December 08, 2016

NSF Issues Revised Application Guide

The National Science Foundation has issued a revised version of the NSF 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 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.

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.


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


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

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 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

September 20, 2016

NSF Proposals: New FastLane Compliance Checks Effective September 26

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

Dear Colleagues:

Effective September 26, 2016, FastLane will now check to ensure that the combined text of the Project Summary text boxes (or uploaded PDF if the Project Summary contains special characters) does not exceed one page prior to submission, rather than the current check of 4,600 characters. See the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter II.C.2.b, for further information.

The compliance check will trigger an error message in the following circumstances:
  • Project Summary text exceeds the one-page limit; and
  • Project Summary text is entered and the user also uploads a “Project Summary with Special Characters” supplementary document.
Proposal File Update (PFU) Implications:

Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was received by NSF prior to September 26, 2016, containing a Project Summary that complies with the previous 4,600-character limit but exceeds the one-page limit, a PFU addressing any section of the proposal will result in the proposal not being accepted if it does not comply with these compliance checks. The checks will be run on all sections of the proposal, regardless of which section was updated during the PFU.

(Note from SPO to Berkeley researchers: This means that if you update any section of a proposal that you submitted prior to September 26, you will also need to modify your Project Summary if it exceeds the one-page limit. Failure to do so will cause the proposal not to be accepted.) Implications:

Proposers should also be aware that will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements. Should NSF receive a proposal via that is not compliant, it will be returned without review.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Policy-related questions should be directed to

Thank you,
Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution & Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
voice: 703.292.4573

September 08, 2016

CIRM Holding Roadshow Meetings

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) will be conducting a Roadshow, a series of meetings throughout the state to re-introduce stakeholders to CIRM, including the new CIRM strategic plan, funding programs, application and review process, as well as an overview of post-award issues. The meeting presentation will be high level, but the CIRM team will be available after the presentation for Q&A. Over the next four years, CIRM will make approximately $700,000,000 in new awards to advance stem cell research and development.

Meetings scheduled for the San Francisco Bay Area are on September 26 at the California Life Sciences Association in San Francisco, September 28 at Stanford University, and October 11 at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. See the CIRM Roadshow for details and links to RSVP for the meetings.

September 01, 2016

Reminder to NSF PIs

Principal Investigators of National Science Foundation awards must acknowledge NSF’s support in any publication (including Web pages) of any material based on or developed under the PI’s NSF project. The following statement should be used:
“This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF grant number).”
PIs also must provide the following disclaimer (unless NSF states otherwise in the award document) in every publication of material (including World Wide Web pages) based on or developed under the PI’s NSF award, except scientific articles or papers appearing in scientific, technical or professional journals.
“Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”
NSF support also must be orally acknowledged by the PI during all news media interviews about the NSF project, including popular media such as radio, television and news magazines.

These requirements are found in the NSF Award and Administration Guide (NSF 16-1), Chapter VI - Other Post Award Requirements and Considerations, section E. Publication/Distribution of Grant Materials.

August 29, 2016 Changing in December 2017

The following message was received today from This change will have a significant impact on how applications are compiled in the future. Although the change is not until December 2017, you may want to check out the Workspace overview and training. User,

In an effort to provide continued updates about the upcoming changes to, we are providing notice that in December 2017, will phase out the Legacy Application Package. This means that applicants will no longer be able to apply using the older, single PDF package of forms.

Instead, applicants will apply for grants using Workspace, which separates the application package into individual forms. Applicants will apply by creating a workspace, completing the individual PDF forms, and submitting their application workspace package. Also, the new online forms interface will be added to and will be accessible through Workspace in mid-2017.

The phase-out of the Legacy Application Package is still more than a year away, but now is the time to prepare for this change.

Use Workspace to apply for your next federal grant. Doing so will also prepare you to use the upcoming online forms feature.

Using Workspace brings a range of benefits to applicants and their organizations:
  1. Workspace streamlines collaboration. Multiple forms can be completed at once by a team of applicants.
  2. Workspace saves time. Forms from old workspaces can be reused, reducing data-entry, and saving valuable time.
  3. Workspace helps detect errors earlier. Improved error-checking allows applicants to catch and correct errors earlier resulting in fewer rejected submissions.
  4. Workspace simplifies applying. In a Workspace, every link and button is explained in context-sensitive help articles. has also created a series of video tutorials to walk applicants through the Workspace submission process.
Please review the Notices page for up-to-date information regarding upcoming changes:

For more information about Workspace, please visit our various Workspace resources:
Please feel free to share them by emailing us at or posting feedback on the Community Blog.

Note: S2S users are unaffected by this phase-out.


Composite Fringe Benefit Rate Update

The composite fringe benefit rates for fiscal year 2016-17 have been approved. Projected rates (FY18-FY22), which are estimates for planning purposes, have also been posted on the SPO website.

August 18, 2016

New Process for Some Subrecipients: UCB Participating in FDP Pilot

UC Berkeley is now participating in a pilot test of a new way of processing subawards being conducted by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). The goal is to reduce the amount of time and effort that organizations like UC Berkeley spend collecting institutional information from each other.

What this means to campus is that beginning August 18, 2016, UC Berkeley will have two sets of requirements for subrecipients listed in Berkeley proposals:
  1. Any subrecipient that is participating in the FDP pilot will only need to complete a one-page form, the FDP Pilot Subrecipient Project Information sheet.
  2. All other subrecipients will be required to provide a longer form, the Subrecipient Commitment Form (Non-FDP Pilot Institutions).
Both documents can be found under Forms on the SPO website.

The FDP pilot group now includes approximately 78 institutions and organizations across the nation. See FDP Expanded Clearinghouse - Subrecipients for a link to the list of entities that will be participating in the pilot. Institutional information for each entity participating in the FDP pilot will be maintained on the FDP website so it will no longer be necessary to collect this type of information on a subrecipient commitment form.

The pilot test will last 18 months. If results of the pilot are positive, the plan is to allow other FDP institutions to participate.

CSS and Department administrators are encouraged to become familiar with the names of the entities participating in the FDP pilot to ensure that these entities receive the proper form when requesting subrecipient information. Note that only groups participating in the FDP pilot should be asked to fill out the FDP Pilot Subrecipient Project Information sheet.

August 5, 2016 Research Advocate: Upcoming: New Process for Some Subrecipients