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Mar 20 / RAS

Progressive Party: Understanding the Functions of the RPPR

Many of you know that the RPPR (Research Performance Progress Report) format is now required for most NIH progress reports (specifically Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship awards).  Note that NIH has discontinued the use of the PHS 416-9, NRSA Individual Fellowship Progress Report for Continuation Support, and requires use of the RPPR for all Fellowship progress reports. (As a side note, did you know that all of the NIH Fellowship Award Announcements are being reissued under new numbers?  If you or one of your students is in the process of applying, be sure to look for your new announcement number.)

To help you navigate the RPPR process, here are a selection of the top ten things you’ll want to know to understand the behavior of the report form:

  1. Your RPPR is populated with information from your last report.  This information appears in a gray font, which may lead you to think that you can’t edit, but much of it you can!  There will be an “edit” link toward the right side of your screen that will allow you to change the pre-populated information; you don’t need agency approval to do this.
  2. Your selection of references comes from you NCBI bibliography.  If you do not see a publication that you wish to include, go to your NCBI account to add it manually.  Once you have done this, you will be able to add it to your RPPR.
  3. RPPR  does NOT automatically save information that has been entered or uploaded when the user navigates to a different component or a different Commons page.  Be sure to use the “save” button often, which appears at the top and bottom left of each screen.
  4. The Recipient ID field is for YOUR, use, not NIH.  This field allows you to record an internal tracking number or identifier WSU use.  It is not a mandatory field and NIH will disregard the information, so don’t panic trying to find what number goes here.
  5. “Major goals of the project” are the same thing as your “Specific Aims.”  If NIH approved changes to the goals prior to award or during the reporting period, list the revised goals and objectives and explain any significant changes in approach or methods from the agency approved application or plan; you will only be able to edit these directly in Year 1.  If you are in Year 2 or later, checking the box indicating that goals have changed will yield a new box for your new goals.  In this case, both your original Specific Aims and your revised goals will be displayed.
  6. NIH’s recommended length is up to one page for each section, even though the physically allowable amount is the equivalent of three pages.
  7. The maximum size for PDFs uploaded to the RPPR is 6MB.
  8. All publications arising from an award during the reporting period must be reported regardless of the public access status of the publication.  You must, then, report your publications even if they appear in your NCBI bibliography as “noncompliant.”  If you submit with a noncompliance publication, you will receive a warning message, and an email requesting compliance verification no later than two weeks prior to the start date of the next budget period.  It’s surely a pain, but you have to report all of your publications.  Remember, you only need to report a publication one time per award so if you’ve already reported a pub in a previous progress report, you don’t need to do it again on subsequent reports.
  9. When reporting effort, person months are now rounded to the nearest whole month.  This is the new federal standard promulgated for interim progress reports by OMB in the RPPR Final Format.  For interim reporting purposes, however, the new standard allows a reasonable variance of 0.5.   Although by NIH definition PD/PI effort must be greater than zero, in  instances where the PD/PI has 0.4 person month or less, you will need to report zero person month in the RPPR.
  10. When preparing “Other Support” for the RPPR, include the effort for the next year of the current grant. The effort listed in the RPPR for “Personnel”is retrospective,  while effort included in the “Other Support” should be prospective.

Don’t see your issue here?  Contact RAS for some help in finding the answer, or take a look at the RPPR FAQs page.