FAQ & Troubleshooting Topics

Top Current Issue - I can't find my PI on the list. 
Page last updated 06/06/2014      

Answer - Create a Researcher Profile for them.  
 If you don't find the answer here, email eSRAHelp@lbl.gov                


From inside LBNL

    • You can get to the eSRA system from 
      • the Lab's A‐Z Index under 'E', or
      • from any LBNL browser, type "grants" 
    • Access to eSRA uses your LDAP login and password. 

From outside LBNL firewall - VPN

Can't get to Login Screen

    • If you see the eSRA home page, you need to click "login" in the upper right corner.  
    • If you cannot get to the opening page at all, you are probably outside of LBNL's firewall.  
      • eSRA is a protected system.  You must either login from inside of the LBNL network, or use VPN to get access.  See 'VPN' above.  

Get in but can't see anything

    • Everyone with an LDAP password can log into the eSRA system. 
    • Access to information is based on the role(s) assigned to you. 
    • Contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov to request a role.

Get Error Logging in

    • I get the following message when I try to login, 
      • "com.webridge.layout.HtmlPageLayoutImpl.render(): caught "com.webridge.entity.MethodInvocationException: login disabled for this user account during HTML generation."
    • Write to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov.  Your account has, for some reason, been disabled. 
      • We know this happens when a person retires.  The HRIS system automatically checks the "No Longer Lab Employee" box when they retire, but it must be manually re-set when they return.
      • We've seen this happen with some people that convert from being a Postdoc to a Staff Scientist.  Here too, the change must be manually re-set by an eSRA Site Administrator.
      • Please explain in your request if either of the above two reason apply as this will expedite the solution by the Site Administrator.
    • A Site Administrator needs to edit your account information and uncheck the "No Longer Lab Employee" box.
If you are still unable to access the eSRA System, contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov for assistance.

Affiliates need Access to eSRA

We have an LBNL Affiliate working in our group who needs access to eSRA

  • Two things are required for access to the eSRA system:
    • LDAP account is required to log into the system
    • An LBNL email account is required to be a registered user in eSRA.  If the affiliate opted to not have an LBNL email account when they signed up through HR, they would need to request to have an email account through their division administrator.
    • After the email account is set up, their information should be updated during the nightly updates into eSRA.  We have found that it sometimes takes two days for the new email information to get into the eSRA system.
    • If the person is still now showing up in eSRA after 3 days, contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and we will investigate to see what the problem is.


Can't Open Link in Approval Request Notification

The approver can't open the link in the Email Notification in order to give his/her approval.

Out of Office Approvals 

    • The Approver (PI, Division Approver, etc.) is on travel. How can I get the proposal submitted?
    • Planning ahead is the best process and the PI can provide approval for a proposal that is complete with draft science.
    • For Division Approval, most Divisions have a back‐up reviewer. That person might be able to review and approve the proposal. 

Conflict of Interest Change

Post proposal submission change to Financial Conflict of Interest

    • The temporary work-around is:  
      • Have the new FCOI documents uploaded by the division using the "Enter Comment" activity.     
      • Request eSRAHelp@lbl.gov to set the FCOI approval to "Approval Pending" so RIIO can enter their approval (but this will not send out a notification to them). 
      • After that is done, send an email to Molly Stoufer and let her know there is a FCOI change and the documents for her to review are in the history section (although she should also be receiving the originals directly from the division).


Can't Add Attachment to proposal/award

    • We've found this problem to be associated with security permissions in Internet Explorer 9 ('IE9').   Contact the IT help desk for assistance changing the security settings in IE.  
    • You might also try using a different browser.


Change PO or Customer Reference Number

The sponsor changed either the purchase order number for the award, or is now using a different 'Customer Reference Number'.  

    • Contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov.  A Site Administrator will assist.  
    • OSPIP CO copies the proposal that created the original award in eSRA.  
    • The Site Administrator skips PI, Division, and OSPIP Approvals and puts the proposal into "Negotiation Complete" status.  
    • The OSPIP CO generates the new award and prepares the award set-up with the new sponsor information.  
    • The Site Administrator helps to establish the relationship between the two awards in eSRA. 
    • OSPIP CO indicates that the award set-up is complete and the award is generated in FMS and activated in eSRA.  
    • The Site Administrator creates a modification in the original award in eSRA to carryforward the funds to the new award.  
    • The OSPIP CO approves the modification.


eSRA is a web-based system; and, as such, if affected by the browser you are using.  The configuration of your machine and the browser settings may still affect how you "see" eSRA.  If you are having difficulty, the first strategy is to select a different browser.  You will find the browser that works best for your individual situation.

    • For Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7,8, Server 2008 R2, and Server 2012, eSRA supports:
      • Internet Explorer: 8 (but sometimes there are problems with tabs lining up)
      • Internet Explorer: 9, and 10 (Internet Explorer 11 not yet supported.)
      • Firefox: latest version
      • Chrome: latest version (but "themes" might cause vertical scroll bars to disappear)
    • For Apple Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 or later, eSRa supports:
      • Safari: 5 or 6  (Safari 6.1 and 7 not yet supported)
      • Firefox: latest version
      • Chrome: latest version
    • For Apple iOS 5, 6, and 7 (iPhone and iPad), eSRA supports:
      • Safari
    • The following are not yet supported:
      • For Microsoft Windows:
        • Internet Explorer 11
        • Safari
        • Opera
      • For Apple Mac:
        • Safari 6.1 and 7
        • Internet Explorer
        • The above information provided by Huron Knowledge-based article updated October 2013.

Budget Periods

I copied a proposal and changed the beginning date on View 9.x for the budget period, but the end date won't change correctly.

    • This intermittent problem and we can't determine the cause; but it seems the original end date is getting stuck in the background of the proposal.
    • Action: Delete the last project period, "save," then add the last budget period back in.
    • If this does not solve the problem on the first try, report it to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov for technical assistance.

Budget Periods are Overlapping.

This intermittent problem and we can't determine the cause; but we have a work-around resolution:  We have found this most often happens on proposals with Grants.gov applications, or proposals that were copied from another proposal.

Option 1: Delete the Budget Periods and re-enter them
    • Delete all the budget periods and re-add them one at a time.
    • The correct dates should be filled in.
Option 2:Trigger the budget periods to re-calculate the end date
    • Change the months on the period of performance in the first budget period with a problem to a different number
    • Let the budget period end date re-calculate.
    • Change the months back to the original.
    • You might need to do this for all budget periods, or the fixing on one might fix them all.
If neither of those options fixes your problem, please report it to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov for assistance from a Site Administrator.

Certification Review Form (CRF)

CRF Activity on Award Modifications with no Humans or Animals

    • Why is CRF an Activity on an Award Modification with no human or animals in the research?
      • Although unlikely, it is possible that an award modification might add human and/or animal research to an award and therefore IRB or IACUC Certification would be required.
Is there a mechanism in eSRA that will allow anyone other than the PI to select the protocols on the IACUC or IRB CRF routing process?
  • No. HARC requires the PI's approval on the form. That is why the PI is required to execute this activity. We do not currently have a process for more than one person to prepare the CRF form.


I have a co-PI to include on a proposal, but the Multiple PI SmartForm looks like it is only for NIH proposals.

We are sorry; and you are correct.  This is current being fixed and the new SmartForm will be available about mid July.  In the meantime, use these work-arounds to submit your proposal.
    • If the sponsor requires a 700U form to be submitted for the PI, it must also be submitted for the co-PI.  Since there is no location for you to upload the 700U, upload it in the question for the DFI-2 but use a filename that clearly indicates you are uploading a 700U document.  
    • You don't want the Multiple PI Form linked in the help text because it an NIH form.  Use this link to access the co-PI form

Conflicts of Interest

eSRA has a place to upload the DFI-II and the 700U.  Does eSRA send the forms to RIIO?

RIIO requires wet signatures on all DFI-II and 700U forms so the paper forms must still be sent to RIIO by the division.

I can't get the FCOI signed before the application is due.  How can I attach it to the application?

