eRA Reminder: New eRA Commons Login and Landing Screens Have Arrived!

The new eRA Commons home screen (log-in screen) and landing screen (screen when first logged in) are now available!

Both screens provide resources and information that are easily identifiable and centrally located (see Figure 1).

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Figure 1: New eRA Commons landing and login screens

Remember that as part of the new design, once authenticated, you will be able to navigate to various eRA modules within Commons via the apps icon thumbnail_image002  in the upper left corner. Clicking the icon will present a dropdown menu of the eRA modules.

Buttons to get to Status, ASSIST, Personal Profile and Account Management (Admin) will be available on the landing screen itself.

Resources

 

Attention users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR) and Commons Mobile!

You will be required to use login.gov for two-factor authentication (2FA) to access these modules in 2021. This requirement began to be phased in for reviewers starting Dec. 14, 2020 for meetings on Feb. 1, 2021 and beyond. Other users are encouraged to switch now before the mandatory deadline of Sept. 15, 2021. See details.

Note: If users experience an issue with an eRA module after a release, they should completely clear out their browser cache, which will generally resolve the issue. If not, please contact the eRA Service Desk.

 Need Help? Contact eRA Commons and Submit a web ticket; or call Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552, Phone: 301-402-7469. The Service Desk hours are Mon-Fri, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

 

Original post by eRA Commons on January 12, 2021

eRA Information: Required Use of Login.gov to Access eRA Commons, ASSIST, IAR and Commons Mobile Coming in 2021

A new login method, in pilot since April 2020, is rolling out for all users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR) and Commons Mobile in 2021.  This secure two-factor authentication allows you to log into multiple systems using the same login.gov credentials while enhancing the security and integrity of access to data in eRA systems.

The new secure two-factor authentication (2FA) login method involves users creating an account at login.gov, a centralized government portal, and associating their eRA Commons or ASSIST account with it.  Users only need to do this association one time.

This requirement will be phased in first for reviewers, meeting by meeting, starting with review meetings effective February 1, 2021 and beyond.  As reviewers are enabled for meetings, their IAR accounts will be transitioned to require login.gov.

Users of eRA Commons, Commons Mobile and ASSIST can switch any time to the new option; they are encouraged to begin the switchover to login.gov now, before the mandatory deadline of September 15, 2021 for all users.

Background: eRA has been piloting the use of login.gov to access eRA’s external modules with select review groups with excellent success since April 2020 (see the April 6 communication).

eRA’s move to two-factor authentication via login.gov is part of an HHS initiative to provide the external user community the ability to log in to four different grants systems (eRA, Grants.gov, GrantSolutions.gov and Payment Management System) using the same account via login.gov.

What’s involved:  The two-factor authentication method involves creating an account at login.gov, a centralized government portal, and associating your eRA Commons account with it.

If you already have an eRA Commons account:

  • Make sure your Commons account is active and you know your password.  If you need to reset your eRA account password, please do so by using the Forgot Password/Unlock Account? link on the main Commons homepage.
  • Select the login.gov login option on the Commons home screen.
  • Login to login.gov using your existing account or create a new account by selecting the Create Account option.
  • When you are redirected back to Commons, you will be guided through the process to associate your Commons account with your login.gov account (a one-time process).

If you do not have an eRA Commons account:

Once done, the next time you log into eRA Commons using login.gov, you will automatically be redirected to eRA Commons without having to log in again.

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Figure 1: The three steps involved to access eRA Commons/IAR via login.gov

If you have multiple eRA Commons accounts

  • gov can only be linked to one eRA Commons account
  • If you have multiple eRA accounts, it is recommended that you associate your login.gov account to the eRA account that you use to perform your review activities, as reviewers are transitioning to the required use of login.gov first.
  • eRA is working on a solution in the future for users with multiple eRA accounts.

Note:  Once you start using login.gov to access eRA Commons or ASSIST; the use of other login methods such as Commons or ASSIST credentials (username/password) or InCommon federated credentials (use of an organization’s credentials) is not permitted.  This requirement to use login.gov also applies to any activities you may subsequently do in eRA Commons as a principal investigator, reviewer, etc.  For those who utilize InCommon federated credentials, NIH is working with the InCommon Federation community to determine if and when that service could implement the necessary two-factor authentication processes to allow that login method to continue in the future.

