We have had an eventful two weeks at NIH following eRA’s major infrastructure upgrade, which took place May 22-26. Foremost, we want to thank you for your patience and help in identifying some of the issues that arose. We have seen an extraordinary willingness on the part of our users to be supportive of our efforts.
There are still a few outstanding items that are working on, but we are over the major hurdle that prevented the reliable upload of documents to the eRA Commons and the Internet Assisted Review (IAR).
The benefit of the upgrade may not yet be noticeable given the issues with which we have been dealing in the past few days, but much good has come out of this upgrade, notably:
- The nightly data refresh process for the QVR module has become extremely efficient, dropping dramatically from eight hours prior to the upgrade to one hour now. You may recall that QVR was not available early in the morning because this refresh process took so long; now it is readily available with current data.
- Similarly, a data refresh processes for the Research Condition and Disease Categorization (RCDC) module has dropped from two and a half hours to one hour. Users have also reported improved RCDC system performance, especially for the more complex RCDC categories.
- The general responsiveness of the system has improved as the user navigates from screen to screen. For certain modules, users may feel it has not changed, but please be aware that the modules are experiencing an immense workload related to the Challenge grant applications and the R01 deadline June 5.
- We will now be able to run the Batch Assignment Module every night for all Institutes and Centers (ICs) as opposed to very other night or weekly [ICs have the ability to set up custom rules to automatically assign their grants to grants management specialists and grants management officers based on critieria they specify].The new hardware is able to process the job so quickly that we will be able to run it nightly for everyone!
- We anticipate long-term system stability and certainly, a reduction in the system crashes we were experiencing prior to the upgrade with our aging servers.
As we have kept our users regularly updated, a number of people–both inside and outside NIH–have communicated their appreciation and understanding of the work we are doing, and we want to acknowledge everyone’s valued support as we progress through all of this together.