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 only shut down for a short period of time and there was limited disruption within the research community.

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.



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.


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).


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


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 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.

September 15, 2017

NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC)

The National Institutes of Health is updating its policy for issuing Certificates of Confidentiality for NIH-funded and conducted research, as announced in NIH Guide Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) (NOT-OD-17-109):

Effective October 1, 2017, all research that was commenced or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016 and is within the scope of this Policy is now deemed to have been issued a Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) and the policy’s disclosure requirements apply. Certificates issued in this manner (by policy) will not be issued as a separate document.

Under this policy, CoCs will become a term and condition of NIH grant awards rather than issued through a separate application process.

Institutions and investigators are responsible for determining whether the NIH research they conduct is subject to the policy and therefore automatically under a CoC. (See questions below to determine if a COC will apply below.)

Questions for Determining Applicability of NIH CoC Policy

If the research was begun or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016 and funded by NIH, respond to these questions to determine if NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality applies:
  1. Is the activity biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or other research?
  2. Does the research involve human subjects as defined by 45 CFR Part 46?
  3. Are you collecting or using biospecimens that are identifiable to an individual as part of the research?
  4. If collecting or using biospecimens as part of the research, is there a small risk that some combination of the biospecimen, a request for the biospecimen, and other available data sources could be used to deduce the identity of an individual?
  5. Does the research involve the generation of individual level, human genomic data?
If the answer to any one of these questions is “Yes,” then a CoC is automatically is issued and the policy applies.

See an explanation of the policy’s disclosure requirements in Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) (NOT-OD-17-109).

August 28, 2017

NASA Adopts New Policy for No-Cost Extensions

NASA has significantly changed the process for submitting no-cost extension requests under grants and cooperative agreements. These new rules are in effect now and are being enforced:
  • Requests must be submitted within a 20-day time window, no earlier than 30 days and no later than 10 days prior to the last day of the period of performance.
  • An annual progress report must be attached. The NASA Shared Services Center’s on-line no-cost extension request web form will not allow the request to be submitted without the report. The submitter must also certify that the progress report is current and that the request is being sent within the last 30 days of the period of performance.
The web form still offers a standard rationale for use with a first no-cost extension request, and a window for entering a longer explanation for needing a second or third request.

These new requirements, and the fact that they are electronically enforced, mean that it will be essential for investigators and administrators to monitor the remaining balances of their NASA awards carefully.

August 16, 2017

Images in NIH Applications and Formatting Guidance

Reminder: Images in National Institutes of Health applications can only be used in the Research Strategy section.

NIH provides guidance on the Format Attachments page that is linked through the SF 424.
  • Digital images of material such as electron micrographs or gels must only be included within the page limits of the Research Strategy. The maximum size of images to be included should be approximately 1200 X 1500 pixels using 256 colors. Figures must be readable as printed on an 8.5” x 11” page at normal scale.
  • Investigators must use image compression such as JPEG or PNG. Do not include figures or photographs as separate attachments either as an Appendix or elsewhere in the application.
See the Format Attachments page for other important formatting information.

August 15, 2017

NSF Newsletter for August/September 2017

The National Science Foundation has published the August/September 2017 issue of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter.

  • PAPPG – Proposed Significant Changes
  • The Newly Revised Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects
  • Faculty Salary Policy – The Two Month Rule
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Pilot – FAQs
  • Project Reporting Policies and Reminders
  • Upcoming Outreach
  • NSF is Moving!

August 14, 2017

NIH Human Subjects: New Policies and Forms Required January 25, 2018

Michael S. Lauer, MD, Deputy Director for Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health, sent the following message to NIH grant applicants/awardees, contractors, researchers and research administrators.

If you are conducting NIH-funded research that involves human subjects, or are considering applying to NIH for support of such research, we want to call your attention to important changes that may affect how you:
  • select the right NIH funding opportunity announcement
  • write the research strategy and human subjects sections of your application
  • comply with appropriate policies and regulations
First, familiarize yourself with the new PHS Human Subject and Clinical Trial Information form.
For application due dates of January 25, 2018, and beyond, you will be required to use an updated application forms package (FORMS-E), which includes the new human subject and clinical trial form. This form requests human subject and clinical trials information at the study level using discrete form fields, which is a change from current practice. Contract proposals will also require this information. Learn about the new form here.

Second, take a moment to answer these four questions about your current or proposed research:
  1. Does the study involve human participants?
  2. Are the participants prospectively assigned to an intervention?
  3. Is the study designed to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the participants?
  4. Is the effect that will be evaluated a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome?
If the answer to all four questions is yes, then your proposed research meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Clarified and broadened in 2014, the definition encompasses a wide range of trial types: mechanistic, exploratory/developmental, pilot/feasibility, behavioral, and more. NIH expanded the clinical trial definition in response to widespread calls from diverse stakeholders for improved reporting of research milestones and outcomes, and for assuring maximal transparency.

Need help determining whether your study would be considered by NIH to be a clinical trial? See our webpage on the definition that includes case studies, FAQs and other resources that can help. Still unsure?  Contact your NIH program official or the scientific point of contact listed on the funding opportunity announcement to which you are applying.

