April 18, 2018

Update from NSF on Research.gov Proposal Submission

Beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research.gov system.

The initial release of this new Research.gov capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities. As a result, proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018. Other proposal types will be added to Research.gov in the future.

Note that proposals initiated in the new Research.gov system will not be available in FastLane, and proposals prepared in FastLane will not be available in the new system.

NSF is developing this new system incrementally, and as NSF migrates capabilities from FastLane to Research.gov, the Research.gov system features will expand until Research.gov eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission. There will be no impact to Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Services, and NSF will continue to fully support these proposal submission methods.

The Research.gov proposal site modernizes proposal preparation and submission capabilities and focuses on enhancing the user experience and reducing administrative burden with an intuitive interface and real-time compliance checking. The new functionality provides the ability to create, submit, track, and update proposals associated with active NSF funding opportunities and furthers NSF’s goal to provide quick access to proposal information and grants management services in one location.

February 26, 2018 Research Advocate: NSF Research.gov Proposal Submission Update

March 22, 2018

New Way to Sign In to NSF FastLane and Research.gov as of March 26, 2018

On March 26, 2018, (Monday) the National Science Foundation will introduce a new centralized and streamlined account registration process in Research.gov for the research community that will provide each new user with a single profile and unique identifier (i.e., NSF ID) for signing in to FastLane and Research.gov for proposal and award activities.

Existing NSF account holders, including Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Service (ASWS) users, will be migrated to the new account management system through a simple, one-time operation when initially signing in to FastLane or Research.gov after the new functionality is released. Account holders will be required to verify information to transfer it to the new system. Each user will have one NSF ID.

Users with existing NSF accounts can access the NSF ID Lookup page for their NSF ID. Forgotten passwords for established NSF accounts may be retrieved here.

New users will be able to register directly with NSF through Research.gov on or after March 26, 2018, via this link: https://www.research.gov/accountmgmt/#/registration. Note that this link will not work until March 26, 2018.

For Submissions to NSF via Grants.gov: Beginning on March 26, 2018, the Principal Investigator (PI), all co-PIs, and the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) listed on a Grants.gov proposal must all be registered with NSF prior to proposal submission. NSF IDs for the PI, all co-PIs, and the AOR listed will need to be included in the proposal submission.

The new centralized account management functionality is being released first to the Administrator, PI, AOR, Sponsored Project Officer (SPO), Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Coordinating Official and Financial Official, and Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) groups. NSF plans to eventually expand the new functionality in the future to additional groups including proposal reviewers, GRFP applicants, and NSF staff

For more information, see the NSF notice on Research.gov.

March 09, 2018

NSF Organizational Definition of a “Year”

The National Science Foundation generally limits the salary compensation requested for senior personnel to no more than two person months of salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants.

The January 29, 2018 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) now states that it is the proposing organization’s responsibility to define and consistently apply the term “year.” Furthermore, the organization’s definition of a “year” now must be described in the budget justification submitted with every NSF proposal.

Effective April 1, 2018: For the purpose of submitting NSF proposals and managing NSF salary compensation for senior personnel after an award is made, UC Berkeley’s definition of a “year” shall be the institution’s fiscal year, i.e. July 1st to June 30th. This definition must be included in the budget justification for all NSF proposals submitted by Berkeley Principal Investigators.

Note: If anticipated at the proposal stage, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.

Also, under normal re-budgeting authority, NSF allows the University to increase or decrease the person months senior personnel devote to an NSF project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two-month salary policy. No prior approval from NSF is necessary as long as that change does not cause the objectives or scope of the project to change. NSF prior approval is necessary if the objectives or scope of the project change.

For more information see NSF’s Senior Personnel Salaries and Wages Policy.

February 26, 2018

NSF Research.gov Proposal Submission Update

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, on February 26, 2018:

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov. The initial release of this new Research.gov capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018.

