March 23, 2017

Research Administrators’ June RAC Forum Poster Session

As of June 14, 2017, the Research Administration and Compliance (RAC) Forum will be renamed the Research Administration Community (RAC) Forum to reflect the reality of the cooperative nature of research administration on the Berkeley campus. To launch this new enterprise, the June 14th RAC Forum at the Alumni House will be a Poster Session Event “Promoting a Culture of Collaboration.”

This event will provide research administrators across campus with an opportunity to display posters illustrating a process, policy, or job aid that they believe has improved (or has the potential to improve) the effectiveness or efficiency of research administration on the UC Berkeley campus.

Each of the following “research administration communities” are invited to display posters at this event: CSS RA, Department RA, SPO, CGA, and IAO. For information on how to create and display a poster at the June 14th RAC Forum, go to the June 2017 RAC Forum folder in UC Berkeley Box.

In this folder applicants will find an overview of the poster event and instructions. This folder also includes blank poster templates that can be used/adapted to create a 36" x 48" poster. Applicants should read the poster instructions first as well as the tips for creating a visually interesting poster.

The applicant/s that submit the best poster (as judged by RAC Forum attendees) will be treated to a luncheon at the Women’s Faculty Club over the summer months.

March 17, 2017

NIH Operating Under a Continuing Resolution

The National Institutes of Health has issued NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution (NOT-17-048). The notice states:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including NIH, operates under the “Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017,” (Public Law 114-254) signed by President Obama on December 10, 2016.  This Act (CR) continues government operations through April 28, 2017 at 99.8099 percent of the FY 2016 enacted level.

Continuing the procedures identified under NOT-OD-17-001 and NOT-OD-16-046 and consistent with NIH practices during the CRs of FY 2006 – 2016, the NIH will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). Upward adjustments to awarded levels will be considered after FY 2017 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period. All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2016 (see NOT-OD-16-044 and NOT-OD-16-048) remain in effect under this CR.  Per NOT-OD-17-049, the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale, was increased from $185,100 to $187,000, effective January 8, 2017. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral stipend levels and tuition/fees for FY 2017 are described in NOT-OD-17-003. Until further notice, the undergraduate and predoctoral stipends and tuition/fees will remain at the levels announced in NOT-OD-16-062.
NIH has issued a companion notice, Interim Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements (NOT-17-049), stating:
…The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Executive Level II salary was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017.

For awards issued in those years that were restricted to Executive Level II (see Salary Cap Summary, FY 1990 – FY 2016), including competing awards already issued in FY2017, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level. However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards.…
See notices NOT-17-048 and NOT-17-049 for more information.

March 15, 2017

Research Terms and Conditions Implementing the Uniform Guidance

In 2005, standard research terms and conditions (known as “RTCs”) were adopted by many (but not all) federal agencies. RTCs allowed principal investigators to manage their federal grants more efficiently and effectively. For example, research projects subject to the RTCs were allowed to incur 90 day pre-award costs.

When OMB issued Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) in 2013, the RTCs were suspended until a revised set of RTCs for implementing the Uniform Guidance could be developed.

New RTCs have been written to comply with the requirements set out in the Uniform Guidance, and most (but not all) federal agencies are planning to implement the RTCs at different dates in 2017.

The Final Notice of Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) To Address and Implement the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards Issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was published in the March 14 Federal Register.

Agencies participating, with implementation dates, are:
Note that the Department of Defense is not included; but will implement award terms in compliance with 2 CFR 200.

While the Uniform Guidance outlines provisions that are specific to research, these terms and conditions:
  • Incorporate the entire Uniform Guidance by reference, clarifying or supplementing select provisions where appropriate and consistent with government-wide research policy.
  • Incorporate the latest version of the Frequently Asked Questions for the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 CFR 200.
  • Apply to an award when included as part of the award or when incorporated in the award by reference. Use of the RTCs is envisioned as a streamlined approach that supports the implementation of the Uniform Guidance by providing clarification, supplementary guidance, and, where appropriate, selected options, while meeting the spirit and intent of a uniform implementation.
In addition to the RTCs, three companion resources will be developed: Appendix A, Prior Approval Matrix; Appendix B, Subaward Requirements Matrix; and Appendix C, National Policy Requirements Matrix.

