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NRS Frequently Asked Questions

NIFA Reporting System Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions, answered! 

 

Find answers for the most common NIFA Reporting System (NRS) questions below. If you're experiencing technical issues with NRS or have additional questions, we are here to help. Contact the NRS Help Desk at nrs@usda.gov for assistance.

Access

The NIFA Reporting System was developed to manage capacity reporting activities. Within NRS, users can manage research projects and extension programs, submit results and complete financial reports and any other required annual reports for capacity funds.

To access NRS, visit the NIFA Reporting System page at https://www.nifa.usda.gov/nrs and click the LAUNCH button. The NRS application will display, prompting users to login to your eAuthentication account. If you do not have an eAuthentication account or Login.gov account, you will need to register with Login.gov, complete identity verification with Login.gov, and obtain a role from your Organizational Administrator. See the NIFA Reporting System Registration Guide for more information.  

Login.gov is a secure government service used by the public to sign in to participating government agencies. With a Login.gov account, you can use the same username and password to access any agency that partners with Login.gov. 

Login.gov is a shared service trusted by government agencies that allows the public to use one account and password for multiple participating government agencies. In addition to your password, Login.gov requires that you set up at least one authentication method to keep your account secure. This is multi-factor authentication (MFA). Login.gov uses MFA as an added layer of protection to secure your information by requiring two pieces of information to securely sign in which are (1) Password and (2) Authentication method (such as a one-time code sent to your phone or an authentication app.

User Management & Permissions

Organizational Administrators can add, edit, or archive users in NRS by using the ‘User Management’ tile. To add a new user, select the ‘Add New User’ button on the User Management page. 

The following actions are only available to Organizational Administrators:

To archive a single user, from the User Management module select the user’s name select the ‘Edit User Information’ button, select the red ‘Archive User’ link on the top right of the page, and then confirm your action by selecting the ‘Archive User’ button. 

To archive multiple users, select the ‘Manage Users’ button, find the users to be archived, select the red ‘Archive’ button, select the red ‘Archive User’ button on the confirmation pop up, and then select the ‘Finish Editing’ button to save the changes. 

View the current roles available in NRS and associated permissions here (FYI will be a document added to external pages)

Yes, Organizational Administrators can perform the following actions from the User Management page to edit users: 

The following changes can be made during bulk user editing: role, Organizational Administrator status, and Financial Administrator status. To edit multiple users, from the User Management module select the ‘Manage Users’ button, complete the editing changes, and then select ‘Finish Editing’ to save the changes.

The following changes can only be made by editing individually: name, phone number, role, Organizational Administrator status, Financial Administrator status, and funding types. To edit a single user’s information, form the User Management module select the user’s name, select the ‘Edit User Information’ button, and then select the “Save” button to save the changes.

Projects and Programs

Input of Co-Project Director(s) is being considered by NIFA as a future enhancement, but there is no anticipated delivery date at this time. Our current focus is on ensuring our partners can complete all required reporting activities in NRS which impact funding, such as the Financial Reporting module. We also try to include enhancements in our regularly scheduled releases.  

Once a project/program is submitted to NIFA for Review, National Program Leaders or Division Directors may approve, defer, or decline a project/program. Explanation of the deferral will be provided in the comments of the projects/program within NRS.

To indicate a project or program has ended, please modify the end date and provide a Final Result. Within the Final Result comments section, you must indicate why the project/program is ending early.

Research project fields that require reapproval of the project: Title, Project Director, Non-Technical Summary, Methodology, Classifications: Knowledge Areas, Subject of Investigation, Field of Science, Animal Health Percentage, Assurances: IACUC & IRB.

Extension program fields that require reapproval of the program: Title, Program Initiator, Non-Technical Summary

NRS connects with NIMSS to receive some multistate data to allow users to select the multistate project from the dropdown menu and select the project-relevant objectives as listed in NIMSS. NRS will also get the basic NIMSS project information and Collaborating/Performing States list data (not editable in NRS).

All other information in the project initiation should reflect the actual project(s) that is to be conducted at your institution and/or in your state because this detailed information is not in the national, five-year project in NIMSS. Please include specific goals/objectives in the Non-Technical Summary or in the Methodology which describes the individual experiment/project and how it contributes to the larger Hatch multistate project. Details that explain the multistate collaboration are also very valuable.

Results

Results, formerly REEport Progress Reports, summarize the issue or problem an individual project/program addresses, major activities, progress toward goals and benefits. LGUs receiving capacity funding are required to add research projects and extension programs to NRS and submit at least one Annual Result each year for active projects and programs.

Results may be added from the Results tab of the Projects & Programs menu, within the individual project/program, or in the Annual Report (when available) for AREERA funded projects/programs. Adding/editing Results within NRS will display anywhere Result information is shown.

The Retract function allows users to withdraw Results from NIFA Review. When a Result is retracted from NIFA Review, the Result will revert to Draft status. 

The Remove function for projects/programs will delete a project or program in Draft status from NRS.

