December 14, 2011

NSF and NIH Issue Guidance to Accelerate Spending of ARRA Funds

On September 15, 2011, the federal Office of Management and Budget distributed Memorandum 11-34 to the heads of executive departments and agencies of the federal government regarding the need to accelerate the expenditure of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

On December 13, the Sponsored Projects Office received a notice from the National Science Foundation that outlines how NSF plans to encourage PIs to accelerate the spending of ARRA funds by September 30, 2013. Also on December 13, the National Institutes of Health issued an NIH Guide Notice with the same general guidance as NSF.

SPO has posted campus guidance for both the NSF and NIH notices at a new SPO web page, Accelerating Spending of ARRA Funding. Additional information will be included as other agencies publish their requirements.

November 10, 2011 Research Advocate article: Acceleration of Unspent ARRA Grant Funds

November 10, 2011

SPO Revises Subrecipient Commitment Form and Instructions

The Sponsored Projects Office has been working over the last several months to streamline the Subrecipient Commitment Form and associated instructions. The goal in revising the form is to collect only information that is needed at the proposal stage and to make the items on the form easier to read and respond to prior to proposal submission.

The new Subrecipient Commitment Form (Version 11/10/2011), and instructions are now available on the SPO web site. The revised form can also be accessed on the SPO forms page.

SPO will accept the previous version of the Subrecipient Commitment Form until the end of the current calendar year. However, departments are encouraged to ask potential subrecipients to complete the new form when possible during the transition period.

After January 1, 2012, the new Subrecipient Commitment Form (Version 11/10/2011) will be required by SPO.

Acceleration of Unspent ARRA Grant Funds

Pam Miller, the Director of the Sponsored Projects Office, sent an advanced notification to the campus of the need to spend ARRA funds promptly or risk having these funds reclaimed by the federal government.

On September 15, 2011, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) distributed Memorandum 11-34 to the heads of executive departments and agencies of the federal government regarding the need to accelerate the expenditure of ARRA funds.

The memo stated that nearly 85 percent of ARRA funds have now been paid out and the vast majority of remaining funds have already been obligated for projects that communities are counting on for job creation. However, despite the rapid pace of spending of ARRA funds over the past 30 months, OMB noted that there remain billions in ARRA funds that, although they have been obligated, have not yet been outlayed.

In light of the current economic situation and the need for further economic stimulus, OMB is now asking federal agencies to spend these remaining ARRA funds as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In order to ensure that remaining ARRA balances are spent in an expeditious fashion, federal agencies are being asked by OMB to establish aggressive targets, consistent with programmatic objectives, for outlaying remaining funds by September 30, 2013. This new policy would compress the period of availability for the bulk of remaining funds in discretionary grant programs into the next two years.

Agencies may request waivers, but they will be granted sparingly.

SPO anticipates that the federal agencies will soon be communicating the requirements of Memorandum 11-34 the UC Berkeley campus by adding these requirements to new grant agreements, modifying terms and conditions of existing grant agreements, or other appropriate written means. Agencies also are being directed to revise the terms of ARRA discretionary grant agreements, to the extent permitted by law, to provide for reclamation of funds that remain unspent after September 30, 2013, absent a waiver issued by OMB.

Principal Investigators should contact their Research Administrators with questions about the status of their ARRA expenditures.

Update (December 14, 2011): NSF and NIH Issue Guidance to Accelerate Spending of ARRA Funds

November 03, 2011

UC Offers New Data Management Tool for Researchers: DMPTool

UC Berkeley researchers may be interested in a new data management tool developed by the University of California Digital Library in partnership with other research institutions.

DMPTool is a flexible online application to help researchers generate data management plans for ensuring good data stewardship. These plans increasingly are being required by funders such as NSF and NIH. DMPTool supports data management plans and funder requirements across the disciplines, including the humanities and physical, medical and social sciences. Users of DMPTool can view sample plans, preview funder requirements and view the latest changes to their plans. Users can create an editable document for submission to a sponsor, or create different versions as funding requirements change.

October 28, 2011

NSF Revises Award Terms and Conditions, Applicable February 1, 2012

The National Science Foundation Policy Office issued the following “Dear Colleague” notice on October 28, 2011.

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to make you aware that the Foundation’s entire suite of Award Terms and Conditions (see full listing below) has been revised to implement two new requirements, which are either mandated by regulation or legislation. Each set of terms and conditions is accompanied by a comprehensive summary of the changes made to that document.

The revised Terms and Conditions will apply to all new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing NSF awards issued on or after February 1, 2012. In addition to clarifications and other changes made to the conditions, significant changes include:
  • Travel*, has been updated to incorporate revised circumstances under which use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible. The Article provides information on recent modifications to the “Open Skies” Agreement with the European Union, and includes a link to the General Services Administration website for additional information.

  • Academic Technology Transfer and Commercialization of University Research**, is a new Article which requires higher education institutions that have NSF research support and at least $25,000,000 in total Federal research grants in the most recently completed Federal fiscal year to submit to NSF the URL that contains information on their transfer of technology and commercialization of research results efforts. This change has been mandated by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.
Revisions have been made to the following documents:
  • NSF Agency Specific Requirements (ASR) to the Research Terms and Conditions (RTC);
  • Grant General Conditions (GC-1);
  • Cooperative Agreement Financial & Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC);
  • Cooperative Agreement Supplemental Financial & Administrative Terms and Conditions for Managers of Large Facilities
  • Cooperative Agreement Supplemental Financial & Administrative Terms and Conditions for Managers of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCS)
  • International Research Terms and Conditions
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Grant General Conditions;
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II Grant General Conditions; and
  • Administration of NSF Conference or Group Travel Grant Special Conditions (FL 26).
* This article does not apply to the SBIR/STTR Phase I grant conditions.
** This article only applies to the ASR and CA-FATC grant conditions.

These Award Terms and Conditions have been posted to the NSF website and are available electronically at:

If you have any questions on these changes, please contact the DIAS/Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by email to


Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution & Award Support (DIAS)
National Science Foundation

Campus Hosting Workshop for Pacific Rim Research Program Applicants on November 4

The Berkeley campus is hosting an informational meeting for potential applicants to the UC Pacific Rim Research Program. The meeting will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011, from noon to 1:00 pm, in the Institute of East Asian Studies Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th floor.

Lisa Nishioka, Program Coordinator at the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, will be answering questions from interested faculty and graduate students regarding the current Call For Proposals. Jackie Jones, staff coordinator for the Berkeley review of proposals, and Martin Backstrom, Berkeley campus liaison to the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, will also be attending the workshop. Faculty and graduate students are invited to bring their lunch to the meeting. Coffee and tea will be provided.

The Berkeley campus limited submission deadline for the program is December 7, 2011. More information on the campus application instructions is available in the October 6 Calmessages announcement (Calnet authentication required).

October 27, 2011

UC Laboratory Fees Research Grant Program Now Open

The UC Office of the President has issued the Call for Proposals for UC Laboratory Fees Research Program. The program is funded by a portion of the management fees that the University receives for the management of the Los Alamos and Livermore national laboratories based on an annual performance evaluation.

Research funded under this program must 1) be either collaborations or complementary projects between University faculty, researchers, and students and researchers from Los Alamos and/or Livermore national laboratories; 2) be related to the missions of the laboratories; and 3) advance the research and training mission of UC. This research opportunity is open to all fields, including physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

The deadline for letters of intent is December 6, 2011, and the deadline for applications is January 18, 2012.