Research.gov Proposal Preparation Site Preview

The other exciting news that we want to share is that starting today, NSF is previewing the new Research.gov proposal preparation functionality to the research community to collect preliminary feedback and to provide the community an opportunity to acclimate to the new technology. The preview can be accessed by selecting the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” tab on the top navigation bar after signing in to Research.gov and then choosing “Prepare Proposal.” This preview will continue until 8:00PM EDT on April 27, 2018, and will allow any research community user with a FastLane or Research.gov account to sample the following proposal preparation features prior to the initial release on April 30, 2018:
  • Initiate full, research non-collaborative proposals (other proposal types are planned for future releases);
  • Add Principal Investigators (PIs), Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, and Other Authorized Users;
  • Upload required proposal documents;
  • Create budgets;
  • Check compliance; and
  • Enable Sponsored Project Officer (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) access for review.
Please be aware of the following important items as you test the new functionality during the preview period:
  • All test data entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site from February 26, 2018, until the preview concludes at 8:00PM EDT on April 27, 2018, will be deleted at the end of the preview period.
  • NSF will not be able to recover any proposal test data entered during the preview period and deleted by NSF after the preview period concludes.
  • Information entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site during the preview period will not be submitted to NSF.
  • Test data can be entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site but actual proposals cannot be submitted to NSF via Research.gov during the preview period.
  • Additional information will be available on a Research.gov “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page accessible on the Research.gov homepage.
Feedback on the New Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site

Your feedback on the new Research.gov proposal preparation functionality during the preview period (February 26, 2018 through April 27, 2018) and on the full Research.gov proposal preparation and submission functionality after the initial release on April 30, 2018, is vital to NSF. The survey link will soon be available on the Research.gov “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page. Feedback from the community and NSF staff will be used to implement enhancements and expand functionality incrementally, with the goal of eventually transitioning all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to Research.gov.

NSF’s goals for the new Research.govproposal preparation and submission functionality are to:
  • Modernize the applications supporting the proposalsubmission and merit review processes and improve the user experience via the development of a new application;
  • Reduce the administrative burden to the research community and NSF staff associated with preparation, submission, and management of proposals;
  • Increase efficiencies in proposal preparation, submission, and management;
  • Improve data quality and capture proposal content in a way that supports data analytics; and
  • Improve availability, security, and flexibility of proposal preparation and submission IT systems.
We invite you to keep these goals in mind as you prepare and submit your feedback on the new functionality, so that we may improve the new Research.gov interface and develop additional available features.

For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
voice: 703-292-4573
email: jfeldman@nsf.gov

Update: “Research.gov Proposal Preparation Site Preview Now Available and Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site Initial Release Will Be on April 30” announcement published on NSF FastLane and Research.gov.

February 08, 2018

NSF Notice on Harassment

The National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice No. 144: Harassment. NSF is working to make certain NSF’s awardee organizations respond promptly and appropriately to instances of sexual and all other forms of harassment.

This notice describes a new award term that includes the following new requirements:
  • Grantee organizations will be required to report findings of sexual harassment, or any other kind of harassment regarding a PI or co/PI or any other grant personnel.
  • Grantees also will be required to report the placement of the PI or co-PI on administrative leave relating to a harassment finding or investigation.
NSF will be soliciting feedback on this term through an announcement in the Federal Register within the next few weeks.

For more information see Important Notice No. 144 and the NSF Sexual Harassment page.

January 25, 2018

Important NIH Application Changes Effective January 25, 2018

Three important changes affect National Institutes of Health applications as of today, January 25, 2018:
  1. For NIH applications with due dates on or after January 25, 2018, and contract solicitations published on or after January 25, 2018, NIH expects that all sites participating in multi-site studies, which involve non-exempt human subjects research funded by the NIH, will use a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) to conduct the ethical review required for the protection of human subjects.

    This policy applies to the domestic sites of NIH-funded multi-site studies where each site will conduct the same protocol involving non-exempt human subjects research. The requirement does not apply to career development, research training or fellowship awards.

    Applicants will be expected to include a plan for the use of a sIRB in the grant applications and contract proposals they submit to the NIH (for due dates on or after January 25, 2018).

