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).

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).

November 17, 2016

NIH Publishes Revised NIH Grants Policy Statement

The National Institutes of Health has published the revised NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS, rev. November 2016).

The NIH Guide Notice, Publication of the Revised NIH Grants Policy Statement (Rev. November 2016) for FY 2017 (NOT-OD-17-021), states:

“This revision is applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2016. This revision supersedes, in its entirety, the NIH Grants Policy Statement (October/November 2015) as a standard term and condition of award. Previous versions of the NIHGPS remain applicable as a standard term and condition for all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods that began prior to October 1, 2016.”

The revision does not include new material, but “incorporates new and modified requirements, clarifies certain policies, and implements changes in statutes, regulations, and policies that have been implemented through appropriate legal and/or policy processes since the previous version of the NIHGPS dated October/November 2015.”

Along with the revised NIHGPS, NIH has provided a summary of significant changes.

November 07, 2016

NIH Announces Adjustment to NSRA Stipend Levels

The National Institutes of Health has published Adjustment to Stipend Levels for Postdoctoral Trainees and Fellows on Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) (NOT-OD-17-002). From the notice:
“The purpose of this Notice is to announce the process whereby recipients of Kirschstein-NRSA institutional training grant and individual fellowship awards supporting currently active postdoctoral trainees or fellows with 0, 1, or 2 years of experience as of December 1, 2016, will received increased stipends. The Notice also provides instructions for requesting one-time supplemental funding to cover the stipend increase.”
The notice states that current NRSA awardees that meet the criteria who wish to apply for the one-time supplemental funding must submit an application to the awarding IC as soon as possible. See NOT-OD-17-002 for details on the rates and the process.

December 15, 2016 update: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) Postdoctoral Stipends, Training Related Expenses, Institutional Allowance, and Tuition/Fees Effective for Fiscal Year 2017 (NOT-OD-17-003)


August 8, 2016 Research Advocate: NIH Announces Projected FY 2017 NRSA Stipend Levels

November 04, 2016

NIH Prior Approval Through eRA Commons

Under National Institutes of Health policy, Principal Investigators (PIs) needs to seek prior approval from NIH before submitting a grant application with direct costs of $500,000 or more for a single budget year.

PIs now have the option to electronically submit these prior approval requests through the NIH eRA Commons.

Procedure:

As per current practice, the PI will first reach out via email or phone to the Program Official (PO) at the Institute/Center (IC) to discuss the request. From there, the PO can then choose to invite the PI to initiate the prior approval request through eRA Commons.

The initiation of the request will trigger an email notification to the PI and to the email address listed for receiving the Notice of Award (NoA) on the Institutional Profile screen. Upon being notified, the PI will go into eRA Commons and go to the Prior Approval tab along the top navigation menu. The PI will find two options and should click “List my Requests.”

The PI will find the $500K Request under the column Request Type, with a status of “In Progress PI,” and should click the “Modify” link.

Then the Prior Approval Request $500K screen will open. The screen is pretty straightforward with a few required fields, such as Project Title, FOA number, and Anticipated Submission Date. The PI will need to provide a short justification (just 500 characters) for the request, with up to 10 supporting documents allowed.

The PI should then submit the request directly to NIH. The UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects Office will receive a notification when this occurs.

If the request is approved by the Program Official at the IC, the PI will receive an email from the Program Official. When the error free application is received by NIH, this application will be matched with the $500k approval from the IC and the application will move through the normal process.

Although submitting this request through the eRA Commons is optional now, NIH intends to make it a requirement in the future.

See the NIH eRA News for more information.

October 25, 2016

NSF Issues New Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

The Sponsored Projects Office has received the following notice from the National Science Foundation. NSF has published a new Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), effective January 30, 2017.


Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 17-1) has been issued. The PAPPG has been modified in its entirety, to remove all references to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG). The document will now be referred to solely as the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide. The document will be sequentially numbered from Chapter I-XII and all references throughout have been modified to reflect this change. Given the number of important revisions, the community is strongly encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided at the beginning of the PAPPG.

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017. In addition to the significant change mentioned above, other revisions include:
  • Addition of new sections on Special Processing Instructions and Types of Proposals, including two new types, RAISE and GOALI;
  • Additional instructions for proposers on completion of the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information;
  • Supplemental guidance on submission of proposals by organizations impacted by a natural or anthropogenic disaster;
  • Implementation of 45 CFR 690.118 for applications and proposals lacking definite plans for involvement of human subjects;
  • Update on the type of information that NSF may request from proposers with regard to Federal environmental statutes;
  • Supplemental information regarding treatment of NSF awards with canceled appropriations; and
  • Numerous other changes and clarifications throughout the document.
Webinars to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on November 7th and January 19th at 1 PM EST. Registration is required on the outreach events website.

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 30, 2017, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 16-1) 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


December 12, 2016 update: The NSF Policy Office has issued a revised set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Proposal Preparation and Award Administration that accompany the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 17-1), and are effective for proposals submitted or due, and awards made on or after, January 30, 2017.

December 16, 2016 update:  The NSF Policy Office has sent out a notice that NSF has revised the entire suite of Award Terms and Conditions to align with changes to the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1). All references to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG) have been replaced with references to the PAPPG. Each set of terms and conditions is accompanied by a summary of changes made to that document. The revised Terms and Conditions will apply to all new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing NSF awards issued on or after January 30, 2017.

September 23, 2016

AHRQ Accepting Multiple-PI Proposals Effective October 1

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will be accepting Multiple Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) in appropriate research grant applications, effective with new applications submitted on or after October 1, 2016.

From AHRQ Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy (NOT-HS-16-018):
The multiple-PD/PI option is extended to AHRQ research grant applications submitted electronically through Grants.gov using the SF424 R&R application package. The multiple-PD/PI option will be accepted for applications submitted to current AHRQ research Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA). The multiple-PD/PI option does not apply to R13 conference grant applications. If the multiple-PD/PI model is not allowed, the FOA will state that “Multiple Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) are not permitted.” under Section III, Eligible Individuals.
The announcement also includes guidance on making changes when submitting non-competing applications:
  • Change from an active single-PD/PI to a multiple-PD/PI award, or changes in the number or makeup of multiple-PD/PIs
  • Change from an active multiple-PD/PI to a single-PD/PI award