June 30, 2011

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

The Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov 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, http://researchcoi.berkeley.edu, 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.