eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ Release

Dear Colleagues:

The NIH has deployed upgrades to the eRA Commons. Below are some important points regarding the new enhancements and functions. For further details regarding the enhancements in the Commons, please visit:

Please forward this message to your Principal Investigators and anyone else in your department that may find this information useful. If you have any questions, please contact your Contract and Grant Officer.

No-Cost Extension Justification Now Required

  • NIH will now require a justification for grantee-initiated extensions (i.e., 1st extension requests). The justification will be limited to 2000 characters.
  • Justifications should include the following:
    • brief explanation for the request (i.e., why the project isn’t able to be completed during the awarded project period);
    • a description of the project activities that will take place during the extension
  • Please send this justification to your Contract and Grant Officer to request the grantee-initiated extension.
  • To adhere to NIH policy, it is recommended that extension requests be submitted to your Contract and Grant Officer at least 30 days prior to the project end date.

New Project Title Limitations

  • Project titles can now support scientific characters such as Greek letters and/or mathematical symbols.

New Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Functionality

Update to Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM)

There is a new Recall button for Agency PRAM requests. Like other recall functionality, the last reviewer can recall the PRAM if the status is not “Submitted to Agency.”

New xTrain Features (for those that manage Training Grants)

  • 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 Terminated.
  • 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.
  • 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 Commons Help Desk.

Single-project Applications using SF424 Forms

  • Once an application has been submitted, passed validations and is available to view in the Commons, a Direct Cost Limit Calculation field will be added to the application image. This will allow users to determine if their application falls within any direct cost limits of a Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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.
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