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of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors

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APLU Meetings Calendar

2015 Fall ESS/SAES/ARD Meeting and Workshop

2015 APLU Annual Meeting

2016 Joint CARET/AHS Meeting

  • March 6-9, 2016
  • The Westin Alexandria Hotel
  • APLU's Meeting Page

NCRA 2016 Spring Meeting


Contact Information

North Central Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NCRA)

Dr. Jeff Jacobsen, Executive Director
jjacobsn (at)
446 West Circle, Room 408
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 884-7965

Christina Hamilton, Assistant Director
(NIMSS and Multistate Project Contact)
christina.hamilton (at)
205E Agriculture Hall
1450 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-2349
Fax: (608) 265-4528

Renewing/Starting a New NC, NCCC, or NCERA Project


For any questions or assistance, please contact the NCRA Assistant Director/NIMSS system administrator, Christina Hamilton (; ph 608-262-2349)


I.                   NCRA Deadlines (these dates start in the fall, one year prior to the project’s expiration date)

a.       September 15: Deadline to submit a request to write a proposal in NIMSS and upload the Issues and Justifications section.

                                                              i.      Each project MUST select an Administrative Advisor prior to submitting a proposal request. Without an AA, the request will not be approved. The NCRA office can no longer assign AAs to projects.

                                                            ii.      Effective 2014, all NC projects will retain the same number designation, unless otherwise requested. Please let the NCRA office know by September 15 if you would like a new number.

b.      October 15: Deadline to upload the Objectives section in NIMSS. Please contact the NCRA office when this is complete and we will send out the national request for participation.

c.       November 15: All participants and their AES offices should have submitted completed Appendix E forms into NIMSS.

d.      December 1: Completed proposal is due in NIMSS in its entirely. Failure to meet this deadline may result in the project not being reviewed and renewed this round.

e.       December 15: AA review forms due in NIMSS.

f.       Mid-late December: All proposals are sent to NC regional review committees (NCACs) and multistate research committee (MRC)

g.      Late March/Early April: Final project reviews and decisions made at the NCRA Spring meeting. The NCRA office will notify project AAs of results and send any requested revisions to project AAs by mid-April.

h.      June 1: All proposal revisions must be completed in NIMSS.

i.        Mid-July: the NCRA reviews all revisions and makes any remaining project decisions. When your project is approved, it will be assigned a new NC number unless a request to retain the old designation was submitted with the proposal.

j.        September 30: Old projects expire.

k.      October 1: New projects begin.

l.        March 31: Termination reports for expired projects due in NIMSS.


II.                Requesting to Write a Proposal (due September 15)

a.       Login into NIMSS

b.      Select Projects >> Request to Write a Proposal >> Create New. The Submit a Request to Write a Proposal form will appear. (Any project member or project AA can complete this step. You do not need to have editing access to request to write a proposal, only for editing an existing proposal.)

c.       From the first pull down menu, select New only if the project is NOT a renewal (starting a full five-year project from an NCDC is considered a NEW project). Select Revision/Replacement if you are renewing an existing multistate project (most common). Please note: With the inception of the REEport system, USDA-NIFA no longer allows one year extensions, so please do not select the Extension option, we cannot approve this option.

d.      For Renewals, select the appropriate project number. The title and all other information will automatically populate each text box. Please type in the project end date, five years from the start date.

e.       Only for New projects: Choose the correct Appendix from the second pull-down menu:

                                                              i.      NC Committees - Use Appendix A (Includes a Methods section)

                                                            ii.      NCCC/NCERA Committees - Use the appropriate Appendix B (Includes an Activities and Procedures section in place of a Methods section)

                                                          iii.      NC-500 Committees (Rapid Response Committees) - Use Appendix F (Does not include a Methods Section, but does include a section to list the types of project activities expected, requires prior NCRA approval). Refer to specific the NC-500 series instructions within our NCRA New Project Guidelines.

                                                          iv.      NCDC Projects - Only a letter of justification is necessary to explain the nature of the project. Refer to specific NCDC instructions within our NCRA New Project Guidelines.

f.       Only for New projects: Type in the desired project title, enter the five year begin and end dates, and choose the sponsoring station (the station from which the AA is from).

g.      For all proposal requests: Enter the Issues and Justification in the text box, paying close attention to the formatting requirements and character limit. If you wish to save the request and return to it at a later time, follow the directions under IIb above, then choose "edit/approve." Choose "View Request" to update the request. When complete, click Submit to submit it as final and also send an email to the NCRA system administrator, letting us know it's ready for approval.

h.      When the NCRA office receives and approves the submitted request, the proposal will be assigned a temporary number (NC_tempXXXX). This temp number will refer to the renewal proposal from this point forward until final project approval.


III.             Typing the Proposal in NIMSS

a.       Anyone wishing to upload proposal or project materials in NIMSS needs to be granted editing access to the proposal. Project AAs or the NCRA system administrator have access to assign editors. Please contact us with the names of up to three editors.

                                                              i.      To assign editing authorization as an AA:

1.      Sign into NIMSS and mouse-over the "Project" function on the main menu. Then, click "Draft/Edit" on the dropdown menu.

2.      Locate the TEMPORARY NUMBER (NC_tempXXXX, NCCC_tempXXX, NCERA_tempXXX, NCDC_tempXXX) on the list and click the button next to the temp number that says "proposal."

3.      On the left side of the screen, choose "assign editors." To make the assignment, click the "pick” button and type the first and/or last name into the blanks provided.

