Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the sponsor is not in eTRACS when I start my proposal?

You can not free text a sponsor name when starting a proposal. In the sponsor field, if you type a portion of the sponsor name and nothing populates, then use “Default Sponsor.” Later in the proposal the developer will be asked to enter in the sponsor name. That entry triggers a report to the eTRACS team who will add the sponsor and update your proposal sponsor.

Why is there an option to attach an equipment file for NSF System-to-System proposals?

Prior to eTRACS System-to-System submissions, all NSF proposals were submitted through Fastlane. In Fastlane, equipment was always included in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources upload. eTRACS requires that the Equipment be uploaded separately from Facilities and Other Resources on the “Other Project Info” tab of the proposal.

How to I change my budget periods in the budget?

In the budget pop-out window there is a “Setup” tab. On that tab you can add, remove and edit budget period dates.

Why do I always have to update my address in System-to-System proposals?

If your address is missing information, like the 4 digit extension to your zip code, then your office address must be updated in Banner Self Service. eTRACS will pick up the updated address from Banner the following business day.

What is a pre-review route?

Within the eTRACS proposal there is a Pre-Review questions tab with 3 questions. (1) Is there cost-share? (2) Will you be waiving or applying a reduced indirect cost, or F&A, rate? (3) Will you be applying the off-campus indirect cost, or F&A, rate? After answering those questions, and any follow-up questions that populate, you must navigate to the “Pre-Review Route & Attachments” tab and start the pre-review route by clicking on the thumbs up icon. Even if the answer to every question is “no,” the route must be started. If the answer to every question is “no,” the route will end instantaneously and send the PI an email notification. If any of the questions are answered yes, the pre-review route will be directed to all applicable parties that need to approve the given information. The proposal can continue to be developed while the pre-review is routing. The final review can not be started until the pre-review route has completed.

How will budget development be different in eTRACS?

A detailed budget development tab is required to be completed in each proposal. Personnel and non-personnel budget categories are available for entry. An indirect cost (F&A) tab where the indirect cost (F&A) rate is entered will also automate a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) calculation, but has capabilities for custom indirect cost exclusions and rates, if needed.

How do I apply a custom indirect cost (F&A) rate in eTRACS?

In the budget pop out there is an indirect cost (F&A) tab.  On the indirect cost (F&A) tab choose “Manual” in the Rate drop down menu.  A new rate text box will appear.  Type in the custom indirect cost (F&A) amount and click Apply.  The custom indirect cost (F&A) rate must be re-applied every time a change is made to the budget.

How will I share my budget with my Chair, ADR or collaborators?

The eTRACS proposal record, once created, is visible to Chairs, ADRs and any other named personnel on the project. These individuals may access the proposal and see the budget at any time during development, routing and post-submission. The budget can also be exported to an excel spreadsheet to share outside of eTRACS, as necessary.

Will the ORA Budget Spreadsheet go away?

A simplified version of the ORA Budget Spreadsheet will be available during this time of transition. However, a detailed budget must still be completed in the eTRACS proposal and there is no guarantee that the calculations in the ORA Budget Spreadsheet will match exactly with the calculations in eTRACS – due to a slight difference how eTRACS calculates fringe based on the project period dates, base salary of each personnel coming in from Banner, and how the inflation rate is applied.

Where do I store my sponsor credentials for System-to-System (S2S) submissions?

NIH or NSF credentials are required of the investigators for federal S2S submissions. These credentials should be saved and stored in investigator’s profiles. Guidance as to where and how to save these credentials are available at the User Profile help page. After go-live on November 1st, every investigator should make a point to save these credentials to save time in proposal development and submission later.