FCOI documents are required before submission and should always be uploaded before the proposal is sent.  However, in the rare instance when this is not possible, follow these steps:  

    • Consult with the OSPIP CO to confirm this will be programmatically acceptable.  
    • Upload the draft of the FCOI with all questions answered and only the signature missing in the appropriate place in the eSRA proposal.  
    • Answer the "yes/no" question to indicate the answer the scientist provided on the FCOI form.
    • When the signed form is obtained, use the "email team" activity and select the OSPIP CO.  In the comments box, explain the attachment and attach the document(s).  This will send an email notification to the OSPIP CO and store the communication in the history section of the eSRA proposal.  
    • OSPIP CO needs to contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and ask a Site Administrator to substitute the signed version inside the actual proposal in View 4.

Post proposal submission change to Financial Conflict of Interest ('FCOI')

                The temporary work-around is:  

    • Have the new FCOI documents uploaded by the division using the "Enter Comment" activity.     
    • Request eSRAHelp@lbl.gov to set the FCOI approval to "Approval Pending" so RIIO can enter their approval (but this will not send out a notification to them). 
    • After that is done, send an email to Molly Stoufer and let her know there is a FCOI change and the documents for her to review are in the history section (although she should also be receiving the originals directly from the division).

Copied Proposal - New RA

Can't open copied proposal

    • Unless you are named on the proposal as an RA, you cannot edit the proposal.  There are two options to resolve this: 
      • Ask one of the existing RAs on the proposal to add you.  This information will be in the summary section of the Proposal Worksapce.  
      • Write to esrahelp@lbl.gov and request your name be added as an RA.

Create Document for Manual Submission

When I execute this activity I only got the SF424 Subaward Budget PDF and not the rest of the documents.

    • Explanation:  This activity will combine PDF documents into a single PDF document for submission to the sponsor.  A fillable form PDF is an entirely different kind of document, which, unfortunately, has the same file extension.
    • Action: Remove the fillable form PDF from View 8.5 and send it separately for submission to the sponsor.
    • Take these steps: 1) Remove the SF424 subaward fillable form budget from View 8.5.  2) Print the SF424 subaward budget as a PDF.  3) Upload the printed subaward budget into View 8.5.  4) Use Create Document for Manual Submission to create that single PDF for submission to the sponsor. 5) Upload the fillable form PDF subaward document using Log General Comment, or Email Proposal Team to send it in an email to the LBNL Contracts Officer.

When I execute this activity it is showing me multiple copies of each document to put into sequence.

    • Action: Try it again in a different browser.  Some people are having better experiences with different browsers, but since it is not consistently better with one browser over another, it must be related to your specific browser settings.  If you are still having trouble, contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov.

Is there an option to exclude a document when trying to compile the proposal for manual submission?

    • No. This activity is designed to compile all of the PDF documents included in View 8.5 into a single document for submission.  If a document should not be included in the submission to the sponsor, then it should not be uploaded into View 8.5.  Recommendation: If you have documents that you want to save with the proposal, but they do not belong in the submission to the sponsor, use "Log General Comment," add a comment about the document and attached it there.  It will be stored in the history of the proposal.

Division Reviewer

Wrong Division Reviewer

Division Reviewer notifications are going to a person that is not a division reviewer for this division.
    • To be a Division Reviewer, the individual must have 
      • the Division Reviewer role, and 
      • also be listed on the Division's Profile as a Reviewer.  
    • The most likely cause of a person incorrectly receiving notifications is that their name is somehow on the Division Reviewer list for the Division's Profile.  
    • Solution: send email to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov with the details.  The Site Administrator will confirm the person's name is removed from the list of approved reviewers.

Discovered Mistake in eSRA proposal after submission to sponsor

We discovered a mistake in the eSRA proposal after it was submitted to the sponsor.  How can we fix this?

eSRA locks the proposal from editing after it has been submitted to the sponsor, so this is not something that can be corrected by the PI, Resource Analyst, or LBNL Contracts Officer.  This was an intentional development decision so that eSRA will accurately reflect the proposal that was submitted to the sponsor.  Any changes in the normal life of a proposal would then be captured in the history of the proposal as activities are implemented during negotiations.  But, we do want to fix mistakes.
    • Send email to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov specifying what needs to be corrected.
    • A Site Administrator will be able to make the correction.
    • The Site Administrator will then log a comment about the change in the history log and attach your email request as back-up documentation.


