ERA Roles & xTRACT


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Create eRA 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. Individuals with these roles are in the Office of Research – email

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.
  • This is your role if you are administering this grant submission

Administrative Official (AO)

  • Signing Authority (SO; Sponsored Projects Administration) creates this account.
  • Creates accounts for others or can remove an account (except SO’s account).
  • Edits accounts which the AO created.
  • Reviews documents.
  • Cannot receive delegated authority from a PI.
  • Not a common role at UCI

Business Official (BO)

  • A Business Official has signature or other authority related to administering grantee institution training grants.
  • Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) is the office with this authority for trainee terminations on training grants.
  • Each of the SPA officers is a Business Official (BO), depending on your department.
  • Refer to OR website for departmental assignments. Select that individual’s name on the routing paperwork for Statement of Appointment (SOA) and Termination Notices.
  • Contracts and Grants Accounting submits the Financial Reports (FFR) through the eRA Commons.

Signing Authority (SO)

  • 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 application, extensions, Just-in-Time documents.
  • This is Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) but not a common role at UCI


  • 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.


Extramural Trainee Reporting and Career Tracking (xTRACT) is a module in eRA Commons used by applicants, grantees, and assistants to create research training tables for inclusion in progress reports and institutional training grant applications. Because xTRACT is integrated with Commons it is able to pre-populate some training data for training tables and reports by using xTrain appointment and related data. This includes trainee names, selected characteristics, institutions, grant numbers, and subsequent NIH and other HHS awards. xTRACT also allows the manual entry of data, for information not found in Commons or xTrain. This manually entered information is stored in xTRACT and can be re-used when preparing subsequent training table submissions. If you are a Signing Official (SO), Administrative Official (AO), Business Official (BO), Principal Investigator (PI), or assistant (ASST) in Commons, you have access to the xTRACT module. Tables created here must be attached to and submitted with the appropriate progress reports or application.

Note: NIH made this announcement on May 2019: 

Beginning with RPPRs due on or after October 1, 2019 (FY 2020), recipients must create the required training data tables for submission with NIH and AHRQ T15, T32, T90/R90, and TL1 progress reports via the xTRACT system.

The use of xTRACT to prepare the data tables for new and renewal applications for the specified types of training grants (i.e., T15, T32, T90/R90, and TL1) will not be mandatory in FY 2020 but may be required in future years. Applicants for new or renewal training grant awards are encouraged to take steps now to gain experience with the system prior to its required use. New users may wish to explore the xTRACT resources available on the eRA website, including instructional videos and FAQs.

Here is a helpful presentation from the recent FDP conference


  • See more about our own eRA team
  • Visit the NIH eRA site here.
  • More info from eRA Commons on account roles here.
  • Matrix of breakdown of roles and respective privileges here

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