October 21, 2011

NIH Revises Grants Policy Statement

The National Institutes of Health has published a revised NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS, rev. 10/1/2011) applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2011.

The revision does not introduce new material; it “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 GPS dated 10/1/2010.” NIH provides a chart of significant changes in Word format.

October 20, 2011

RAC Offices to Close During the Annual Campus Winter Break

The Office for Animal Care and Use, the Conflict of Interest 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 Monday, December 26, 2011 until Monday, January 2, 2012. Offices will reopen on Monday, January 2, 2012.

The RAC offices will also be closed for the afternoon, beginning at 12 noon, on Friday, December 16, 2011.

SPO Proposal Submission

SPO will process proposals due in December 2011 and January 2012 according to the VCR’s five-day proposal submission policy with the following exceptions:
  • For proposals with deadlines that fall during the curtailment period (Saturday, December 24 through Sunday, January 1), the due date to SPO will be no later than noon Monday, December 19, 2011.
  • For proposals due the first week of January 2012, the due date to SPO shall be FIVE FULL BUSINESS DAYS. For example, if the due date is 5 pm on Monday, January 2, 2012, the SPO deadline is no later than noon on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. Proposals due Tuesday, January 3 shall be received no later than noon Wednesday, December 21, and so on.
Principal Investigators 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.

COI Disclosure Submission

In order to be on the agenda for any meeting, complete disclosure packets must be received no later than 10 working days prior to the date of the meeting.
  • The deadline for submission for the December 15, 2011 meeting is December 1, 2011.
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 Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU) 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 full committee review of protocol submissions for the January 18, 2012 meeting is Monday, December 5, 2011.
  • Likewise, the deadline for protocol submission for the February 15, 2012 meeting is January 3, 2012.
CPHS Protocol Submission

Important: if your study is “greater than minimal risk” needing full board review and the approval will expire before January 20, 2012, you must submit your renewal application in time for review at a December 2011 CPHS meeting.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 2, 2011 CPHS-1 meeting is Monday, November 7, 2011.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 16, 2011 CPHS-2 meeting is Monday, November 21, 2011.
  • There is no CPHS-1 meeting in January 2012.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the January 20, 2012 CPHS-2 meeting is Monday, December 19, 2011.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the February 3, 2012 CPHS-1 meeting is Monday, January 2, 2012.

October 10, 2011

New Funding Opportunity Tools for Researchers - COS Pivot

The COS Funding Opportunities database contains over 25,000 domestic and international funding opportunities related to all academic areas including the arts, humanities, social sciences and physical sciences. COS is available to Berkeley faculty, other researchers, staff, and students.

COS has recently launched COS Pivot, a new web-based funding and collaboration tool that will eventually enhance the current COS Funding Opportunities database by providing a number of exciting new features that will make the search for funding, easier, more productive, and more collaborative.

COS Pivot is available to the Berkeley campus on a trial basis until the current campus COS subscription expires in the summer of 2012. COS Funding Opportunities will continue to be available in parallel for a limited time, probably only through the end of 2011.

COS Pivot Overview

COS Pivot will continue to allow searching the COS funding database as it has in the past, but now COS will direct faculty and other scholars to suggested funding opportunities and potential collaborators within UC Berkeley and at other institutions that match the scholar’s individual profile.

It is important for faculty and scholars to understand that the funding opportunities and potential collaborators that COS Pivot identifies will only be useful if the scholar’s individual profile is accurate. Therefore, faculty and scholars always should review and update the profile COS has created for them to ensure that the funding opportunities and collaborators based on this profile are valid. Existing profiles may be updated by submitting a CV. New profile content submitted is checked by COS editorial staff then used to update the profile database.

COS Pivot includes profiles for over three million scholars around the world, together with verified affiliation and publication information. Faculty and other scholars can use COS Pivot profiles to identify potential collaborators at UC Berkeley and at other institutions by using the expertise profiles in the system. Researchers with profiles will have access to a COS Pivot Advisor that lists funding opportunities based on their profile information.

COS Pivot also will allow individuals to create, organize and save searches on specific funding topics, receive automatic weekly email alerts on new funding opportunities based on these searches, share these funding searches with other individuals and groups both at UC Berkeley and at other institutions, and keep track of shared searches.

Getting Started

COS Pivot maybe be used from any campus-based computer for basic searches without setting up an account. UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to create a COS Pivot account to be able to log in from any location and have access to the tools for managing searches and opportunities. Faculty and scholars are also encouraged to then claim their profile or have one created. The more detail and the more accurate the profile, the better the funding opportunity matches. For guidance on COS profiles, see the COS Pivot Profile Overview and Creating and Updating Your Profile.

We encourage all Berkeley faculty, other researchers, staff, and students to use COS Pivot. Training and online tutorials are available from COS and an overview is provided on the SPO web site. We welcome feedback to help us evaluate the new service while the trial subscription is available. Please note that human interaction with the system is important to create better matches and search results, in particular when using the system-generated matches between expertise profiles and funding opportunities.

For more help or with question or problems, please contact Shelley Sprandel ( or 2-8122). SPO will provide training for departments; department contacts may contact Shelley or Pam Miller ( for more information and to set up a session.

Interactive Movie on Research Misconduct from ORI

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity offers an interactive movie, The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct, that allows you to play the roles of four lead characters making decisions about integrity in research: a grad student, a postdoc, a principal investigator, and a research integrity officer. You make choices while playing the characters, changing the outcome to either end well or badly.

The video simulation addresses Responsible Conduct of Research topics such as avoiding research misconduct, mentorship responsibilities, handling of data, responsible authorship, and questionable research practices.

The movie requires a web browser, speakers or headphones, and Adobe Flash Player 10+.

October 04, 2011

Campus Research Hub May Help Meet Sponsor Data Management Requirements

Research Hub is a new UC Berkeley web-based service for secure data storage and management and for collaboration, provided by Information Services and Technology (IST). Research Hub serves the entire campus community: individual scholars, project teams, and departments. The service can be used by anyone with a CalNet ID. Each account comes with 10 gigabytes of free storage, and additional storage and departmental accounts are available for purchase. Future enhancements include guest accounts for access to off-campus partners, and ability to migrate content to the UC3 Merritt preservation repository.

Researchers may be interested in using Research Hub for secure storage of data related to human subjects research. Research Hub may also help meet NSF and other sponsor requirements for data management, including dissemination channels for publishing and long-term preservation. Research Hub currently supports several common metadata schemas, and allows for new ones to be added to meet the demands of campus research.


September 19, 2011

UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation Offers New Health Fellowships

The University of California Center for Health Quality and Innovation (CHQI) is offering a new UC Health Fellowship program.

The program provides support for projects that will adopt cost-saving innovations in care delivery while improving quality at UC Health, and provides leadership opportunities for UC Health staff and faculty. Any staff or faculty employed by a UC medical center, clinic, or health professional school may apply. The program expects to make three to five awards of $50,000 to support a portion of the salary and benefits associated with time spent on the project.

Proposals are due November 14, 2011. Potential applicants with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Aleta Martinez at to schedule time with CHQI Executive Director Terry Leach.

September 16, 2011

UC Berkeley Extension Course on Intellectual Property Law Begins September 19

UC Berkeley Extension is offering a course this fall on Intellectual Property Law that will “examine patent, copyright, trademark, and trade-secret law in the high-tech commercial sector.”

The course is being held in O’Brien Hall on campus on Mondays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm for 14 weeks. The course provides 2 semester units in Business Administration; the course fee is $715. The first class is Monday, September 19. The instructor, Brian Donohue, manager of the campus Business Contracts Office, invites those interested to come to the first class and get the details.

