November 19, 2009

NSF Publishes New Guide

The National Science Foundation has issued a new Application Guide, dated December 1, 2009.

NSF provides a summary of significant changes in the Guide, listed below.
  • The section on post-submission to has been updated to reflect the availability of to track the status of grant applications to NSF (Chapter III, Section 6).

  • The NSF Application Cover Page has been updated to include the Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) mechanisms (Chapter VI, Section 1).

  • The NSF Application Checklist is no longer a form required to be submitted with each application. Rather, it has been converted to a Checklist for use by the organization in conducting an administrative review, prior to electronic submission, to ensure that an application complies with all application preparation instructions, in the format specified. The NSF Application Checklist now appears in Chapter VII.

November 16, 2009

SPO Implements New Proposal Review Form

On November 16, 2009, the Sponsored Projects Office implemented a new improved format for its Proposal Review Form (PRF). The new form can be found on the SPO web site on the UC Berkeley Forms page. Please delete any previous versions of the form that you may have saved on your computer, and start using the new form immediately. If you have already prepared a PRF for a new proposal, and it is not possible to get new signatures in time to meet the 5 day deadline to SPO, you may include the old form with your proposal. However, the old form does not include several required fields, and if you use this form you will be required to provide additional information. After January 1, 2010, SPO will not approve any proposal submitted with the old PRF form.

What is different?

New Format – Although much of the information has remained the same we have changed the way that the form is organized to be more intuitive, and to communicate information in a more meaningful way. To do this, we have expanded the form to two pages in order to accommodate a more readable font size. Also, fields that relate to each other have been grouped together so that administrators and investigators new to proposal submission at UC Berkeley can more easily understand what information we are asking for.

Tool Tips – We have added tool tips (or mouse overs) to fields that are commonly misinterpreted, or fields where administrators and investigators may want a quick reminder while filling out the form.

Drop Down Menus – In several areas we have replaced the check boxes with drop down menus. This allows us to provide more categories that may more accurately reflect the nature of the proposed project, while at the same time keeping the form uncluttered and easily readable.

Note Fields – It is not possible to create a form that incorporates all possible situations, while keeping it useful for everyday department purposes. To help compensate for this, we have included fields specifically for the PI and the department to communicate additional information as need to SPO and each other.

Key Personnel – This is a new mandatory field for the PRF and has been added to enable the department and SPO to review the effort commitments of Key Personnel at the time of proposal. As with many fields on the PRF, this is a necessary first step we take to comply with Federal requirements. This does represent a new area of compliance for the University, so we have incorporated this information into the PRF in order to minimize the additional administrative burden on the department. Please note that we only need this information for people listed as Key Personnel, and not all personnel on the project.

Addenda – We have created the Expanded Personnel Form to accommodate large projects with more than five Key Personnel. We have also created an Expanded Signature Page for interdepartmental projects, and projects with multiple Co-PIs.

We have also updated the Instructions, and added a Frequently Asked Questions page in order to provide additional resources for both Berkeley researchers and their administrative support.

November 06, 2009

RAC Offices to Close During the Annual Campus Winter Break

The Animal Care and Use Committee Office, the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, the Sponsored Projects Office, and the Research Administration and Compliance Office will be closed during the campus energy curtailment beginning Wednesday, December 23, 2009 through Wednesday, January 6, 2010. Offices will reopen on Thursday, January 7, 2010.

SPO Proposal Submission

SPO will process proposals due in December and January according to the VCR’s five-day proposal submission policy with the following exceptions:
  • For proposals with deadlines that fall between December 23 and January 8th, the due date to SPO will be no later than Wednesday, December 16, 2009.
  • For proposals due January 11th-13th, the due date to SPO will be no later than noon on Monday, December 21, 2009.
  • SPO will not accept proposals after noon on Monday, December 21, 2009.
To assist Berkeley faculty and staff members who need to submit proposals before and/or after the holiday/furlough period SPO will extend its drop box hours from 7 am to 6 pm from December 9th to the 18th. SPO will collect proposals from the drop box each day at 6 pm. These proposals then will be logged in on this date. A SPO Research Analyst also will be available to answer general proposal questions from 7 to 8 am and 5 to 6 pm each day during this same time period. Persons needing assistance from 7 to 8 am and 5 to 6 pm should call the main SPO number: 642-0120.

PIs also are encouraged to inform their SPO Research Analyst if they will be submitting a proposal with a due date just prior to, during, or just after the curtailment period. This will give SPO and the PI an opportunity to discuss the best way to handle the proposal to make sure it is submitted in a timely manner.

ACUC Protocol Submission
  • Please note that all protocols and protocol revisions must be submitted via email to: by 5 pm on the deadline date.
  • If you wish to make changes to an approved protocol, you must first contact the ACUC office to obtain a copy of the current approved version of your protocol. Failure to do so may result in your protocol being returned to you.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the January 20, 2010 meeting is Monday, November 16, 2009.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the February 17, 2010 meeting is January 5, 2010. No exceptions to this deadline will be granted as ACUC staff must process all protocols for the February meeting by end of business on January 6, 2010.
CPHS Protocol Submission
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 4, 2009 CPHS-I meeting is Monday, November 9, 2009.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 18, 2009 CPHS-II meeting is Monday, November 23, 2009.
  • There is no CPHS-I meeting in January 2010; the deadline for protocol submission for the February 5, 2010 CPHS-I meeting is Monday, January 11, 2010. Please note that any new protocol to be reviewed at this meeting must be submitted via eProtocol.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the January 22, 2010 CPHS-II meeting is Friday, December 18, 2009. (Please note this is an earlier deadline than usual).
  • Important: if your study is “greater than minimal risk” needing full board review and the approval will expire before January 22, 2010, you must submit your renewal application in time for review at a December 2009 CPHS meeting.
  • No deliveries will be accepted after noon on December 22, 2009; any documents left in the drop box over the break will not be retrieved and logged until January 7, 2010.
  • eProtocol Announcement: OPHS anticipates that as of December 18, 2009 investigators will be required to submit ALL NEW PROTOCOLS via eProtocol, therefore no paper-based submissions for new protocols will be accepted after NOON on Friday, December 18, 2009. Please check the CPHS website for updates or changes to this deadline.
In addition, for protocols determined to be exempt prior to July 1, 2009 if an investigator wants to make a modification or revision to his/her protocol then s/he must re-submit the exempt protocol via eProtocol as a “new” project and incorporate the amendment into the protocol application. Please include a reference in the narrative to the original exempt determination CPHS# and append the “old” determination of exemption approval letter to the submission. See the CPHS web site for more detail about eProtocol submissions.

NIH Non-Competing Grant Awards under the FY 2010 Continuing Resolution

The National Institutes of Health, as in previous years, has issued a notice regarding awards during the continuing resolution that continues funding to the agency while Congress works to finish the fiscal year 2010 budget appropriations.

