October 16, 2014

NIH Notice for PIs Responding to the West Africa Ebola Outbreak

The National Institutes of Health has published a Notice of Special Accommodations for Submission and Reporting Requirements for Program Directors/Principal Investigators Responding to the West Africa Ebola Outbreak (NOT-OD-15-010).

This notice states:
“In appreciation of the humanitarian assistance being provided by Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PDs/PIs) who travel to West Africa to participate in the Ebola outbreak response and other Ebola-related public health emergencies, NIH is making an accommodation to provide additional time for application submission and grant related reporting for these investigators.”

This accommodation will be extended to individuals who meet all of these conditions:
  • Served in West Africa as part of the response to the Ebola outbreak at the time of the application due date
  • Serve as PD/PI (or Multiple PD/PI) on the late application
  • Include a cover letter with their application that documents specifically that the delay was caused by the PD/PI being engaged in Ebola-related response activities in West Africa at the time the application was due.
NIH will consider these late applications based on the amount of delay caused by the emergency response and the processing time required to prepare each submitted application for peer review. See NOT-OD-15-010 for more information.

Also NIH understands that some progress report delays due to Ebola response activities are unavoidable. Therefore, if researchers are unable to complete progress reports before the scheduled due date, they should promptly contact the Sponsored Projects Office to initiate discussion with the NIH contacts listed on the Notice of Award.

NSF Accepting RAPID Proposals on Ebola Virus

The National Science Foundation has issued a Dear Colleague Letter on the Ebola Virus.

The letter states that “In light of the recent emergence of the lethal Ebola virus in the US, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebola, educate about prophylactic behaviors, and encourage the development of products, processes, and learning that can address this global challenge.”

NSF invites researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism.

Reminder: NIH Requires RPPR for All Type 5 Progress Reports

As of October 17, 2014, the National Institutes of Health is requiring grantees to submit all type 5 progress reports using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module in eRA Commons.

Annual progress reports submitted in any format other than the RPPR will not be processed by the NIH and will require resubmission through the RPPR.

For more information, see the NIH RPPR web page and the NIH Guide Notice Reminder: NIH Requires the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for All Type 5 Progress Reports (NOT-OD-15-014).

October 02, 2014

NIH Offering Webinars for New Applicants

The National Institutes of Health is offering a series of webinars in November for new NIH grant applicants, mentors, and others. The NIH Guide notice, Webinars on What You Need to Know About NIH Application Submission and Review (NOT-OD-15-002), provides details.

The NIH Center for Scientific Review will host four Meet the Experts in NIH Peer Review: Webinars for Applicants to give useful insights into the submission and peer review processes. Each of the webinars will focus on a different type of application:
  • Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15): November 4, 2014
  • Fellowship Awards: November 5, 2014
  • Small Business Grants (SBIR/STTR): November 7, 2014
  • Research Project Grants (R01): November 10, 2014
Register for the webinar you wish to join by Tuesday, October 28. NIH also plans to post archived recordings of each webinar within a week after broadcast.

October 01, 2014

DHHS and NIH: Continuing Resolution Notice

Campus researchers with Department of Health and Human Services funding, including National Institutes of Health funding, should be aware of the following notice from NIH on the Continuing Resolution, published October 1, 2014.

NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution (NOT-OD-15-001)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including NIH, operates under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.J.Res. 124) signed by President Obama on September 19, 2014. This Act (CR) continues government operations through December 11, 2014 at 99.9 percent of the FY 2014 enacted level.

Continuing the procedures identified under NOT-OD-14-055 and consistent with NIH practices during the CRs of FY 2006 – 2014, 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 2015 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period. All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2014 (see NOT-OD-14-053 and NOT-OD-14-046) remain in effect under this CR including the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale as described in NOT-OD-14-052.

September 26, 2014

NIH Progress Reports Submitted after October 1, 2014: Section on Individual Development Plans

As of October 1, 2014 all National Institutes of Health progress reports (RPPRs) must include a section to describe how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award. At this point, NIH is willing to accept a description of whether the institution uses IDPs or not and how they are employed to help manage the training and career development of those individuals. Currently Berkeley does not have an institution-wide IDP policy but such a policy will be developed.

Here is implementation information provided by NIH:

NIH progress reports using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) must include a report on the use of IDPs in Section B. Accomplishments, Question B.4. Actual IDPs should not be included. Instead, grantees will report on whether they use IDPs for all the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers included in Section D. list of Participants. The use of IDPs as well as the manner in which IDPs are used is expected to be determined by the awardee institution, but the RPPR will include a brief description of how and whether IDPs are used to help manage the career development of students and postdocs associated with that award. A similar response is required for all T, F, K, R25, R13, D43 and other awards or award components designed to provide training and professional development opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Reminder, the RPPR is currently required for all type 5 progress reports submitted using a Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP), and will be required for all non-SNAP progress reports submitted on/after October 17, 2014 (see NOT-OD-13-035 and NOT-OD-14-092).

For more information, see Revised Policy: Descriptions on the Use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers Required in Annual Progress Reports beginning October 1, 2014 (NOT-OD-14-113).

August 7, 2014 Research Advocate: NIH to Require Individual Development Plan Description in Progress Reports

Federal Agencies Collaborating on Federal RePORTER

The National Institutes of Health is collaborating with other federal agencies to create Federal RePORTER, a web portal to search federal-funded science projects across multiple agencies.

