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: 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.

AAAS: Federal Budget Process 101

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has published The Federal Budget Process 101. The article, written by Matt Hourihan, Director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, provides a step-by-step summary of the complicated annual budget cycle, from the President’s budget formulation, through Congressional appropriations, then to the execution of the budget by federal agencies starting October 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year.

The AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program provides detailed and timely analyses of federal research and development funding trends, including, for example, Research and Development Funding in FY 2015 Appropriations.

July 02, 2014

OACU/ACUC to Launch eProtocol July 2014

The UC Berkeley Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU) and the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) are transitioning from a paper-based protocol submission and review process to a web-based system called Berkeley eProtocol in July 2014. This is the same system that has been in use by the UCB Office for Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) and the Committee for Protection Human Subjects (CPHS) since 2009. Within eProtocol, the two different protocol systems are designated as eProtocol IACUC (animals) and eProtocol IRB (humans subjects).

eProtocol is a proven system that has not only been in place at Berkeley since 2009, it’s also in use at many other academic institutions, including Stanford University, University of Texas (Austin), Colorado State University, Harvard University, and University of Minnesota, to name a few.

How does this impact you?
  • Effective July 1, 2014, all new protocols must be submitted online via eProtocol.
    • eProtocol will be available for submissions starting July 30, 2014.
    • New submission received prior to August 25, 2014, will be reviewed at the October 8th ACUC meeting. See the ACUC web site for submission deadlines.
  • Protocols due for their de novo (three-year) review in October 2014 must be submitted online via eProtocol.
  • Revisions to existing “electronic” protocols (“eProtocols”) will be made using the eProtocol system.
  • Annual reviews and revisions to existing “paper” protocols can continue to use the paper-based process up until the protocol’s de novo submission.
  • Investigators may opt to submit a revision as a new electronic eProtocol and they are strongly encouraged to contact the OACU Director regarding this possibility.
What are the benefits of eProtocol?
  • eProtocol will be a “one-stop shop” for investigators submitting both human and animal research protocols (one PI dashboard to navigate from).
  • PIs can designate up to two other people to have “editing” access to the protocol.
  • Protocols will be readily accessible online for all team members through “view only” access.
  • eProtocol sends automatic email reminders to the PI, Lab Contact and third designated individual on protocol for protocol annual renewals and three-year de novo reviews.
  • eProtocol sends automated emails acknowledging receipt of submission, when review questions from ACUC/OACU have been sent to the PI, and when the protocol action has been approved.
  • PIs can “clone” (i.e. copy) a protocol and edit from that point or they can choose to cut and paste from a Word document into the text fields in answering questions. Or, both strategies can be used when writing/developing a new protocol submission.
  • eProtocol provides secure, worldwide access (where the internet is available) for the PI to work on documents and even submit them.
  • Because documents (animal use protocols, review questions, attachments) reside within the web-based system, there are no version control issues.
  • After initial protocol submission, annual reviews and subsequent de novo submissions will be greatly simplified.
  • eProtocol simplifies the process of revision submission and we anticipate it will speed the approval process along.
  • eProtocol will help the PI and ACUC ensure compliance more efficiently and effectively, particularly for USDA-regulated species.

June 26, 2014

SPO Service Schedule September 12, 2014

On Friday, September 12, 2014, the majority of Sponsored Projects Office staff will be involved in a regional meeting with sponsored project officers from Stanford University and UCSF. SPO services on this date therefore will be limited to front-desk administrative duties. Proposal and award set-up activity will resume on Monday, September 15. Individuals submitting proposals or other time-sensitive transactions during this time frame should plan accordingly.

June 16, 2014

UCOP Launches OMB Uniform Guidance Page

The Research Policy Analysis and Coordination office in the University of California Office of the President has launched a new web page to centralize information on the OMB Uniform Guidance. The page includes a Federal Resources section with links to the new Guidance and other federal information and a Higher Education Resources section including links to analysis from the Council on Governmental Relations, the Federal Demonstration Partnership, and other organizations.

As UC develops its implementation plan, information and resources will be posted to the site.

