NIH eRA eSubmission Items of Interest - March 2013


Get Ready - It's ComingYou have been informed through previous communications that required use of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module for submitting Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship progress reports will begin in May 2013.

You can read the official Guide Notice for more detailed information. But we urge you to get familiar with the new process now if you have not already tried using the eRA RPPR module.  RPPR has been available as an option to all NIH grantees since October 2012. You want to note as well that RPPR will be replacing the eSNAP tab in eRA Commons, and eventually as eSNAP functionality will be retired.

RPPR vs. SNAP vs. eSNAP – This can all be very confusing, so I will attempt to K.I.S.S. it (Keep It Simple & Straightforward)…

Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP) includes a number of provisions that modify requirements for annual progress and financial reports and for Notices of Award. eSNAP is the electronic version of SNAP progress report, which grantees have been required to use for SNAP progress reports since August 2010. 

RPPR is a federally mandated reporting format for all federal grant agencies (NIH, NSF, DoD, etc.) designed to provide consistent information on the progress of federally funded research and research related activities.   RPPR will replace the eSNAP progress reports for SNAP awards and PHS 416-6 for Fellowship progress reports in May, and will eventually replace the use of the PHS 2590 for non-SNAP awards..

The eSNAP module will be replaced by the RPPR for SNAP awards in May 2013. 

There is no change to non-SNAP award progress reports at this time but the eRA team continues to develop an electronic solution for these reports. Of course, you will be updated as when the implementation timeline for non-SNAPs has been defined. 

The RPPR web page has some very good information on it that might help ease the transition to this federally-mandated reporting scheme.  In particular, there is the October 2012 webinar NIH RPPR Training Webinar for Grantees presented by the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA). And we cannot forget the ever helpful NIH RPPR Instruction Guide!

To PRAM or Not to PRAM - In addition to all the above changes, you will see the expansion of Progress Report Additional Materials (PRAM) functionality.  The PRAM link that can be found in the Action column of the eRA Commons Status page will used to provide either the public access compliance information, the additional materials requested by IC, or both, depending on which is applicable to the particular RPPR.  The grantee may provide the requested information, route the response to a Signing Official (SO), or, if the PD/PI has been delegated Submit Progress Report authority by the Signing Official, submit the materials to the agency.  The materials may be viewed from the status information screen in Commons.

Grantee use of the PRAM link to respond to PRAM requests is not mandatory at this time; the grantee may respond via email to the Grants Management Specialist.  However, NIH expects to mandate use of the electronic PRAM feature in the future and encourages grantees to familiarize themselves with the functionality.

CCR – Critical to Constantly Review (aka SAM Registration)

clockDo you remember CCR?  Central Contractor Registration… Do you remember the Transition from CCR to SAM article from August 2012?  If you do, then you will recall there were some bumps in the transition.  And while the process has much improved since August, we continue to run into instances where we cannot accept an application because of SAM registration issues that can be easily avoided.

First, remember that your registration with SAM (formally CCR) must be renewed on a yearly basis.  What this means to you is to be proactive.  Do not wait until the day before it expires to renew the registration. It can take weeks to process the renewal, and once you finish with SAM it takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for to retrieve new registration data.  There is no rule that says you cannot update early and update often, so, if in doubt, go ahead and update that registration. In fact, set a recurring reminder on your calendar to remind your SAM eBiz Point of Contact.  Do whatever you need to. There is nothing worse than having an application ready to go, only to be denied because you did not leave enough time to complete the SAM registration renewal process! 

Second, stay in touch!  SAM sends out email reminders 60, 30 and 15 days prior to the expiration of a record. However, someone has to be home to get those messages. All too often we hear of reminder emails that go to an account that is no longer active (the user has moved on to a different position or institution), or a shared account that no one is monitoring (the "I thought he/she/it/them/the dog was doing it" excuse).  When you renew the registration, make sure to check that the contact information is updated and valid!  And spam filters… I almost forgot this one!  Please make sure communications coming from critical systems like, NIH,, etc. are permitted to pass through your spam filters.  Finding the reminder 3 weeks later doesn't help the situation.

So SAM is CCR – something that is Critical to Constantly Review (…or Renew... that works also).

ASSIST Playground

Dogs Playingtest Funding Opportunity Announcement has been created.  You can use this test FOA as a way to access the ASSIST software to explore its many features and functions.

Now because ASSIST also uses eRA Commons accounts, you will need to set up some non-production credentials in the test environment.  Conveniently, there are some handy instructions available to help guide you through this process.  These same instructions will get you started in ASSIST. 

There are some limitations when using the test environment. The DUNS number for your testing institution will be randomly generated in an improper format.  This prevents us from accidently generating an account with a DUNS that is in use by a real organization. Unfortunately, it also triggers DUNS errors that prevent the application from passing all the validation tests required to submit to Since ASSIST allows you to check your application against and NIH business rules prior to submission and to preview your application image just as a reviewer will see it, these minor restrictions aren't worth howling about!