If there is one concept that we are reminded about daily and that we try to remind you about, it is that the grant application and award process is complex. Part of what makes it so complex is that it is highly dynamic; ever changing, adjusting and adapting to political, economic, and technological forces. As a result we need to communicate critical changes with regards to processes and policy to you. We accomplish this through a variety of the methods, such as Items of Interest newsletters (eRA and eSubmission), the Extramural Nexus, Dr. Rockey's Rock Talk blog, etc.
The most formal method of communication is via Guide Notices. Guide Notices (NOT) are official NIH announcements relating to a change in policy, procedure, form, or system. Notices can be searched for at the NIH Guide. And searches can be subscribed to via the recently added subscription service. Watch this tutorial to learn more about the subscribe feature.
You may wish to take note of these recent and/or important notices:
- "Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research" applications (PA-14-148) now require the attachment, "Additional Educational Information" as part of the application. This information is attached under the Other Attachments section of the application. See Guide Notice NOT-OD-14-095 for more information.
- Starting on October 17, 2014 the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) will be expanded to include all Type 5 Non-SNAP Progress Reports. You can learn more about this requirement reading Guide Notices NOT-OD-14-092.
- On a related note, please remember that starting in October 2014 (just a few weeks away!) eRA Commons Usernames for graduate and undergraduate student project roles will be required for both the PHS 2590 Non-Competing Continuation Progress Report and Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). For more information on this change, you can read Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-097.
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it."
― Samuel Johnson
Everyone Wants to be Included
And conversely, no one wants to be left out. Inclusion Management System (IMS). It's coming in October. You may recall in the May eRA Items of Interest, I shared with you information about a new feature coming to eRA Commons that will be referred to as IMS. IMS is replacing the existing Population Tracking System to ensure the appropriate inclusion of women and minority groups in clinical research. The Principal Investigator will be responsible for providing inclusion data for grants in an electronic format (instead of a fillable PDF attached to the application, the PI will complete a structured data form that will automatically populate IMS). These inclusion enrollment grant application forms were released in September, 2013. (NOT-OD-13-091).
Starting on October 17, 2014, inclusion data will be accessible in eRA Commons using IMS. It should also be noted the submission of all RPPRs on or after October 17th will need to use the link to the new IMS system (located in Section G.4.b of the RPPR) to report inclusion data, even if the report was due prior to October 17th. As we get closer to October 17th, look for additional Guide Notices, messages, user documentation and possibly a video tutorial to assist in the transition to IMS.
So what information can we share about ogres? Well for example, "…ogres... are... like onions… Onions have layers. OGRES have layers. Onions have layers... you get it. We both have layers."
(Admit it, you read that in your best Shrek voice, and let's not even discuss parfaits….)
Seek and Ye Shall Find...
Binoculars. Binoculars are good for finding things. Things that are outside. Binoculars are not good for finding things not outside. They are not good to leave on a picnic table. In Canada. After crossing into North Dakota. Especially when they are your Dad's binoculars. That can make things difficult.
And like forgotten binoculars, we often hear about how difficult finding information on our web pages, User Guides, and other resources can be. So here are some pointers, tips, and (hopefully) helpful suggestions.
- Remember that each grants.nih.gov web page and each era.nih.gov web page has a key word search tool in the upper right corner. While this technology is not new, what you might not know is that there is a team of folks who constantly analyze the trends of information people are searching for and make adjustments to the tool. These adjustments are designed get you to the results you want faster.
- For most major components of eRA Commons, there is now Online Help. You can access the help systems by going to the eRA Modules, User Guides, and Documentation page and clicking "Online Help" under each heading. These systems also have a keyword search tool that looks at the contents of the entire help documentation for matches.
- A little less obvious is the "Crtl-F" keyboard shortcut for Windows ("Cmd-F" on Mac). By pressing and holding the Crtl key and then pressing the F key, you will bring up a "search this page" feature built into the operating system of the computer. This will work on word documents, PDFs, and web pages. It will scan the text for the keyword and highlight it and/or allow you to scroll through each instance.
Hopefully these little tips will help make it easier to find the information you need. At least easier than my Dad had it... face red with anger, veins popping off his head, trying hard not to tear the steering wheel off the car when we had to pass through customs 3 times in one day! And just so you know, the binoculars were right there on the table, right where I left them!
Pop the Corn and Pull Up a Seat
So in another flashback, you may recall the March 2014 Items of Interest where I introduced three new tutorials on Understanding Status. No? I don't blame you. The article is completely forgettable. The tutorials, however, are not. With that
in mind, 4 new tutorials have joined the eRA Video Tutorials page:
Accessing the Notice of Award (SO & PD/PI)
Video 7 of the Status series examines how to access the Notice of Award (NoA) document when a grant application has received funding. The NoA spells out all the details of the award, including amount of funding, and all the terms and conditions of the award.
Accessing Just In Time (SO & PD/PI)
Video 8 looks at how to access and submit Just in Time (JIT) information. Frequently after an application has gone through the peer review process and before a funding decision is made, the assigned Institute or Center (IC) will request additional information such as IACUC, IRB, and/or Human Subject Assurances. Just in Time is the process of providing that information to NIH.
No Cost Extension (SO Only)
Video 9 focuses on how a Signing Official can access and submit a No Cost Extension request. NIH allows grantees to extend the final budget period of a grant by as much as 12 months, as long as they are not asking for additional NIH funds. This video shows how to access the link for a No Cost Extension and submit the request for an extension.
Change of Institution (SO & PD/PI)
Video 10 demonstrates how a Signing Official can access and submit a Relinquishing Statement (RS) as part of the Change of Institution process. The Change of Institution process allows the grantee institution to give up, or surrender, a grant to another institution, who will take over the approved research project. The Signing Official submits a Relinquishing Statement (RS) to Grants Management which initiates the Change of Institution request.
Division of Communications and Outreach
NIH Office of Extramural Research