For more information on making 2FA a requirement, please see Guide Notice NOT-OD-21-040.

Resources

Help

electronic Research Administration (eRA)

NIH Office of Extramural Research

Need Help? Submit a web ticket; or call Toll-free: 1-866-504-9552, Phone: 301-402-7469. The Service Desk hours are Mon-Fri, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Help eRA improve their communications; send your suggestions and feedback to eRACommunications@mail.nih.gov or call 301-435-8185.

To read other recent articles and messages, please visit their Latest News page at https://era.nih.gov/news.

 

Original post by NIH Office of Extramural Research/eRA Commons on December 14, 2020

NIH Releases New Policy for Data Management and Sharing

Nearly twenty years after the publication of the Final NIH Statement on Sharing Research Data in 2003, NIH has released a Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing.  This represents the agency’s continued commitment to share and make broadly available the results of publicly funded biomedical research.  They hope it will be a critical step in moving towards a culture change, in which data management and sharing is seen as integral to the conduct of research.  Responsible data management and sharing is good for science; it maximizes availability of data to the best and brightest minds, underlies reproducibility, honors the participation of human participants by ensuring their data is both protected and fully utilized, and provides an element of transparency to ensure public trust and accountability.

This policy has been years in the making and has benefited enormously from feedback and input from stakeholders throughout the process. NIH is grateful to all those who took the time to comment on Request for Information, the Draft policy, or to participate in workshops or Tribal consultations.  That thoughtful feedback has helped shape the Final policy, which NIH believes strikes a balance between reasonable expectations for data sharing and flexibility to allow for a diversity of data types and circumstances.  How NIH incorporated public comments and decision points that led to the Final policy are detailed in the Preamble to the DMS policy.

The Final policy applies to all research funded or conducted by NIH that results in the generation of scientific data.  The Final Policy has two main requirements (1) the submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan (Plan); and (2) compliance with the approved Plan.  NIH is asking for Plans at the time of submission of the application, because they believe planning and budgeting for data management and sharing needs to occur hand in hand with planning the research itself.  NIH recognizes that science evolves throughout the research process, which is why they have built in the ability to update DMS Plans, but at the end of the day, they are expecting investigators and institutions to be accountable to the Plans they have laid out for themselves.

NIH strongly suspects they will hear both from those who think NIH should have gone farther and required that all data resulting from NIH-funded research be shared, regardless of extenuating factors, and those who think they have gone too far in requiring all applicants to develop a Plan.  Which perhaps means they’ve gotten it just right!  For some investigators and disciplines, who have been at the forefront of data sharing, this will be very familiar; for others, this will be new territory.  Anticipating that variation in readiness, and in recognition of the cultural change we are trying to seed, there is a two-year implementation period.  This time will be spent developing the information, support, and tools that the biomedical enterprise will need to comply with this new policy.  NIH has already provided additional supplementary information – on (1) elements of a data management and sharing plan; (2) allowable costs; and (3) selecting a data repository – in concert with the policy release.

As NIH Director Francis Collins notes in his Director’s Statement today, the novel coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of making research data broadly accessible.  But even as the world struggles with this acute global crisis, it is important to note that NIH is in an extraordinary time in biomedical science, where new technologies, data science, and understanding of fundamental biology are converging to accelerate the pace of discovery and medical advancement.  The Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing builds on those exciting opportunities, and they look forward to working with their stakeholders to fulfill its vision.

***This post was originally published by Dr. Carrie D. Wolinetz, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy on October 29, 2020 in the NIH’s Office of Science Policy Under the Poliscope blog.***

Reminder: Automated Trainee Diversity Report Required with RPPRs for Most T, K and Research Education Awards Beginning October 30, 2020

An automatically generated Trainee Diversity Report will replace the manual report that signing officials are required to submit with Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) for most institutional training, career development awards and research education grants, effective October 30, 2020.  The automated report will leverage existing electronic demographic data entered by trainees in the Personal Profile of eRA Commons to minimize the need for manual data entry by recipients and reduce their burden.

