eRA Information: Highlights Coming to eRA Commons’ xTRACT

Monday, April 11, 2016

xTRACT, accessed via eRA Commons, allows applicants, grantees and assistants to create research training tables for progress reports and institutional training grant applications.

The following features and improvements are scheduled for the Thursday, April 28, 2016 release of xTRACT.

  • Bold Trainee Names: User will have the ability to “bold” the trainee name within a publication citation, enabling them to comply with the instructions for table 5 (publications). This will be accomplished by using HTML bold tags ( <b>name</b> ) when entering the name of a trainee in the list of authors for a publication.

    For example, if the third name (John Q. Public) in this list is the name of the trainee:

    Adams, John; Jefferson, Thomas; Public, John Q.; Madison, James; Hancock, John; 1776; The Preamble; Declaration of Independence; Volume 1; pp. 1-15

    the user will input the data as:

    Adams, John; Jefferson, Thomas; <b>Public, John Q.</b>; Madison, James; Hancock, John; 1776; The Preamble; Declaration of Independence; Volume 1; pp. 1-15

When the training table is rendered as final PDF or in Preview, xTRACT will recognize the HTML syntax and make the name bold. Users are encouraged to update publication text for Table 5 to include this HTML syntax now so that when the release is complete, the tables will be correctly formatted with the desired portion of the citation in bold.

  • Editable selection fields: When adding institution names and departments on post-training positions and for prior institutions for Applicants and Entrants, the desired institution or department may not be part of the database to be presented as a selectable option. In these cases, when the user needs to cite these organizations, they will have the ability to type in the name and save the information directly to the field.

  • User Interface (UI) improvements:  xTRACT is getting updated to the contemporary web style seen in other parts of eRA Commons (see March’s eRA Items of Interest).  For example, xTRACT will use type-ahead drop-down lists (also referred to as “predictive search”) in certain places. This means as the user begins to type in the field, the system immediately displays matching results, and thus reducing the time it takes to find the desired result.


Participating Department and Programs Old style where a % was used to initiate a wild card search vs. New where adding characters narrows the search.