UW Research

Set up Your Development Plan

It is important to understand how training grant competitive submissions are different from other grant projects. Understand also the difference between a renewing application and a new application. If you are submitting a renewal then you are basically revising and crunching numbers. If you are submitting a new proposal, there will be data you need to gather. NIH requires different tables for new versus renewing applications. The tips in this website will help you to discuss strategy with your PI, develop a realistic timeline, and outline expectations for others.


Create a realistic plan based on your experience with training grants.

There is a strategy to training grants.. If this is your first time submitting a competitive training grant, pad the amount of time you allow in your timeline.

Familiarize yourself with the data tables.

Understand the instructions of each table and the data required. Look at the resources, and the tips and tricks we provide for each table (see section, “Complete Tables“.) Be aware that you will be collating data from all participating departments.

Find out if the administrators from the other department participating in your grant have experience with training grants.

If not, you may have difficulty getting the data in a timely manner; early communication is key.

Find out how many mentors will be participating in the training grant.

Many mentors will mean more information to wrangle so plot your strategy a year in advance.

Find out how many departments will be participating in the training grant.

Even with many mentors, the tasks may be easier if there are only a few departments participating. The reverse also holds true; if there are few mentors but they are all in different departments, you’ll have more department tables to gather.

Give plenty of notice to your cooperating departments.

One of the first things you’ll want to do is find out who your contacts are in the department administrative offices and talk to them about your impending project –give them at least a month to produce the table, including at least a week of “grace” time. Administrators who have never worked with the tables will probably have to take more than one shot at getting you the information you need in the format you need it.

ALWAYS proof read all other departments

Verify and check all data you receive. This is not a “send and receive” project; the production of the tables requires multiple iterations. You will need to edit, combine, reformat, sort and perform calculations with all data provided.

Gather Information

Create eRA Commons Roles

NIH institutional grants require an institution, research administration staff, the PI, mentors, and trainees to have access to a variety of systems located within eRA Commons. All participants must have an eRA Commons account and assigned roles to properly manage an NRSA institutional training grant. The relevant roles and who may assign the roles are:

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • The Program Director (PD) or Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for the overall direction of the training program and for the organization and implementation of a high-quality research training program. In eRA Commons, this role is called the PI role but is used for PDs as well. Fellows also have the PI role. The PD/PI selects and appoints Trainees, amends appointments, and initiates Termination Notices.
  • A Multi-PI can perform the same actions as the Contact PI.
  • Only a department administrator with the Administrative Official (AO) role or the Signing Authority (SO) role can create a PI account. The only SO role at the UW is the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

Assistant to a PI (ASST)

  • An ASST user is a grantee institution individual that is the delegated authority to perform PD/PI, xTrain training appointment functions. A user with the ASST role cannot submit appointments.
  • Receives delegated authority from the PI.
  • Prepares training grant forms.
  • Views grant status.

Administrative Official (AO)

  • Signing Authority (SO) creates this account.
  • Creates accounts for others or can remove an account (except SOs account).
  • Edits accounts which the AO created.
  • Reviews documents.
  • Cannot receive delegated authority from a PI.

Business Official (BO)

  • A Business Official has signature or other authority related to administering grantee institution training grants.
  • Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) is the UW office with signature authority for trainee terminations on training grants.
  • As of March, 2018, Lily Gebrenegus is the University of Washington Business Official (BO). Select her name on the routing paperwork for Statement of Appointment (SOA) and Termination Notices.
  • The BO also submits the Financial Reports (FFR) through the eRA Commons.

Signing Authority (SO); Role of the UW Office of Sponsored Programs

  • A grantee institution’s Signing Official has authority to legally bind a grantee institution for grant matters.
  • Creates, modifies, or removes PI, AO, ASST, SO accounts.
  • Updates institutional information.
  • Reviews documents.
  • Submits RPPRs (because they are non-SNAP), extensions, and Just-in-Time (JIT)


  • A person appointed to and supported by an institutional Kirschstein-NRSA or non-NRSA research training award. This role is required for all trainees whether the trainee on the T32 is a pre- or postdoctoral trainee.
  • The trainee responds to an auto-generated e-mail from eRA commons to create this role once a PI or ASST begins the appointment process for the trainee.


Relieving the burden for the PI:

Although the NIH website identifies the PI as completing most of the tasks, in reality, the ASST role may handle most of them. The only thing your PI has to do that an ASST role cannot is submission of the approved SOA to NIH. The ASST can do everything else up to that point. An ASST can handle a termination up through the process of forwarding to GCA (so the PI doesn’t actually have to do anything).

Delegation and Access:

In order for a grant administrator to see a training grant in xTrain, the PI needs to delegate access to that person, and this has to be done for each separate grant. Thus, even if a PI has delegated you in the ASST role on another NIH grant, the PI will still need to provide you that role on theT32 grant. A PI cannot delegate only once to cover all NIH grants.

Beware of duplicate requests for eRA Commons:

Everybody gets one eRA Commons ID. This ID is associated with an email address. Make sure you check if a participant already has an eRA Commons ID. If a participant was at a previous institution, an eRA Commons ID may already be associated with the email address at that institution. The participant should change the email address on the eRA Commons account in order to avoid the headache of trying to merge accounts.

Forms, Tools, and Resources