The report can be generated by recipients from the xTrain and RPPR modules and the signing official (SO) will submit the RPPR with the automated report.

The eRA system will check whether the RPPRs for the specified grant types include an electronically generated Trainee Diversity Report. RPPRs lacking an electronically generated report will not be accepted.

Recipient organizations should encourage trainees to keep their information updated in their Personal Profiles, as the Trainee Diversity Report will be most accurate if the profile is complete.

Resources

Original post by NIH Staff on October 23, 2020

NSF Demo Site for Research.gov Proposal Preparation Now Available!

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched the Research.gov proposal preparation demonstration site.  The new demo site offers proposers the opportunity to create proposals in Research.gov with the role of a Principal Investigator (PI) prior to preparing and submitting proposals in the actual Research.gov Proposal Submission System.  They invite you to try the Research.gov proposal preparation features on the new demo site, such as:

  • Initiating Research proposals (other proposal types will be added to the demo site as they are enabled in the actual system):
    • Single submissions from one organization
    • Collaborative proposals with subawards
    • Separately submitted collaborative proposals from multiple organizations
  • Adding co-PIs, Senior Personnel, and Other Authorized Users (OAUs)
  • Uploading required and optional proposal documents
  • Creating budgets
  • Checking proposal compliance
  • Adding subawards
  • Linking collaborative proposals
  • Enabling Sponsored Project Officer (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) access

What You Need to Know About the New Research.gov Demo Site

  • All users must sign in to Research.gov with an NSF ID or primary email address to access the demo site.
    • Users without an NSF account (i.e., NSF ID) will first need to register for one to use the demo site.
    • Users who already have an NSF ID must not register for another NSF ID for demo site use. As a reminder, each individual user of NSF systems (e.g., FastLane and Research.gov) should not have more than one NSF ID, per the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide Chapter I.G.3.
  • A red “Proposal Preparation Demo Site” banner is at the top of each demo site page to indicate the user is using the demo site.
  • Each user will be given the PI role for demo site purposes only. No other user roles (e.g., SPO and AOR) are available on the demo site or are needed to use the demo site.
  • The demo site does not support proposal submission to NSF and will not trigger any system-generated email notifications.
  • Proposals created on the demo site will be deleted after six months.  Neither NSF staff nor users will be able to access deleted proposal data from the demo site.
  • Demo site proposals will not be available on the actual Research.gov Proposal Submission System, and proposals cannot be transferred between the demo site and the actual system.
  • For further demo site details, please see the demo site Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available via the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission page left navigation menu.  A set of topic-specific video tutorials is also available.

Accessing the Research.gov Proposal Preparation Demo Site

To access the Research.gov demo site, you must have an NSF account (i.e., NSF ID) and be signed in to Research.gov.

  • If you have an NSF account:
  • If you do not have an NSF account:
    • Open Research.gov.
    • Use the Register tab located on the top right of the screen to create an NSF account.
    • Input the requested account registration information.

Important Note: Your primary registered email address will be used for NSF account notifications including password resets and can be used to sign in to Research.gov.  Please ensure that you have ongoing access to your primary registered email (e.g., a personal email address), even if you change organizations.  Refer to the Research.gov About Account Management page for additional registration guidance.

Retirement of FastLane Demo Site

The FastLane demo site has been retired, however, we encourage you to try the new Research.gov proposal preparation demo site. In accordance with Important Notice No. 147: Research.gov Implementation Update, NSF is taking proactive steps to incrementally move the preparation and submission of all proposals from FastLane to Research.gov.

Enhancements Coming Soon to Research.gov

Effective in late November 2020, NSF will:

  • Enable the following proposal types on Research.gov and on the new Research.gov proposal preparation demo site:
    • Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
    • EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)
    • Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)
  • Remove the font type and font size compliance checks and associated warning messages per feedback from the research community.

Stay tuned for additional information about these updates in the next couple of weeks.

Questions? If you have IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM – 9:00 PM ET; Monday – Friday except federal holidays) or via rgov@nsf.gov.  Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Original post by Jean Feldman/NSF on October 27, 2020

NSF Updates to the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) – Coming Soon!

Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will enhance the Project Reporting System in Research.gov to implement the revised Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).  The RPPR is a uniform format for reporting performance progress on Federally funded research projects and research related activities.  NSF awardees use the RPPR to prepare and submit annual and final project reports to NSF.  Further details about the RPPR can be found on the Research.gov About Project Reports website.

 

New Question Added for Project Reports with Active Other Support Changes

  • On October 5, 2020, NSF will add the following new question to the Edit Participants screen: Has there been a change in the active other support of the PI/PD(s) since the last reporting period?  If Principal Investigators (PIs)/Project Directors (PDs) and co-PIs/co-PDs select “Yes,” they will be required to upload their most up-to-date Current and Pending Support document in an NSF-approved format to notify NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made or since the most recent annual report.
  • Current and Pending Support documents not in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error preventing document upload and submission of the annual or final project report.
  • The NSF-approved formats for Current and Pending Support are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.
  • The NSF Current and Pending Support website includes additional information as well as links to system-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for both NSF-approved formats.  A set of policy-related FAQs related to current and pending support is also available.
  • The complete lists of FastLane and Research.gov automated proposal compliance checks effective October 5, 2020, are available on the Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals website.

 

Additional New Questions from the Revised RPPR

Beginning October 5, 2020, NSF will also add the following three questions to the “Impact” and “Changes/Problems” tabs:

  • What was the impact on teaching and educational experiences? (Impact tab);
  • What percentage of the award’s budget was spent in a foreign country? (Impact tab); and
  • Has there been a change in primary performance site location from that originally proposed? (Changes/Problems tab).

 

NSF-specific Updates

  • NSF-specific help text updates have been added throughout, and NSF-specific instructions have been clarified or enhanced.
  • To reduce administrative burden, NSF has consolidated data entry fields where possible.

 

Current and Pending Support Format Training Resources

To learn more about the NSF-approved formats for Current and Pending Support, please view the NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) webinar and NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch & Current and Pending Support Sections of NSF Proposals webinar.

SciENcv has created the following materials to guide the community through the preparation of the NSF Current and Pending Support document in SciENcv:

 

Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.  If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the NSF-approved formats or the Research.gov Project Reporting System, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM – 9:00 PM ET; Monday – Friday except federal holidays) or via rgov@nsf.gov.

Original post by NSF on September 28, 2020

Enforcement of NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Formats Begins on 10/5/2020

Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will begin enforcing the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) requirement to use NSF-approved formats for the preparation of the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support proposal documents.  The NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.

All other PAPPG (NSF 20-1) changes were effective on June 1, 2020.  Please refer to the complete list of PAPPG (NSF 20-1) significant changes and clarifications which include the IT system changes and other policy-related changes.  A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on proposal preparation and award administration related to NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) is also available and includes Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support information.

Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Websites

  • The NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites include links to the NSF-fillable PDF formats, updated FAQs, and instructions.
  • For the fillable PDF formats, NSF recommends users download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. Populating content directly into a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) may result in formatting inconsistencies.  The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov, or Grants.gov.
  • Beginning on October 5, 2020, links to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites will also be located in FastLane (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Personnel pages), in Research.gov (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Upload pages), and in Grants.gov (on the NSF Senior Key Person Profile form version 2.0).

Change of Principal Investigator (PI) and Add/Change Co-PI Requests

  • Effective October 5, 2020, Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documentation must also be in an NSF-approved format when uploaded with a Change of PI and an Add/Change co-PI request in FastLane.

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Submissions with Active Other Support Changes

  • Effective October 5, 2020, PIs and co-PIs must include an NSF-approved format for Current and Pending Support when notifying NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made, or since the most recent annual report.
  • This new requirement serves as NSF’s implementation of the revised RPPR, a uniform format for reporting performance progress on Federally-funded research projects and research-related activities.

Automated Compliance Checks for NSF-approved Formats

  • Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents not in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error and ultimately will prevent proposal submission or completion of the post-award action.  This compliance check applies to proposals, Change of PI requests, Add/Change co-PI requests, and relevant RPPR submissions.
  • Note that automated compliance checks also apply when a proposal file update (PFU) is performed on a proposal. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

NSF-approved Format Updates

Based on feedback from the research community, NSF has enhanced both approved formats, and users are encouraged to use the latest versions.  Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv and the system-related FAQs on using the NSF fillable PDF for a list of the improvements to each format.  In particular, note the permitted use of “et al.” for publication citations in the Biographical Sketch when listing multiple authors.  Senior personnel who wish to include publications in the products section of the Biographical Sketch that include multiple authors may, at their discretion, choose to list one or more of the authors and then “et al.” in lieu of including the complete listing of authors’ names.

