Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents:
- Why is NIFA building a new grants management and reporting system?
- How is NIFA developing the NIFA Reporting System (NRS)?
- Who will utilize NRS?
- How do I access NRS?
- How do I sign-up to receive important information about NRS?
- What is the Plan of Work (POW) and what does AREERA require LGUs to report?
- What are Critical Issues?
- How many Critical Issues should a state list?
- Who will be able to manage Critical Issues?
- Which Critical Issues will be displayed in the FY2022 Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results?
- When should I reassign projects if my Critical Issue is closing out?
- When should Critical Issues be updated, added or closed out?
A group of representatives from NIFA and Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) requested that NIFA streamline reporting requirements to reduce the burden on grantees and integrate research and extension reporting applications into one system. With close collaboration from our LGU partners, NIFA is building the NIFA Reporting System (NRS) which enables reporting for both research and extension activities.
NIFA regularly collaborates with NIFA program experts and LGU partners in working groups to discuss the development of NRS. These working group sessions enable NIFA to gain direct feedback from partner institutions and grantees on new features in the system and identify areas for enhancement. As the system continues to develop, additional working groups may be identified. Working groups provide feedback on ways to improve reporting carried out in multiple systems and identify redundant and inefficient processes. In the future, NIFA will address financial reporting needs, civil rights reporting, and the inclusion of competitive programs. If you are interested in providing feedback as part of a working group, please contact your regional research or extension representative.
Those currently using the NIFA Reporting Portal (REEport, Leadership Management Dashboard (LMD), or Institutional Profile) will gradually transition to NRS. The transition to NRS started with capacity-funded programs. Partners currently report on projects and programs funded by Hatch (regular and multistate), Evans-Allen, Smith-Lever 3(b)&(c), 1890s Extension, Animal Health and Disease Research, McIntire-Stennis, and Renewable Resources Extension Act.
To access NRS, visit the NIFA Reporting System page at https://www.nifa.usda.gov/data/nifa-reporting-system and click the LAUNCH button. The NRS application will display, prompting users to log-in to your eAuthentication account. If you do not have an eAuthentication account, you will need to register, complete identity verification, and obtain a role from your Organizational Administrator. See the NIFA Reporting System eAuthentification Registration Guide for more information.
NIFA frequently shares information on NRS releases, enhancements, and webinars. To receive NRS communications, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA)requires that states submit a POW, including yearly accomplishments and results, to receive capacity funding. POW requirements pertain only to the Hatch (regular and multistate), Smith-Lever 3(b) and (c), Evans-Allen, and 1890 Extension funds. The POW includes the following elements to satisfy the AREERA requirements: executive summary, merit or scientific peer review, stakeholder input, critical issues, and information on multistate & integrated activities.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Users who have been assigned the Director or State Contributor role will be able to add, update, and closeout Critical Issues within NRS.
All Critical Issues active in FY2022 and closing out in FY2023 will be listed in the FY2022 Annual Report of Accomplishments.
To avoid changing the alignment of critical issues in the FY2022 Annual Report of Accomplishments, it is strongly recommended that LGUs wait to reassign existing projects and programs until after the FY2022 Annual Report of Accomplishments is submitted. Any projects or programs reassigned to a new Critical Issue prior to the submission of the FY2022 Annual Report of Accomplishments may not be aligned accurately in the report.
Critical Issues should be managed as part of the Plan of Work submission (which is completed annually). For the FY2023 POW, changes to Critical Issues must be made no later than September 2022 and should be submitted in tandem with the POW template.