    For more information: Single IRB Policy for Multi-site Research

  2. Also effective for NIH due dates on or after January 25, 2018, NIH will require all applications involving one or more clinical trials be submitted through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) specifically designed and designated for clinical trials.

    For more information: Reminder: Policy on Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) for Clinical Trials Takes Effect January 25, 2018 (NOT-OD-18-106)

  3. NIH applicants must use FORMS-E application packages for due dates on or after January 25, 2018.

    For more information: Reminder: FORMS-E Grant Application Forms & Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2018 (NOT-OD-18-009)

January 24, 2018

Reminder: NIH and NSF Delinquent Reports

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are becoming increasingly concerned about delinquent progress/annual reports. Please review the requirements of each of the federal agencies below to avoid problems with continuation funding and other post award transactions.

NIH 

NIH requires grantees to submit Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) through the eRA Commons at least annually as part of the non-competing continuation award process. The progress report must be approved by NIH to non-competitively fund each budget period within an approved project period. UC Berkeley permits Principal Investigators (PIs) to submit RPPRS directly to NIH without going through SPO. However, this is a privilege that can be revoked if a PI fails to follow proper procedures. PIs with delinquent RPPRs will be notified that this privilege can and shall be revoked by the University, when the University learns of a delinquent RPPR.

Annual RPPR Due Dates
  • Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP) RPPRs are due approximately 45 days before the next budget period start date.
  • Non-SNAP RPPRs are due approximately 60 days before the next budget period start date.
  • Multi-year funded (MYF) RPPRs are due annually on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award.
See the NIH Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) page for more information.

NSF

NSF requires that all Principal Investigators (PIs) submit annual reports no later than 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period. Note: NSF has transferred its existing project reporting functionality from FastLane to Research.gov. This means that Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs will use Research.gov to meet all NSF project reporting requirements, including submission of the annual report. The report becomes overdue the day after the 90 day period ends. Failure to submit timely reports will delay processing of additional funding and administrative actions, including, but not limited to, no cost extensions. In the case of continuing grants, failure to submit timely reports may delay processing of funding increments. See the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) for more information.

January 19, 2018

What Happens If the Federal Government Shuts Down?

What a federal shutdown will mean to federal grants and contracts at UC Berkeley depends on how long the shutdown lasts.

In October of 2013, the last time a federal government shutdown occurred, the federal government was shut down for 16 days.

Based on what occurred in 2013, government agencies that are deemed less essential for protecting life and property, such as the U.S. Department of Education and research agencies like the National Science Foundation, will order agency employees to stay home, i.e., they will be furloughed. The military and government agencies such as the postal service that are viewed as necessary to the security of the country will continue to operate.

With agency personnel furloughed, it will not be possible to communicate with federal sponsors by email or phone. It is likely that NSF FastLane and Reserch.gov as well as other federal agency portals will not be available. Based on past experience, proposals will not be accepted or reviewed and no new awards will be made during the shutdown. However, existing federal projects, in most cases, will continue to operate, and already authorized funding will not be impacted.

However, in 2013, NASA issued guidance that grants and cooperative agreements that involved active participation of agency personnel or access to agency installations funded by NASA would suspend work during a shutdown. Therefore it is important to stay tuned in to specific agency plans if a shutdown does occur.

SPO will make this information available on our website as we receive it. Please see the see Agency Contingency Plans on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website. The page includes plans for agencies across the federal government and last date of revision, many current as of today.

January 02, 2018

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2018

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2017/2018, 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 2017 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.

December 18, 2017

New NSF Grants.gov Application Guide

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office:

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide has been issued. The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide has been updated to align with changes to NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1). Information about FastLane system registration has been removed and replaced with guidance for registering in Research.gov. Editorial changes have also been made to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section or to ensure consistency with data contained 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 29, 2018.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to policy@nsf.gov. For technical questions relating to Grants.gov, please contact Grants.gov directly at 1-800-518-4726 or support@grants.gov.