Agency Advice on Funding Innovative Research

In the September 14 issue of the NIAID Funding Newsletter, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides advice on How to Get Funding for Innovative Research.

The advice is aimed at investigators seeking support from the National Institutes of Health, but could be applied to other agencies. One point the article makes is to get your reviewers on board and propose work they will view as important.

Read more, including links to related resources, in the September 14 issue.

September 15, 2011

Composite Fringe Rates for UC Berkeley

Fringe benefit rates and salary projections are now to be determined and documented at the campus level per UC Office of the President RPAC Memo Operating Guidance 11-01.

Composite fringe benefit rates have now been established for UC Berkeley and should be used in the preparation of proposal budgets when the actual fringe rates for project personnel are unknown.

The new rates can be found on the SPO web site under Salary and Benefits.

September 12, 2011

2012 Calls for Applications from California Breast Cancer Research Program,Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program

Two grant programs managed by the University of California, the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), have issued 2012 Calls for Applications. See the program web sites for complete application guidelines and submission instructions.

CBCRP Call for Applications 2012

The mission of the CBCRP is to eliminate breast cancer by leading innovation in research, communication, and collaboration in the California scientific and lay communities.

CBCRP Deadlines

Community Research Collaborations: Pilot and Full Awards:
Pre-application research plan (optional): October 25, 2011
Full application: February 15, 2012

IDEA and Translational Research Awards:
Letter of Intent (required): October 25, 2011
Full application: February 15, 2012

Conference Awards:
Full application: November 8, 2011

TRDRP 2012 Call for Applications

The purpose is to stimulate research on tobacco control and tobacco-related disease that is of highest priority and potential benefit to the State of California. The 2012 Call incorporates the following changes, which reflect the program’s new strategic plan:
  • TRDRP Research Priorities have changed significantly.
  • All proposals must address one or more of the five new Research Priorities.
  • A Letter of Intent will be required from all potential applicants.
  • The Research Project Award has been added to the available grant mechanisms.
  • A dissemination narrative will be a required part of all proposed Research Plans.
The TRDRP is holding Call for Application Webinars on October 6 and 7 on the new research priority areas and other changes.

TRDRP Deadlines

Research Project, Exploratory and Developmental, Participatory Research (Pilot or Full) , Postdoctoral, New Investigator, Dissertation Grant Mechanisms:
Letter of Intent (required): December 9, 2011
Application: January 11, 2012

Special Projects:
Application: Continuous

Cornelius Hopper Diversity Supplement:
Application: April 16, 2012

September 08, 2011

QB3 Offers September 21 Workshop: SBIR/STTR: How to Get This Vital Funding

The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) is hosting a workshop, SBIR/STTR: How to Get This Vital Funding, of “tricks of the trade” by entrepreneurs, writers, reviewers, and Dr. Gregory Milman, the SBIR program officer at NIAID.

The workshop is being held Wednesday, September 21, 2011, from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, UCSF Mission Bay. Registration is required. The fee for faculty, industry, and the general public is $25; there is no charge for students, postdocs, and BayBio Fellows.

Workshop Agenda
1:00pm-2:00pm: Panel - Sources for Critical Seed-Stage Funding
2:00pm-3:00pm: Panel - Tips, Tricks and Traps
3:00pm-3:30pm: Break
3:30pm-5:00pm: NIH SBIR and STTR Grant Applications, with Gregory Milman, Ph.D., NIAID-NIH

QB3 Mailing List
To keep up with QB3 news and to find out more about other upcoming events hosted by QB3, join the mailing list linked on the bottom of the QB3 web site.

August 31, 2011

RSVP Now for 9/22/2011 PRIM&R Webinar on Improving Informed Consent

Please join the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) for a PRIM&R webinar on this timely topic:

What: Improving Informed Consent: Innovations in Form and Process
When: Thursday, September 22, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Where: Large Conference Room, RAC Offices (2150 Shattuck Ave, Suite 300)

Space is limited. Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Register for this free webinar by emailing and reserving your place. (A waiting list will be maintained.) For more information, contact Louise Tipton, IRB Administrator, via 642-7461 or emailing OPHS.

Additional information:

How can you ensure that obtained consent is truly informed?

Informed consent is a vital component of ethical research. The professional organization Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) is proud to offer an advanced level webinar titled Improving Informed Consent: Innovations in Form and Process, on September 22, 2011, from 10:00 to 11:30 AM PST.

Topics for discussion will include:
  • Tensions between an optimally written form and a quality consent process: striking the appropriate balance
  • Regulatory constraints associated with limited English language proficiency and low-literacy populations: preparing to meet the needs of these groups
  • Innovations in consent forms: using the Short Form and exploring developments by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) working groups
  • A case study on oral consent: identifying common assumptions about comprehension and assessing the subjects’ understanding
  • A case study on institutional review board (IRB) review of a consent form: identifying IRB responsibilities, including ensuring consistency between the consent form and consent process.

Campus Invited to UC Teleconference on 9/2/2011: DHHS Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making on Human Subject Protections

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) as the first step in revising the Common Rule (45 CFR 46), the code of federal regulations governing research with human subjects. These changes could greatly impact the IRB review process and requirements. The ANPRM requests comments on how current regulations might be modernized and revised to be more effective and how to better protect subjects while facilitating research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators. The comment period on this proposal has been extended by 30 days and will end on October 26, 2011.

You are invited to help develop UC’s institutional comments on the ANPRM via a series of organized teleconference calls. The last one-hour teleconference call is scheduled for this Friday, September 2nd at 3PM and is open to the general UC research community. The discussion will focus on the proposed changes to the regulations pertaining to data collection, oversight and harmonization. In order to collect input and focus the discussion, a survey has been created with the Advanced Notice questions pertaining to these topics.

Note: This is the last of the three surveys distributed. However, all three surveys will remain open until September 16th, so if you haven’t provided comments to the previous two surveys, you are encouraged to do so.

Previous weeks’ surveys:
Survey #1, “Risk Based Protections”
Survey #2 “Consent”

Log-in information for the conference call is as follows:
Call-in #: 866-740-1260; Access Code: 9870688.
PowerPoint slides for the discussion can be accessed by logging into and entering 9870688 as your access code.

September 9, 2011 Update:

As previously announced, UC’s Office of the President invited the research community to help develop institutional comments via three surveys and related conference calls. Although the conference calls are now complete, all three surveys will remain open until Friday, September 16, 2011. You are welcome to contribute your input.

Survey #1 - “Risk Based Protections”
Survey #2 - “Consent”
Survey #3 - “Data Collection, Oversight, and Harmonization”

FY 2011 Sponsored Projects Annual Report Published

The Sponsored Projects Office Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2011, is now available on the SPO web site. The report provides information on campus proposals and awards during the past fiscal year; in fiscal year 2011, the Berkeley campus received $717.3 million in contract and grant awards.

August 25, 2011

RCR Training at UC Berkeley for NIH Grants

In 2009, the National Institutes of Health updated its policy for instruction of trainees in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The revised policy, Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, states: “NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.”

RCR Training at UC Berkeley

Online training alone is not acceptable to NIH. There are several options at UC Berkeley for RCR training; trainees may choose what is best for their goals and schedules. Two training options are listed here. Some departments and graduate groups also have their own courses.

1. Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series
This year-long, 12-part seminar series, Seminars on the Responsible Conduct of Research, is offered to the UC Berkeley campus as an alternative to traditional courses that offers a flexible way to receive training in RCR. The seminar series provides an opportunity to interact with people who are involved in research at many different levels, from students to faculty to staff and administration. This series is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Research Enterprise Services, and the Center for Computational Biology. Attendees who participate in a minimum of eight sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of the series. Graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty members, and staff members are invited to attend.
Due to high demand and limited space, please RSVP for these seminars, specifying which Fall Semester seminar(s) you hope to attend. All seminars are scheduled to take place from noon-1:00 pm in 177 Stanley Hall, but may be moved to a larger location; please check the schedule for updates. The first seminar is September 12, 2011.

2. UC Berkeley Extension
UC Berkeley Extension and the UC Berkeley Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research are offering free training this fall, on campus, for eligible applicants: UC Berkeley Required Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research for NIH. Training applications for the fall term are due by August 30, 2011. Additional training will be offered in 2012 for applicants with later grant review deadlines.

More information on UC Berkeley RCR training for both NIH and for National Science Foundation research projects is available at Required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training on the Research Administration and Compliance web site.

NIH Revises Financial Conflict of Interest Regulations

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule, “Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service Funding is Sought and Responsible Prospective Contractors,” that revises the regulations on disclosing and reporting conflicts of interest. The final rule amends the PHS regulations issued in 1995 “Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought” and “Responsible Prospective Contractors.”

The new regulations maintain the general framework of the 1995 regulations, but make some significant changes.

In particular, the new regulations:
  • Require investigators to disclose to their institutions all of their significant financial interests related to their institutional responsibilities.
  • Lower the monetary threshold at which significant financial interests require disclosure, generally from $10,000 to $5,000.
  • Require institutions to report to the PHS Awarding Component additional information on identified financial conflicts of interest and how they are being managed.
  • Require institutions to make certain information accessible to the public concerning identified financial conflicts of interest held by senior/key personnel.
  • Require investigators to complete training related to the regulations and their institution’s financial conflict of interest policy.
Institutions applying for or receiving National Institutes of Health or other PHS funding from a grant, cooperative agreement, or contract that is covered by the final rule must be in full compliance with all of the revised regulatory requirements by August 24, 2012. In the interim, or until the institutional financial conflict of interest policy is revised and published, institutions should continue to comply with the 1995 regulations.

The UC Office of the President and the UC campuses will be working on revising UC policy for disclosure of financial interests, and UC Berkeley policy and procedures will be changed accordingly and available on the UC Berkeley Conflict of Interest web site.


August 24, 2011

Campus Invited to UC Teleconference on 8/26/2011: DHHS Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making on Human Subject Protections

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) as the first step in revising the Common Rule (45 CFR 46), the code of federal regulations governing research with human subjects. These changes could greatly impact the IRB review process and requirements.

You are invited to help develop UC’s institutional comments on the ANPRM via several organized teleconference calls. The first of two upcoming one-hour teleconference calls is scheduled for this Friday, August 26 at 3PM and is open to the general UC research community. The discussion will focus on the proposed changes to the regulations pertaining to informed consent. In order to collect input and focus the discussion, a survey has been created with the Advanced Notice questions pertaining to consent.

Log-in information is as follows:
Call-in #: 866-740-1260; Access Code: 9870688.
PowerPoint slides for the discussion can be accessed by logging into and entering 9870688 as your access code.

August 19, 2011

OMB Asks Federal Agencies to Plan 2013 Budgets with 5 and 10 Percent Cuts

The White House Office of Management and Budget has issued memo M-11-30, Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Guidance to heads of federal departments and agencies asking for budgets for 2013 that are 5 and 10 percent below this year’s discretionary spending levels.

OMB Director Jack Lew provides additional comments in an OMB blog post: 2013 Budget Guidance.

“In light of the tight limits on discretionary spending starting in 2012, we asked agencies for budget submissions that provide options to support the President's commitment to cut waste and re-order priorities to achieve deficit reduction while investing in those areas critical to job creation and economic growth. To meet this goal, we asked agencies to provide budgets based on two scenarios: a 5 percent cut and a 10 percent cut from the 2011 enacted discretionary level.”

The memo also asks agencies to identify cost-saving mechanisms to increase efficiency and reduce duplication and to identify opportunities to spur economic growth and job creation.

August 12, 2011

SPO Update: Revised PRF and Late Proposal Form

Over the summer changes were made to two of the forms used by the campus community. Please use the new versions of these forms as soon as possible to improve the efficiency of our campus processes.

The VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form has been redesigned and updated. The new version of this form was made available to the campus on 7/14/2011. It should now be used by all campus units. The revised form makes it possible for Principal Investigators to indicate to the Vice Chancellor for Research Office if the proposal is in response to a published (hard) vs. an unpublished (soft) deadline. This distinction will better inform the approval process.

The Sponsored Projects Office Proposal Review Form (PRF) also has been modified. Two important changes have been made:

1. A new check box has been added to indicate if “program income” is anticipated.

Program Income is income earned or generated by a sponsored project. Some examples of potential sources of program income include fees from participants at conferences or symposia, sale of items created or fabricated with project funds, and fees for services performed such as laboratory tests. Such income is subject to the terms and conditions of the sponsor, and it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure the funds generated by the project are treated according to the sponsor’s requirements. This modification to the PRF will allow better tracking of potential program income across campus.

2. The signature section of the PRF has been modified.

Chair/Dean approvers for Co-PIs now are no longer required to sign the PRF. Instead, departments/units will be required to provide the name and contact information for the Chair/Dean and this individual will be included on the distribution list of persons receiving notification about the proposal’s submission.

If cost sharing from the Co-PI’s department/unit is included or if the Co-PI is proposing release time as part of the proposal, SPO will require additional approvals from the Co-PI’s Chair/Dean.

Note: Signatures from the PI and the Co-PI still must be provided on the PRF. The PI’s Chair/Dean also still must sign the PRF. These signatures are needed to confirm the certification statements about the content of the proposal and responsibility for the proposal should it be funded.

July 29, 2011

NSF Announces New Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Grant Program, a Public-Private Partnership

The National Science Foundation has launched a new initiative, the NSF Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps), a public-private partnership that will connect NSF-funded researchers with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that “builds upon fundamental research to guide the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products, and processes that benefit society.”

NSF I-Corps will provide additional support to NSF-funded investigators, in the form of mentoring and funding, to accelerate innovation that can attract subsequent third-party funding. NSF I-Corps grants will give project teams access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition technology developed by previously or currently funded NSF projects.

NSF plans to make 25 awards in fiscal year 2011 and 100 awards in 2012. Awards are for six months and for up to $50,000. The first proposal submission window is August 17, 2011 though September 9, 2011. Subsequent submission windows are quarterly, ending December 15, March 15, June 15, and September 15.

NSF will hold a webinar on the first Tuesday of every month, beginning August 2, 2011, to answer questions about the program.

NSF I-Corps Program Home
NSF Innovation Corps Program (I-Corps) Announcement (NSF 11-560)
NSF I-Corps Q&A
NSF I-Corps Webinars
NSF Press Release I-Corps: To Strengthen the Impact of Scientific Discoveries

July 27, 2011

New Guide to UK Higher Education and Partnerships for Overseas Universities

Universities UK, the representative organisation for universities in the United Kingdom, has recently published a Guide to UK Higher Education and Partnerships for Overseas Universities. The guide serves as a starting point for overseas institutions interested in establishing collaborations with UK higher education institutions.

