first time they log on with their assigned password. The passphrase is case-sensitive and cannot be reused within 10 passphrase cycles.

      A major plus is that eRA users will only need to change their passphrase once a year.

      It is important to remember that users are prohibited from sharing passphrases with one another and each user must have a separate and unique passphrase. Users should not allow other unauthorized users to access resources under their credentials by logging on and then letting others use the computer.

      For details, please see the Change Password webpage and the eRA Password Policy.

      Note: If you need to reset your eRA account password, please do so by using the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link on the main Commons home screen. If your eRA account password has already expired, you will be prompted to change it if you attempt to log in using eRA account credentials.

    25. Am I able to login using my eRA account credentials or my InCommon Federated account credentials once I am transitioned to require the use of two-factor authentication? Updated

      When you are transitioned to required use of two-factor authentication, you will not be able to log in anymore using eRA account credentials.  For those who currently use an InCommon Federated account (where organizations authenticate their own users) to login into eRA modules, your organization(s) will need to strengthen the security of their federated account authentication processes to support NIH's two-factor authentication standards by September 15, 2021, so that you are able to continue to use those accounts to log in; if not, you will be required to switch to Login.gov to access eRA modules once you are required to transition to two-factor authentication according to eRA’s transition timeline. Use of InCommon Federated accounts without  two-factor authentication will no longer be permitted.

      NIH has been working with the InCommon Federation (https://www.incommon.org/about/), the organization that coordinates federated authentication across organizations, to implement support by September 15, 2021, for the two-factor authentication requirement. 

      Overall, after a user is transitioned to require two-factor authentication, they will be able to use either a Login.gov account or an InCommon Federated account that supports and is in compliance with NIH’s two factor authentication standards.

      See Accessing eRA Modules Via an InCommon Federated Account for details.

    26. I am not receiving the email address verification email from Login.gov when creating a new account, what do I do?

      Make sure to check your junk/spam folder.  Emails from Login.gov may be filtered out as spam.  If you are using a company email address, your company may have stringent filtering of junk mail.  It is recommended that you consider using a personal email address when creating a new Login.gov account to avoid verification messages getting tagged as junk/spam.  If you contact Login.gov, they may recommend that the new account be deleted and recreated if you never received the email verification email from Login.gov.  Note: That if the account is deleted, you will not be able to create a new Login.gov account until after 24 hours has passed from the time the original account was deleted.


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    XXV. Trainee Diversity Report
    1. What is the electronic Trainee Diversity Report?

      The electronic Trainee Diversity Report has replaced the manual report that signing officials are required to submit with the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for specified institutional training, institutional career development  and most research education awards (See Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-178). The new report collects existing demographic information entered by trainees and other appointees in the Personal Profile of eRA Commons during the appointment process and thus minimizes the need for manual data entry by recipients.

       

      The report is required to be submitted for annual, interim and final RPPRs.

    2. What data is captured in the electronic Trainee Diversity Report?

      The automated Trainee Diversity Report captures:

      • Demographic information on trainees for a single year. In xTrain, you only see awarded grants, so you would generate a Trainee Diversity Report for an awarded grant that would be attached to the RPPR for the pending award for next year’s grant. For example, if you are working on an RPPR for the year 14 award, your year 13 trainees will be reported in the RPPR for year 14.
      • For final and interim RPPRs the diversity report will pull information from the same year on which you are submitting the RPPR
      • Only trainees appointed to the specific grant during the reporting period can be included in the annual Trainee Diversity Report; those trainees affiliated to the grant (but not appointed) or added in the current year cannot be included.

    3. What is the source of the information in the Trainee Diversity Report?

      The information is pulled from the demographic information entered by trainees in their Personal Profile in the eRA Commons module. The information includes trainees’ race, ethnicity, sex, socio-economic background, and disabilities. The automated report reduces the burden on recipient organizations who had to previously track down trainees and manually fill in the information.

       

      Note that demographic information is collected at an individual level through the Personal Profile but is reported as aggregate data.

    4. From which eRA module can the report be generated?

      The Trainee Diversity Report can be generated from either the xTrain or RPPR module. In the xTrain module, you will find the Generate Trainee Diversity Report link on the Trainee Roster screen (see Figure 1).

       

      figure 1

      Figure 1: Generate Trainee Diversity Report link on the Trainee Roster screen

      In the RPPR module, the Generate the Trainee Diversity Report link is located in Section B.4 (see Figure 2). Click the link to open and review the report, which can then be attached to the RPPR by clicking the Submit for RPPR button and confirming the submission. When you submit the diversity report, you submit it to the RPPR, meaning it is now part of the RPPR submission package. Submission of the RPPR itself is a separate process that comes later.

       

      figure 2

      Figure 2: Generate the Trainee Diversity Report link in Section B.4 of the RPPR

    5. Can we modify the information that prepopulates in the electronic trainee diversity report?

      The report cannot be manually modified. To change data in the report, you can:

      • ask the trainee(s) to update their information in their Personal Profile in eRA Commons, or
      • finalize any appointments for trainees whose appointments have not yet been accepted by the agency for the grant year being reported.

      Then, regenerate the report.

    6. Can the report be submitted more than once?

      The Trainee Diversity Report can be submitted to the RPPR as many times as necessary to provide the most accurate information possible. Any previous submissions will be overwritten. This can be done up to the time that the RPPR is submitted by the signing official to the awarding agency, at which time the report is considered final. Any subsequent changes should be discussed, outside the eRA system, with grants management staff at the NIH IC that funded the grant.

    7. Who can submit the report?

      Only a signing official or principal investigator can submit the Trainee Diversity Report to the RPPR, in the RPPR or in xTrain. A delegate does not have the authority to submit a Trainee Diversity Report. Also note that only a signing official can submit the RPPR.

    8. What resources are available on the Trainee Diversity Report?