May 12, 2014 Research Advocate: NSF Issues Draft Implementation Plan for OMB Uniform Guidance
January 30, 2014 Research Advocate: COFAR Posts Training Webcast on Federal Grants Reform Uniform Guidance
January 2, 2014 Research Advocate: OMB Publishes Federal Grants Reform Guidance
December 19, 2013 Research Advocate: OMB to Issue “Super Circular” Grant Reform Guidance

June 03, 2014

Department of Education Webinars on Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is hosting a series of webinars in June related to research funding opportunities. The first is on June 5 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Pacific Time. See IES Funding Opportunities Webinar Series for more information and to register.
  • Overview of Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research, June 5
  • Overview of Continuous Improvement Research in Education (CIRE) and Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies (State and Local), June 9
  • Overview of Education Research & Development Centers Competition (84.305C), June 10
  • Application Submission Process, June 11
  • Application Submission Process, June 25

May 30, 2014

NSF Clarifies Policy on Abstracts and Titles

The National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice to Presidents of Universities and Colleges and Heads of Other National Science Foundation Awardee Organizations: NSF Abstracts and Titles (Notice No. 136) to clarify the NSF policy on award abstracts and titles. NSF is acting to ensure that abstracts and titles clearly convey to the public justification for NSF actions and funding decisions.

The notice states:

The Title of an NSF supported project must describe the purpose of the research in nontechnical terms to the fullest possible extent.

There are two major components of the NSF Abstract:
  • A nontechnical description of the project that states the problem to be studied, and explains the project’s broader significance and importance, that serves as a public justification for NSF funding. This component should be understandable to an educated lay reader. It may include such information as the theoretical or analytical foundation of the proposed research, the fundamental issues that may be resolved by the research, the project’s relation to NSF’s mission, the project’s place in the context of ongoing research in the field, the project’s potential impact on other fields, and the prospect that it will lead to significant advances or the integration of related lines of inquiry.
  • A technical description of the project that states the goals and scope of the research, and the methods and approaches to be used. In many cases, the technical description may be a modified version of the project summary submitted with the proposal.
Thus, an NSF award abstract which is intended for a broad audience may differ from the Project Summary that is submitted as part of a technically reviewed proposal.

May 21, 2014

Exciting Developments in Phoebe!

The Sponsored Projects Office is committed to making Phoebe available to all departments and units across campus. We also are always looking for ways to make proposal preparation within Phoebe more straightforward and trouble free. In that vein, we are pleased to announce the following recent developments in Phoebe.

Guidance for Small Units Joining Phoebe
Is your department or unit interested in accessing Phoebe? Please consult SPO’s new guidance.

Submit to Sponsor
Want to know if your proposal has been submitted? Contract and Grant Officers (CGOs) at SPO are now able to click on a newly exposed button in the system labeled “submit to sponsor.” The button is only visible to CGOs and, upon submitting proposals to agency sponsors, CGOs will now immediately click on that button, which will update the status of the record to “Approval Pending – Submitted.” The status appears in the upper, right-hand corner of the record and can be viewed by principal investigators (PIs), department approvers, and CSS/department administrators with appropriate access.

Phoebe Proposal Preparation Checklist - Now Available
New to Phoebe or just want to make sure you have completed all the required proposal steps? Please visit our Proposal Checklist for Departments, now included in the Phoebe Instructions.

PHS FCOI PI Certification Form - No Longer Required for Proposals in Phoebe
Note that this form is still required at other stages of the funding cycle – new award, non-competing award, no cost extension – but it is not required as an upload for proposals in Phoebe. PIs now are able to certify to the language on the form as part of the online approval process within Phoebe. See What SPO Requires: PHS FCOI Guide for Department Research Administrators and PIs for more information.

Reminder: Avoid Identity Theft
Please remember a proposal initiator should NEVER log into Phoebe with a PI’s CalNet information. If a PI asks you to use his or her CalNet ID to carry out PI functions within Phoebe explain that a CalNet ID should never be shared with anyone for any reason. This is to protect the PI’s personal data, which should be kept private, and to ensure that PI approvals and certifications within Phoebe are valid. The approvals that we track in the system are serious in nature and we want to avoid any gray areas regarding approval and/or allegations that someone’s sensitive personal information has been misused.

We hope these updates are useful, and please feel free to write to our mailing list at with any questions or ideas for improvements.