Mentor does not have the "Approve Fellowship for Division Review" activity

    • Check View 4.  The Mentor must be named in the Fellowship section of View 4 (not the senior/key person section).  This will be the last question on View 4.  
    • If not, send email to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and ask the site administrator to move the mentor to the correct location in View 4.  
    • Then ask the Mentor to log in again (or refresh his or her browser) and the activity should be shown correctly.

Finalize Science

I need to mark the science is final and I can't find the activity button.

    • It is most probable that you are trying to locate the activity while the proposal is in an un-editable state after the proposal has been routed for approval.
      • Available activities are based on the role of the user and the state of the proposal.
    • A quick way to determine if the proposal is in an editable state is to see if you have the "Edit Submission" button available to you in the upper left of the screen just below the orange box that indicates the current state.
    • Another way to determine if you are eligible to edit the proposal is to think about who currently has control of the proposal. 
      • Resource Analysts and PIs can edit the proposal in the Preparation State and in any of the states where changes have been requested by one of the reviewers.

Links between proposals and awards

Where can I find links between proposals and awards.

    • In a proposal, you will find a tab to the right of the history tab called funding awards.  The link will be on that tab.
    • In awards, just below the Consolidated Award Totals grid there is a section called Awarded Funding Proposals.  There you will find the link to the proposal.  If there are non-competing continuations, amendments, or supplements linked to the award, they will also be displayed in this same section.

MacIntosh Issues

Using a Mac and the system looks different than the instructions

First, we are sorry that you are having problems.  We are working to gather more information from users having difficulty with a Mac.  Please send us your input.  So far, we have discovered these things that might be helpful to you.

  • Where the instructions refer to a red "X" in the upper right corner to close a browser window, with a Mac, this might be represented by a red dot.
  • It might be a problem with your browser, or your browser version. We recommend Safari 4 or later or Firefox 3 or later. Even with these version, any configuration you have on your browser might affect how eSRA looks to you. The first strategy is to switch to a different browser.


Back Button - Doesn't 'Save'

    • The back button will navigate you to the previous page; but will not automatically save data.  
    • You need to use the "save" button to manually save your data before going back to a previous page in your proposal, award, or modification. 

NEPA-CEQA Building Locations

I can't find the location I want on the drop-down list.

    • First, remember this location does not need to be room-specific.  You just need to identify the building.
    • If you need to have a building location added to the drop-down list; send your request to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov.  Site Administrators can make the addition and you will be able to select the new location.

Other Significant Contributor

I can't find a Scientist on the selection list for Other Significant Contributor

Researcher Profile.  The most common cause of a scientist not being included on the Other Significant Contributor selection list is because the scientist does not yet have a Researcher Profile. Follow the instructions in the eSRA Training Guides to create a Researcher Profile. After the Profile is created, you should be able to select the scientist as an Other Significant Contributor.

Period of Performance Changes

How do I change the end date?

    • The end date is automatically calculated.  
      • First, enter the start date.  
      • Second, adjust the number of period and the length of the periods.  This should correctly change your end date.  
      • If you need a very specific end date that cannot be derived in this way, then you need to manually adjust the end date in the SF424 application JUST BEFORE SUBMITTING the application to Grants.gov (if the proposal is being submitted through Grants.gov).    
    • The end date on the award will be manually adjusted at the time of award based on the award document from the sponsor.