Third, familiarize yourself with NIH policy changes related to enhancing stewardship of clinical trials.
NIH made a number of policy changes to improve the stewardship of clinical trials across the life cycle of the trial. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with all that is changing, including:
  • the requirement to apply to an FOA that specifically allows for the submission of clinical trial applications for due dates beginning January 25, 2018.
  • Good Clinical Practice training expectations for NIH staff, grantees, and contractors that went into effect January 2017.
  • updated peer review criteria that will be included in FOAs for clinical trial applications and solicitations for due dates on/after January 25, 2018.
  • new Human Subject Information form requirements for clinical trials that will be included in updated application forms (FORMS-E) for due dates on/after January 25, 2018, and contract solicitations published as of January 25, 2018.
  • use of a single IRB for non-exempt, multi-site clinical trials for application due dates on/after January 25, 2018.
  • expanded ClinicalTrials.gov registration and reporting to include all NIH supported clinical trials.
Improving the design, efficiency, and transparency of clinical trials is important because it:
  • respects our ethical obligation to participants to maximize the use of the knowledge from the trials in which they participate
  • facilitates design of clinical trials while reducing unnecessary duplication
  • promotes broad, timely, and responsible dissemination of research information and results
  • fosters responsible stewardship of the public’s investment in biomedical research
We have developed a new Clinical Trial Requirements for NIH Grantees and Contractors web page to bring together all the information you need to know.  Please review this information carefully.  Your attention to detail will be critical to ensuring successful funding of your clinical trial awards.

We will be putting out a series of reminder policy notices, training opportunities, and other resources in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts, in the NIH Extramural Nexus, and on my blog.

The success of clinical trials relies on the public trust in scientific rigor and ethical oversight.  We all play a critical role in this process. We are most grateful to you for your help and support.

August 11, 2017

Grants.gov is Changing: Be Prepared

Grants.gov is changing!

The Grants.gov application package and the forms currently in use will be phased out after December 2017, and will be replaced by Grants.gov Workspace—a new way to create a federal grant application.

Federal agencies that previously required organizations and individuals to use Grants.gov to apply for federal funds in the past will require applications to be submitted via Workspace after the New Year.

Note: After the New Year, proposals to NSF still may be submitted using FastLane. NIH proposals still must be submitted via ASSIST. NASA proposals will continue to be submitted using NSPIRES.

What do PIs need to do now?

All that Principal Investgators (PIs) need to do now is register as an “Organization Applicant.”

To do this, the PI will need Berkeley’s DUNS number: 124726725. (Do not enter any dashes between numbers.) After registering, the PI should give their username to the campus Research Administrator (RA) who will be helping the PI with future Grants.gov applications in Workspace.

What do RAs need to do now?

Before an RA can help a PI with a future Grants.gov application in Workspace, the RA must obtain a “Manage Workspace Role.” To do this, the RA will need to register in Workspace as an Organization Applicant as described above, and SPO will need to approve the RA’s “Manage Workspace Role.”

All campus RAs planning to be involved in proposal development after the New Year should register in Workspace by September 15, 2017. SPO will approve the “Manage Workspace Role” for all campus RAs that have registered by this date.

July 27, 2017

What SPO Requires: PHS FCOI

Proposals submitted to and awards funded by Public Health Service (PHS) sponsors (and sponsors that have adopted PHS financial conflict of interest (FCOI) regulations) must follow specific campus procedures to ensure UC Berkeley conforms to the PHS FCOI requirements.

Due to improvements brought about by the campus’ End-to-End (E2E) review of research administration services, these campus requirements recently have been streamlined, and the PHS FCOI Guide for CSS/Department Research Administrators and Principal Investigators on the SPO website has been updated to reflect these improvements.

Notable changes include:
  • Elimination of the need to submit a Form 5 for each subrecipient investigator at the proposal stage. Required information is now supplied by the subrecipient’s authorized official via the current Subrecipient Commitment Form.
  • Retirement of the PI Certification Form at the proposal stage and throughout the life of the award. The information on the PI Certification Form is now included in the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator Certification provided on the PI and Co-PI approval screen in Phoebe Proposal Development.
Please note: Each time a PI/Co-PI approve a proposal in Phoebe that is being submitted to a PHS sponsor or a sponsor that has adopted PHS FCOI requirements, the PI and Co-PI are certifying and agreeing to the following:
  • All required PHS Financial Disclosures have been submitted to the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO).
  • I will submit a PHS disclosure form for all existing investigators annually and for any new UC Berkeley investigator I add to this project in the future before the investigator joins the project.
  • I will not use project funds to support any UC Berkeley investigator who makes a positive disclosure until the UC Berkeley Conflict of Interest (COI) Committee reviews and approves this disclosure.
  • I will not allow any UC Berkeley investigator to participate in this project until the investigator provides me with a certificate of completion of PHS-compliant training dated within the last four years.
  • I will maintain a file containing up to date certificates of PHS-compliant training for all UC Berkeley investigators for as long as each investigator is involved in the project and to make this information available to the UC Berkeley’s COI Coordinator upon request. PIs and Co-PIs always should make sure that have provided all required disclosures to SPO and that they understand these requirements before approving the proposal.