eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ New Release

Dear colleagues:

Below is information on some enhancements and new features that have been rolled into the latest release of eRA Commons. There are a number of new reporting requirements mentioned as well. Please read and redistribute as you feel appropriate.

Thank you.

Greg Ruth

Communications Manager Office of Research

From: ESubmission Update to Organization Officials [] On Behalf Of eRA Communications Office Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 8:12 AM To: Subject: eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ Upcoming Release

eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ New Release

Highlights of eRA Commons’ October Software Release

Updates in eSubmission

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

    • The Initiate process for Multiproject applications through ASSIST has been improved by combining the initiation process with the automatic creation of the Overall component. Since the Overall component is required for all multiproject applications, this eliminates a basic step in the process.
    • Overall Component and Subcomponent names support up to 200 characters. Initially only the Overall component supported 200 characters. That functionality has been expanded to subcomponents as well.
    • Included explanatory text to the Total Direct Costs Less Consortium F&A Table in the application image.

    Updates in eRA Commons

    NIH has added several new features to eRA Commons:

  • Inclusion Management System (IMS)
    • eRA will unveil a new system to report inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research and for NIH staff to monitor inclusion data. See Guide Notice NOT-OD-15-005 for more information. Grantees will provide inclusion enrollment data with competing submissions and will be able to access the new Inclusion Management System (IMS) through eRA Commons to create new inclusion records or view/edit/update existing inclusion data records. Inclusion data submitted through competing applications, eRA Commons, or the RPPR (Research Performance Progress Report) will automatically populate IMS.

    • See the Inclusion Management System (IMS) Online Help, the IMS Guide or click on the question mark on the IMS screens for more information, following the release. Also check out the inclusion Policy Implementation Page.

  • New Closeout Procedures & Policies
    • HHS guidance on closeout of grant awards has prompted changes to improve communications, efficiency and policy compliance throughout the closeout process.

New Features for Grantees

      • The ability to identify grants that will be closing soon. A new ‘quick query’ on the eRA Commons home screen will allow grantees to view grants approaching the project end date. This feature will not require Commons login.

      • The ability for grantees to submit any additional information sought by NIH through a feature called “Final Report Additional Material” (FRAM). Mirroring the functionality of Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) requests, grantees can upload FRAM data multiple times for multiple FRAM requests, but one upload per request.

      • Expanded notification to grantees throughout the closeout process. Previously, one notice was sent to the grantee after the project end date, reminding them of the reporting requirement, followed by a second notice identifying any overdue final reports. These messages have been revised to emphasize the criticality of completing the closeout process; and a third notice will be added to address any remaining overdue or unacceptable report submissions.
  • Federated Login for eRA Commons
    • eRA will pilot the use of organizational credentials for Commons login. The pilot will be limited to those organizations currently registered with the Center for Information Technology (CIT) and individuals with limited Commons roles. This pilot will allow an eRA Commons user to map his or her current eRA Commons account to the organizational login and then access eRA Commons with his or her organizational user name and password.

    • The pilot will consist of users with basic eRA Commons roles. The roles eligible for the pilot are:




Graduate Student

Project Personnel


  • Commons ID for Students
    • Graduate and undergraduate students working on grants will need to have Commons IDs starting Oct. 1, to be included in the progress reports. The Research Performance Progress Report will receive an error and will not be accepted without this information (See NOT-OD-13-097)

  • RPPR Required for All Non-SNAP Progress Reports
    • Use of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) is required for all type 5 non-SNAP progress reports submitted on or after October 17, 2014 (See NOT-OD-14-092)
  • Individual Development Plans (IDPs) Needed in Annual Progress Reports
    • Grantees will need to include a section on how individual development plans are being used to “identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award.” (See NOT-OD-14-113)

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).

eRA Communications

Division of Communications and Outreach

NIH Office of Extramural Research

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