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xTrain Frequently Asked Questions

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Initiating Appointments & Reappointments  

Why does the 2271 form displayed when I initiate a reappointment or amend a previous appointment look different than the one originally submitted to the agency in paper?

When the agency received the original paper forms, the form information was entered into the eRA databases for further agency processing and the original paper documents were placed in the official agency grant file. The xTrain system uses the most recent version of the 2271 appointment form. The original submitted information is pulled from the eRA databases and displayed in the new form. There may be some fields in the newer form that are not populated because the information was not collected during the original submission. You will want to update those fields to have a complete record going forward.

“Snapshots” of electronic appointments, reappointments, amendments and terminations are saved in the eRA system. When working with records originally submitted electronically, you will be able to view the actual submission. Once fully electronic, the issue will no longer exist.

If appointments are not routed through the Business Official (BO), how can BOs keep track of the training grants for their institution?

BOs can log into the system at any time to see the status of all the appointments and terminations at their institution.

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Initiating Termination Notices

Who can initiate a termination Notice?

xTrain users with the following eRA Commons roles can initiate a termination notice: PI, ASST with a PI xTrain delegated role, or BO. The xTrain system itself also can initiate a termination notice and place it in the BOs queue if, after 180 days from the Appointment End date, the appointment is not yet terminated, no re-appointment process has started and the grant has an activity code that starts with T (except T34). System initiation of termination notices will not be available during the xTrain pilot.

Is an amendment necessary if a trainee terminates early?

No. Unlike the paper process, a separate Amendment is not necessary to process an early termination. When the Termination Notice is prepared, the new termination date should be included. The system will auto-amend the last appointment to reflect the new termination date.

Why can’t I see the Trainee’s full list of previous NIH support on the Appointment form?

xTrain populates the NRSA list with grants associated with the Trainee’s eRA Commons account. The eRA Commons attempts to match existing support records to the Trainee when the Commons account is set-up. It is up to the Trainee to confirm whether identified records were matched correctly and to provide any additional grant information that was missed. Sometimes, multiple accounts are set-up for a single Trainee and the information associated with the account must be merged. Contact the eRA Commons Help Desk for assistance.

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eRA Commons Accounts & Roles

If a PD/PI delegates authority to an assistant (ASST), can that assistant perform all the same functions and receive the same notifications as the PD/PI?

Only individuals that have a Commons account with the ASST role are listed with the Current Institution Users. The institution’s eRA Commons Signing Official (SO) must add the ASST role to the individuals existing eRA Commons account or create an eRA Commons account with the ASST role for the individual if he/she does not already have an account.

If a PI wants to delegate xTrain Authority to an individual and that individual is not listed with the Current Institution Users, how does he/she have them added to the list?

The institutions eRA Commons Signing Official (SO) must add the ASST role to the individuals existing eRA Commons account or create an eRA Commons account with the ASST role for the individual if he/she does not already have an account.

What personal profile fields are checked by the xTrain system?

The xTrain system relies on having current and complete information in a trainee’s personal profile in eRA Commons. If xTrain identifies an issue with invalid or missing trainee profile information, an error will be generated and it must be corrected before completing the xTrain function.  Trainees must keep their profiles up-to-date, paying special attention to the following fields that are checked within xTrain:

The Trainee Specific Information screen within a Trainee's Personal Profile includes the question “Are you from a disadvantaged background?” What does “disadvantaged background” mean in this context?

Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are defined as:

1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds.  These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs.  The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such candidates have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans:  Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.  Recruitment and retention plans related to a disadvantaged background are most applicable to high school and perhaps undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for individuals beyond that level of achievement.

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Trainees & Signature Requirements

Will using xTrain remove the need for signed paper forms?

Yes, with the following exceptions:

This page last reviewed: January 23, 2009