Once a Result is submitted to NIFA for Review, National Program Leaders or Division Directors will approve or defer the Result in NRS. If a Result is deferred, the NIFA reviewer will email the project director feedback, but a future enhancement will add a comment feature similar to the one used for project/program deferrals.

Yes, all active projects/programs are required to have a reported Result annually. A Result that is marked as “Nothing Significant to Report,” along with comments on why, may be used in these cases.

Annual Results may be entered at any point in NRS after they have occurred. Results must be entered no later than March 1st of the following fiscal year.

Final results are required to be submitted within 60 days of the end date of a research project or Extension program, but no later than March 1st of the following fiscal year.

The Final Result should summarize the results achieved over the course of the award and explain the significance of those results. In addition to completing the Annual and Final Results questions listed in NRS, the Final Result must identify equipment purchased with any federal funds under the award and indicate subsequent use of such equipment within the Comments field of the Result.

Annual Report

Annual Report of Accomplishments reporting is required only for institutions that receive Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Reform Act (AREERA) funding (Hatch (regular and multistate), Smith-Lever 3(b) and (c), Evans-Allen and 1890 Extension funds).

 The Annual Report of Accomplishments highlights the most significant achievements, impacts and outcomes of all AREERA research projects and Extension programs for a state or institution in the prior fiscal year. Annual Results entered for research and Extension automatically populate in the Annual Report of Accomplishments. 

NIFA Review may result in an Approved or Deferred Annual Report.

  • Approved: The Annual Report covers what is required and the NIFA reviewer provides comments in NRS including any feedback for sections that are done well or suggested improvements for future reporting. 
  • Deferred: The reviewer is requesting that the Annual Report be revised and the NIFA reviewer will provide comments in NRS on what needs to be edited before resubmitting. Deferrals will have one week to revise and resubmit their Annual Report. One of the more common reasons for deferral is when an Annual Report does not cover both research and extension. Please remember to cover both types of funding.

In addition to the written portion of the Annual Report, NRS automatically includes activities that occurred during that fiscal year such as projects, programs, critical issues, annual and final results. Projects, programs, Annual and Final Results will automatically be added Annual Report if they occur within the reporting fiscal year and are in Organizational Review, NIFA Review, Approved, Deferred, Declined, or Closed status.

FY 2022 reports are available for reference in NRS. FY2020 Annual Reports are available on REEIS. For FY2021 reports, please contact the NRS Help Desk, nrs@usda.gov.

The Annual Report of Accomplishments describes impacts and outcomes achieved by your state or institution in the previous fiscal year through projects and programs supported by NIFA capacity funding. The Plan of Work describes activities and addresses Critical Issues that a state or institution plans to spend NIFA capacity funds on in the upcoming fiscal year.

Critical Issues

Critical Issues replaced Planned Programs in the Plan of Work. They are the critical short-, intermediate-, and long-term agricultural issues within the state. AREERA requires that states describe them in their Plans of Work. Specifically, each Plan of Work for a state required under AREERA subsection (d) shall contain descriptions of the following:  

  • The critical agricultural issues in the state in which the eligible institution is located and the current and planned extension programs and projects targeted to address the issues.  
  • The process established to consult with extension users regarding the identification of critical agricultural issues in the state and the development of extension programs and projects targeted to address the issues.  
  • The efforts made to identify and collaborate with other colleges and universities within the state, and within other states, that have a unique capacity to address the identified agricultural issues in the state and the extent of current and emerging efforts (including regional extension efforts) to work with those other institutions.  
  • The manner in which research and extension, including research and extension activities funded other than through formula funds, will cooperate to address the critical issues in the state, including the activities to be carried out separately, the activities to be carried out sequentially, and the activities to be carried out jointly.  
  • The education and outreach programs already underway to convey currently available research results that are pertinent to a critical agriculture issue, including efforts to encourage multicounty cooperation in the dissemination of research results.  

States may identify as many or as few Critical Issues as they think appropriate. NIFA recommends no more than 5-7.  

All Critical Issues active in the current fiscal year and closing out in the next fiscal year will be listed in the Annual Report of Accomplishments for each particular year.  

Critical Issues should be managed as part of the Plan of Work submission (which is completed annually). Critical Issues must be added during the POW submission. Critical Issues can be edited or archived by the Director and State Contributor within the Critical Issues module or the POW.

Plan of Work

Plan of Work (POW) reporting is required only for institutions that receive Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Reform Act (AREERA) funding (Hatch (regular and multistate), Smith-Lever 3(b) and (c), Evans-Allen and 1890 Extension funds). AREERA requires states to submit a POW to receive capacity funding. 

The five-year POW outlines the critical short-, intermediate- or long-term agricultural issues in the state and the planned research and extension activities targeted to address the issues. POW is submitted in NRS for the upcoming fiscal year and includes the following elements: executive summary, merit or scientific peer review, stakeholder input, and critical issues. 

Financial Reporting

The NRS Financial Module includes the financial report for individual capacity research project and extension program expenditures and full time equivalents and the OGFM Supplemental Form for specific 1862 LGUs.