Resources:

March 21, 2017 update: Includes addition of Appendix A Prior Approval Matrix, Appendix C National Policy Requirements; and DOE, HHS/NIH, and NSF Agency Specific Requirements.

March 08, 2017

New NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter

The Policy Office in the Division of Institution & Award Support at the National Science Foundation has published the first issue of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter, a new quarterly publication designed to provide information about upcoming changes and clarifications to policies and procedures that affect how you prepare and submit proposals and manage NSF awards.

The first issue includes articles on PAPPG issuance and implementation, human subjects and vertebrate animals, and new types of NSF proposals.

January 27, 2017

NIH Implementation of the Interim-Research Performance Progress Report

Effective February 9, 2017, if the recipient organization has submitted a renewal application on or before the date by which a Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final-RPPR) would be required for the current competitive segment, then submission of an "Interim-RPPR" via eRA Commons is now required. Based on this requirement, the NIH will discontinue the policy for renewal applications whereby, “whether funded or not,” the progress report contained in the renewal application may serve in lieu of a separate final progress report.

For more information on this policy, see NIH Implementation of the Interim-RPPR while a Renewal Application is Under Consideration (NOT-OD-17-037).


November 28, 2016 Research Advocate: NIH Implementation of Final Research Performance Progress Reports (Final RPPR)

January 13, 2017

What Errors Will Impact Your NSF Proposal?

NSF has implemented an automated process to help PIs identify proposal errors prior to submission in Fastlane. The next release of auto-compliance checks will support additional standard proposal type requirements and include checks for new types of proposals. NSF plans to implement FastLane changes effective January 30, 2017 that include the new compliance checks.

See the NSF website for a complete listing of current automated proposal compliance checks performed by FastLane as of August 1, 2016.

NSF will be publishing the list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 30, 2017, and updating the advisory accordingly. For more information, see Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals.


September 20, 2016 Research Advocate: NSF Proposals: New FastLane Compliance Checks Effective September 26

January 12, 2017

NIH and AHRQ Font Requirements

For applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for due dates on or after January 25, 2017, text in PDF attachments must follow these minimum requirements:
  • Text Color: No restriction. Though not required, black or other high-contrast text colors are recommended since they print well and are legible to the largest audience.
  • Font size: Must be 11 points or larger. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%.
  • Type density: Must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces).
  • Line spacing: Must be no more than six lines per vertical inch.
 For additional information, see the NIH Guide notice NIH & AHRQ Update Font Guidelines for Applications to Due Dates On or After January 25, 2017 (NOT-OD-17-030).

January 10, 2017

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2017

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2016/2017, is available on the Conflict of Interest Committee website and is the only version that will now be accepted. The form and requirements are the same as the previous 2016 version. If you have any questions please contact Jyl Baldwin (jbaldwin@berkeley.edu, 2-8110).

State of California law requires disclosure of financial interest in the sponsor of a research project; the donor of a research gift; and, under certain circumstances, the provider of materials under a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) when that sponsor, donor, or provider is a non-governmental source. Please see State of California Financial Disclosure for more information.

January 03, 2017

New Law Prohibits State Funding of Travel to Certain States

Effective January 1, 2017, State of California law AB 1887 prohibits state-funded travel to a state that has passed a law after June 26, 2015 that (1) authorizes discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, or (2) voids or repeals existing state or local protections against such discrimination. The law expressly identifies the University of California and the California State University as entities covered by the law.

The State Attorney General must develop, maintain, and post online the current list of states where travel restrictions would apply. As of January 3, 2017, the list includes four states: Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

AB 1887 provides a number of exceptions where state-funded travel will be allowed to states that are otherwise on the Attorney General's list. For more information, including a link to Frequently Asked Questions, see the Berkeley Travel notice: Law Prohibiting State-Funded Travel to States Discriminating on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression.

December 15, 2016

December 12, 2016

UC Global Operations: New Website Offers Resources for International Research and Travel

The University of California Office of the President has a new UC Global Operations (UCGO) website that provides a central hub of tools and resources to help UC faculty, administrators, staff, and students plan and manage international research, travel and other activities abroad.