What is Email Fetching?

eTRACS has the ability to fetch emails from your Outlook messages and attach them to the record’s Communications tab. In order for the email to be grabbed by eTRACS the following must occur:

1. cc in your message
2. Include the eTRACS proposal number in either the subject line or body of the email (ex. 20-0553)
Note: Even after the proposal is awarded as AWD-20-0553, just the proposal number 20-0553 would be necessary

More information on email fetching and how to view fetched emails within the eTRACS record can be found in the Email Fetching Guide

What are delegates?

Delegates are a designation in eTRACS for back-up approvers. As a part of system start-up, the eTRACS implementation team set up all back-up approvers as the primary approver’s delegate. In the future, backup approvers can be managed, added or removed by the primary approver within the primary approver’s profile. Find more information on delegations and how to add or remove delegates at the Delegation Help Page.

Can my proposal be in draft form to start routing for final review?

Proposal tabs in eTRACS must all be completed before the proposal can start its final route for approval. The research plan in federal proposals can be placed in a “Draft Version” before completing the tab. If the research plan is placed in draft form, then that tab can be updated throughout the final review process and while being reviewed by the ORA Sponsored Program Officer. Note, all other proposal tabs will be locked down during that time. ORA will not be able to submit the proposal to until the narrative is placed in the “Final version” status.

What if my address and phone number are not correct in my eTRACS profile?

Address and phone information are pulled in from Banner Self Service and must be corrected in Banner Self Service. Please allow one business day for eTRACS to pull in the correct information following an update.

TIP: If you plan to submit federal proposals via our System-to-System feature, go ahead and save your office address with a full zip code, including the extra 4 digits, in the following format – 278584353.

What is the Change Request Module?

The Change Request Module is a list of electronic forms that will eventually replace the paper forms for a No Cost Extension, Budget Modification and Department or PI Change Request. Financial Guarantees/Pre-Spending Requests, Subaward Initiation and Subaward Modification requests will also be submitted via the Change Request Module. The electronic forms can be utilized as soon as the project record is available in eTRACS. The transition schedule explains how ECU will transition away from the current forms to the new change request eForms, and the Change Requests training guide will assist users in submitting a request within eTRACS.

Will my RAMSeS Proposal/Project Move over to eTRACS? What will happen to the record in RAMSeS?

Record migration is happening now and a red alert will appear on the proposal administration/project administration screen in RAMSeS if it has already been migrated (see image below).  Pending proposals will not be migrated to eTRACS unless they are funded.  Active projects that will end in 2019 will not be migrated to eTRACS.

What happens to my RAMSeS attachments and records?

RAMSeS attachments will be downloaded before the system shuts down in July 2020.  They will be available in an ORA Pirate Drive and can be accessed upon request.  ECU already maintains the data from RAMSeS records in the data storehouse and reporting via ecuBIC will remain available indefinitely.

When I click on the Budget tab in a proposal it doesn’t open.

eTRACS utilizes pop-up windows instead of navigating to a new screen within the same tab/window.  In some cases, your browser may be blocking the pop-up windows.  Each browser has settings that can be configured to stop the pop ups from being blocked for a given site.  In some cases you could automatically be prompted to turn the blocker off by the browser.

What is the best browser to use for eTRACS?

Chrome and Safari work well. MS Edge does not.

If I approve proposals in RAMSeS, will I be set up to approve proposals in eTRACS?

Yes. Chairs and Deans that have approval rights in RAMSeS have been set up with the equivalent role in eTRACS. Departmental staff that were given approval rights to act as a back-up approver may be set up as a Delegate, by the primary unit approver, in the primary approver’s Profile.  See more information about delegations.

What is the difference between the development of a federal proposal and a non-federal proposal?

When starting a proposal development (PD) record, the user must identify whether to link to a opportunity (federal proposals) or use the generic eTRACS form (non-federal).

  • If the proposal is linked to a opportunity, the general eTRACS tabs will populatealong with tabs for the federal forms specific to that opportunity.
  • For non-federal proposals, only the general eTRACS tabs will populate (no tabs for application forms).