The NRS Financial Module is tentatively scheduled to be completed early 2024.

The Financial Report is a project/program level report that details all federal and non-federal expenditures by funding source, as well as all Full Time Equivalents (FTE) that supported the project/program, for the most recently completed federal fiscal year, which runs from 10/01 to 09/30 each year. The report is not an auditable document. 

Yes, Smith-Lever 3 (b)(c) and 1890 Extension expenditures will be required as part of the Financial Report.

Reporting on RREA project expenditures will be required beginning with the FY 2023 Financial Report. EFNEP expenditures will not be included in the NRS Financial Report but should continue to complete reporting activities as directed by NIFA’s EFNEP program staff.

Do not duplicate expenditures for integrated projects or programs for NIFA or external funds. It is suggested that you estimate the percentage of external funding associated with each project/program for this report if the external funding is used for more than one project/program.

If you do not have separate accession specifically covering administrative funds, you should either estimate the percentage of administrative funds for each project/program or if you cannot estimate separate percentages, divide the administrative funds used among the applicable projects/programs.

The only source of NIFA funding reported for a project or program should match the funding type of the project or program in NRS except for:

  • Extension Capacity Fund (Smith-Lever 3(b) and 3(c)) – may also report Smith-Lever Special Needs funds, if applicable.
  • Research Capacity Fund (Hatch Multistate) – may also report Research Capacity Fund (Hatch), if applicable.

Competitive award funding from NIFA should be reported for under those award numbers and should not be included in financial reporting for capacity awards.

Financial Reports are due February 1st after the end of the Fiscal Year. However, for the FY 2023 Financial Report, the deadline will be delayed due to some approval delays and the extended deadline for FY 2023 Financial Report will be announced in 2024.

This requirement applies only to 1862 Land‐Grant Universities that are required to expend a specified percentage of Hatch Act and Smith‐Lever Act formula grant funds on multistate extension and integrated research and extension activities.

Yes, the FY 2023 OGFM Supplemental Form will be submitted in NRS. Institutions who are required to submit the form will have the report available to them in NRS under the Financial Reporting module. This replaces the previous manual submission of PDF forms via email.

The Combined Research and Extension OGFM Multi‐State and Integrated Activity Supplemental Form is typically submitted during the summer, however, the FY 2023 submission deadline has not been announced at this time. We will notify LGUs of the deadline once the date has been determined.

Miscellaneous

NIFA frequently shares information on NRS releases, enhancements, and webinars. To receive NRS communications, please email nrs@usda.gov.  

There are plans for this to be implemented in the future. For now, you should submit to PubAg (https://www.nifa.usda.gov/public-access-nifa-funded-work) and you can mention any scholarly publications in the Comments section when submitting yearly Results.

All capacity funds are reported in NRS which includes:

  1. 1862: Hatch or Hatch Multistate
  2. 1862: Smith-Lever 3(b) and (c)
  3. 1890: 1890 Extension (Section 1444)
  4. 1890: Evans-Allen (Section 1445)
  5. Animal Health and Disease Research (AHDR)
  6. McIntire-Stennis
  7. Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA)

For the current capacity reporting deadlines visit www.nifa.usda.gov/nrs 

For more information or to view a previously recorded webinar, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/nrs-resources 

Directors, State Contributors and Organizational Administrators will receive a system generated email notification when the Annual Report and Plan of Work is submitted for Organizational Review, NIFA Review, Approved or Deferred. Additionally, Directors, State Contributors, and Organizational Administrators will receive an email notification when research projects and Extension programs are submitted for Organizational Review, NIFA Review, Approved, Declined or Deferred.

All roles can view changes made to the projects and programs from within the Change Log.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)
If human subjects are involved, an IRB approval or determination date must be provided. IRB approvals are valid for one year.

  • If human subjects are involved at a later not yet developed stage of the project, please indicate “yes” on Assurance Statement, and provide an intended future date for IRB approval. In addition, edit the methodology to state the plans to develop that part of the project and get IRB approval at that later date. The Project Director should plan to update the NRS entry with the official IRB approval date once that approval is obtained.
  • If the IRB review determined that IRB is either not required, the project is “minimal risk”, or is exempt, please indicate “yes” on Assurance Statement, and provide the date of the review determination and the name of the IRB (generally this is the institutional name) providing the determination. Then add information in the Methodology section to explain that IRB review determined the project is either exempt, considered “minimal risk”, or does not require review, along with details on how long this status lasts.
  • If you are making an edit to a previously approved project later in the project period when work with human subjects is no longer being done, please edit the Methodology section to detail that the human subjects work has been completed (include a date) and a current IRB approval is no longer required.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
If vertebrate animals are involved, an IACUC approval date must be provided. While IACUC approvals are valid for 3 years, there must be at least 1 year remaining on the IACUC approval at the time the project initiation form is reviewed/approved by NIFA. If you are making an edit to a previously approved project later in the project period when no additional vertebrate animal work is involved, please edit the Methodology section to detail that the work has been completed (include a date) and current IACUC approval is no longer required.

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