The UCGO website offers resources that can help you:
  • Plan a project: Resources to help you think through where to go, learn about UC programs, plan your budget, understand U.S. and foreign regulations and UC policies that may apply and more.
     
  • Plan a trip: Important vaccinations, health and travel insurance, information about the cultural etiquette in the country you’re visiting, visa requirements, exchange rates for foreign currency, tips on what to pack and more.
     
  • Travel safely and with ease on your trip: Guidelines on how to stay safe and healthy, what to do if you are sick or injured, how to stay connected, what adapters to get for your electronic devices and more.
     
  • Manage your project abroad: Fundamental steps and strategies for successful project management abroad, including setting up operations, collaboration with international partners, and taking care of yourself and your team’s wellbeing while abroad.
For more information, see the UCOP news article, UC website offers important resources for those doing international research and traveling abroad, and the UCGO website.

December 08, 2016

NSF Issues Revised Grants.gov Application Guide

The National Science Foundation has issued a revised version of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide, updated to align with changes to the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1). NSF replaced all references to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG) with references to the PAPPG. NSF also made editorial changes to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section or to ensure consistency with data in NSF systems or other NSF policy documents.

The new NSF Grants.gov Application Guide will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017.


October 25, 2016 Research Advocate: NSF Issues New Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

December 02, 2016

NSF Revision of the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Eligibility Threshold

The National Science Foundation posted Important Notice 138 that revises the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction threshold to $70M.

The NSF announcement states:
This adjustment responds to emergent scientific research opportunities and addresses the gap that previously existed between smaller instrumentation and major facility projects. The scientific community should incorporate this change in their long range portfolio planning and prioritization efforts.
The change will be reflected in the 2017 revision of the NSF Large Facilities Manual to be published in December 2016 on the NSF Large Facilities Office website.

November 28, 2016

NIH Implementation of Final Research Performance Progress Reports (Final RPPR)

As of January 1, 2017, National Institutes of Health Principal Investigators will be required to use the Final Research Performance Progress Report (F-RPPR) instead of the Final Progress Report (FPR) for closeout. FPRs will not be accepted after January 1, 2017.

Significant Changes:
  • PIs must submit an “Interim-RPPR” while their renewal application (Type 2) is under consideration. In the event that the Type 2 is funded, NIH will treat the Interim-RPPR as the annual performance report for the final year of the previous competitive segment. If the Type 2 is not funded, the Interim-RPPR will be treated by NIH staff as the institution’s Final-RPPR.

  • PIs will be required to adhere to the new requirement to report on Project Outcomes. This section will be made publicly available, thus allowing recipients the opportunity to provide the general public with a concise summary of the cumulative outcome or findings of the project (analogous to the Project Summary/Abstract section of the competing application).
Remaining the Same:
  • NIH is aligning its reporting requirement with other federal research agencies and therefore will not be making any changes to the deadline for submitting the final report, i.e., the Final RPPR or Interim-RPPR must be submitted via eRA Commons no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date.

  • If a recipient fails to comply with this reporting requirement, NIH may take one or more enforcement actions, such as a decision not to make a non-competing continuation award.

  • NIH will maintain the business rule in the RPPR module enabling institutional signing officials, at their discretion, to delegate submission of the Final RPPR or Interim-RPPR to the Program Director/Principal Investigator.
For more information, see NIH Implementation of Final Research Performance Progress Reports (Final RPPR) (NOT-OD-17-022).

January 19, 2017 update: NIH Implementation of the Interim-RPPR while a Renewal Application is Under Consideration (NOT-OD-17-037).

PI Effort During an NIH No-Cost Extension

With the exception of grant programs that have an effort requirement, or where terms and conditions prohibit such reductions, the National Institutes of Health will not require prior approval for the reduction in effort for Senior/Key Personnel named in the Notice of Award (NoA) during a no-cost extension. However, recipients are reminded that for active NIH awards, the Project Director/Principal Investigator and other Senior/Key Personnel named in the NoA must devote a measurable level of effort.

For additional information see section 8.1 of the NIH Grants Policy Statement (Revised November 2016).