The November 5 NIH Guide notice states:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to operate on a continuing resolution (CR), Public Law 111-88 signed on October 30, 2009 making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies, including NIH, and for other purposes for FY 2010, which currently extends through December 18, 2009. The current CR applies the terms of the FY 2009 appropriations for the period covered by the CR.

Until the final FY 2010 appropriation is enacted, 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). This is consistent with our practice during the CRs of FY 2006 - 2009. NIH will consider upward adjustments to these levels after the final appropriation is enacted, but expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period.
The NIH Extramural Financial Operations page has additional information on the NIH budget.

Questions regarding adjustments applied to individual UC Berkeley grant awards may be directed to your SPO research administrator.

October 07, 2009


On October 1, 2009, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture was replaced by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. All CSREES authorities, duties, and obligations are transferred to NIFA as stated in the 2008 Farm Bill.

NIFA’s mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.

President Obama has appointed Dr. Roger Beachy, founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, to serve as the first director of the new agency.

October 05, 2009

SPO Provides Guidance for Furlough Exchange Program (FEP) Charges to Grants and Contracts

The Sponsored Projects Office has provided guidance for the Berkeley campus on Furlough Exchange Program (FEP) charges to grants and contracts.

Full-time faculty in a Professorial or Lecturer Security of Employment title series who are Principal Investigators and are subject to the Furlough/Salary Reduction Program may choose to participate in the FEP. Under the FEP, a PI may charge one or more externally funded projects for time and effort equivalent to the percent of their furloughed time if this will contribute to the success of the project/s.

See the the SPO guidance for detailed information, links to UCOP memoranda and the UCOP Q&A for contract and grant officers, and additional clarification from NSF.

UC Santa Cruz Hosts NSF Day on November 20

The National Science Foundation and UC Santa Cruz will be holding a one-day “NSF Day” workshop on Friday, November 20, 2009, on the UCSC campus.

The workshop is primarily designed for researchers and educators less experienced in proposing to the NSF; however, more experienced proposers and NSF grantees may find the workshop useful and informative.

The workshop will provide an overview of NSF, its mission, priorities, and budget. It will cover the NSF proposal and merit review process and NSF programs that cut across disciplines. Additionally, representatives from the seven NSF directorates and the Office of International Science and Engineering will make presentations on their programs and will also be available informally and in breakout sessions for discussions of potential research proposals.

The agenda, registration form, and directions are provided by NSF. NSF is not charging a registration fee for the workshop; however, preregistration is required. Submit the registration form to NSF by Friday, November 13, 2009.

NSF Revises Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Effective January 4

The National Science Foundation has published a revised version of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPP), NSF 10-1, which will become effective for proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010. The guidelines in NSF 09-29 remain effective through January 3, 2010.

Significant changes made to the PAPP include:
  • Addition of a completely new proposal certification by the Authorized Organizational Representative that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF, to address the responsible conduct of research requirement of the America COMPETES Act; and

  • An entirely new requirement for PIs to provide a project outcomes report, submitted electronically via, for the general public within 90 days following the expiration of the grant, to comply with the America COMPETES Act.
NSF provides a by-Chapter summary of significant changes at the beginning of the Grant Proposal Guide and the Award and Administration Guide.

September 23, 2009

New Shorter NIH Application Forms Required for January Deadlines

The National Institutes of Health has announced that new, restructured versions of the paper PHS 398 and electronic SF 424 (R&R) application packages and instructions will be available by December 2009.

All new or resubmission applications targeting due dates on or after January 25, 2010 (for fiscal year 2011 funding) must use the new application forms and instructions, even if the initial submission followed the current application forms and instructions.

NIH will issue an NIH Guide Notice when the new forms and instructions are available. Applicants must return to the Funding Opportunity Announcement or reissued parent announcement to download the new forms and instructions.

Changes include significantly shorter page limits and restructured application packages. These changes will affect all competing applications submitted to NIH.

Key changes include:

Shortened Page Limits. The page limit for the new Research Strategy section will be 6 or 12 pages. One additional page will be allowed for Specific Aims.

Alignment of the Application with Peer Review Criteria:
  • Research Plan. Three sections of the current Research Plan (Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies/Progress Report, and Research Design and Methods) will be consolidated into a new single section within the Research Plan entitled Research Strategy. The new Research Strategy section will be sub-divided into three parts: Significance, Innovation, and Approach.

  • Resources. The Facilities and Other Resources section will be changed to require a description of how the scientific environment will contribute to the probability of success of the project, unique features of the environment, and for Early Stage Investigators, the institutional investment in the success of the investigator.

  • Biographical Sketch. A new Personal Statement will be incorporated as Part A, changing the parts formerly called A, B, and C to Parts B, C, and D. Applicants should limit the list of selected peer-reviewed publications to no more than 15.

For more information, see:

September 18, 2009

Guidance for Campus: Preparation for ARRA Reports

September 18, 2009
From: Lori Cripps, Director, Extramural Funds Accounting
To: Department Research Administrators
Subject: Preparation for ARRA Reports - due October 10, 2009

This message is for all department managers and administrators with awards funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

A critical component of ARRA requires awardees to submit quarterly reports for all awards received. Completed reports are due no later than 10 calendar days after each calendar quarter in which the recipient receives the award. Reports for the quarter ending September 30, 2009 must be submitted to the federal government by October 10.

Berkeley is working to develop a web-based portal to facilitate the compilation and submission of these quarterly reports. Most of the required information used to populate the portal will be pulled directly from existing campus systems -- COEUS and BAIRS. However, currently there are six data fields that will require input from the department. The six fields are: 1) award description; 2) quarterly activities; 3) project completion status; 4) number of jobs created and jobs retained; 5) description of the jobs created and retained; and 6) description of the product/service for vendor payments over $25K. Additional information and guidance on the specific requirements of these fields will be provided soon on the EFA website

The timeframe to submit this information will be very short, and we anticipate that the web portal will be available no sooner than October 1. To ease the reporting requirements, we recommend you begin gathering the required information now so that you will be able to respond quickly to the call for submission of information.

During the next few weeks we will be providing ARRA updates on the status of the portal project, as well as plans for training and roll-out of the reporting tool. Please subscribe to the ARRA listserve to be certain you receive all future ARRA communications. To subscribe, please go to

If you have any questions about ARRA reporting requirements, please contact me at, or (510) 642-1371.

NOTE: Departments will be responsible for reporting ARRA jobs created and jobs retained for sub-recipients receiving funding from ARRA awards made to UCB. The Sponsored Projects Office will be issuing guidance for departments on how to report this information shortly.

August 31, 2009

NIH Issues Revised PHS 2590, Implements Policy Changes

The National Institutes of Health has revised “Continuation Progress Report for a DHHS Public Health Service Grant” (PHS 2590, rev. 06/09). The newly revised instructions and forms are available at The revised PHS 2590 form will will be accepted immediately for all progress reports and will be required for all annual progress reports due on or after October 1, 2009.

