July 31, 2013

Grants.gov Site Redesign

The federal Grants.gov web site has been redesigned. According to a notice posted on the site, although “the look and feel of the site will be different, the content and its functionality will remain the same.”

One change is that funding program announcement links now have different URLs, so if you are looking for a specific previous funding program, you may need to use the Grants.gov search to find it again. One improvement to the redesigned site is that the search now features faceted searching, so that you can select different categories on the left menu to refine your search results.

July 30, 2013

USDA NIFA Project Reports: REEport Reminder

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now using a new REEport system for project reports, replacing the previous CRIS database. REEport uses the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR), a standard federal progress report format.

REEport was launched in May 2013. The CRIS national database can still be searched.


July 26, 2013

NIH Issues New PHS 398 Forms and SF424 (R&R) Instructions Required for Applications Due on or after 9/25/2013

The National Institutes of Health has announced the availability of new application instructions and forms for paper-based PHS 398 applications and new Application Guide instructions for electronic SF424 (R&R) applications. The new application instructions and forms must be used for applications for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.

All PHS 398 paper application submissions intended for due dates on or after September 25, 2013, must use the new 8/2012 version of the PHS 398 instructions and forms. The 06/09 version of the form is still available to use for funding opportunitity announcements (FOAs) that have due dates prior to September 25, 2013.

As NIH announced in Notice NOT-OD-13-074 in May, applications using electronic forms will transition to new forms identified with a Competition ID of FORMS-C. Application instructions for FORMS-C are now available. Applicants must return to the FOA or the reissued Parent Announcement to download the new application forms for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.

At this time, NIH has revised the general Application Guide for Forms-B and Forms-C. NIH plans to post  the SF 424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and AHRQ in late Fall 2013, and the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies in Spring 2014.


July 25, 2013

UC Berkeley Composite Benefit Rates for FY13-14 Available

The approved UC Berkeley composite fringe benefit rates for fiscal year 2013-14 are now available and should be used to transact and budget for fringe costs. The new values will be effective retroactively, as of July 1, 2013. Future year rate estimates are for planning purposes, only (e.g., multi-year budgeting, financial aid planning, contract and grant proposal submissions, etc.). Actual rates for years beyond FY13-14 are subject to change.

See the Space and Capitol Resources Composite Benefit Rates page for a fringe benefit rate overview, additional details, and the Composite Benefit Rates FY13-14 in PDF. Also see the July 23, 2013 CALmessages notice: Town Hall Invitation & FY13-14 Composite Benefit Rates Approved! - Effective 7/1/13. The rates are also published on the SPO Salary and Benefits page.

July 23, 2013

NSF Issues Sequestration Update to Important Notice No. 133

On July 17, the National Science Foundation issued an update to Important Notice No. 133: Impact of FY 2013 Sequestration Order on NSF Awards.

The Update to Important Notice No. 133 states that “while sequestration does have a significant impact on NSF’s budget, the impact on existing programs has been partially mitigated due to FY 2013 Congressional appropriations, combined with difficult choices including limits to new research that would have been initiated otherwise” and includes the following key points:
  • NSF will fully fund all existing continuing grant increments in FY 2013;
  • NSF directorates have now received full-year funding allocations, which will allow funding decisions to be made prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30th;
  • NSF expects to make fewer new awards in FY 2013;
  • NSF will fully fund all FY 2013 major research equipment and facilities construction projects;
  • Competitions for some programs and solicitations may not be conducted in FY 2013; and
  • NSF staff will not be furloughed, allowing for no interruptions to the NSF proposal review and award decision making processes.
For more information, see the SPO Impact of Federal Budget Sequestration on Sponsored Projects page.

July 17, 2013

CITI Program Unavailable July 29-31 for Software Upgrade

Starting Monday, July 29, 2013, at 8 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the CITI Program web site will be unavailable for approximately three days to complete a major software upgrade.

This software change will update many internal features of the CITI Program platform, and provide a changed user interface across the site designed to improve the experience of both learners and administrators.

Learners will find all their familiar links and tools, but in a format that is easier to navigate. In particular, the main learner menu and other learner sections will be divided into areas that expand and contract on a click, to allow easier focus on particular information.

In addition to these changes, all learners and administrators will be asked to update their passwords on the first login to the new system. This is to enable longer, case-sensitive passwords for improved security.