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.

  • Grants.gov 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
  • Grants.gov information (see page four of the HHS Plan): “HHS will maintain Grants.gov 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. Grants.gov may be up and running, however, since FastLane will not be operating, proposal downloads from Grants.gov 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, Research.gov, 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.