NIH will release corresponding changes to the eSNAP Commons Module on October 9, 2009. For eSNAPs due October 15th, NIH encourages grantees to delay submitting eSNAP reports until after the October 9th enhancements are in production in order to implement use of the revisions for all progress reports submitted for FY 2010 funding. For eSNAPs due by October 15th, NIH encourages grantees to submit them on time; however, an additional grace period to November 1, 2009 is permitted to accommodate these changes.

This revision of the PHS 2590 implements a number of important policy changes, including:
  • New All Personnel Report: Replacement of the Senior/Key Personnel Report with an All Personnel Report (Form Page 7) that collects information on all personnel who participate in the project for at least one person month or more. The All Personnel Report also implements a new NIH requirement that all individuals with a postdoctoral role with one person month of more of measurable effort must have an eRA Commons user ID (see NIH Guide Notice OD-09-140, New Requirement for eRA Commons User IDs for Individuals in a Postdoctoral Project Role with Measurable Effort on an NIH Annual Progress Report (PHS2590), for details and background on this new requirement).

  • New Assurance for Institutions Receiving Awards for Training of Graduate Students for Doctoral Degrees: For institutions receiving NIH awards for graduate training through certain Institutional training grants, a new Graduate Student Assurance, required by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-482) is now included. In addition, for annual progress reports for Institutional training grants Table 12A is modified to collect data related to the Graduate Student Assurance. More details on this new institutional assurance are described in NIH Guide Notice OD-09-141 , New Reporting and Assurance Requirements for Institutions Receiving Awards for Training of Graduate Students for Doctoral Degrees.

  • Inclusion of Changes to Innovative Potential: As part of the NIH Enhancing Peer Review Initiative, PD/PIs are asked, if applicable, to address any changes to the innovative potential of the project. This information is now part of the Progress Report Summary, Section B. Studies and Results.

  • Changes to the Biographical Sketch: Another change associated with the peer review initiative is the addition of a Personal Statement to the biographical sketch. The statement is for the senior/key personnel to address why their experience and qualifications make them particularly well-suited for their role on the project. Instructions for the biographical sketch also encourage applicants to limit the list of publications to no more than 15. Reminder: A new biosketch is only required as part of the progress report for new senior/key personnel since the previous submission.

  • Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs): A new item is added to the Progress Report Summary, under D. Plans, as Item E. Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line(s) Used, for grantees to note if proposed research involving hESCs is different from that proposed in the previous submission, including use of a different cell line (Form Page 5).

DOE Requests Input on Future ARPA-E Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a Request for Information requesting public input on potential programmatic areas and opportunities to overcome technological roadblocks to the development of transformational technologies relevant to the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) mission. Information collected will assist ARPA-E in developing new programs and funding opportunities.

ARPA-E was authorized by the America COMPETES Act (PL 110-69) and charged with the mission to fund projects that will develop transformational technologies that reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy imports; reduce U.S. energy related emissions, including greenhouse gases; improve energy efficiency across all sectors of the U.S. economy; and ensure that the U.S. maintains its leadership in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.

Responses are due by September 25, 2009.

NSB Issues Report with Recommendations on NSF Cost-Sharing Policies

In October 2007, the National Science Board established the Task Force on Cost Sharing to examine issues related to National Science Foundation cost-sharing policy. In February 2009, NSB sought public comment on a draft report. On August 27, 2009, NSB issued the final report, NSB-09-20, Investing in the Future: NSF Cost Sharing Policies for a Robust Federal Research Enterprise.

From the Executive Summary of the report:
In this report, the National Science Board (Board) prescribes a set of recommendations with two primary objectives:

(1) to allow, but narrowly circumscribe, the application of mandatory cost sharing requirements in NSF programs in which cost sharing is foundational to achieving programmatic goals, and

(2) to prohibit voluntary committed cost sharing in NSF proposals and thus eliminate post-award tracking and reporting requirements associated with such cost sharing.

These recommendations are intended to improve consistency and clarity of NSF cost sharing practices and policy and to maximize the effectiveness of institutional dollars invested in research. The Board firmly believes that prohibiting voluntary committed cost sharing, and permitting mandatory cost sharing requirements only in limited and appropriate circumstances, will not reduce institutional commitment and financial contributions to NSF-sponsored projects or negatively impact institutional stewardship of Federal resources. Instead, it likely will enhance the ability of institutions to strategically and flexibly plan, invest in, and conduct research projects and programs, and will promote equity among grantee institutions in NSF funding competitions.
Selected Recommendations:
NSF should reinstate mandatory cost sharing for the following programs for which cost sharing is foundational to strategic programmatic goals: the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) program, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ESPCoR), and the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) program. In the case of EPSCoR, mandatory cost sharing requirements may be met in aggregate by contributions across all institutions and/or organizations in the jurisdiction. In accordance with the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69), mandatory cost sharing is also implemented in the Major Research Instrumentation Program and the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

NSF should prohibit voluntary committed cost sharing in all components of both solicited and unsolicited proposals. To ensure that reviewers, NSF program officers, and grantee officials have sufficient information regarding investigator capabilities and institutional resources, NSF should broaden the intent and usage of the existing Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources (FER) section of proposals. Specifically, the FER section should contain a comprehensive description of all resources necessary for and available to a project, without reference to cost, date of acquisition, and whether the resources are currently available or would be provided upon receipt of the grant. The prohibition of voluntary committed cost sharing will eliminate tracking and reporting requirements, imposed externally on institutions, previously associated with such resources. In recognition of the culture shift in the research community necessitated by this change, NSF should clearly and regularly communicate this new policy to program officers, external reviewers, and the proposer community.
The full report is available at

February 3 Research Advocate article: NSB Requests Comments on NSF Cost-Sharing Policy

August 06, 2009

NIH Stem Cell Guidelines to Apply to All Federal Agencies

In a July 30 memorandum to the heads of federal agencies, President Obama directed agencies to adopt the new NIH guidelines governing federally funded research on human stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells.

The memo states:
In order to ensure that all federally funded human stem cell research is conducted according to these same principles and to promote a uniform Federal policy across the executive branch, I hereby direct the heads of executive departments and agencies that support and conduct stem cell research to adopt these Guidelines, to the fullest extent practicable in light of legal authorities and obligations. I also direct those departments and agencies to submit to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), within 90 days, proposed additions or revisions to any other guidance, policies, or procedures related to human stem cell research, consistent with Executive Order 13505 and this memorandum.

July 6 Research Advocate article: Final NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research

NIH Updates Conflict of Interest FAQ and Web-based Tutorial

The National Institutes of Health has updated two resources provided on the NIH Office of Extramural Research Conflict of Interest web page:
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Requirements for NIH-Supported Institutions, and

  • Web-based Tutorial on Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Requirements for NIH-Supported Institutions (also available in PDF). The tutorial now includes the mandatory use of the eRA Commons FCOI Module for grantees submitting FCOI reports beginning July 1, 2009.