The guide is aimed at staff working in universities around the world interested in collaborating with the UK, as well as UK university staff looking to attract new partners. Features include a summary of various types of research collaborations and key issues to consider such as visa and immigration laws and the legal regulation of partnerships.

DoD Funding for Social Sciences: Minerva Research Initiative

The U. S. Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative competition for fiscal year 2012 is now open. Minerva is a university-based social science basic research program initiated by the DoD in 2008 to improve fundamental understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.; in 2009 seven large university consortia and 17 smaller projects were awarded grants.

White papers and full proposals are solicited for basic research in the following areas:
  1. Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes
  2. Terrorism and Terrorist Ideologies
  3. Science, Technology and Military Transformations in China and Developing States
  4. National Security Implications of Energy and Environmental Stress
  5. New Theories of Cross-Domain Deterrence
  6. Regime and Social Dynamics in Failed, Failing, and Fragile Authoritarian States
  7. New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation
Proposals will be considered both for single-investigator awards as well as larger, multidisciplinary and multi-institution teams. The competition is open to institutions of higher education, including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities. Non-profit institutions and commercial entities are also eligible to compete as collaborators on university-led proposals.

Due to delays releasing the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), the DoD is extending the listed deadlines by two weeks (soon to be reflected in online documents):
  • Deadline for white papers: Friday, September 16, 2011
  • Deadline for full proposals: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

July 14, 2011

VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form Revised

To be considered “on time” and in compliance with the Vice Chancellor for Research Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO, proposals must be submitted to SPO five working days before the funding agency deadline with either a final or draft technical section and all other elements of the proposal complete and in final form.

If a proposal cannot be submitted on time, even with a draft technical section, the Principal Investigator should request an exception to the VCR’s late-proposal policy by submitting the VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form.

The VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form has been revised as of 7/2011. The revised form, available on the SPO web site, should be used for all future requests.

July 01, 2011

Feds Invite Feedback on OMB Circular A-21

A federal interagency task force under the National Science and Technology Council is focusing on possible improvements to OMB Circular A-21, 2 CFR Part 220 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions), with the goal of recommending revisions and clarifications to reduce administrative burden or costs associated with compliance requirements related to federal support of research.

The A-21 Task Force is seeking input from faculty and staff at educational institutions, members of relevant professional societies, and others including the general public. Comments are due by July 28, 2011.

The Request for Information (RFI): Input on Reduction of Cost and Burden Associated with Federal Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21), was issued by the National Institutes of Health on behalf of the A-21 Task Force on June 28.

The Task Force will consider possible improvements in these and other areas:
  • Effort reporting,
  • Recovery of direct costs associated with administrative and project management support for investigators,
  • Institutional eligibility for the Utility Cost Adjustment,
  • Consistency among agencies that establish government-wide Facilities and Administration (F&A) rates,
  • Programs with F&A reimbursement at other than government-wide rates,
  • Rationalization between agencies of regulations and reporting requirements (e.g. deemed exports, Institutional Review Boards, visas…),
  • Audits of research institutions and awards, and
  • Definitions of general and research equipment.

June 30, 2011

SF-424 R&R Forms Expiration Date Extended to 12/31/11

The blog has the following notice posted June 30, 2011:
Extension of SF-424 R&R Expiration Date

The SF-424 Research and Related (R&R) family of forms was originally set to expire 6/30/2011.

OMB has granted an extension of the forms to 12/31/2011 to allow to fully address comments provided by the community in response to the Federal Register Notice Volume 76, No. 82, Page 23816 published April 28, 2011.

Though the current forms still say an expiration of 6/30/2011, they are still valid for use until 12/31/2011.

June 29, 2011

New Conflict of Interest Forms

The Conflict of Interest Committee has revised forms and procedures for both federal and state conflict of interest disclosures. See the COI Committee web site,, for the new forms.

New Federal Financial Disclosure Form

In an effort to streamline and simplify the federal financial disclosure process, a new Federal Financial Disclosure Form has been developed and posted on the Federal Financial Disclosure page on the Conflict of Interest Committee web site. The new form reflects a change in the way disclosure is made at the Berkeley campus for proposals or awards subject to the federal regulations. The Conflict of Interest Checklist is no longer required. Instead, each individual meeting the federal definition of investigator will now complete and sign a discrete disclosure form and submit it with applicable proposals to the Sponsored Projects Office. The new form is in an electronic fillable format, contains more background and instructions, and allows for more complete and detailed information to be provided by the investigator so that compliance with federal financial disclosure regulations can be maintained. The form was posted in June 2011; please begin using the new form immediately.

700-U Addendum Revised

The Addendum to the Form 700-U has been revised and updated. The new form, Addendum to Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators (700-U), is a fillable form with re-formatted questions allowing Principal Investigators to be more responsive to the requirements of the California Political Reform Act, and to provide the faculty Conflict of Interest Committee with the details needed for the members to make a fully informed decision about any real or perceived conflicts of interest. The new form has been posted to the State of California Financial Disclosure page on the Conflict of Interest Committee web site. The form was posted in June 2011; please begin using the new form immediately.

June 24, 2011

New Federal Advanced Manufacturing Partnership: Grant Programs for Robotics and Energy-Efficient Manufacturing

Two new federal grant programs, the National Robotics Initiative and the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative, were announced in conjunction with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership launched on June 24 by President Obama.

The “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) is a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness.” UC Berkeley is one of the universities involved in the AMP, along with MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford, and the University of Michigan.

NSF, NIH, USDA, NASA Offer Grants for National Robotics Initiative

The National Science Foundation has issued the program announcement for the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), jointly sponsored by NSF, NIH, NASA, and USDA.

From the NRI program solicitation (NSF 11-553):
The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to industry manufacturing and deployment. Methods for the establishment and infusion of robotics in educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity are important parts of this initiative. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development, deployment and use.
NRI solicits two classes of proposals:

Small projects: One or more investigator projects are expected to range from approximately $100,000 to $250,000 per year in direct costs, with durations of one to five years. Required letters of intent are due October 1, full proposals are due December 15.

Large projects: Multi-disciplinary group research projects are expected to range from $250,001 to $1,000,000 per year in direct costs for one to five years, not to exceed $1,500,000 in total costs per year, except in exceptional circumstances. Required letters of intent are due November 3, full proposals are due January 18.

DOE Funding Innovative Manufacturing Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative grant program with initial funding of $120 million to develop innovative manufacturing processes and materials to enable companies to cut the costs of manufacturing, while using less energy.
DOE plans to fund 35-50 awards, with approximately $25 million available to start the projects in FY 2012 and additional funding expected later in FY 2012 and in FY 2013 and FY 2014. Required letters of intent are due August 1, with applications due August 25.

Update (6/28/11): UC Berkeley News article Campus asked by President Obama to help boost investment in manufacturing

June 22, 2011

Research with Children - Guidelines and Template Assent and Permission Forms Now Available

If your research involves subjects who are children/minors, be sure to see the new Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) Guidelines: Children in Research and Child Assent and Parent Permission.

The CPHS web site also provides three template forms for biomedical studies and three template forms (plus one sample form) for social-behavioral/school-based studies. CPHS and the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) welcome your questions or comments on this additional resource for investigators.

June 17, 2011

Updates on Funding for UC Discovery and UC MRPI

The UC Office of the President has published a notice on the status of funding for current awards and for future solicitations of the UC Discovery and the UC Multicampus Research Programs & Initiatives (MPRI) grant programs. The notice states that with the antipated $500-million reduction in state funding for fiscal year 2011-12, support for many programs previously funded from the Office of the President will be reduced or eliminated.