In an NIH Office of Extramural Research blog post, Take a Look at the Science Research Supported by Federal Funders, Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey describes the project, part of the STAR METRICS® program.

Federal RePORTER is still in alpha testing. However, the public is invited to try out the new search tool and provide feedback.

The database currently includes research projects funded by several Department of Health and Human Services divisions (NIH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Administration for Children and Families, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the Department of Defense, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

September 04, 2014

UC Berkeley New Faculty: Grants and Contracts and More, an Introduction Using “Speed Networking”

New UC Berkeley faculty members have much to do and little time to do it. The Vice Chancellor for Research is sponsoring an informal luncheon and information session (in speed dating format) designed to give faculty members that have been at UC Berkeley three years or less a chance to quickly learn about the services provided by the various central campus offices that assist faculty with grants and contracts and some other aspects of research administration.
  • Date and Time: September 15, 2014, 12:00-1:30 pm
  • Lunch/Meeting Location: Heyns Room, UC Berkeley Faculty Club
  • RSVP Required (space is limited)
Attend this meeting and you will find out:
  • How you can find external funding opportunities and stay up-to-date on new funding initiatives
  • Where you can go to get help with everything from basic grant writing to the coordination of large multidisciplinary and multi-institutional projects
  • How you can effectively navigate the many compliance requirements that impact your research
  • How you can protect and transfer your intellectual property
  • “Who does what” at UC Berkeley from pre award proposal development through grant close out
Participating Offices/Committees:
  • Berkeley Research Development Office
  • Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances
    • Industry Alliance Office
    • Office of Technology Licensing
  • Research Administration and Compliance
    • Sponsored Projects Office
    • Office for Animal Care and Use
    • Office for Protection of Human Subjects
    • Research Conflict of Interest Office
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Leah Pierson at: lrpierson@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-5829.

August 27, 2014

NIH Issues Genomic Data Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health has issued the final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy that “will apply to all NIH-funded, large-scale human and non-human projects that generate genomic data,” effective for funding applications submitted for the January 25, 2015 receipt date and thereafter.

The NIH Office of Extramural Research has issued implementation guidelines for grant applications and awards. Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, states in her blog post that applicants “are expected to state in their cover letter if their proposed research will generate large-scale human or non-human genomic data. If so, applicants are expected to include a genomic data sharing plan, and NIH will ask peer reviewers to comment on this plan, though it will not factor into the overall impact score for the project (unless specified otherwise in the funding opportunity announcement).”

The NIH news release states, “A key tenet of the GDS policy is the expectation that researchers obtain the informed consent of study participants for the potential future use of their de-identified data for research and for broad sharing. NIH also has similar expectations for studies that involve the use of de-identified cell lines or clinical specimens.”


August 26, 2014

FY 2015 Composite Fringe Benefit Rates Posted

The approved UC Berkeley composite fringe benefit rates for Fiscal Year 2015 received from Space and Capitol Resources are now posted on the the SPO Salary and Benefits page. The Fiscal Year 2015 rates are effective for the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

Projections for future fiscal years also are included for planning purposes only.

August 21, 2014

2014 Sponsored Projects Annual Report Published

The Sponsored Projects Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2014 is now available on the SPO web site. The report provides information on campus proposals and awards during the past year; in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the Berkeley campus received $738.5 million in contract and grant awards.

August 07, 2014

NIH to Require Individual Development Plan Description in Progress Reports

The National Institutes of Health will require that investigators submitting NIH annual progress reports on or after October 1, 2014 include a section describing how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award.

Investigators using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for NIH progress reports must include a description on the use of IDPs in Section B. Accomplishments, Question B.4., on how and whether they use IDPs for all the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers included in Section D. list of Participants. Note that actual IDPs should not be included. A similar response will be required for all T, F, K, R25, R13, D43, and other awards or award components designed to provide training and professional development opportunities for graduate students and postdocs.

DOE Open Access: Office of Science to Require Data Management Plan; New Public Portal

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced “new measures to increase access to scholarly publications and digital data” resulting from DOE-funded research.

DOE Office of Science solicitations and invitations issued on or after October 1, 2014 for new, renewal, and some supplemental funding will require “a Data Management Plan that describes whether and how the digital research data generated in the course of the proposed research will be shared and preserved.” Other DOE research offices will be implementing data management plan requirements within the next year, according to the DOE announcement.

DOE has also launched a new Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science (PAGES) to provide free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles within 12 months of publication.

July 30, 2014

MOOCs and Human Subjects Research

Rebecca Armstrong, Director of Research Subject Protection at UC Berkeley, has published an article on the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) blog, Ampersand.

The article, Getting ahead of the wave: MOOC’s and human subjects research, discusses the issues of massive open online courses (MOOCs), educational research, and, by extension, human subjects research and IRB review.

July 25, 2014

USDA Creating New Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the creation of a new Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR), that will “leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America's agricultural economy.”

FFAR was authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and will operate as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations to fund research activities that focus on problems of national and international significance. Congress provided $200 million for the foundation which must be matched by non-federal funds.

FFAR will fund research in areas that include plant and animal health; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agricultural and food security; and agriculture systems and technology.