August 22, 2008 Research Advocate article: NIH Publishes Web-based Tutorial on Financial Conflict of Interest Requirements

August 04, 2009

SPO Subrecipient Commitment Form Now Available

Since the fall semester of 2008, the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) has been conducting a pilot test of Berkeley's Subrecipient Commitment Form in several departments across campus. The purpose of this form is to expedite the process of setting up subawards after Berkeley receives a grant so that work on the sponsored project can be initiated as soon as possible. The form also is designed to help subrecipients understand at the proposal stage what will be required of them by Berkeley should an award be made. This includes compliance with federal regulations such as those governing research with human or animal subjects, conflict of interest disclosures, and OMB Circular A-133.

The pilot test of the form has been completed and user evaluations have been used to improve and finalize the form for general campus use. The Subrecipient Commitment Form and directions for completing the form are now available on the SPO website:

The Subrecipient Commitment Form for each subawardee should now be provided to SPO at the proposal stage with other proposal documents. To ensure that the information provided on the form is accurate and up-to-date, the form must be signed by an authorized institutional representative of the subawardee. Subawardees included in previously submitted Berkeley proposals that did not have an opportunity to submit a signed Subrecipient Commitment Form will be asked to do so prior to the establishment of a subaward between the subawardee and Berkeley.

Questions about the form at proposal stage should be directed to SPO research administrators (; questions about the use of the form at the award stage should be directed to the SPO subaward coordinator, Jennifer Nadeau (

July 28, 2009

NASA Requiring Organizational Relationship Confirmation in NSPIRES

Beginning August 8, 2009, NASA will require that all proposal team members confirm an organizational relationship in the NSPIRES system before a proposal can be submitted using the system. NASA is making this change to improve the process by which potential conflicts of interest are determined.

For a proposal to be submitted with NSPIRES after August 7, 2009, all proposal team members must confirm an organizational relationship, i.e., identify the organization through which they are participating in a given proposal. A proposal cannot submitted if an organizational relationship is missing for any team member, regardless of role on the proposal (e.g., Co-I, collaborator).

NASA has provided explanatory procedures to guide both existing and prospective team members through this process. The NSPIRES Help Desk can answer questions and provide assistance: (202) 479-9376 or

July 06, 2009

Final NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research

On March 9, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO)13505 Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. The EO states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the National Institues of Health, may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, to the extent permitted by law.

On July 6, the NIH published final NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research, along with the public comments on the draft Guidelines. The Guidelines will be effective on July 7, 2009.

From the July 6 NIH Guide Notice:
The Guidelines will ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with applicable law. Internal NIH policies and procedures, consistent with the EO and these Guidelines, will govern the conduct of intramural NIH stem cell research.

The Guidelines prescribe the assurances and supporting documentation that must accompany requests for NIH funding for research using hESCs, and describe research that is not eligible for NIH funding. NIH will provide additional guidance concerning the implementation of the Guidelines and the status of pending applications in future Guide Notices.

Ongoing NIH-supported research involving previously approved hESC lines may continue. No new uses of hESC may be initiated in ongoing funded studies unless reviewed and approved by the NIH.

Update: A July 15 NIH Guide Notice, Status of Applications and Awards under the New NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research, “provides information about new applications proposing to use hESCs, ongoing NIH research using previously approved hESC lines, and the status of applications previously submitted to NIH proposing to use hESCs, including those that received initial peer review prior to April 17, 2009 when NIH announced that applications that had not already been reviewed would be held pending issuance of the final Guidelines. ”

April 23 Research Advocate article: NIH Issues Implementation Notice and Draft Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research

June 11, 2009

Berkeley eProtocol for Human Subjects Research: Required for All Exempt Protocols on July 1

Berkeley eProtocol is a user-friendly, online system for submitting, tracking, reviewing, and approving CPHS human subject research protocols. After a successful pilot testing phase CPHS and OPHS are ready to fully implement this paperless submission process for all exempt level protocol submissions beginning July 1, 2009!

To submit an exempt protocol via Berkeley eProtocol go to:

Paper-based (hard copy) submissions of exempt applications received on or after July 1, 2009 will be returned to the investigator. OPHS encourages investigators who may be submitting their exempt applications in late June 2009 to use eProtocol instead of paper.

What is Exempt Research?
For information about what it means to qualify as exempt, categories, and examples of exempt research, see the CPHS Guidelines in Exempt Research at:

Question and Comments
If you have any questions or comments about the new Berkeley eProtocol system, please contact OPHS Director Rebecca Armstrong at or OPHS eProtocol project manager Maria Savage at

March 20 Research Advocate article: Berkeley eProtocol for Human Subjects Research Goes Live!

June 08, 2009

Alert: Many State-Funded Projects may be Cut

The Governor of the State of California has issued Executive Order S-09-09 effective as of this date, June 8, 2009. This order directs all state funds encumbered on or after March 1, 2009, for contracts entered into for which goods or services have not been provided or for contracts proposed to be entered into during the 2008-2009 fiscal year by State agencies and departments, regardless of funding source, to be disencumbered. These funds are to revert to their original funding source with no legal liability to be incurred by the State.

This order does not include projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It also appears to exclude projects funded by bonds and other state-supported projects meeting certain funding criteria, but the full scope and application of the Governor’s order are unclear at this time. The Sponsored Projects Office therefore encourages all campus units with state-supported sponsored projects to immediately cease encumbering funds and to inform all subcontractors to do the same.

SPO is seeking additional guidance from the UC Office of the President and will provide the campus community with additional information as it becomes available.

June 01, 2009

Direct Charging Administrative Support Costs on ARRA Projects

UCOP has issued C&G Guidance Memo 09-02 indicating that the OMB has told the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) that administrative support charges on ARRA proposal budgets will not be allowed strictly on the basis that the project is ARRA funded. UCOP is in the process of updating our C&G Guidance Memo web site to reflect this outcome.

COGR’s PRELIMINARY understanding is that for NIH applications that included a direct charge for ARRA Specialist salaries, each IC will have discretion in determining if the amount awarded needs to be reduced. For example, in the case of NIH Challenge Grants that are limited to total costs of $500,000 per year, the presumption is that if ARRA Specialist salary costs had not been requested, then other costs could have been justified. Therefore, awarding the full $500,000 would be appropriate, with re-budgeting of the ARRA Specialist salary costs to other allowable direct costs. Submission of a revised budget would not be necessary.

April 10 Research Advocate article: Direct Charging Departmental Administrative Support Costs to ARRA Projects

May 06, 2009

New NIH Business Process for Documenting Changes in Scope for Proposed Research Projects

The National Institutes of Health has announced a new process for submitting revised Project Summary/Abstracts, Specific Aims, and/or Public Health Relevance Statements when changing the scope of proposed research projects. For example, NIH grant applications may require reductions in scope in order to be accomplished in the two years or less required by the Recovery Act.


