April 12, 2021

Important Information for NIH PIs

The National Institutes of Health has issued new instructions and requirements for the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch) and Other Support for applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2021. See Upcoming Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page for Due Dates on or after May 25, 2021 (NOT-OD-21-073).

NIH Principal Investigators (PIs) should be aware that additional time and effort may be needed to comply with the following new requirements for reporting “Other Support:”

  • If foreign activities and resources are reported under “Other Support,” copies of contracts, grants or any other agreement specific to senior/key personnel foreign appointments and/or employment with a foreign institution as supporting documentation must be provided to NIH.
  • If these documents are not in English, translated copies must be provided.
  • This supporting documentation must be provided as part of the Other Support PDF following the Other Support Format page.
  • All principal investigators and other senior/key personnel must electronically sign the Other Support form, prior to its submission to NIH, certifying that the Other Support information is accurate and complete.
  • Other Support submissions must be submitted as a “flattened” PDF, after all signatures are obtained. The original electronic signatures must be available upon NIH request.

Unfunded applications submitted prior to May 25, 2021 are not subject to these requirements. The new requirements only apply to RPPRs and to applications submitted on or after May 25, 2021 (including applications submitted early for those due dates).

PIs or other Senior/Key personnel on an active NIH grant who fail to disclose Other Support information outside of Just-in-Time or the RPPR, as applicable, should notify SPO. SPO must provide the updated “Other Support” to the Grants Management Specialist named in the Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known.

See the NIH FAQs on Other Support and Foreign Components for additional information


March 12, 2021 Research Advocate: NIH: Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page

March 12, 2021

NIH: Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page

The National Institutes of Health has taken steps to align the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch), Other Support format page and Application Form Instructions with the guidance issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy Joint Committee on the Research Environment.

As a result, NIH has updated its application forms and instructions to support the need for applicants and recipients to provide full transparency and disclosure of all research activities, foreign and domestic.

The updated forms and instructions will be required for use for applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2021.

In addition to the changes to the the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch), Other Support format page and Application Form, note the following new requirements related to Other Support, effective May 25, 2021.

  • NIH will require supporting documentation, which includes copies of contracts, grants or any other agreement specific to senior/key personnel foreign appointments and/or employment with a foreign institution for all foreign activities and resources that are reported in Other Support. If the contracts, grants or other agreements are not in English, recipients must provide translated copies.

  • If a recipient organization discovers that a PI or other Senior/Key personnel on an active NIH grant has failed to disclose Other Support information outside of Just-in-Time or the RPPR, as applicable, the recipient must submit updated Other Support to the Grants Management Specialist named in the Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known.

See Upcoming Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page for Due Dates on or after May 25, 2021 (NOT-OD-21-073) for more information.

March 10, 2021

NSF FAQs on Current and Pending Support: Clarification

The National Science Foundation has added some clarifications to its Frequently Asked Questions on Current and Pending Support.

Some highlights:

In-kind contributions that are not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF and have no associated time commitment, do not need to be reported.

However, an item or service given with the expectation of an associated time commitment must be reported to NSF in the following manner.

  • If the in-kind contribution is not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF but has an associated time commitment, the information must be included as part of the current and pending support section of the proposal.  
  • If the in-kind contribution is intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF, the information must be included as part of the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal and need not be replicated in the individual’s current and pending support submission.

Senior personnel are required to provide the number of person-months (or partial person-months) per year to be devoted to the project by the individual even if this time is not budgeted in the proposal budget. NSF is not asking for information on how much time is budgeted for a particular individual(s), but rather how much time the individual(s) is/are planning to spend to complete the scope of work on the proposed project and/or award.

If a principal investigator or co-PI is not requesting salary support, they should be removed from the budget and their name and the estimated amount of time to be devoted to the project should be identified in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.

If Senior Personnel will be conducting research as part of a consulting agreement, then the consulting arrangement should be specified in the individual’s current and pending support submission.

February 26, 2021

NIH eRA Commons Modules Will Require Two-Factor Authentication

Although not required until September 15, 2021, the National Institutes of Health is encouraging users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR), and Commons Mobile to begin their switchover to the new two-factor authentication (2FA) login method (via login.gov) to access eRA modules.

