Where we’re going, we don’t need downloads.

We’re all clear that Forms-D are being retired in favor of the new, improved Forms-E, right?  Right.  Forms-E must be used for due dates on or after January 25, 2018.  We’re all on the same page here.  This is old news.

 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  As of December 31, 2017, downloadable Forms packages will no longer be available.  You read that correctly: downloadable application packages are no longer a thing (don’t say we didn’t warn you).  Your only options for submission after December 31, 2017 are:  system-to-system submissions (our Evisions, for example), ASSIST (your life will be easier if you just do Evisions, but OK), or Workspace (just… don’t).

 

Do yourself a favor: if you haven’t transitioned Evisions yet, do it now and get used to it for your upcoming (likely October) deadlines.  If you need help, we at RAS are happy to walk you through your application (and Tim Foley in SPA offers training on Evisions as well, if you don’t have a specific application yet).

Evision Quest

Hot off the presses from our friends at SPA:

The transition from Coeus to Evisions for proposal development and submission is underway!

In our continuing effort to provide the highest level of support of research at Wayne State University, Sponsored Program Administration will begin using Evisions SP/424 in place of Coeus in 2016. Evisions will track research proposal and award activity, provide for streamlined internal routing and approval of proposals, facilitate submission to sponsor systems (Grants.gov), and store proposal documents.

Evisions SP/424 will allow users expanded access to proposal development, submission, and award information through a very simple, user-friendly interface.

The system includes the following features:

  • Extra validations and error checking to ensure proposal will be error free upon submission to Grants.gov
  • System-to-system data transmission for >95% of all Grants.gov opportunities
  • Budget builder tool includes fringe benefits, F&A rates, inflation rates, and multi-year replication
  • Proposal development (budget, narrative, compliance questions)
  • Re-use data and copy proposals
  • Robust routing and approval
  • Database of all sponsored program activity
  • Tracking of proposals and awards to subcontractors
  • Intuitive User Interface

Processes and navigation in Evisions are similar to Coeus.  In order to provide for the most seamless transition possible, many group training sessions will be offered in the coming months for administrators and faculty. Additionally, SPA Training is happy to visit your department or college for individualized training.  Please refer to the Research Events calendar for scheduled training session.  Sessions will run every Thursday between September 1 and October 27.

We highly encourage faculty and administration staff to utilize the Evisions test environment for a hands-on experience.  The test instance can be accessed here and users must use their Access ID and the password re85search.  Again, this is a test instance and no current “active” information is contained within.

Additional resources include the Evisions 424 Users Manual and the Evisions SP Users Manual.  Please contact Tim Foley (tpfoley@wayne.edu) with any questions.

Personal profiles: not just for online dating

Save yourself – and those with whom you collaborate – some valuable time: update your personal profile in eRA Commons.  When you’re submitting an application through ASSIST, your senior/key personnel fields can autopopulate from your profile, as your Commons ID is linked. Keeping your personal profile updated ensures that the contact and personal information sent with any application has already been sanctioned by you.  So where do you go to ensure you are up-to-date?  First, log in to eRA Commons, and find the “Personal Profile” link in the blue menu bar:

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This will take you to a menu that allows you to update all of your personal information.  Some of this populates to ASSIST, some of it does not:

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* note: “REVIEWER INFORMATION” is one place to find your Continuous Submission status 🙂 

 

Here are some key points to keep in mind as you consider your personal profile:

  • The “EMPLOYMENT” section populates your contact address, and NIH wants three years of history for PIs, and at least one entry for trainees and admins.  NIH states, “this information is vital to NIH and its SROs for determining any conflicts of interest with applications.”
  • Be sure your institutional affiliation is correct! Did you bring your Commons ID with you to Wayne State from a former institution?  You may have to change your affiliation. Go to the “Home” screen and check out your name and affiliation in the top right corner.  If the institution listed under your ID is static (no link), call SPA to have your affiliation switched. If your institution is incorrect and it is linked (blue underline), you may be able to change it yourself by clicking on it:

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As an aside, when filling out your ASSIST applications: two fields that will NOT autopopulate from your profile are “Division” and “Department.”  To be sure that you get proper credit for each:

 

Confused by what you need to include?  Never fear, RAS is here to help walk you through the steps!

On May 25, “D” is for “Different”

By now you are most certainly aware that Forms D will be required for all NIH applications on or after May 25. If you are using ASSIST, you will automatically be directed to the Forms D cloud set (in the past few weeks, you were given a choice on the initiation screen, but now we’re very close to the no-option date).  If you are still using the SF424 (why aren’t you using ASSIST?) be sure that any work you are doing is in the correct form set.  The Forms D application guides are revamped and available on NIH’s website.

 

We first warned you of this back in October, so now is a great time to re-familiarize yourselves with the required changes: Brace Yourselves, Forms D Are Coming.  For an exhaustive list of changes, NIH has provided a high-level list of FORMS-D pre-award form changes, as well as a landing page for all things Forms D.  And, as always, drop us a note if anything looks murky; we’re always happy to help find clarification!

 

An Investigator By Any Other Name

Start your year off right: make sure you’re getting credit for all of your funding!  As new internal funding data is being pulled, it is becoming clear that there are a lot of people that appear with less support than they should for one key reason: they are using the “Co-PI” designation on NIH applications.

