Friday, February 7, 2014

I survived the RPPR....I think...

The NIH emailed me 2 months ago that my Progress Report was due on February 15 and so as busy little bee I started working on my progress report and got everything done until I found out that the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) is the new progress report format for NIH funded multi-year awards starting on January 31 (NOT-OD-14-026).
In reality, the RPPR is not enormously different from the previous progress report, but the organization is different and you have to put everything in the context of Goals instead of Specific Aims and of Accomplishments. You access everything from eRA Commons and click were RPPR appears next to your grant in the Status list....not on the RPPR tab, because nothing shows up if you click there.
Then you have to go through A. Cover, B. Accomplishments, C. Products, D. Participants, E. Impact, F. Changes, G. Special Reporting, and H. Budget

A. Cover - usual info on applicant, institution and signing officials
B. Accomplishments - most of the old progress report is now split in multiple sections: one for goals which I assumed was the specific aims as it is stated that they must be the goals of the application and should not change from one reporting period to the next, so I changed Specific Aim to Goal in the text. Then there is a 2 page summary of accomplishments, i.e. results (figures included), which is a PDF, then there is a summary of plans for the future. For the Goals and Plans they have a maximum of 8,000 characters, but would prefer 1 page which is around 3,000, so I tried to make them happy. Do yourself a favor and do not use special characters.
C. Products - papers, websites, etc. Mouse lines go under Other Products....
D. Participants - people
E. Impact - not applicable to R00. It refers to awards that have to have an institutional impact, maybe Ps or equipment grants?
F. Changes - self explanatory: changes in permissions, collaborators, etc
G. Special Reporting - not applicable to R00
H. Budget - pilot section from non-SNAP awards. Not applicable.

There are dozens of random things to click saying NOTHING TO REPORT. I just made an appointment with my grants management person and had him sit next to me as I was going through because apart from section B I didn't know what half the things meant. With him it took just ten minutes or so, plus reorganizing the whole thing and just getting familiarized with the new system. Why, why NIH not implement this at the end of February? If all goes well sequestration is done for good and I will have avoided sequestration completely. I managed to sneak through last year just before they started cutting.

Update 4/1/14: Grant was supposed to start today, but still no news on eRACommons. Despite having made good progress on the grant, I was worried that something might be going on. A quick email to my Grants Management person indicated that they got their budget late and everything was approved. Still waiting for a Notice of Award.