SciENcv Enhancements

The SciENcv module for creating NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents will be updated prior to October 5, 2020; however, all SciENcv-generated Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support PDF documents created on or after April 1, 2020 remain compliant in NSF systems.

Prior to the October 5th requirement to use the NSF-approved format, SciENcv will make a number of enhancements that include:

  • ability for users to reorder products and appointments in the Biographical Sketch
  • ability for users to edit long author citations imported from ORCID on the Biographical Sketch and add “et al.”
  • addition of a Current and Pending Support tool tip to provide clarification and guidance on how users should document support under a fiscal year calendar

Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv for details.

As a reminder, the SciENcv tool integrates with ORCID, enabling users to populate the Biographical Sketch by importing data directly from ORCID records rather than having to manually enter all the required information.  This helps reduce administrative burden associated with the Biographical Sketch preparation process.  Additionally, SciENcv allows users to grant access to delegates to assist with maintaining and updating data. SciENcv also offers users a dynamic and more customized PDF.  For example, users with fewer Current and Pending Support entries may elect to use SciENcv to generate their Current and Pending Support PDF document since SciENcv will produce a PDF without any blank pages.  Conversely, the Current and Pending Support fillable PDF will always be 15 pages regardless of how much data is included.

Latest NSF Fillable PDF Version

  • Revised NSF fillable PDF formats were released on May 1, 2020; however, the previous versions remain compliant in NSF systems.
  • The May 1, 2020 version is indicated by “Revised 05/01/2020” printed on the first page of each form.

Additional Training Resources

To learn more about the NSF-approved formats for Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support, please view the NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) webinar and NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch & Current and Pending Support Sections of NSF Proposals webinar.

SciENcv has created the following materials to guide NSF users through the preparation of the NSF documents available in SciENcv:

Other Updates for Proposers

A revised NSF Grants.gov Application Guide will be published on September 16th and effective October 5, 2020. The Guide will be updated to remove references and instructions for the Research & Related Personal Data Form. NSF will no longer require this form, and this form will no longer be included in NSF’s packages effective October 5, 2020.

Questions?  Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.  If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the SciENcv or NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM – 9:00 PM ET; Monday – Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Original post by NSF on August 14, 2020

NSF Issuance of Proposal Preparation & Award Administration FAQs related to the NSF PAPPG

On Aug 28th, 2020 NSF announced the issuance of a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on proposal preparation and award administration related to NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1).

Some of the topics addressed in the FAQs include conference proposals, cost sharing, deadline dates, indirect costs, international activities/considerations and participant support.

Original post by NSF Jean Feldman on August 2, 2020

New Vertebrate Animals Section Training Module for NIH Proposal Applicants

Calling all NIH applicants proposing research with vertebrate animals – check out the latest online learning module on the Vertebrate Animals Section in grant applications. This interactive module will assist applicants in preparing this section of the application, and will serve as a valuable resource for reviewers in evaluating the Vertebrate Animal Section of applications and proposals.

This engaging module takes 30 minutes or less to complete and includes:

  • an overview of the requirements,
  • a checklist for applicants and reviewers,
  • detailed instructions, and
  • responsibilities of applicants, reviewers, and NIH staff.

See additional resources on the humane care and use of animals in PHS supported research on NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) website.

Original post by NIH on July 24, 2020

OMB Announces Revisions to Uniform Guidance

 The revised guidance was published August 13, 2020.  This is the first major substantive revision to the UG since 2014.  Additional information and resources, including the August 27 Innovation Exchange session on the revisions to UG will be available at https://www.performance.gov/CAP/grants  Sign-up for the August 27 Innovation Exchange session from 12:00-12:45 pm ET: https://grantsinnovation_aug27_2020_2cfr.eventbrite.com
Original post by NCURA e-Xtra Volume VII, No. 33 on August 17, 2020