Best,

Jean

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution & Award Support
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
voice: 703.292.8243
email: jfeldman@nsf.gov

December 12, 2017

Award Process Improvement

One of the pain points identified by the End to End (E2E) review of Berkeley’s Award Set-up Process was lack of transparency around the date awards are actually received by the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) and the Industry Alliance Office (IAO).

There is often a gap between the date a Principal Investigator (PI) receives informal notification about an award from a sponsor and the date that a formal notice of award with terms and conditions is received from the sponsor by SPO or IAO.

Up until now, there has been no way for SPO/IAO to notify PIs that a formal award notice from the sponsor has arrived.

SPO and IAO are now happy to announce that PIs will begin to receive email notifications from SPO/IAO as soon as the sponsor’s award notice is received and logged in, initiating the award set up process in SPO/IAO. These notices will be emailed out between 6:00 pm and 6:10 pm daily and will include the name of the sponsor and the office (SPO/IAO) that will be processing the award transaction.

Note: PIs and CSS/Department Research Administrators will continue to receive email notifications from the SPO Records Team and a copy of the award and Phoebe Award Summary (PAS) when the award set-up process is complete.

NSF Research.gov Proposal Submission - April 2018

In the December issue of the NSF Proposal and Award Newsletter, the National Science Foundation announced that beginning in April 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit non-collaborative research proposals in Research.gov.
  • The initial release of this new capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit non- collaborative research proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane.
  • Separately submitted collaborative proposals must still be submitted in FastLane.
  • NSF will preview the new functionality to the research community in February 2018, to collect preliminary feedback and to provide the community an opportunity to acclimate to the new technology.
For more details, see the article on page 6 of the NSF Proposal and Award Newsletter.

November 27, 2017

New NIH Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information Form

The National Institutes of Health will require a new Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information form for all human subjects and/or clinical trial research applications beginning for January 25, 2018 due dates. Note: This form is not just for clinical trials.

The form consolidates human subjects, inclusion enrollment, and clinical trial information previously collected across multiple agency forms. The form collects information on human subjects and clinical trials at the study level.

For more information, see the NIH New Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information Form page, including a video tour of the new form.
August 14, 2017 Research Advocate: NIH Human Subjects: New Policies and Forms Required January 25, 2018

October 30, 2017

NSF Issues Revised Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office:


Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 18-1) has been issued.

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Significant changes include:
  • Addition of a new eligibility subcategory on international branch campuses of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for foreign organizations;
  • Implementation of the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase since April;
  • Increase in the Budget Justification page limitation from three pages to five pages;
  • Restructuring of coverage on grantee notifications to and requests for approval from NSF, including referral to the Prior Approval Matrix available on the NSF website; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.
You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on December 8 at 2 PM EST. Sign up to be notified when registration is available on the outreach notifications website, by selecting “All NSF Grants and Policy Outreach Events & Notifications.”

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 29, 2018, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 17-1) continue to apply. We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management

October 03, 2017

Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality

The National Institutes of Health has issued Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (NOT-OD-17-109).

Background

A Certificate of Confidentiality (Certificate) protects the privacy of research participants enrolled in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or other research. The Certificate prohibits disclosure in response to legal demands, such as a subpoena

In the past NIH provided Certificates of Confidentiality to PIs carrying out human subjects’ research. NIH has just issued guidance that they will no longer do this

Update

Effective October 1, 2017, certificates of confidentiality will issue automatically for applicable NIH awards as part of the award terms and conditions

NIH will not determine applicability; that is now the responsibility of the awardee institution and investigators

Also, NIH will no longer provide a paper certificate. NIH has indicated that:
Documentation of NIH funding or support (i.e., the award notice), the NIH Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (NOT-OD-17-109), the NIH Grants Policy Statement (See 4.1.4.1) subsection 301(d) of the Public Health Service Act, and any additional future guidance issued by NIH, will serve as documentation of the issuance of a Certificate for a specific study.

The policy applies to research commenced or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016. The NIH CoC website has now been updated and includes updated consent language and FAQs.