NIH Announces the New Table Format and Availability of xTRACT

Written By: Holly Sommers
Office of Sponsored Programs

In notices issued on June 29, 2015, and on October 13, 2015, with additional detail, NIH announced that they would adopt a new training data table format in FY2016 for progress reports and institutional training grant applications. Additionally, NIH announced the development of xTRACT, or the Extramural Trainee Reporting and Career Tracking, an electronic system within the eRA Commons for creating research training data tables and storing the information reported in those tables. These efforts are a part of NIH’s Biomedical Research Workforce (BMW) initiative.  Through this initiative NIH and AHRQ will be able to capture data on the careers of trainees (graduate students and post-docs) and provide more information on training program outcomes through an electronic module integrated with eRA Commons.

On October 13, 2015, NIH issued NOT-OD-16-007 to announce the availability of the new research training table formats as well as to provide additional information on xTRACT.  With xTRACT it is NIH’s goal to use, to the extent possible, existing NIH data to pre-populate the xTRACT system, including:

  • trainee name,
  • selected characteristics,
  • institutions,
  • grant numbers, and
  • subsequent NIH and other HHS awards

Such pre-population, where it is possible, demonstrates a significant benefit of xTRACT.

It is important to note, however, that in conjunction with the release of xTRACT, NIH has also announced that new formats for Research Training Data Tables are also being implemented. The new formats for all required Research Training Data Tables may be found at: This website includes fillable versions of all tables in their new formats. Changes have been made to the Research Training Data tables with the goals of

  • Reducing the maximum number of tables from 12 to 8,
  • Minimizing the reporting of individual-level information, and
  • Extending the tracking of trainee outcomes from 10 to 15 years.

Implementation of the New Training Data Table Formats and xTRACT:

For RPPRs due prior to December 1, 2015 and for applications submitted for due dates prior to May 25, 2016, applicants are advised to use the previously issued training data table formats.

For RPPRs due on or after December 1, 2015 and for application submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2016, the new research training data table formats must be used.

While xTRACT became available for users via eRA Commons on October 16, 2015, it will not be required for use in FY2016. However, it is being piloted as an option for creating data tables for T32, TL1, T90/R90 and T15 applications and RPPRs. Applicants for other programs such as T35, R25, K12/KL2 awards may also use xTRACT on a pilot basis, however they should be aware that xTRACT currently does not include features tailored to these programs and waiting for later versions of the system may be advisable. Programs directed toward undergraduate students (T34 awards) should not use xTRACT at this time. Instead they should use the new, fillable tables available at the link above.

xTRACT is available to all signing officials, principal investigators, and assistants.  A detailed user guide is available on eRA’s website.  As noted above, for those choosing not to utilize xTRACT at this time, Word versions of the new training data table formats are available at:

To learn more about this tool, please visit:





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