eRA Enhancements: eRA Commons Upcoming Release and Scheduled Downtime for Wednesday, January 18

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scheduled Downtime for the January Release:

eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, January 18 and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Thursday, January 19, 2017. When the system is available again, you will see new features and functionality have been added to the system.   


Highlights of ASSIST’s January Software Release


  • New Access Maintainer Role
    • A new role called "ASSIST_ACCESS_MAINTAINER_ROLE" with Access Maintainer Privileges has been added to the Account Management System (AMS).
    • Only the Signing Official (SO) has the authority to provide this role to whomever they want to manage access to applications in ASSIST on behalf of the organization.
    • By providing this role, the SO is delegating the authority to manage access to all applications at the organization level, rather than application by application level.
    • Access Management within ASSIST for individual applications has not changed.


  • Multi-Employment Functionality
    • Senior Key Persons who are affiliated with multiple organizations will be able to select from their current employments so they can choose the most appropriate organization as it relates to their application.
    • When the user provides their eRA Commons User ID and multiple active employments are associated with the account, the system displays the organization, the state, the city of each employment organization. The user can select the appropriate appointment and click the "Select" button.


  • New Link for SOs from ASSIST to Commons Status Screen
    • When SOs access the Application Information page, they will find a new link titled “To view Commons post submission actions” in the Agency section of the page.
    • The link will take them to the Commons Status search page. From here they can search for the application under the Recent/Pending Submissions option so they can quickly reject the application if so desired/needed.
    • This link is only available to Signing Officials.


  • A Warning if Appendix Material is Submitted in Applications
    • Per the policy outlined in NOT-OD-16-129, the submission of most appendix materials has been eliminated from NIH applications.
    • If the system detects the submission of appendix materials, a new warning will advise the applicant to closely review the Funding Opportunity Announcement to confirm that these materials are requested as part of the application.


  • Form Lock Message Includes User Name
    • When a user opens a form screen in ASSIST to edit or add information, the system locks that form so others cannot simultaneously edit the same form.
    • ASSIST displays a message indicating the form you are trying to access is locked by another user and now includes the name of the user who holds the lock.


Highlights of eRA Commons January Software Release


  • Final RPPR Section D.1 Added
    • As part of the transition to the use of the Final Research Performance Progress Report (FRPPR), Section D.1 of Participants is now included.
      • Section D.1 asks “What individuals have worked on the project?” This information will be the list of people who have worked on the project since the previous progress report. It does not include all the individuals during the lifetime of the award.


  • New Design of the Status Information Screen for PIs and SOs

The Status Information screen will have a new look and feel.  The screen is an important source of information for Principal Investigators (PIs) and Signing Officials (SOs) for such things as scores, summary statements, NIH contacts, reference letter status, etc.

New Status Information Screen

  • The new design is similar to other updated screens, such as the Personal Profile and the Institution Profile
  • Categories of information are organized into collapsible/expandable sections
    • Expand All (default view) and Collapse All buttons  show and hide the information on the screen
  • New Text Filter
    • A new field will allow you to enter text and display the results on those sections with matches
    • Matching text will be highlighted, allowing you to quickly locate the information
  • Important information is displayed along the left side:
    • Warnings
    • Contact information
      • Scientific Review Officer (SRO)
      • Grants Management Specialist (GMS)
      • Program Official (PO)
    • Latest Updates
    • eRA Service Desk contact information
  • New Print Capabilities
    • New formatting capabilities allow you to print all the information with the click of a single button
    • Organized by category
    • Includes warnings
    • Includes NIH contacts
NOTE: The ability to submit help tickets online will not be available during the downtime listed above.