When requested by NIH, principal investigators and applicant organization officials should discuss potential changes in scope with NIH program officials, then revise sections of the application as appropriate. Applicants should email the final version of the revised sections to a designated email address as a single attached Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF file. (NIH reminds applicants that all revised application information submitted to the NIH must be approved by an Authorized Organizational Representative.)

The Word or PDF document must include three headings, listed below, even if a particular section had no changes from the previous submission. If there are no changes for a section, the header should be included in the document but the text area should be left blank. This will ensure appropriate processing by electronic systems at NIH. The May 5 NIH Guide Notice includes links to Word and PDF templates that include these headings.

Document Headings

1. Modified Project Summary/Abstract Section
Provide a summary of the proposed activity suitable for dissemination to the public. It should be a self-contained description of the project and should contain a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and insofar as possible understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader. This abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information. This section must be no longer than 30 lines of text.

2. Modified Specific Aims Section
List the broad, long-term objectives and the goal of the specific research proposed, for example, to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology. One page is recommended.

3. Modified Public Health Relevance Section
Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research to public health. In this section, be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience.

April 23, 2009

NIH Issues Implementation Notice and Draft Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the National Institutes of Health, to support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law.

The April 17 NIH Guide includes a Notice on Implementation of Executive Order on Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.

This NIH Guide Notice links to Draft National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research. The draft guidelines were published in the April 23 Federal Register; comments must be received by NIH on or before May 26, 2009. NIH plans to issue final Guidelines within the 120 day limit set by the President.

The Notice provides the following implementation guidance:
  • Ongoing NIH-supported research: Pending issuance of new Guidelines, all ongoing NIH-funded research involving approved uses for human stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells, may continue. However, until the Guidelines are issued in final, no new uses of human embryonic stem cells may be initiated in NIH funded studies unless previously reviewed and approved by the NIH for the ongoing supported research projects. Further, NIH will not consider requests for either administrative supplements or revisions to any grants that include costs for, or involve the study of, human embryonic stem cells until the Guidelines are finalized.

  • Peer reviewed competing applications: Pending issuance of new Guidelines, any applications previously submitted to the NIH and already reviewed, which propose to use human embryonic stem cells, will be held for funding decisions until the final Guidelines are issued. At that time, highly ranked applications can be modified, as necessary, to comply with the Guidelines, to receive full consideration for funding.

  • Competing applications pending submission and/or peer review: NIH will accept applications for research proposing to use human embryonic stem cells during the period of Guidelines development, but the review and funding of these applications will be deferred until NIH issues final Guidelines. Such applications should identify illustrative cells for the purposes of the research plan. Once the Guidelines have been issued in final, applicants will have the opportunity to revise their application as necessary to comply with the Guidelines, including utilization of eligible cells. These modified applications will then be peer reviewed and considered for funding.

April 10, 2009

Direct Charging Departmental Administrative Support Costs to ARRA Projects

Due to the extensive reporting requirements for ARRA-funded projects the UCOP Manager, Costing Policy and Analysis and the Research Administration Office has recommended that ARRA projects be considered “Major Projects” and that departmental administrative support costs be charged to sponsored projects supported by Recovery Act funds (Memo Operating Guidance No. 09-02 dated April 8, 2009).

The COGR Board also has issued a statement that it is reasonable for institutions to include direct salary charges for administrative and clerical salaries in ARRA grant applications. According to COGR the inclusion of such costs as a direct charge will not jeopardize the application from being selected for funding.

In response, SPO recommends the following if you are planning to charge departmental administrative/clerical salaries to your ARRA funded project:

1. The project budget should include salary support for specific administrative and/or clerical personnel needed to comply with ARRA requirements.

2. The amount budgeted for administrative and/or clerical personnel salaries should be based on an estimate of the percentage of time each of these staff members will directly devote to ARRA responsibilities. COGR is recommending a 5% to 10% level of effort.

3. The proposal budget justification should include a rationale for requesting departmental administrative support costs in the form of administrative and/or clerical salaries. Here is sample language recommended by COGR:
Due to the extraordinary administrative oversight and reporting activities associated with awards made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this proposal includes (insert appropriate percentage of effort) salary support for the additional administrative services required by the Act should an award be issued. Regulatory support for this request is located at OMB Circular A-21 F.6. a. (2.), which states: “Direct charging of salaries of administrative and clerical staff costs may be appropriate where administrative or clerical services required by the project are significantly greater than the routine level of such services provided by academic departments.”
4. Here is an alternative version:
Due to the extraordinary administrative oversight and reporting activities associated with awards made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this proposal includes a request for ___ positions @ ___% time or ___ FTE to support the data collection and reporting requirements specified by the terms of the Recovery Act. The administrative responsibilities and clerical duties of these personnel will support the collection, organization, interpretation and/or reporting of the required ARRA data elements including funding received and expended, completion status of project, jobs created or retained, infrastructure investment impact, and information on subrecipients and subrecipient funding.

April 07, 2009

UCRP Benefit Charge

In their September 2008 Meeting, the UC Regents approved resumption of employer contributions to the UC Retirement Plan, effective July 1, 2009. During their February 2009 meeting, the UC Regents voted to delay the resumption of contributions to mid-April 2010 because of the difficult budget situation. However, UCB Human Resources is now recommending that this expense begin to be considered when preparing contract and grant budget proposals for upcoming projects. The initial recommended amount to budget is 4% of eligible employee salary. As more information about the employer contribution rate becomes available, this information will be updated. It is expected that over time the 4% employer contribution amount will increase. This information is provided for planning purposes and is subject to change. In general, this applies to:
  • Career staff employees (appointment of 50% or greater)
  • Academic appointees (appointment of 50% or greater)
It does not apply to:
  • Visiting academic appointees
  • Staff on limited appointment (less than 1,000 hours in a 12-month period)
  • Appointees whose primary purpose is education or training (GSRs, post-docs, fellows)
For more specific information on eligibility for membership in UCRP, refer to the UCRP Summary Plan Description available at:

To maintain consistency with university accounting practices this cost should be added to the existing benefit rate for the appropriate personnel classification. In addition, a sentence (sample below) should be included in the budget justification.

Sample: These rates include an estimated increase of 4% for restarting the employer paid contribution to the University of California Retirement Program (UCRP), effective July 1, 2009, for eligible employees and is applicable to all university fund sources.

Estimating Jobs Created/Retained for ARRA Proposals

As we move forward with proposals for ARRA funds, there will be a need to “estimate” the number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained.

Here are the criteria for making these estimates at the proposal stage:
  1. Any position not already in existence (including positions for Graduate Student Researchers) for which ARRA funding support is being requested should be counted as a “job created.”
  2. Any position already in existence (including positions held by Graduate Student Researchers) that is currently funded by grants/contracts (soft) funds should be counted as a “job retained” if ARRA funding support is being requested for this position.
  3. Any position already in existence that is funded by university (hard-continuing) funds should not be counted as a “job created” or a “job retained” even if ARRA funding support is being requested for this position.
Note: All positions (created or retained) should be expressed as FTE’s. A position may be either a “job created” OR a “job retained;” it cannot be both.