                                                            ii.      If you see the person's name on the list, click the radial button next to the name. This assigns the person editing access to the proposal, annual reports, etc. Click "set" to finalize your selection(s).

                                                          iii.      If you do not see a person's name on the edit authorization screen, or if you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact the NCRA office.

b.      To begin uploading and editing a proposal, select Projects >> Draft/Edit Proposal/Project and click on the Proposal button next to the appropriate temp numbered project.

c.       Edit the proposal by sections, starting with the Objectives (due October 15) using the options on the left side of the screen. Be sure to click the SAVE button at the bottom of each proposal section to ensure your information is saved in NIMSS.

d.      Once the Objectives section has been uploaded, please contact the NCRA office system administrator so we can send out the national participation invitation to all AES directors. NIMSS does not inform us when this section has been submitted, so it's a very big help if you let us know. Participants should now work with their AES offices to complete their new Appendix E forms. **Please note: Participation in the old project does NOT roll over into the renewal one.

e.       Rarely, NIMSS may give you an unexplainable Cold Fusion error. Usually, these errors are a result of not meeting the formatting and character limits for each section’s text box. Go back and check each section to be sure you haven’t made any errors or exceeded space limitations.

f.       Figures, charts, and graphs may be attached to proposals using the "Attachments" link on the left side of the screen.

g.      Attach external project links to the Project/Activity Homepage (located on the NIMSS main menu). Please note that these links will not be opened by NIFA when they review the proposal. To attach/edit items on the homepage:

                                                              i.      On the NIMSS main menu (the green bar) mouse-over "Projects" and choose "Draft/Edit" from the dropdown menu.

                                                            ii.      On the next screen, locate the project number and click on "Homepage."

                                                          iii.      Use the functions on the left side of the screen to upload minutes, photos, or links. NOTE: you need to have editing authorization to upload anything onto the site.


IV.             Completing Participation/Appendix E forms in NIMSS (due November 15)

a.       Before starting, be sure the project’s Objectives section is complete. This section is required to appropriately populate the Appendix E form for a given project. See section III for instructions on uploading proposal sections.

b.      For AES affiliated participants, Appendix E forms should be completed by your AES director’s office. Please contact your AES to ensure your continued participation on renewal project. Membership in the expiring project does NOT roll over automatically into the renewal.

c.       For Extension participants, please contact your Extension director for approval to join an AES project. Your Extension office will need complete your Appendix E for you. Your institution’s AES may not fund your travel to project meetings, be sure to discuss this with them and your Extension office prior to joining a project.

d.      For non-LGU affiliated members, either the project AA or the NCRA office can complete your Appendix E. Please contact us with your name, email address, institution, Objectives number(s) your will be working on (refer to the temp proposal, viewable in NIMSS by selecting Projects >> View Projects >> Search for Projects and use the temp number as your search parameter), and CRIS codes.

e. Click for more information on Appendix E forms.


V.                Finalizing the Completed Proposal (due December 1)

a.       When the proposal is in its final form, click on Submit as Final from the gray box on the left hand side from within the Draft/Edit Proposal/Project screen. Send an email to both the AA and NCRA system administrator notifying them that the proposal is complete.

b.      Along with the new proposal, all projects up for renewal MUST be sure all annual reports have been submitted.Please see our annual report instructions for more information. The final meeting report should be in the form of a summary/termination report.


VI.             Completing the AA Review form (for project AAs only)

a.       All projects are required to have the AA submit a completed review form in NIMSS by December 15.

b.      The NCRA will assign this form to the AA in NIMSS. NIMSS will automatically notify the AA when this assignment has been made, along with instructions on where to find the form in NIMSS. Pleae be aware that the review form will not be visible until the proposal has be submitted as final.

c.       When the project as been officially submitted as final (see section V above), the review form will become visible to the AA from within Reviews >> Submit a Review.

d.      This review form is sent on to the NCACs and the MRC with the completed proposal.


VII.          Approval of Projects by the NCRA and NIFA

a.       NCAC Committees: For projects that are continuing, the appropriate NCAC committee(s) is/are contacted by the System Administrator when the proposal has been submitted as final. For new projects (no previous history), the AA should recommend appropriate NCAC committees to the Executive Director (ED). The ED will consult with the MRC to assign NCAC committees to review the project. In both cases, it is the AA's responsibility to make sure that the System Administrator receives the most up-to date version of the proposal to pass on to the appropriate NCAC committees, including Appendix E information. NCAC review forms are submitted to the NCRA Office via NIMSS.

b.      After NCAC review, the NCRA MRC will also review each project, using the completed AA and NCAC review forms in NIMSS as guides.

c.       Final project decisions and revision suggestions will be made during the NCRA Spring meeting held in late March/early April. Shortly after the meeting, revision requests will be sent to the project AA. The project AA is responsible for sharing this information with the project members.

d.      All requested revisions are due in NIMSS by June 1. Proposals can be revised by editors using the Projects >> Draft/Edit Proposal/Project function in NIMSS.

e.       Please notify the NCRA when the revisions are complete.

f.       When the NCRA approves of all revisions, usually at the July NCRA meeting, the proposal will be sent to NIFA for federal approval (NC-type projects only; NCCCs, NCERAs, and NCDCs do not require NIFA approval).

g.      Once NIFA approves the project, the project will start on the first day of the next federal fiscal year, October 1.

h.      The System Administrator removes the "temp" designation from the project and AES participants should begin the project initiation process in REEport.


Revised 9/3/2014; cmh