Post Proposal Submission of Documents to Sponsor

Add document to proposal after submission to sponsor

  • After a proposal has been submitted to the sponsor, how do I add a file that needs to be forwarded to the sponsor?
    • Use the activity "email team" and select the OSPIP CO.  
    • In the the comments box, explain what action is required with the file and attach the document(s). The OSPIP CO will be notified by email and the document(s) will be stored in the history section of the eSRA proposal. 
  • After a proposal has been submitted to the sponsor, how do I add a file that is just for information and for future reference?
    • Use the "Enter Comment" activity.  
    • In the comments box, explain which file is being added (and why) and attach the document(s). This document(s) will be stored in the history section of the eSRA proposal.  
        See also Conflicts of Interest for FCOI changes post-submission.

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator - Can't find on list

I can't find a Scientist on the principal investigator selection list. 
    • Two things are required for a scientist to be included on the principal investigator selection list: 1) the role of PI in the eSRA system, and 2) a Researcher Profile. 
    • The most common cause of a scientist not being included on the principal investigator selection list is because the scientist does not yet have a Researcher Profile. Follow the instructions in the eSRA Training Guides to create a Researcher Profile. After the Profile is created, you should be able to select the scientist as a principal investigator.
    • At the time eSRA went live in 2011, everyone with the principal investigator role in FMS/RAPID was given the PI role in eSRA.  If you are still not able to select the person after creating the researcher profile, or you know for certain the person is new to LBNL, contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and request the PI role.  This can be done by the PI themselves, by a resource analyst, or by other divisional staff.

Project ID

          Where do I enter the Project ID on my eSRA proposal?
You don't. Project IDs are not entered into proposals in eSRA.
  • Until September 30, 2014:
    • The LBNL Contracts Officer will contact you at the time an award arrives to get the Project ID.
    • The LBNL Contracts Officer will enter it in the award workspace in eSRA. 
    • This Project ID will then be included in the information sent from eSRA to PeopleSoft at the time the award is generated.
  • Beginning October 1, 2014 with implementation of F$M:
    • The Project ID will be generated by the system.


          I can't find the proposal I was working on 
    • Proposals are organized in your Home View based on the 'state' (aka 'Status') the proposal is in. 
    • If you have edit access, you will find the proposal in your "In Box" tab. 
    • If the proposal is being routed for approvals, look in the "In Process" tab. 
    • If you still can't locate the proposal, look in the Grants Tab located in the upper left portion of the eSRA screen, then make sure you have a role on the project such as PI or RA. 
    • If you still have problems, contact eSRAHelp@lbl.gov

How can I tell where my proposal is in the review and approval process?

    • In the upper left corner of the proposal workspace is a yellow box that indicates the current state of the proposal.

Who can see a proposal in eSRA?

    • Principal Investigators can see their own proposals. 
    • Division Reviewers can see all of the proposals for their division. 
    • Resource Analysts and OSPIP COs can see all proposals. 
    • Additionally, the PI or the RA can grant read or write access to additional LBNL people that would not otherwise have access (such as other scientists or other staff).

Can I 'Un-Discontinue' a proposal? 

    • No, but you can "copy" the proposal and most of the information will be copied. 
    • You will need to re‐select the Funding Opportunity and re‐enter any budget information.

What is the difference between Discontinued and Withdrawn?

One is an Activity for the Proposal Team (RA and PI) and the other is an Activity for the OSPIP CO. 
    • If, during the preparation of a proposal, the PI decides to stop working on a proposal, it can be "Discontinued" in eSRA by the RA or the PI. 
    • After a proposal has been completed and submitted to the sponsor and the PI wants to stop the proposal, s/he can request the OSPIP CO "Withdraw" the proposal.

Related B&R Code

The Related B&R Code I need isn't on the list

    • Send request to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov requesting the code you need; but it is rare that we would need to add a new code.  Please read the rest of these FAQs first to determine whether you really do need a code added to the list.  

How do I know which B&R Code to select?

    • You should select a code for which LBNL already receives funding from DOE in the WAS (Work Authorization Statement).
    • Check with the PI or your Division Management to determine which scientific codes you are funded under and use the code that accurately reflects the scientific nature of this research proposal.

Can you add 400903070?

    • No, that B&R code is a financial type of B&R code.  For the funding proposal question in View 9.3__ we a scientific Related B&R code.  That will usually start with two letters.  

