Reporting Guidance

Progress Reporting Guidance

Tips on Progress Reporting

With the addition of US Ed's G5 grant administration system, all 3 three of our major Federal sponsors (NIH and NSF as well) now require electronic submission of progress reports.  This section summarizes the main features of each agency's proprietary system along with information on  the internal procedures for processing progress reports.

  • Log on with your NIH Commons ID.  Everyone who has applied for a NIH grant or been included as a key person on one, you already have an NIH Commons ID.  Your SPA can look your ID if you have forgotten it.  You can reset your own password by clicking on the "Forgot Your Password" link on the login screen.
  • One you log in, you will find a thin, blue horizontal menu on the left hand side of the screen, just below the Commons logo.  Select eSNAP to take you to a menu of your active grants.
  • Your NIH grant award number will appear as a link on the left side of the table where your grants are listed.
  • There are 7 sections of your progress report. All of them can be filled out online, but if the Science section of the report is lengthy, you might want to cut and paste from a MS Word document.  Much of the basic data should be pre-populated into the forms  
  • EFFECTIVE MAY 2013: NIH has announced a new "enhanced" stage in the enforcement of its Public Access policy,which requires all publications deriving from NIH research and other grant-related activity to be made available on its PUBMED website within one year after its initial publication in a peer reviewed journal.  Specifically, NIH will delay processing of non-competing renewal funding for any award that does not document compliance with the Public Access Policy for each publication included in the Annual Progress Report. Fortunately, NIH's website on the policy is clear and gives concise guidance on how to ensure compliance and prepare a progress report.  Our colleagues at Columbia have prepared a comprehensive set of guidelines not just on compliance but that also includes advice on working with publishers. The CU link also includes videotapes of recent information sessions and the corresponding slides.  OSP will check for compliance with the policy when it reviews your progress reports in the NIH Commons prior to signing off on them.
  • NIH does not require any detailed financial information in its interim progress reports.  However, if you anticipate a carry forward balance of more than 25% of your annual budget, you must include a justification for the balance and a plan to spend it down.  Since progress reports are due several months before the end of the budget year,David Novick in Grants and Contracts accounting can help you project expenses to the end of the year.
  • Once you submit the report, the Director of OSP will receive an email requesting him to review and approve your report.  

NIH Commons Link

NSF is phasing out its 20-year old Fastlane system and gradually phasing in its replacement,  Over the last few years, various financial and administrative functions have migrated from the old system to and, beginning Spring 2013, the PI function has migrated to the progress and final report system.  All NSF funded PIs will be required  to submit their next annual and/or final report through  Full information on the new system and the new reporting requirements is available here.
NSF has done an excellent job making the transition as easy as possible:
  • Your current NSF login credentials remain the same and will work now on
  • the first screen after you log on lists your current and pending awards, with an active link to the reporting interface for those projects where a report is due.
  • The overall interface is fairly user friendly
The progress report itself has changed and is far more structured than previous requirements, which in turn requires more screens to click through, corresponding to the new requirments.  You can no longer upload the entire report as one doc or paste the entire text into a single text box; it may be easier to compose the reports entirely within  The main change in the format is that now progress reports must detail specific progress toward the specific aims and broader impacts contained in the proposal.  The above link contains a full summary of the new required contents.
It probably bears mentioning that the new reporting requirments are part of the federal government's commitment to greater transparency and accountability in how federal grant money is being used and that progress reports submitted through are publicly available as soon as they are approved.
  • Unlike the other systems, the G5 system requires PIs to register for access and create a User ID and Password directly on the G5 system.  OSP has no role in this process.
  • The process is two step. 1) You provide basic information about yourself and TC to get authenticated. 2) USED emails you with a link to create your USER ID and Password. US Ed Form
  • The basic G5 progress report form requests much of the same information as the older paper form, but the questions are in a different order and worded somewhat differently, and what used to be one unbroken narrative is now broken up into a numbered set of questions, so it ends up being less work to fill out the form online and saving periodically rather than cutting and pasting from a Word Document.
  • The G5 system requested a significant amount of financial data.  Matthew Turk in Grants and Contract Accounting can provide the necessary report that you can then upload to the report and then submit.
  • Completing progress report form for instructions on completing and submitting an online progress report.
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