Highlights of eRA Commons’ Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, April 16

Monday, April 13, 2015

Scheduled Downtime for April Release:

eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, April 16, and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, April 17, 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’ April 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 Zip/Postal Code of 10 Characters
    • The Zip/Postal Code field on the R&R Cover has been modified to accept 10 characters (i.e., 9 digits and a dash).

Updates in eRA Commons

NIH has added several new features to eRA Commons:

  • Unilateral Closeout
    • Modifications to Status–Closeout Search Screen and Results for Unilateral Closeout
      • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a directive to Agencies on new policies for closeout of grant awards. NIH has revised its policies and procedures to align with the OER Policy Announcement 2014 regarding the guidance on implementation of HHS GPAM Chapter 1101 (Closeout), including Unilateral Closeout.
      • As a result of this directive, the Status Closeout screens have been modified.
        • Two new statuses have been added to the Closeout Status search parameter on the Closeout Status search screen to limit search results to these grants. 
          • In Unilateral Closeout
          • Unilaterally Closed
        • The Status Result – Closeout Search screen will include the following links for grants unilaterally closed or in the process of being unilaterally closed. The links open the Closeout Status screen.
          • In Unilateral Closeout
          • Unilaterally Closed
  • Financial Conflict of Interests (FCOI) Updates
    • Administrative Supplements Removed from Search Results
      • In FCOI Module, Grantees can no longer initiate Financial Conflict of Interest reports for Administrative Supplements.
    • Modified for Institutions with an Inactive FCOI Official
      • Commons will now verify that an organization’s FCOI official on record continues to maintain an active Commons FCOI account within that organization before emails are sent to that person. If the official is no longer with the organization, or if the account’s roles no longer include FCOI, the following will occur:
        • The Signing Official (SO) will be copied on the communication
        • An active FCOI official will be copied on the communication. Commons will select the first FCOI official, alphabetically in the organization. All emails going out to Grantees will include the following note:

You may be receiving this email communication since the FCOI official originally responsible for this FCOI report appears to be no longer affiliated with your organization or does not currently have the FCOI role.  Therefore, please forward this communication to the appropriate FCOI official within your institution that is currently responsible for reporting identified FCOIs to the Agency. 

  • Federated Login Update
    • Principal Investigators (PIs) logged in as Federated users will see the same features and modules in Commons as they do when logged in with Commons credentials.
  • Institution Profile (IPF) Update
    • Institution Profile Modified for Animal Welfare Assurance Number Management
      • The Office of Lab Animal Welfare (OLAW) and eRA are collaborating to improve the capture and validation of Animal Welfare Assurance Numbers. The Institution Profile in Commons has been modified to support this collaboration.
      • Institutions are no longer able to add or edit the Animal Welfare Assurance Number field. This field, located within the About the Institution panel of the Institution Basic Information screen, will display all assurance numbers for the institution as passed to Commons from OLAW system.
  • New Just-in-Time (JIT) Features
    • JIT Feature Modified for Genome Data Sharing Certifications
      • The Just in Time (JIT) screen has been modified to allow the upload of an Institutional Certification for Genome Data Sharing.
  • New xTrain Features
    • PIs and PI Delegates Can Recall TNs Regardless of Last Reviewer
      • PIs can now recall Termination Notices (TN) at any time, regardless of the current reviewer, as long as the TN has not been submitted to the Agency.
    • xTrain Communications Display Grant Extension
    • Grant numbers within all xTrain communications now include the grant extension number (e.g., 01A1) if one exists.
  • No Cost Extension (NCE) Update
    • In the January system-wide release, a free text field was added to the No Cost Extension form as a place for grantees to provide justification for the extension as required under HHS Uniform Guidance.
      • For this release, the field has been removed to provide time for the development of a more elegant and user friendly option for meeting this requirement.


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