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.