The general eTRACS tabs include:

  • Pre-Review Questions
  • Additional Information
  • Personnel
  • Budget
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Distribution/Credit Allocation

What if I need to submit a modular budget?

NIH proposals will list both the Detail Budget and the Modular Budget on the Optional Forms list on the Setup Questions page (this is similar to other NIH application platforms). If the Modular Budget is selected, a Modular Budget tab will show in the Budget screen. After the generic eTRACS budget screens are complete, the system will automatically populate whichever budget form has been chosen. See the NIH Modular Budget eTRACS Help Page.

Where can I find helpful links to reference while creating a proposal?

Located at the bottom of the Setup Questions tab is a list labeled “Definitions & Resources” which includes links to Fringe Rates, Program Type definitions, Personnel Type definitions, Tuition & Fees Information, and the eTRACS Glossary of Terms.

Can I attach documents after my proposal has been submitted?

The proposal Development (PD) record that was created and routed locks down after it is submitted to the sponsor, but documents can be attached by the Investigator, Department Heads and Hub Staff in the PT record. Enter the PT record in “Edit” mode, then navigate to the Attachments Tab and click “Add Document” in the top right corner.

Where can I find the status of different types of records?

Located on everyone’s dashboard is a widget called “Workflow Charts” that displays the current status of different record types. There are workflow charts for proposal statuses, change request eForm statuses and award increment statuses.

How do I answer the indirect cost (F&A) waiver question if the standard rate for the type of project proposed will be used?

ECU indirect cost (F&A) rates are published on the ORA website. If the applicable rate is used for budget development then the Pre-Review question should be answered “NO.”

How do I answer the indirect cost (F&A) waiver question if the sponsor has a specific rate that must be applied to this project?

If the sponsor guidelines indicate a specific rate or that no indirect costs are allowed, or if the sponsor publishes a rate to be used on sponsored projects, the Pre-Review question should be answered “YES.”
The next question that populates asks whether the sponsor has a published rate and requires that you upload or link to that published rate. This scenario will only route to ORA Pre-award for review and does not require chair, ADR or REDE leadership review/approval.

How do I answer the indirect cost (F&A) waiver question if I want to reduce the indirect cost rate for another reason?

If the sponsor does not have a published rate, but the use of a reduced indirect cost (F&A) rate is being requested, the Pre-Review question should be answered “YES.”
You will be asked to provide reasoning for this request and some additional information. This scenario must route to the chair, ADR, ORA Pre-Award and finally be approved by REDE leadership.

How do I answer the indirect cost (F&A) waiver question if I want to use the off-campus rate?

Use of the off-campus rate is restricted to projects that meet the following criteria:
• Project activities will occur in a facility/space that is not owned or leased for general purposes by ECU;
• The facility/space will be used for ECU sponsored project activities under a Lease Agreement with an outside party, with the proportion of lease payments allocable to the sponsored project budgeted as a direct cost to be reimbursed by the sponsor or the facility/space is made available for project use by an outside party under a no-cost real estate Lease Agreement or other legal instrument that emulates a real estate lease; and
• More than 50% of project activities will take place in the leased or donated facility over the life of the sponsored project award.
In this scenario, you should answer the indirect cost (F&A) pre-review question as “NO” and answer the off-campus pre-review Question as “YES.” The off-campus pre-review routes to ORA Pre-award for review/approval.

How do I answer the indirect cost (F&A) waiver question if ECU has a negotiated reduced rate with a sponsor?

Sponsor-specific indirect cost (F&A) rate exceptions that have been negotiated by the UNC System Office or ECU can be found at the link below. Additionally, ECU has approved reduced indirect cost (F&A) rates for projects conducted by several ECU centers/programs that meet requirements specified in internal MOUs.

Indirect Cost (Facilities and Administration) Information Page

If any of the exceptions in the link provided apply, no waiver is needed, so you should answer the indirect cost (F&A) pre-review question as “NO.”