University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

NIH eRA eSubmission items of interest announced for July 19

NIH eRA eSubmission Items of Interest - July 19

Don’t get too used to ADOBE-FORMS-B1
The virtual ink is barely dry on the ADOBE-FORMS-B1 forms and here comes ADOBE-FORMS-B2 (see NOT-OD-11-096). Don’t panic. Just remember to use the latest version of forms available for your Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and you’ll be fine.

What’s the difference between ADOBE-FORMS-B1 and ADOBE-FORMS-B2?

  • B2 fixes a nasty, intermittent “Schema Error” encountered when submitting the PHS 398 Modular Budget form (see Items of Interest – October 27, 2010)
  • B2 fixes an error encountered by system-to-system users in the Budget Information for Construction Programs (SF-424C) form (imagine budget amounts and budget categories no longer aligning in the application image after submission – major badness!)
  • B2 allows applicants to attach 30 subaward budgets rather than the 10 allowed in B1
    Important: To avoid potential compatibility issues, be sure to extract and use a fresh copy of the subaward budget attachment when using the new R&R Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form 5 YR 30 ATT.

Unlike other roll-outs of new application packages, we won’t be updating every existing FOA with a new application package. In fact, you should never see ADOBE-FORMS-B1 and ADOBE-FORMS-B2 packages on the same FOA. You will, however, begin to see ADOBE-FORMS-B2 as the only available application package for most new FOA postings. Fellowship, Training and a few other programs will continue to use ADOBE-FORMS-B1 for new postings since they don’t use the forms fixed in B2 (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it), but most NIH research programs will use B2 going forward.

We will be reissuing the R01, R21, and R03 parent announcements soon. The new parent announcements (complete with new FOA numbers) will be refreshed with our streamlined FOA text, will reflect all of our latest policies and will use the ADOBE-FORMS-B2 application packages. We plan to accept submissions from both the old and new parent FOAs through the Jan. 7, 2012 AIDS deadline. On Jan. 8, 2012 the old R01, R21 and R03 parent FOAs will expire. So, if you are just starting the application process and plan to submit to a R01, R21 or R03 parent, wait for and use the new B2 form package. If you are submitting a Resubmission application on/before Jan. 7 and already have an application based on B1 to work from, go ahead and use it. Cracks Down on Submissions with Expired CCR Registrations
Central Contractor Registry (CCR) information must be updated at least every 12 months to remain active. Beginning Aug. 9, will begin rejecting submissions from applicants with expired Central Contractor Registry (CCR) registrations. Although active CCR registration at time of submission is not a new or NIH requirement, this systematic enforcement will likely catch some applicants off guard. According to the CCR  web site it can take 24 hours or more for updates to take effect, so check for active registration well before your grant deadline. Registration issues, including expired CCR registration, are not acceptable reasons for submitting late.

To view your CCR registration status visit and search by your organization’s DUNS. Note that CCR-registered users may elect not to display their information in the public search. If your information is not available publicly, then the designated e-Biz POC for your organization must determine current status.

The CCR web site provides user guides, renewal screen shots, FAQs and other resources you may find helpful.

You’ve Got Mail
In fact, with our eSubmission process you get a lot of mail. sends notifications when your application is submitted, validated, retrieved by agency and assigned a tracking number. eRA sends notifications when errors/warnings are found in your application, when an application image is assembled for your viewing pleasure and when your application moves forward for further processing and funding consideration.

Soon, both eRA (July 22) and (Aug. 9) will implement changes to current email notification text. Many of these changes should look familiar – they came from your feedback. Here’s what to expect:

  • Clearer eRA notification text. Detailed descriptions of current status. Specific instructions for expected next steps.
  • Clearer notification text. Phrases like ‘your application has been retrieved by the Grantor agency and is currently being reviewed’ will be removed from messages. This will eliminate the possibility that the notification is misinterpreted as ‘your application is going to peer review’ instead of the intended meaning of ‘your application is currently being checked by the agency’.
  • Easier grouping of emails received for a specific application. The subject lines of both eRA and notifications will begin with the tracking number.
  • New ‘From’ address for eRA notifications ( Be sure to adjust any email rules you may have defined based on the ‘From’ address. If you suddenly stop receiving eRA emails, check your spam and security filters and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Greater visibility to notification recipients. Rather than sending separate emails to each recipient, all three email address from the SF424 R&R cover page will be included in the ‘To’ line of a single message so you can quickly identify who else received the notification.

Although email notifications are great, email can be unreliable and you should not depend exclusively on email notifications to track application status. It is up to you to check your status in eRA Commons (whether or not you receive an email reminder). Viewing your application image in eRA Commons is the only sure-fire way to confirm successful submission. If you can’t view it, then we can’t review it.

Less is More
NIH staff and reviewers continue to find applicants trying to circumvent page limits by inserting information into inappropriate places in an application. Check out this cautionary statement from the latest policy reminder (NOT-OD-11-080).

NIH may withdraw applications from review and funding consideration for egregious cases in which inappropriate material has been placed in a section or sections of an application without page limits, or in the Appendix.

Yikes! Resist the temptation to overstuff your applications – you may actually be harming your chances for success.

-- Barry Milavetz, Research and Economic Development

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