NIH ARRA Updates

Funding of Previously Submitted Applications

In general, existing applications eligible for consideration of 2-year funding under the ARRA are defined as applications submitted for funding with FY 2008 or FY 2009 funds that: (a) received meritorious priority scores from the initial peer review process; (b) received approval from an Advisory Council or Board prior to September 30, 2009; and (c) received priority scores that could not otherwise be paid in FY 2008 or 2009.

This policy includes consideration of applications in response to previously announced funding opportunities (e.g., RFAs, PAs, PARs), including those that will be peer reviewed by mid-summer and scheduled to receive Advisory Council or Board review prior to September 30, 2009.

NIH program directors will contact applicant project directors/principal investigators (PD/PIs) about applications under consideration to discuss potential modifications of the Abstract, Specific Aims, Public Health Relevance, and budget.

NIH Guide Recovery Act Notice: NIH ARRA Funding Considerations for Applications with Meritorious Scores that Fall Beyond the Pay-line

Budgeting for Competitive Revisions and Administrative Supplements (T-3s)

Funding for competitive revisions and administrative supplements may be made in excess of programmatic cost limitations or ceilings associated with a program or activity code (e.g., direct costs stipulated for Small Research Grants [R03], Exploratory/Developmental Grants [R21]).

If a project was previously funded under a program or activity code with budget limitations or ceilings, these limitations or ceilings are not applicable to ARRA competitive revision and/or administrative supplement requests. Note: All budget requests must be commensurate with the scope of the programmatic request and will be subject to a cost analysis prior to award. In addition, budgets submitted in competing revisions will be subject to the peer review.

For electronic submissions, budget requests for competitive revisions equal to or less than $250,000 direct costs per year must still use a modular budget component; requests over $250,000 direct costs per year must use the detailed budget component. (For paper PHS 398 applications (e.g., P01), a detailed budget is always required.)

Please note the flexibility to switch from a modular to a detailed budget is only available for those Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) where both the detailed budget and modular budget components are part of the application package.

For FOAs where only the modular budget component is available (e.g., SC1, SC2, SC3) competitive revisions will be submitted using the modular format for no more than $250,000 direct costs per year.

PIs should be aware that they will receive a validation warning when submitting a competitive revision through if the parent application was submitted using a modular budget and they are now submitting a detailed budget. The warning will read: “The parent grant for this revision uses the modular format; in most cases, this application must be submitted with a modular budget. If the budget caps permitted by the FOA exceed the modular limit of $250k, the application must be submitted with a detailed budget”. Please disregard this warning. It will not affect submission of the application through

NIH Guide ARRA Administrative Supplements and Competitive Revisions: Clarifications on Programmatic Limitations and use of Modular Budgets

ARRA Awards: Selected Terms and Conditions for T-3s

ARRA Administrative Supplements and Competitive Revisions (T-3s) issued in FY2009 may have budget/project periods up to 24 months. ARRA T-3s issued in FY2010 will be limited to no more than a 12-month budget/project period.

Rebudgeting between ARRA and non-ARRA funds is prohibited. Institutions must establish separate accounts for ARRA and non-ARRA funding.

Carryover of any unobligated ARRA funding at the end of the supplement period into the parent grant is prohibited.

The ARRA T-3s will be eligible for a one-time no-cost extension (up to 12 months) of the ARRA project period. This extension is allowable regardless of the status of the parent grant and will not impact the continued funding of the parent grant. Additional extensions beyond the initial one; i.e., those requiring NIH prior approval, will be rare.

ARRA funds provided under this award are not available for rebudgeting or carryover into the parent grant. Any ARRA funding remaining at the end of the funding period for this award must be reported as an unobligated balance.

When an FY2009 ARRA award includes a commitment for FY2010, automatic carryover authority will apply consistent with NIH’s traditional application of that authority.

There is no ability to carryover unobligated funds from a budget period funded with regular IC appropriation funds into a budget period funded with ARRA. Nor is there any ability to carryover unobligated funds from an ARRA-funded budget period into a budget period funded with regular IC appropriation funds.

No carryover is available between any of the ARRA segments and the segments funded with regular IC appropriation.

NIH Guide Recovery Act of 2009: NIH Award Terms and Additional Information for Recipients Receiving Recovery Act Grant Funding

April 06, 2009

National Academies Issues Revised Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research

The National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine have released the third edition of On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research. The book is available free online, or may be purchased as a PDF download or in paperback.

From the online description:
On Being a Scientist was designed to supplement the informal lessons in ethics provided by research supervisors and mentors. The book describes the ethical foundations of scientific practices and some of the personal and professional issues that researchers encounter in their work. It applies to all forms of research--whether in academic, industrial, or governmental settings-and to all scientific disciplines.

On Being a Scientist is aimed primarily at graduate students and beginning researchers, but its lessons apply to all scientists at all stages of their scientific careers.

March 20, 2009

Berkeley eProtocol for Human Subjects Research Goes Live!

Berkeley eProtocol is a user-friendly, online system for submitting, tracking, reviewing, and approving OPHS/CPHS human research protocols. Berkeley eProtocol will replace the current paper-based process, starting with exempt and expanding to expedited and full Committee applications as it is rolled out over the coming months.

Exempt Protocol Pilot of eProtocol

Currently, eProtocol is available for the submission of exempt protocols only. The purpose of the eProtocol exempt protocol pilot is to ensure that the system is running smoothly before opening it up to all submissions. Exempt applications submitted via Berkeley eProtocol will be given priority in the OPHS review process.

If you are submitting an exempt protocol and want to participate in this Berkeley eProtocol pilot, go to:

What is Exempt Research?

For information about what it means to qualify as exempt, categories, and examples of exempt research, see the CPHS Guidelines in Exempt Research at:

Question and Comments

If you have any questions or comments about the new Berkeley eProtocol system, please contact OPHS Director Rebecca Armstrong at or OPHS eProtocol project manager Maria Savage at

March 12, 2009

Internal Deadlines for NIH Challenge Grants

The NIH Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research Program is a new initiative which will provide funding for approximately 200 or more two-year jump-start grants to support research that addresses specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. Challenge Areas and Topics, defined by the NIH, focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Research in these areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. For more information go to:

SPO anticipates a large volume of grant applications in response to this program. To ensure the successful submission of these applications, we are asking researchers to follow the following steps in submitting NIH Challenge Grant applications:

1. By Thursday, March 26th: Send a brief statement of your intent to apply to No details about your project are required at this stage, but your statement will help us determine how many NIH Challenge Grant proposals to expect.