The notice provides links to specific information on UC Discovery and UC MRPI. Excerpts are published below.

UC Discovery:
The current UC budget for FY 2011-12 assumes that funding for the UC Discovery Grant Program will be eliminated. This means we will not be able to issue a new Discovery RFP or any new matching awards in FY 2011-12 for industry-university cooperative research

...we have been able to reserve money to continue support for the current DSF and DRT grants until their normal termination date.

We have also set aside funds from the FY 2010-11 budget to be able to proceed with the review of applications submitted in response to the RFP...due April 14, 2011...the review is expected to be extremely competitive with a very limited number of new awards issued.
...the current UC budget for the next fiscal year assumes that funding for the MRPI Grant Program will be maintained. This means that, barring further budget reductions... current award recipients can anticipate that their project will be funded at its approved budgeted level in FY 2011-12.

...we are unlikely to able to issue a new Call for Applications for MRPI awards prior to FY 2013-14 (for awards beginning in FY 2014-15)...

June 14, 2011

NSF and NSB Seek Comments on Merit Review Criteria Revisions

The National Science Foundation and National Science Board are seeking comments by July 14 on draft revisions to the two NSF merit review criteria, Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, and the principles upon which the criteria are based.

Over the past year, the NSB has been conducting a review of the NSF merit review criteria. In May, the NSB Task Force on Merit Review proposed maintaining the two criteria, but revising the text to clarify the intent of the criteria and how they are to be used during the review process. In addition to the proposed revision to the criteria, the Task Force identified a set of important underlying principles.

NSF and NSB are now interested in getting feedback and have issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter with the text of the draft revised criteria and the principles and the request for email comments by July 14.

NSF plans to develop guidance for principal investigators, reviewers, and NSF staff on the use of these criteria after the drafts are finalized. Comments will help NSF to develop the guidance and other supporting documents such as FAQs.

May 24, 2011

Impact of Regents’ Decision to Change “Educational Fee” to “Tuition” on Budgeting for Sponsored Projects

At the November 18, 2010 meeting of the Regents of the University of California, the following changes were made to Regents Policy 310 (University of California Student Fee Policy and Policy on Fees for Selected Professional School Students). These changes are effective as of July 1, 2011.
  1. Changing the name of the Educational Fee to “Tuition”
  2. Changing the name of Fees for Selected Professional School Students to “Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition”
  3. Changing the name of Nonresident Tuition to “Nonresident Supplemental Tuition”
Berkeley’s Office of The Registrar has implemented these changes for 2011-12:

Principal Investigators should note that these changes will impact proposals to sponsors that have been willing to pay the above charges as “fees” but currently disallow “tuition” charges. This means that PIs will no longer be able to budget for fees if in fact these charges are now more appropriately termed tuition.

How sponsors will react to the change in classification of such charges under existing awards is not yet known. SPO will provide additional information on this as it becomes available.

May 13, 2011

DOED Cancels 2011 FIPSE Comprehensive Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the fiscal year 2011 Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Comprehensive Program has been cancelled because “Congressional action on the FY 2011 budget substantially reduced funds available.” The program application deadline had been May 23, 2011.

The FIPSE Comprehensive Program supports reforms, innovations, and significant improvements of postsecondary education that respond to problems of national significance and serve as national models. The FY 2011 program announcement had estimated “$20,347,000 for awards under this competition. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action.”

May 06, 2011

ONR Offering Funding for STEM Education Projects

The Office of Naval Research is offering a Sponsoring Scholars in Science Awards program to generate projects that cultivate student interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as part of a Navy-wide educational initiative. Up to 10 proposals will earn awards of $100,000 each in seed funding for further research and development of initiatives supporting K-12, higher education and educational research.

ONR will collect white papers for the program at the 2011 Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Forum. All submissions must be presented in person at the event, to be held June 15-16 in Alexandria, Virginia.

May 03, 2011

Federal Standard Research Terms and Conditions Updated

The National Science Foundation issued a notice that new versions of the Research Terms and Conditions have been posted on the NSF web site:
The federal Research Terms and Conditions are a standard core set of administrative terms and conditions on research and research-related awards that are subject to OMB Circular A-­110, ‘‘Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations’’ (2 CFR part 215).

The NSF announcement stated that ‘‘While there were NO changes made to the actual side-by-side version of the Research Terms, since the appendices are formally a part of the Research Terms, the document was simply re-dated and reposted to the NSF website. Using the date of June 2011 will provide sufficient time for all agencies to make any necessary changes to their systems to adjust to this new date.’’

NSF included a summary of the significant changes made to the Appendices:

Changes made to Appendix B: Subaward Requirements
  • Updated USDA/CSREES to reflect name change to USDA/NIFA, and other associated changes
Changes made to Appendix C: National Policy Requirements Matrix

New Categories of Requirements:
  • Created New Category, Health and Safety Standards
  • Created New Category, National Security Guidelines
  • Created New Category, General/Miscellaneous Requirements, and alphabetized listing of items that fall under this category
Federal-wide Requirements:
  • Added DUNS requirement
  • Added CCR requirement
  • Added FFATA
  • Added Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act
  • Added Text Messaging While Driving
  • Added Prohibition on ACORN funding
  • Updated assurance language for NEPA to read: “Before a funding decision is made by the federal agency, identify to the awarding agency all potential impacts this award may have on”
  • Consolidated False Claims Act provisions and updated reference for EPA
  • Modified Human Stem Cell Research – updated and corrected
  • Updated Government-wide Debarment and Suspension references
  • Updated Paperwork Reduction Act by adding reference to M-11-07 “Facilitating Scientific Research by Streamlining the Paperwork Reduction Act Process”
  • Updated Research Misconduct reference for USDA/NIFA
  • Updated Environmental Standards reference for EPA
  • Updated Clean Air Act reference for EPA
  • Updated Metric System reference for EPA
  • Updated National Historic Preservation reference for EPA
  • Updated Utilization of Small Business Concerns reference for EPA
Agency Specific:
  • Added Federal Information System Security Management Act (HHS awards only)
  • Added Cert of Filing and Payment of Taxes (NIH awards only)
  • Added “and Exceptions on Restrictions on Abortions”
  • Added Training of Grad Students for Doctoral Degrees
  • Deleted “Restriction on Employment of Unauthorized Alien Workers (deleted from FY10 appropriations)
  • Updated Public Access Policy citation

June 17, 2008 Research Advocate: Federal Agencies Implementing New Standard Research Terms and Conditions

April 29, 2011

$130 Million for ARPA-E Fourth Round of Funding: Concept Papers Due May 19

On April 20, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that up to $130 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be made available to develop five new program areas. ARPA-E’s fourth round of funding focuses on rare earth alternatives and breakthroughs in biofuels, thermal storage, grid controls, and solar power electronics.

Concept papers for all five programs are due May 19, 2011. The deadline for submission of full applications is to be determined.

The five new funding opportunity announcements are:
  • Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies for Energy (REACT),
  • Plants Engineered To Replace Oil (PETRO),
  • High Energy Advanced Storage (HEATS),
  • Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI), and
  • Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (Solar ADEPT).

April 25, 2011

NIH Plan for FY 2011 Reduces Non-Competing Awards, Increases NRSA Stipends

The National Institutes of Health is reducing funding for non-competing fiscal year (FY) 2011 research awards to 3 percent below FY 2010 for the National Cancer Institute and to 1 percent below FY 2010 for all other NIH Institutes and Centers. NIH is increasing all FY 2011 NRSA stipends by 2 percent.