Research Division

The Research Division is incorrect on View 2 for the PI. 

    • Why/how does this happen?  
The information about the PI's division comes from the HRIS system and we do not/cannot update the source data.  We know that the following instances may require a correction to the Research Division in View 2:
      • When the PI is a Division Director, their division might be listed as Administrative Services or Laboratory Directorate.  These fields will need to be corrected on every proposal submitted.
      • When the PI is the Laboratory Director but is submitting a research proposal, it would be correct to select the Division in which the research will be managed.
      • When a PI works with multiple divisions and is submitting a proposal in a division other than his or her primary division, change the department/division to the division where the research will be managed.
    • Why is it important to update this value?
      • This is the field that drives the routing for approval by the division.  If this answer is incorrect, notifications will be sent to the wrong people (or none at all), and it will require eSRAHelp to make a correction so the approvals can be completed.
      • This field is used for reporting of proposals submitted and awards.
    • How do I fix it? 
      • The instructions are in the help text of View 2.0 and 2.9.
      • Edit question 2.b to assign the Research Department for the PI.  The Research Division specified in question 2.a will then be updated accordingly.

Researcher Profile

Who needs a Researcher Profile?

    • Only LBNL people have Researcher Profiles. 
    • All LBNL PIs must have a Researcher Profile. 
    • Additionally, any LBNL person that will have a person profile on the SF424 Application must have a Research Profile including Multiple PIs, Key Persons, and Other Significant Contributors.
    • Click here for how to create a Researcher Profile.

Can't create Researcher Profile

    • Confirm the person doesn't already have a profile.  
      • Make sure you have used the "Create Researcher Profile" button and you aren't looking on the Active Researcher Profile list.  
    • There several reasons a person might not be available to select: 
      • they don't have an LDAP 
      • they don't have LBNL email address
      • their status in HRIS is other than "active" or "on leave"
      • the flag in eSRA "No Longer Lab Employee" is set which happens when a person retires and sometimes when a person converts from postdoc to staff scientist.  It must be manually re-set for an eSRA Site Administrator.
    • If they are a new employee, confirm all the new employee steps were taken as of the previous day. There is a nightly update from HRIS - so it might just be an issue of waiting for the update.  

If you still cannot find the person on the list to create a new Researcher Profile, write to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and ask for confirmation that the person is in the eSRA system. 

My PI does not have any of the degree types listed?

    • Write to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov and specify the degree type that you need added to the list.  Remember this is a degree type and not a specific degree; so we will not be listing all of the various specific Bachelor Degrees that could be conferred.
    • A person with the Site Administrator role will need to add the new degree to the list and will communicate back when complete so you can update the researcher profile with the value you need.


Scientist - Can't find on list

I can't find a Scientist on the key person selection list. 
    • The most common cause of a scientist not being included on the key person selection list is because the scientist does not yet have a Researcher Profile. Follow the instructions in the eSRA Training Guides to create a Researcher Profile. After the Profile is created, you should be able to select the scientist as a key person.


I can't find a sponsor, but I think we've done business with them before.  
  • Use 'Company Profiles' to look for sponsors.  The 'Filter By' options include name, also known as, acronym, country, RAPID ID etc.  The wild card % can be used to extend your search.  Contact sponsors@lbl.gov for assistance.  

How do I request a new sponsor? 

    • OSPIP Contracts Officers and Resource Analysts can find the 'Request New Sponsor' button at the bottom left of your screen in the proposal workspace.  It provides a form that can be submitted to the Sponsor Administrator through eSRA.   This is the preferred method.  
      • Sponsors can be searched in eSRA under the top menu item Company Profiles.  Using the Filter By option, sponsors can be searched by name, also known as, acronym, country, RAPID ID etc.  
    • Others can email sponsors@lbl.gov with new sponsor requests or with questions about sponsors.  

Validation Messages

I received a validation message that I don't understand.  What can I do? 

    • See the Validation Messages webpage for a list of the messages with explanations and suggestions for correcting them.  
    • If you don't find your Validation Message there and are still confused, write to eSRAHelp@lbl.gov for personal assistance.