2. By Monday, April 20th at 5 p.m. submit an electronic and hard copy of your proposal including a signed Proposal Review Form and other required documents to SPO for review. The electronic copy should be submitted via the SPO Drop Box not as an email attachment: Submitting by this date will ensure you are submitting at least five days prior to the NIH deadline and in compliance with the VCRO’s “on-time” internal proposal submission policy.

3. If you anticipate that you will need to submit your proposal to SPO after the five day internal proposal deadline, follow the procedure for seeking an exception described on the SPO web site:

For more updated news on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please see on the SPO web site.

March 09, 2009

President Lifts Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Using Human Stem Cells that lifts the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The EO states that:
“The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America's scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.”
The EO directs the National Institues of Health to
review existing NIH guidance and other widely recognized guidelines on human stem cell research, including provisions establishing appropriate safeguards, and issue new NIH guidance within 120 days.

Also on March 9, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies assigning to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy “the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes.” The OSTP Director, working with heads of of executive departments and agencies, is to develop, within 120 days, recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.

March 03, 2009 Submission Problems

The system used to submit proposals to the federal funding agencies is experiencing problems that threaten the timely submission of UC Berkeley grant applications. These problems also are affecting the submission of proposals from other universities across the country and appear to relate to the server’s inability to effectively process the large number of proposal submissions being submitted at the same time. Issues related to the conversion to Adobe Acrobat proposal preparation software also are creating difficulties. In some cases proposals are not making it to the target agency in time to be accepted and reviewed.

In response, the Sponsored Projects Office has decided to allow our research administrators to submit proposals after office hours to enhance the chances of a proposal making it through the pipeline without incident. The UC Berkeley community can assist SPO with this challenge by taking steps to submit proposals in final form by the required internal proposal deadline. Late proposals run the risk of being caught in a bottleneck that the funding agency may or may not recognize and accommodate.

March 02, 2009

SPO Leadership Announcement

Pam Miller is joining us as the new Director of the Sponsored Projects Office on Monday, March 2, 2009.

Pam comes to us from the University of San Francisco where she established their first Office of Sponsored Projects and served as its Director. Prior to joining USF in 2003, Pam was a member of the graduate faculty and a research administrator at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1984-2000) and Director of the sponsored projects office at the University of Southern Mississippi (2000-2003). Pam also brings to the office her experience working as a researcher. She received her Masters in Education from Penn State University and received her Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She also has published over 25 journal articles and made over 60 professional presentations related to her own research, training, and service interests in the fields of Education and Research Administration, and has received grants totaling over $1.6M from governmental and private agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Jesuit Foundation. Pam is also very active in the research administration field nationally. She has served as the Editor of The Journal of Research Administration from 1995 to 2001 and is currently the President of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA).

Pam’s telephone number is 642-2925, and her email is Please join us in welcoming her to Berkeley and to the Research Administration and Compliance Office.

February 27, 2009

Federal Stimulus Law: Agencies Begin Publishing Details

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also called the “Stimulus Law,” was signed into law on February 17th by President Obama. The Act provides “provides $ 21.5 billion in additional funds for scientific endeavors.”

On February 18th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the initial guidance for federal agencies, “Initial Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” This document includes some details related to allocation of grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements and on the extensive new reporting requirements for recipients of Recovery Act funds. OMB will be publishing further guidance, including more details on specific reporting instructions and on how the data collection will work government-wide.

Some of the new reporting requirements that may be appearing in terms and conditions for awards made with Recovery Act funds include (from page 14 of the OMB Guidance):
  • Quarterly financial and technical reports
  • Reports on number of jobs created
  • Evaluation of the completion status of a project
  • Detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants to include data elements required to comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
General information on the Recovery Act will be published on the new site, but federal agencies receiving the funds are also required to establish a page with specific information. Agencies have just begun to publish initial plans, and should have further grant information available soon. Federal agencies will generally have two years to spend the Recovery Act funds.

Links to sources of information on the Recovery Act are listed below. The Sponsored Projects Office will update American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - Stimulus Funding on the SPO web site as new information is available and provide additional guidance for the campus as needed.

Key Resources

Agency-Specific Information Related to the Recovery Act
Other Resources

Additional Reading

February 23, 2009

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Suspends Grant Programs

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has suspended most of their competitive grant programs for the upcoming year, because of the adverse effect that the current economic situation has had on their endowment. BWF will be accepting applications for only two programs: the Preterm Birth Initiative and Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund grant programs put on hold include three limited submission programs: Career Awards at the Scientific Interface, Career Awards for Medical Scientists, and Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease.

BWF will focus on fulfilling existing grant obligations and on preserving assets for future awards, with the goal of funding a full complement of grants in future years.

February 22, 2009

Final Federal Stimulus Bill: $21.5 Billion for R&D

The American Association for the Advancement of Science estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide $21.5 billion for federal research and development, including $10.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, and $3.5 billion for Department of Energy energy programs.

From AAAS:
Congress finalized a $790 billion economic recovery bill (HR 1) on February 12, and President Obama signed the bill into law on February 17. AAAS estimates the final stimulus bill contains $21.5 billion in federal research and development (R&D) funding, more than the $17.8 billion in the Senate or $13.2 billion in the House versions of the bill. . . .Within the $21.5 billion R&D total, the stimulus bill would give $18.0 billion to federal agencies for the conduct of R&D and $3.5 billion for R&D facilities and large equipment.
For details, see the AAAS analysis of the final stimulus bill on the AAAS R&D web site.

February 19, 2009

New NSF PAPPG, Effective April 6, Updates Postdoc Mentoring Plan Requirements

The National Science Foundation has issued a revision to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The revision, NSF 09-29, is effective for proposals submitted on or after April 6, 2009. In the interim, the guidelines contained in NSF 09-1 continue to apply. Proposers responding to an NSF funding opportunity with a due date on or after April 6 must comply with the guidelines in NSF 09-29.

The NSF 09-29 revision changes the requirements for mentoring activities for postdocs, for proposals that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers. Currently, the NSF 09-1 Proposal Preparation Instructions require that mentoring activities be described in a separate section in the 15-page Project Description. The new NSF 09-29 Proposal Preparation Instructions change this to require a maximum one-page description in a supplementary document.

From the NSF 09-29 Proposal Preparation Instructions, effective April 6:
Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan. Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. In no more than one page, the mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project. Proposers are advised that the mentoring plan may not be used to circumvent the 15-page project description limitation.

Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated as part of the merit review process under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion. Proposals that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers, and, do not include the requisite mentoring plan will be returned without review.
NSF 09-29 GPG Summary of Significant Changes

December 2008 Research Advocate: NSF Postdoc Mentoring Plan Required for Proposals Received On or After January 5
October 2008 Research Advocate: Significant Changes in New NSF Policies and Procedures Guide

February 10, 2009

New Coeus Web Report for Subawards

As part of a business process analysis project conducted by the Sponsored Projects Office last year, SPO implemented new business processes for subawards. SPO developed status definitions to track the process of subawards. These status definitions are now entered in Coeus, and the SPO Notice of Award was redesigned to show subawards by status with each distribution from SPO. In an effort to make this detailed information more widely available, the Research Administration and Compliance Office is pleased to offer a new report on Coeus Web that provides current information on the status of subawards. Principal investigators can query subawards on their own grants and contracts, and department administrators can query subawards for the department.

