eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons' Upcoming Release and Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, January 29

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scheduled Downtime for January Release:
eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, January 29, and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, January 30, 2015. When the system is available again, you will see new features and functionality that have been added to the system.   The following are highlights of this release; check out the eRA Commons release notes and the ASSIST release notes for more information on features and fixes. Release notes will be available shortly after the release.

Highlights of eRA Commons' January Software Release

Updates in eSubmission Using ASSIST

NIH has made several changes to enhance the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) module:

  • ASSIST Supports Single Project Applications
    • eRA will open ASSIST for R03 and R21 single project applications in late January.  As ASSIST becomes a viable option for other grant programs, additional Guide Notices will be posted. Note that use of ASSIST is optional for single project applications. See NOT-OD-15-044.
    • Subaward budget information can be completed within ASSIST or subaward budget forms can be completed offline and uploaded into ASSIST.
    • Online Help for ASSIST has been updated to include help for single project applications.
  • Enhanced Calculation of Indirect Budget Costs
    • eRA is implementing the new PHS Additional Indirect Costs form to gather the additional indirect cost information needed to correctly calculate the indirect costs for the applicant organizations, when entire components of a multi-project application are led by other organizations. This is an optional form that can be used with multi component applications, as the Funding Opportunity Announcement allows.

Updates in eSubmission Using PDF Forms

  • Single-project Applications
    • Added a direct cost limit calculation to the application image, so users can determine if their application falls within any direct cost limits of a Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Updates in eRA Commons

NIH has added several new features to eRA Commons:

  • Extension Justification
    • NIH will be requiring an explanation for grantee-initiated extensions be provided in a new 2000 character limited text box, when requesting a No Cost Extension. The text box will make it easier and more convenient to provide justification for the extension.
  • New Security Confirmations
    • NIH takes security very seriously. To that end, the following new features are designed to ensure your personal information on the Personal Profile form remains protected:
      • A change to your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, or Contact Email Address will trigger a confirmation message to the original email address, alerting you to the change of information.
      • When changing either the Social Security Number or Date of Birth, the system will display a pop-up window confirming that you want to make the change.
  • New Project Title Limitations
    • Project titles can now support scientific characters such as Greek letters and/or mathematical symbols.  However, while eRA Commons will support the use of these characters, it will not be until February 2015 that will complete its systems upgrade to support these characters.  Please look for an upcoming Guide Notice for more information.
  • New Closeout Functionality
    • On the Institution Profile form, under Institution Contact Information, there will now be a new required field for Closeout Correspondence Email.
    • For existing institutions, the Notice of Award Email address will be automatically copied to the Closeout Correspondence Email field until it can be updated.
    • For closeout related roles (AO, PI and SO), emails sent to these users will also be CC'd to the Closeout Correspondence Email.
    • Federal Financial Reports will require comments when a revision is submitted.
    • Final Progress Report (FPR) submission can be delegated and for existing users with the RPPR submission delegation, the FPR submission delegation will be added automatically.
  • New RPPR Functionality
    • There is a new Recall button for Agency PRAM requests. Like other recall functionality, the last reviewer can recall the Agency PRAM (formerly IC PRAM) if the PRAM status is not "Submitted to Agency."
    • For complex (multi-project) applications, the new PHS Additional Indirect Costs form will be available for projects with an Overall Component and at least one subcomponent.
  • New xTrain Features
    • A new status for fellowships has been added: Proxy Termination. When a Proxy Termination is accepted by agency for a non-fellowship appointment, the status will now be displayed as Proxy Termination.
    • The Business Official (BO) will now have the ability to modify the stipend amount.  However, this is only available when the appointment period has been modified.
    • Reminders sent to Principal Investigators (PIs) for trainee terminations will be sent 30 days prior, one day after and 30 days after the termination date.
    • Automatic termination of trainees for accepted appointments prior to January 1, 2011.  In an effort to clean up legacy data, the system will automatically terminate appointments that were accepted by an institution prior to January 1, 2011.  The "Reset to Prior State" option will not be available for these appointments.  If you need assistance for an appointment that gets terminated as a result of this process, please contact the Help Desk.
  • Financial Conflict of Interests (FCOI) Updates
    • Enhancement
      • User will now be able to leave comments/text for question # 5 (Retrospective Review Completed? N/Y) on the original FCOI report. Comments will be visible to Agency users.
    • Critical Fixes
      • Annual report link will now be correctly displayed on FCOI search results screen. Annual report due date calculation will now correctly be based on the Original FCOI submission dates and all the related information will be based on latest submitted FCOI record (Revision or past Annual reports)
      • Based on policy, the system will not allow the user to submit an FCOI Revision if, on the original FCOI report, Question # 4 (Does this FCOI report include a failure to comply with the regulation? N/Y), is answered as 'Yes.'

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