NIH published two NIH Guide Notices on April 25, 2011: the NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2011 (NOT-OD-11-068) and Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2011 (NOT-OD-11-067).

NIH provides guidance in NOT-OD-11-068 to implement the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-10). Because the Act provides NIH with $30.9 billion or nearly 1 percent less than the total FY 2010 budget of $31.2 billion, NIH is reducing commitment levels for NIH research grants.

Non-Competing Research Awards

Modular and non-modular research grants, from all NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) except the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will be reduced to 1 percent below the FY 2010 award level. For NCI, modular and non-modular research grants will be reduced to 3 percent below the FY 2010 award level.

For all ICs, inflationary adjustments for recurring costs on non-competing research grants in FY 2012 and beyond will be set at the 2 percent level, calculated based on the adjusted FY 2011 level. Awards that have already been made in FY 2011 which are impacted by this policy may be revised.

This policy does not apply to projects supported by Career Awards, SBIR/STTRs, and NRSA Individual Fellowships and Institutional Training Grants.

Competing Research Awards

Each NIH IC will manage its competing portfolio using funds that have not been committed for non-competing awards. NIH estimates that this will allow ICs to to provide 9,050 new and competing Research Project Grants. Consistent with the policy for non-competing awards, future inflationary adjustments for recurring costs on competing research grants will be provided at 2 percent. Awards that have already been made in FY 2011 may be revised.

New Investigators

NIH will continue to support new investigators on R01 equivalent awards at success rates equivalent to that of established investigators submitting new R01 equivalent applications.

NRSA Stipends

NIH will implement a 2 percent increase at all stipend levels. Further information about the NRSA program in FY 2011 is available at NOT-OD-11-067 .

Update (April 27, 2011): NCI’s Fiscal Picture and Grant Support for FY2011
Update (May 20, 2011): Clarification of NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2011 (NOT-OD-11-077)

April 15, 2011

Impact of Possible Federal Shutdown on Sponsored Projects

The federal fiscal year (FY) began October 1, 2010, but as of April 8, 2011, the federal government had not yet approved a budget. Since October 1, funding for continued operations of the federal government required a series of Continuing Resolutions (CR) to avoid a federal shutdown. The last CR ended at midnight on April 8, 2011, and without a budget resolution or CR extension, a federal shutdown would have gone into effect.

Update (April 9, 2011): Last-Minute Agreement Averts Shutdown
Close to the April 8 midnight deadline, the Senate and House passed a short-term measure for an additional CR to keep the government operating until Friday, April 15. From the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M-11-14, 2011 Anticipated Enactment of a Continuing Resolution:
“While the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires at midnight tonight, Congress has indicated that it has reached agreement on a funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Earlier this evening, the Senate passed a short term CR that will extend current funding levels until the full-year bill can be passed and enacted next week. We expect the House to take up the CR shortly and for the President to sign this CR no later than tomorrow. As a result, at this time agencies are instructed to continue their normal operations.”

Update (April 15, 2011): Congress Approves FY 2011 Spending Bill
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the FY 2011 budget agreement, H.R. 1473, Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011. For an analysis of research and development funding in the 2011 federal budget, see the American Association for the Advancement of Science R&D Budget and Policy Program.

Campus investigators and staff should be aware that a shutdown may have some impact on federally funded projects, although in most cases, spending on existing awards may proceed as usual.
  • Work on federally funded projects can go forward as usual, unless the sponsoring agency issues a stop-work order. If a stop-work order is issued, the Sponsored Projects Office would receive a project-specific notification and inform the Principal Investigator and department. A stop-work order would be more likely for contracts rather than grants.

  • Extramural Funds Accounting will be able to draw down funds to cover expenditures on current awards.

  • and some other federal electronic systems will continue to operate, but help desks and administrative support activities will be significantly reduced.

  • NSF FastLane proposal preparation and submission will be unavailable.

  • Federal agency program officers and grants management staff will not be available to conduct routine activities in oversight, inspection, accounting, or administration.

  • New awards will not be issued by the federal agencies. Spending on awards or award modifications not yet received (new, continuing, or renewal) becomes the decision and risk of the PI’s department. Advance approvals for specific projects will be considered if endorsed by the applicable Dean, and should be at levels needed to initiate or maintain the project.

  • Award actions that are under negotiation (new, renewal, etc.) and multi-year contracts that end after the expiration of the CR, may be put on hold by the sponsor.
The guidance below (as of 1:30 pm PST on April 8, 2011), issued by federal agencies, provides more information, although much is primarily intended to address activities conducted by federal employees. This guidance is also linked on the SPO web site. As additional information is available, the SPO web page will be updated. If you have any questions regarding specific awards, please contact your SPO Research Analyst.

Federal Agency Guidance

Office of Management and Budget:
Agency Contingency Plans (links to contingency plans for agencies across the federal government)
M-11-14, 2011 Anticipated Enactment of a Continuing Resolution
M-11-13, 2011 Planning for Agency Operations During a Lapse in Government Funding

Department of Health and Human Services (including National Institutes of Health):
HHS Contingency Staffing Plan for Operations in the Absence of Enacted Annual Appropriations 2011
  • information (see page four of the HHS Plan): “HHS will maintain in an operational status to continue to post funding opportunity announcements and accept and process grant applications for fully funded and excepted programs, and to accept and store applications for non-excepted programs.”
National Science Foundation:
Assistance and Contract-Related Policy and Systems Issues During the Funding Hiatus

  • FastLane information (page one): “FastLane proposal preparation and submission will be unavailable. may be up and running, however, since FastLane will not be operating, proposal downloads from will not take place. Therefore proposals will not be checked for compliance with NSF proposal preparation requirements or processed until normal operations are allowed to resume.”
NSF Plan for Operations During a Funding Hiatus

NSF Twitter Account
  • April 8: “IN CASE OF SHUTDOWN: As of midnight, the NSF website, FastLane,, any NSF e-mail address and all telephones will be unavailable.”
Department of Defense:
Deputy Defense Secretary Releases Shutdown Guidance

Information Regarding a Potential Furlough

US Department of Agriculture Shutdown Contingency Plans

April 05, 2011

Online Course on Research Commercialization: April 15-May 2

Researchers at UC Berkeley may be interested in taking a free online course on research commericalization offered by the Research Commercialization and SBIR Center of the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer. The course is scheduled for each Monday and Friday from April 15 to May 2, 10:00 am to 11:30 am Pacific Time.

This workshop course is offered free of charge but registration is required.

From the course announcement:

The Research Commercialization Introductory Online Course is designed to help researchers better understand what research commercialization really is and how it works. This is a very popular online course with generally over 1000 researchers taking it each time it is offered. It is taught by government and industry experts.

The Research Commercialization Course is recommended for all science, engineering and medical researchers in public or private research institutions (especially grad students, post-docs, and faculty). This is an indispensable course for S&E grad students looking for jobs in the next 6-18 months.

Research can be commercialized in a number of ways. Your research will likely result in various artifacts, such as articles, documentation, know-how, patents, and copyrights, and it is these artifacts that are commercialized in one form or another. Most commonly, research is commercialized by the researcher being employed by a company or lab. (This also can be as an independent contractor in the form of a part-time consulting agreement.) In some cases, commercialization might take the form of licensing patents to an independent company. In rare but important cases, it might take the form of creating a startup by you and your colleagues. In all cases, though, research commercialization typically involves defining the nature of the research being commercialized (e.g., in a patent or intellectual property agreement), establishing a commercial relationship with another party (e.g., employment, a sale or license), and negotiating a contract (e.g., compensation).