The new report is available at A description of the report and a list of status definitions is available at If you do not currently have a Coeus Web account and would like to request one, please contact Neil Maxwell at Please note that faculty members will have individual accounts; departmental accounts are shared.

February 03, 2009

NSB Requests Comments on NSF Cost-Sharing Policy

The National Science Board (NSB) intends to revise cost-sharing policies at the National Science Foundation and is requesting public comment on the new proposed policies by February 16, 2009.

In the draft report, Investing in the Future: NSF Cost Sharing Policies for a Robust Federal Research Enterprise, NSB is recommending:
(1) to allow, but narrowly circumscribe, the application of mandatory cost-sharing requirements in NSF programs in which such cost sharing is foundational to achieving programmatic goals, and

(2) to prohibit voluntary committed cost sharing in NSF proposals and thus eliminate post-award tracking and reporting requirements.

These recommendations are intended to improve consistency and clarity of NSF cost-sharing practices and policy and to maximize the effectiveness of institutional dollars invested in research. The Board firmly believes that prohibiting voluntary committed cost sharing, and permitting mandatory cost-sharing requirements only in limited and appropriate circumstances, will not reduce institutional commitment and financial contributions to NSF-sponsored projects or negatively impact institutional stewardship of Federal resources. Instead, it likely will enhance the ability of institutions to strategically and flexibly plan, invest in, and conduct research projects and programs and promote equity among grantee institutions in NSF funding competitions.

January 27, 2009

FAQ for VCR Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO

The Sponsored Projects Office has issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions for the VCR Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO.

The FAQ provides answers to the following questions:
  • What qualifies as a late proposal?
  • What is five days?
  • Does time matter?
  • How complete do you want the proposal?
  • Are pre-proposals covered by the policy?
  • Is a progress report considered a proposal and, therefore, subject to the five-day policy?
  • Should I contact a sponsor to ask for an extension of their deadline?
  • Can I submit a proposal directly to the sponsor if I can’t meet the five-day deadline?
  • Can SPO grant exception to the VCRO policy?
  • What is the process for seeking exception to the VCRO policy?
  • Where do we email the request?
  • Who can approve the late proposal to send to VCR?
  • Where should we send the proposal, to SPO or VCRO?
  • When we request approval for a late submission do we need to say when we are planning to submit to SPO?
  • What happens if we miss the new deadline?
  • If I request and exception once, will any future requests be considered?
  • What if SPO has questions about a late proposal and the PI is not available?
  • If I have approval for a late submission, does that guarantee my proposal will be submitted on time?
  • How should the delivery box outside of SPO be used for late proposals?

January 26, 2009

Workshop for Graduate Students on Human Subjects Research

Rebecca Armstrong, the Director of the Berkeley campus Office for the Protection of Human Subjects is presenting a two-part workshop series for graduate students on February 24 and March 4, 2009.

There is no preregistration for either workshop. Although graduate students are encouraged to attend both parts of the series, attendance at both is not required.

Human Subjects Research: What is it? How do you navigate through the IRB process?

Thursday, February 24, 2009 - 10:00 a.m. until noon - 370 Dwinelle Hall

This workshop will cover the following topics:
  • What is human subjects research?
  • What are the regulations governing human subjects research?
  • Is what I’m doing research that involves human subjects?
  • What does it mean when your research is exempt, expedited, or full board?
  • What is CPHS and who is OPHS and how do they interrelate?
  • How do CPHS and OPHS relate to the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO)?
  • What is the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) Course in the Protection of Human Subjects and am I required to take it?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. - 370 Dwinelle Hall

This workshop will cover the nuts and bolts of submitting a research protocol to the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, and it will focus on the following two topics:

Completing the Forms and Writing the Narratives
  • How do you get a protocol through the approval process?
  • When do you submit amendments to protocols?
  • How do you write a good narrative?
Informed Consent and the Informed Consent Process
  • What is informed consent?
  • How do you write an informed consent form? What should you include?

Universities Space Research Association Funding Opportunities

UC Berkeley is a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) member institution and is eligible to participate in a new USRA Research Opportunities Program that will present funding opportunities for university researchers to collaborate with USRA researchers.

Researchers can register online at to receive email notification of opportunities, selecting from a list of areas of interest. Research opportunity notices will range from specific technical areas to opportunities for large programs and university space missions.

January 21, 2009

Federal Economic Stimulus Bill: $13.3 Billion for R&D

American Association for the Advancement of Science analysis of the potential impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 on federal funding for research and development is now available on the AAAS R&D web site.

From AAAS:

On January 15, the House Appropriations Committee released its draft text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, the $550 billion spending portion of an $825 billion economic stimulus package to deal with the current economic crisis. The draft bill will be debated, amended, and revised by the House and the Senate, with hopes of getting a final version of the bill to President Obama's desk by the middle of February.

AAAS estimates that the just-released House version of the 2009 stimulus appropriations bills contains $13.3 billion in federal research and development (R&D) funding out of a total $550 billion in federal spending. $9.9 billion would go to the conduct of R&D and $3.4 billion for R&D facilities and capital equipment.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE OS), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the three agencies highlighted in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI), would do extremely well in the stimulus appropriations bill. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive $3.9 billion in stimulus funding.

For more details, see the FY 2009 R&D page on the AAAS R&D web site.

January 15, 2009

American Heart Association Deadline Extension

Due to significant problems with its new electronic proposal submission system (Grants@Heart), the American Heart Association has extended its proposal deadlines by five working days for those who have already entered proposal information into the new system.

The new deadline is January 29, 2009 for the National Scientist Development Grant Program or January 30, 2009 for the Western States Affiliates fellowships. Please note that the extension only applies to those who have already entered data into the system by the original published deadline dates. Therefore, the SPO deadline for these applications is now January 22, 2009 at 8:00 am for the National Scientist Development Grant program and January 23, 2009 at 8:00 am for the WSA fellowships program.

Please contact your SPO research administrator with questions.

January 08, 2009

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interest for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form is available on the COI Committee web site and is the only version that will now be accepted. If you have any questions please contact Jyl Baldwin (, 2-8117). Please note that there have been no substantive changes in the form, but the version dated 2008/2009 is the only one which is valid.

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. For research projects, the Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators (Form 700-U) should accompany the proposal and Proposal Review Form to the Sponsored Projects Office or to the Industry Alliances Office. For MTAs, the Form 700-U should accompany the Material Transfer Agreement Review Form to the Industry Alliances Office.