NIH Announces Changes to eRA Commons, Particularly the Electronic Streamlined Non-competing Award Process (eSNAP) Function

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-064

Key Dates
Release Date: May 1, 2007

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

Effective 4/28/2007, users of the eRA Commons will note a variety of changes throughout the system, particularly in the eSNAP function.  Specific changes are described below.

Changes to Institutional Profile Assurances/Certifications

The Assurances/Certification section within the Institutional Profile has been revised to reflect all assurances included in NIH applications and progress reports; specifically Prohibited Research, Select Agent Research and PI Assurance have been added, others have been edited to reflect current terminology.  Institutional Officials submitting eSNAP progress reports will be required to update the institutional profile to indicate their compliance with these additional assurances.  Grantees are reminded that if an institution is not in compliance with any of these assurances at the time of an eSNAP submission, additional information concerning this issue must be included as part of the “Other Attachments” in an eSNAP submission.

Institutional Signing Officials are strongly encouraged to update the Assurances/Certifications section within the Institutional Profile immediately to avoid any potential delay of eSNAP submissions.  

Changes to eSNAP

eSNAP has been revised to bring it current with the OMB-approved changes of the PHS2590 approved in April 2006 and announced to the community in the NIH Guide Notice OD-06-058.  Specific changes are described below.

SNAP Questions & Checkilst   

1)  Section Name:  The name of this section has been changed to “SNAP and Other Progress Report Questions and Checklist”;
2)  Select Agents Research:  Separate checkboxes have been added to specifically capture any changes in Select Agent Research; and,
3) Multiple PI Leadership Plan:  Separate checkboxes have been added to specifically capture any changes in the previously submitted Multiple PI Leadership Plan. 

Grantees are reminded that any explanations for changes in Select Agent Research and/or Multiple PI Leadership Plan are to be included in the actual Progress Report (Upload Science).

Change in Business Process: Measuring Effort Devoted to Projects

Transitioning to the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) introduced a new business practice for measuring effort devoted to a project—person months. Personnel working on projects now indicate effort by indicating the number of calendar, academic, and/or summer months. To keep a consistent business practice in place for all applications and progress reports, eSNAP has been revised to reflect this new effort measure in two areas:  1) PI Effort, found on the Edit Business/Org Info screen; and, 2) effort for all Key Personnel on the Edit Business/Key Personnel screen.   Any edits to the Key Personnel section will require that the user convert annual effort to person months for all Key Personnel listed.  Frequently Asked Questions for Person Months and a Conversion Calculator Tool are available at:  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_faqs.htm.

Principal Investigator (PI) Assurance

Changes to the PHS2590 included the removal of an actual PI signature on the face page submitted to NIH and instituted in its place an Institutional Assurance requirement for the organization to secure and retain this assurance for all PIs at the organization.  Since eSNAP already includes a PI sign-off as part of the electronic routing process, it was determined that this sign-off function could be used as the institutional system of record for the institutional PI assurance.  The PI sign-off will be recorded by the system to be retrievable via a new report (see below). 

New PI Assurance Report:  Institutions need to be able to provide documentation of PI assurances upon request.  To accommodate this requirement, a new PI Assurance Report has been created. 

Assurance Language:  The assurance language used in the sign-off process for PIs has been revised to reflect current policy.  In those cases where an Institution delegates eSNAP submit authority to a PI, the assurance language has been modified to appropriately reflect this delegated authority.
Note, at this time eSNAP accommodates only a single PI assurance.  For those progress reports involving Multiple PIs, this individual is the contact PI only.  For now, it will remain the institution’s responsibility to secure and retain signatures of the other PIs.

Miscellaneous Enhancements:  Other improvements to eSNAP functionality include: 1) the ability to save and complete an eSNAP in a single action; and, 2) the ability for those with the AO or SO role to now Add/Change files previously accessible only by the PI; i.e., Research Accomplishments and Other File attachments.
Although not yet required, grantees are strongly encouraged to use eSNAP for electronic submission of progress reports for all grants awarded under the SNAP authorities.

Other eRA Commons Changes:

Pre-populated Progress Report Face Page (PHS 2590):  This continues to be available in Commons Status; however, it has been modified to reflect the PHS2590 interim form changes announced in April 2006.    Note however, for progress reports involving Multiple PIs, the 2nd page of the Face Page (Face Page-continued) is not available at this time.  This is expected to be available in June 2007. 

Delegation of PI Status Access to Assistant for Electronic Application Review:  PIs now have the ability to delegate to any commons-registered individual with an ASST role the ability to view the status of electronically submitted applications.  This new menu choice is found in Admin/Account/Delegate Status.  Once in the Delegate Status screen, users will see a list of all the individuals registered with the ASST role and can manage the ability to “Delegate” and “Remove” delegation for those individuals.  Once this delegation has been granted, the individual with the delegated authority will be able to view and access the list of applications associated with the PI.  Individuals can have this authority delegated to them by more than one PI.  Please note, that the view these delegated individuals now has is equivalent to that of a signing official (SO View) and as such does not include access to confidential information; e.g., summary statements and priority scores.

Person Profile/Reference Letters:  For electronically submitted applications that involve separately submitted confidential reference letters (e.g., NIH Director’s Pioneer Award), a feature has been added to electronically monitor the submission of these letters.  This monitoring feature appears within the Person Profile where a Reference Letter menu choice now appears.  This feature lists only data items appropriate for monitoring the submission of reference letters but does not provide access to the actual documents.   

Other enhancements to the eRA Commons are described in the Release Notes posted at: http://era.nih.gov/commons/index.cfm

Inquiries

Questions concerning this notice may be directed to:

Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
National Institutes of Health
Telephone: (301) 435-0938
Email: GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov

Questions concerning specific eRA Commons functionality may be directed to:

eRA Helpdesk  http://era.nih.gov
Email: commons@od.nih.gov
Phone: 301-402-7469/866-504-9552 (Toll Free) 301-451-5939 (TTY).


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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