Areas covered in the course include intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, licensing agreements, employment agreements, consulting agreements, tech transfer, creating and funding companies, and federally funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs

Each lecture is a live 90-minute online class with Q&A.

Class Schedule:

Lecture 1: The Importance of Commercializing Research
Friday, April 15, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelists: Steve Ferguson (NIH), Henry Wixon (NIST), Frank Barros (DHS)

Lecture 2: Patents, Copyright, Trademarks and Trade Secrets
Monday, April 18, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelists: Henry Wixon (NIST), Bruce Goldstein (NIH)

Lecture 3: Employment and Consulting Agreements
Friday, April 22, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelists: Ed Clancy (ACTA Technology, Inc), Robert Stulberg (Rothman & Stulberg, LLP)

Lecture 4: Tech Transfer and Licensing Agreements
Monday, April 25, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelists: Mojdeh Bahar (NIH), Steve Ferguson (NIH)

Lecture 5: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants
Friday, April 29, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelists: Frank Barros (DHS), Ali Andalibi (NIH), Christine Villa (BRTRC, Inc.)

Lecture 6: The Research-Intensive Company and Early Stage Funding
Monday, May 2, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Panelist: Ashley Stevens (Boston University)

Co-Organizers and Co-Moderators:

Ali Andalibi
Program Director
National Cancer Institute
SBIR Development Center
National Institutes of Health

Clara Asmail
Sr. Technical Advisor, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership
formerly SBIR Program Manager
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)

Frank Barros
SBIR Program Analyst
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Steve Ferguson
Deputy Director, Licensing & Entrepreneurship
Office of Technology Transfer
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Juan E. Figueroa
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnership
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tony Stanco
Executive Director
National Council Of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer

Christine Villa
Chief Technology Officer, BRTRC, Inc.
Principal Consultant, DOD SBIR/STTR Programs

Registered students who achieve 60% or greater on the final online multiple-choice test at the end of the program will be granted a Certificate of Successful Completion for this course.

February 24, 2011

Reminder: A Fund Advance Can Help Avoid Cost Transfers

A fund advance can allow a pending project’s costs to be charged to a fund number that will become the permanent fund number for the project when the official award is received, and cost transfers will not be necessary.

The Fund Advance Request Form and directions are available on the Sponsored Projects Office web site.

Fund advances can be obtained under any one of the following three conditions:
  • Type A. The request is for a federal award in which 90 calendar day pre-award costs are allowable. The principal investigator (PI) must provide SPO with documentation (from an appropriate sponsor representative) of (a) the sponsor’s intent to fund the project, (b) the project start date, and (c) the anticipated funding level. Under this option the pre-award period is limited to up to 90 calendar days.

  • Type B. The PI or department/unit is able to provide an unrestricted fund (i.e., 19900 or non-restricted gift fund) and appropriate chart string to clear any deficit that might result if the award is not issued at the end of the fund advance period. The PI and the authorized financial administrator of the fund/chart string must sign the Fund Advance Request Form certifying this commitment. Under this option, the pre-award period will be limited to up to 180 calendar days.

  • Type C. The chair/director/dean of the PI’s unit is willing to sign the form certifying that if the award is not issued by the end of the fund advance period, the deficit will be cleared in accordance with the procedures specified in the Campus Policy on Deficit Resolution under “Consequences of Not Resolving the Deficit.” Under this option, the pre-award period will be limited to up to 180 calendar days.
PIs should note that a fund advance always poses some risk to the University. For this reason, fund advances will not be processed for pending awards in which:
  • The effective start date of the project is tied to the date of final signature on the award agreement. In such cases spending cannot begin until the award or contract is fully executed.

  • The University informed the sponsor at the time of proposal submission that the University reserves the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of any award that might result.

  • There is reason to believe that award terms and conditions will conflict with University policy and a protracted negotiation period is likely.

  • Research compliance issues related to human subjects, animal care and use, stem cells, and/or financial conflict of interest have not yet been approved/managed.

  • The award is for a UCOP-funded project.
If you have any questions about the new form or process please contact your SPO research analyst.

February 10, 2011

Subaward and Subcontract Processing Changes at SPO

Over the last few years the number of outgoing subawards and subcontracts processed by the Sponsored Projects Office has grown steadily. Such partnerships are evidence of the ability of Berkeley’s principal investigators to forge productive sponsored project collaborations with a variety of different institutions and agencies within the nation and around the world.

In response to the increase in the number and complexity of subagreements at Berkeley, SPO has recently made the following changes:
  • H.N. Dao, an experienced contract and grant officer who filled an open Research Analyst 4 position in SPO this past December, will now be responsible for processing all State of California subawards and subcontracts. These transactions are being shifted to H.N. now, so there will be a transition period as H.N. learns what is needed for each agreement. However, if you have questions or need assistance with such transactions please contact H.N. Dao at

  • Jennifer Nadeau, Subaward Coordinator, will continue to manage all other subawards and subcontracts except those under industry agreements, which will continue to be processed through the Industry Alliance Office. Heidi Hoffman, who filled an open Research Analyst 2 position in SPO in November 2010 and Kate Lewis who was recently recruited for a new Research Analyst 3 position will assist with these transactions. Questions for the subaward team should be submitted to:
The following is updated guidance on how to request the establishment of a subaward or a subcontract from SPO:
  • To establish a subaward or a subcontract under any type of prime award (other than an industry agreement), the PI must send a Request for New Subaward Form to SPO. Nothing will happen until SPO receives this request.

  • The request now should be sent to the following NEW email address:
We appreciate the campus’ patience as we make these organizational and process changes. Our goal is to create a much more efficient and responsive system for processing subawards and subcontracts.

January 27, 2011

National Science Board Seeks Feedback on NSF’s Merit Review Criteria

The National Science Board has convened a task force to undertake a thorough review of the National Science Foundation’s two merit review criteria (Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts).

As stated in a January 21 “Dear Colleague” letter from NSB Chairman Ray Bowen, the NSF Task Force on Merit Review is now gathering input from a wide variety of stakeholder groups and is requesting comments by March 15, 2011. The Task Force will be developing its report and recommendations during 2011.

According to Bowen’s letter, the Task Force “has been charged to consider all options when developing their final recommendations, from keeping the criteria just as they are to completely rewriting them, or anything in between.”

LBNL Presentation by Dr. Cheryl Kitt, “What’s New In NIH Peer Review: Advice for Grant Applicants”

LBNL will be hosting a presentation by Dr. Cheryl Kitt, Deputy Director of the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes for Health on Thursday, February 3, 2011, from 10 am to noon in Building 50 Auditorium on the LBNL campus.

Dr. Kitt’s presentation will be on, “What’s New in NIH Peer Review: Advice for Grant Applicants.”

Background: The NIH and CSR have initiated and implemented new efforts to streamline the peer review process that will affect all applicants. Dr. Kitt will be discussing the many enhancements and changes to the NIH peer review process for grant applications during the last two years. The discussion will focus on these enhancements and changes to the peer review process which are particularly important for current and potential grant applicants and for research administrators interested in navigating the ins and outs of peer review at NIH. This is also a unique opportunity for post-docs and young investigators to gain an inside perspective and ask questions about Scientific Review Committees.

Individuals planning to attend should contact Karen Woo (510) 486-5747 or for information on how to access the LBNL shuttle bus and what materials are needed for LBNL security. Karen can also provide information on how to access the presentation electronically.