eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, July 17

Dear Colleagues:


Please see the below information regarding NIH eRA Commons’ upcoming release, specifically regarding the scheduled downtime.


eRA Enhancements: Highlights of eRA Commons’ Upcoming Release & Scheduled Downtime for Thursday, July 17

Monday, July 14, 2014


Scheduled Downtime for July Release:

eRA Commons and ASSIST will be unavailable beginning at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, July 17, and will return to service by 7 a.m. ET Friday, July 18, 2014. When the system is available again, you will see new features and functionality have been added to the system.   The following are highlights of eRA Commons’ upcoming July 17-18 software release. These are just some of the many features being rolled out for this release; check out the release notes for more information on features and fixes.

Highlights of eRA Commons’ July 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:


·        Ability to Copy an Application in ASSIST

o   The Copy Application feature has been added to ASSIST. This feature allows Signing Officials (SO) and Administrative Officials (AO) users to duplicate an existing application or components of an application (minus attachments) for submission under another Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).


·        Ability to Delete Applications and Components in ASSIST

o   Delete Application

§  SOs will see the Delete Application button on the Actions panel while on the Application Information page. This button is used to permanently delete the entire application.

o   Delete Component

§  From the Summary tab of a component, SOs, AOs, and Principal Investigators (PIs) can select the Delete Component button to permanently delete a specific component. Deleting the component removes it from the application and updates the Application Status History to reflect the deletion.


·        Access to ASSIST Extended to All eRA Commons Roles

o   Access to ASSIST has been modified to allow anyone with an eRA Commons role to log into the system using those same credentials. Previously, only certain eRA Commons roles were given access to ASSIST.


·        Application Image Enhancements

o   The PDF version of multi-project applications has been enhanced for greater usability. The Table of Contents now indents the forms and attachments of each component of a particular component type.  This provides greater ease of navigation and improved readability of the Table of Contents.


·        Unique File Names Required for Multiple Attachments on a Single Form

o   A new file name restriction has been implemented for form attachments. When uploading multiple attachments on a single form, each file name must be unique. Duplicate file names may exist across multiple forms. 


Updates in eRA Commons

NIH has added several new features to eRA Commons:


·        Personal Profile Form (PPF)

o   A new requirement when adding residency information to the Education component of your personal profile: you must also enter your degree information, if it does not currently exist.  Failure to enter your degree information will result in additional changes not being saved and the following error message: Please enter degree information before entering residency.


·        New Institution Profile Form (IPF)

o   Using the same look, feel, and functionality of the Personal Profile Form released last year, the IPF is the central repository of information for all Commons registered applicant organizations. This newly re-designed module is sophisticated, clean, and intuitive and will vastly improve users’ experience.

o   Some features of the new Institution Profile include:

§  Institution Basic Information displayed in components: Basic information about the institution is grouped into components by the type of data making specific data easy to find and maintain.

§  Indication of missing information: Warning icons and messages highlight any required fields that are missing information.

§  Ability to view or edit information: Two options – View and Edit – allow you to view a summary of information for each component of the profile or, if you are an SO, to access all information in a component to perform edits.

§  Re-designed Assurances and Certifications: Easily updatable assurance and certification fields with clear checkboxes and explanation text fields. 


·        Support for Maintaining Multiple DUNS Numbers in IPF

o   As part of the IPF redesign, institution officials are now able to maintain multiple DUNS numbers for their organization.

§  The About the Institution component of the profile includes two fields: Primary DUNS and Secondary DUNS. The Primary DUNS number is read-only, populated by the original institution registration and not able to be edited.


NOTE: If the currently displayed Primary DUNS number is not correct or needs to be updated, contact the eRA Help Desk at


§  The Secondary DUNS number field(s) allows the SO to edit, add, and remove additional DUNS numbers for the institution as necessary. To change a Secondary DUNS number, just update the editable text fields.


·        New RPPR Inclusion Forms

o   For Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) requiring inclusion enrollment reporting, users can attach inclusion enrollment forms. The enrollment forms can be downloaded from the RPPR, completed by the user, and then added as a PDF attachment within Section G. Special Reporting Requirements (G.4.b specifically). This is a temporary process until the new Inclusion Management System is deployed in a future release.

o   As we transition to the new inclusion report format, it is important to select the correct for to use.  For awards with start dates BEFORE October 1, 2014, use the previous inclusion enrollment reporting format. For awards with start dates ON or AFTER October 1, 2014, use the updated inclusion enrollment format.

o   See this Guide Notice for more information:


·        Public Access PRAM Updated

o   The Public Access Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) feature has been modified to require the addition of the My NCBI PDF report as proof of compliance with NIH Public Access Policy.

§  Users select the Add Attachment button on the PRAM screen to upload the PDF.

§  Attachments will be viewable within the PRAM PDF document. 


·        Multi-Year Funded Award (MYF) RPPRs and Multi-Component Pre-population

o   Users will find that many of the common fields of the MYF RPPR and Multi-Component will be pre-populated with data from the previously submitted report.  This greatly reduces the burden on the grantee of completing the forms.  See the release notes for a complete list of which fields get pre-populated.


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


Questions? Please contact the eRA Help Desk. Check out self-help resources on the Help page before submitting an online ticket; or call Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552, Phone: 301-402-7469, TTY: 301-451-5939; or email The Help Desk hours are Mon-Fri, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET


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