NIFA Reporting System
NIFA, in collaboration with our Land-Grant University partners, is building a new grants management and reporting system that integrates the Plan of Work and REEport applications into a unified system. The new system is built using leading industry technology to create streamlined reporting and reduce burden on grantees.The system rollout consists of three initial phases starting with Fiscal Year 2020 programs regulated by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Educational Reform Act of 1988 (AREERA). These programs include Hatch, Evans-Allen, Smith-Lever, and 1890 Extension. NIFA will expand the system to include all capacity (formula) and competitive programs currently in REEport and POW after the initial phases.
What is Currently Happening?
NIFA ADDS RESEARCH INITIATION MODULE TO THE NIFA REPORTING SYSTEM
NIFA will release the first version of the research initiation module of the new integrated system, NIFA Reporting System (NRS), at the end of May 2021 for projects funded by Hatch (regular) and Hatch Multistate for 1862 Institutions and Evans-Allen for 1890 Institutions. This release marks a significant milestone in bringing AREERA-funded research and extension together for the first time in a centralized reporting portal.
NIFA Reporting system provides a modernized portal that provides users a more secure registration (USDA eAuthentication), customized tiles for completing tasks efficiently, and centralized control over the organization's users and roles. The portal provides intuitive access to commonly used features and reports. It also establishes a new way to track capacity-funded Research and Extension activities (a top finding from the Panel of Experts guiding this project). To organize the institution's projects and programs, the system includes a Critical Issues dashboard where LGUs can review, change, and add issues throughout the year while instantly tracking Research and Extension activities carried out under each one. The Project and Program dashboard shows a state’s activities. Organizational Administrators, formerly REEport Site Administrators, may help Directors, State Contributors, and Project Directors enroll in eAuthentication and assign a role. See the Frequently Asked Questions and User Guides for further information.
EXTENSION AND RESEARCH WORKING GROUPS
The Extension Working Group began in December 2019 to help NIFA design a new reporting module for Cooperative Extension. The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) identified representatives from each region to serve on the working group. At ECOP’s suggestion, the working group includes representatives from National Extension and Research Administrative Officers Conference and National Impact Database teams. The group produced more than three dozen requirements that led to the Extension module and participated in two rounds of usability testing to help improve the software design. All reported increased satisfaction over the current system and provided constructive feedback that has improved the new system.
The Research Working Group met for the first time in August 2020. The Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) of APLU nominated representatives to work with NIFA to design the new reporting module for capacity-funded research. The group has been helping NIFA design the research initiation module for AREERA-funded programs (Hatch regular, Hatch Multistate, and Evans-Allen).
Both working groups will collaborate on improving reporting, currently carried out in multiple systems and through reports identified as redundant and inefficient. The goal is to streamline the process to reduce the overall burden. The working groups will then tackle the remaining capacity research programs. In the final stage, NIFA will address the reporting needs of competitive programs.
NIFA REPORTING PORTAL, REEPORT, AND PLAN OF WORK APPLICATIONS
All applications under NIFA Reporting Portal, including POW and REEport, will be retired as their features are built into the new system. Access to the legacy POW application was the first to be removed. NIFA is moving all POW reports and data to the REEIS site, LMD, and the Data Gateway. Following its data retention policy, NIFA will retire and archive POW's data according to Federal regulations. LMD features are being studied and share much in common with the Data Gateway already, which will serve any intervening needs when LMD is retired.
LAND-GRANT FEEDBACK THROUGH USABILITY TESTING
Members of the Working Groups and other land-grant volunteers have participated in usability testing of the Critical Issues, the Extension Program features, and the Research Project features in the NRS. This is part of NIFA’s human-centered design approach to delivering intuitive, high-quality software. The response to the new features has been very positive. Most importantly, the testers provided constructive feedback that will be used to further improve the system. NIFA takes this approach very seriously and has implemented every single one of the recommendations made to date. If you are interested in participating in future usability testing, send an email to email@example.com.
what to expect next
RESEARCH PROJECT DESCRIPTIONThe May 2021 release will add research project initiations to the NRS for Hatch, Hatch Multistate, and Evans-Allen funded research. A research project consists of a set of peer-reviewed, research-focused activities that are organized around a set of objectives and drive toward specific outcomes. Capacity-funded research projects address critical issues identified through statewide stakeholder input. They provide minimum standards for reporting that comply with federal requirements and feed into individual state Plan of Work accomplishments.
Research projects join Extension programs in the "Add Projects/Programs" section. A program is a set of activities that strive toward a common objective or goal. Critical issues may serve as programs or, if broadly scoped, broken into groups of activities that share a common objective. Institutions may also indicate which programs contribute to multistate and integrated research and extension requirements.
PLAN OF WORK FY 2023 SUBMISSIONS
Plan of Work submissions for FY 2023 will likely be completed in the Institutional Profile, with the exception of the Critical Issues, which should be updated in the new system. If time permits, NIFA may revise this guidance depending on progress made in designing progress reports and the Annual Reports of Accomplishments and Results, which are part of the next phase of development for the new system. The due date for the Plan of Work FY 2023 will remain April 1, 2022.
ANNUAL REPORT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND RESULTS AND OGFM SUPPLEMENTAL FORM FOR FY 2021
How the Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results and OGFM Supplemental Form will be collected for FY 2021 is yet to be determined. If guidance changes, NIFA will provide it well in advance. The due date will remain April 1, 2022.
NIFA Reporting System (nrs) new
User Guides For The Plan Of Work In The Institutional Profile (Under The Legacy Portal And Reeport)
- Log In to Institutional Profile Quick Guide
- Institutional Profile Guide
- Manage User Roles for Institutional Profile Guide
Webinars: Plan Of Work And Reeport Integration
NIFA hosts regular webinars to provide updates, hear from stakeholders, and answer questions. For more information, please visit the Plan of Work: Webinar Series resource page (below) to access previously held webinars, information on upcoming webinars, and information on how to sign up for informational emails. For more information go to www.nifa.usda.gov/plan-work-pow-redesign-webinar-series.