 

Here’s a gentle reminder: the “Co-PI” designation is not recognized by NIH.  When applying for NIH funding, don’t select it if you are using the SF424 (also: why are you still using the SF424?) and don’t type it in if you are using ASSIST.  That designation appears for other agencies that DO use Co-PIs; NIH is not the only agency that uses the SF424 and so the SF424 is inclusive of other labels.  For a little more information on how this affects internal candidacy tracks and overall university rankings, check out our previous post, “When Good Labels Go Bad.”

 

Instead, when applying for NIH funding, use the “PD/PI” designation for BOTH if you and another PI are both considered to be PD/PI (or if there are more than two of you, even).  If someone is not sharing principal or directorial duties with you, that person should be designated as “Co-Investigator.”  If you’re still not sure what your label should be, drop us a note and we’ll help you figure it out!  Don’t short yourself (or your department) on support; you work hard and deserve your due credit!

The Many Faces of ASSIST

Like Jack’s beanstalk, ASSIST continues to grow and change as it becomes more firmly rooted in our administrative lives and takes us to heights we never thought possible (OK, maybe not *that* high).  Here are a few changes we’ve confirmed in the ASSIST system since we began using it in January:

 

  1. Adding users to simultaneously work on the application.  Before, the initiator of the application could add users and control what rights they had to the application (view-only, edit, etc).  This is no longer the case.  Now, only users with signatory authority in eRAcommons can add and control user access.  This means that you are likely going to have to ask your GCO to change your settings to “Access Maintainer” if you are going to need to add users to your application at any time.  FWIW: you don’t need to add your GCO.  They automatically have access on the back end; just let him/her know the application is there.
  2. Changing the submission status.   Before, you had to change each individual component of the application to “Ready to Submit” before your GCO could push the button.  Now, you only have to change to “Ready for Submission” one time.  This saves a lot of time and frustration, especially since “Work in Progress” and “Ready for Submission” are now your only options, other than to abandon.
  3. Validation and submission functions. If you try to run validation on your application and nothing happens, or you try to submit to your GCO and you receive an “unable to complete action at this time” message, likely you have a PDF that is non-compliant.  Unfortunately, ASSIST will not tell you which one it is.  If either of these happen to you, go through your application and view each file you’ve uploaded.  When you come across one that ASSIST tells you it is unable to access, that is your problem child and the one you will likely need to replace.

 

ASSIST continues to be a helpful form of submission with value that lies in the ability to have NIH check for compliance BEFORE you submit.  As we continue run across these little nuances, we’ll share them with you, so please share the ones you find with us as well!  If you haven’t have a chance to look over ASSIST yet, take a look at some of our previous posts and/or familiarize yourself with the user guide.  We think you’ll like it once you get to know it 🙂

Good Morning, How May We ASSIST You?

Last week, ASSIST became a submission option for R01s and U01s.  This means that ASSIST is now available for R01, U01, R03, all multi-project grant programs, and Individual Career Development Award (K, excluding KM1 and K12) applications.  Right now, you may choose to use ASSIST for its features (we like how you can validate for errors and warnings BEFORE submission), or you may continue to use the downloadable SF424 forms.  Keep in mind, however, that SF424 wasn’t always required either 😉  In order to use ASSIST, you must use or obtain an eRACommons ID.

 

We’ve used ASSIST a few times here at RAS and we thought we’d share a few things we’ve found:

  • Because ASSIST is cloud-based and directly populated to NIH, you can see errors and warnings before submission.
  • More than one person can be signed in and working on an ASSIST application, just not on the same component.
  • Only a person with recognized signing authority by NIH (according to their eRACommons credentials) can actually submit. You’ll need to add your GCO as a contributor.
  • All components of your application will need to be marked “Final” before you can mark your application as “Ready to Submit.” Conversely, if a component is not marked “Work in Progress,” you cannot edit.  As annoying as this will be when you are making last-minute changes, it does prevent accidental submission of unrefined applications.

 

Take a look around the system and see what you find.  ASSIST is nothing to fear: if you can do an SF424, you can use ASSIST.  In fact, we bet that you’ll like the administrative data carry-over population and pre-submission validation features.  We’ve stumbled through enough now that we’ve hit many of the hiccups; if you run into one, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you navigate.  Also check out the NIH ASSIST page,  where you can access FAQs, common errors and training resources on the left-side menu.

Ch-Ch-Changes

Welcome back, SOM!  As we begin 2015, many of the federal administrative changes that you’ve been reading about are now officially in effect.  You’ve heard and seen (ad nauseam) that the OMB Uniform Guidance is officially official as of December 26, 2014; but there other impending changes that you should note as well:

 

  • December 4, 2014: Modification to identification of marked changes in resubmissions in effect [NOT-OD-15-030]
  • January 11, 2015: The NIH salary cap is increased to $183,300 [Salary Cap Summary]
  • January 25, 2015: New late submission policy is in effect [NOT-OD-15-039]
  • January 25. 2015: Implementation of the new genomic data sharing policy begins [NOT-OD-15-027]
  • End of January 2015 target: ASSIST will be an option for R03s and R21s [NOT-OD-15-044]
  • On or after May 25, 2015: New biosketch formats will be required (though they are encouraged now; this was changed from the original January 25 deadline) [NOT-OD-15-032]

 

For a more comprehensive look at the changes you can expect, take a look at the administration timeline created by the NIH here.  Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!