Using login.gov 2FA will be required as of the deadline of September 15, 2021 for all users. The authentication will help ensure the security of personal and confidential information in these systems.

For instructions, frequently asked questions, and other resources, see NIH Extramural News Reminder: Switch Early to the New Secure Two-Factor Authentication Required to Access eRA Modules.

February 22, 2021

NIH Conference Grants: Focus on Diversity

NIH conference grant applicants (R13/U13) must now include plans to enhance diversity during the selection of organizing committees, speakers, other invited participants, such as session chairs and panel discussants, and attendees. Underrepresented groups include individuals from nationally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. See Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031) for additional details.

A recent NIH Guide notice, Notice of Changes in the Review Criteria for Applications Submitted for NIH Support for Scientific Conferences (R13 and U13) (NOT-OD-21-055), announced that reviewers of scientific conferences (R13 and U13) will be asked to evaluate a diversity plan and factor it into the overall impact score. The diversity plan will be evaluated as an additional review criterion and will not receive a separate criterion score. The new parent conference grant funding opportunity announcement, NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13) (PA-21-151), published February 10, reflects the new review criteria.

Principal investigators should carefully follow these instructions, Updated Guidelines for Enhancing Diversity and Creating Safe Environments in Conferences Supported by NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (NOT-OD-21-053), for developing the diversity plan.

Conference grant awardees also will be required to report on the effectiveness of plans to enhance diversity of underrepresented groups in annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) and the Final-RPPR.

January 29, 2021

New Salary Cap: NIH and AHRQ

The National Institutes of Health has released an announcement regarding the new salary cap: Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2021 (NOT-OD-21-057).

Effective January 3, 2021, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $199,300.

For issued awards that were restricted to Executive Level II (see Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 - Present)), including competing awards already issued in FY2021, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, recipients may rebudget funds to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level.

Also of note:

January 05, 2021

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2021

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2020/2021, is available on the Conflict of Interest Committee website and is the only version that will now be accepted. The form and requirements are the same as the previous 2020 version, except for an increase in the limit for gifts of travel. Gifts of travel may be subject to a $500 gift limit in 2020. This gift limit has increased to $520 for calendar years 2021 and 2022. Please contact coi-team@berkeley.edu with any questions.

State of California law requires disclosure of financial interest in the sponsor of a research project; the donor of a research gift; and, under certain circumstances, the provider of materials under a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) when that sponsor, donor, or provider is a non-governmental source. See State of California Financial Disclosure for more information.

November 10, 2020

Federal Research Terms and Conditions Revised

The Research Terms and Conditions (RTCs) have been revised by the participating agencies for consistency with the revised 2 CFR 200.

Please see the message below or consult the following for additional information:


Dear Colleagues:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandated awarding agencies adopt recent revisions to 2 CFR §200; Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) effective November 12, 2020. The purpose of this message is to make you aware that the Research Terms and Conditions (RTCs) have been revised by the participating agencies for consistency with the revised 2 CFR §200. NSF serves as the steward of these terms and conditions, and maintains the RTC website on behalf of all of the participating agencies.

At this time, the agencies participating in this activity include the: U.S. Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration & National Institute of Standards and Technology; U.S. Department of Energy; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health & Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Agency implementation statements provide specific details on how participating agencies are implementing the revised RTCs.

In accordance with this requirement, the updated RTCs, which implement the changes to 2 CFR §200, will be fully effective beginning November 12, 2020. This includes the following documents:

  • RTC Overlay to 2 CFR §200;
  • RTC Appendix A: Prior Approval Matrix;
  • RTC Appendix B: Subaward Requirements;
  • RTC Appendix C: National Policy Requirements; and
  • Agency Specific Requirements for the participating agencies.


While the Uniform Guidance outlines provisions that are specific to research, these Research Terms and Conditions:

  • Incorporate the entire Uniform Guidance by reference, clarifying or supplementing select provisions where appropriate and consistent with government-wide research policy;
  • Apply to an award when included as part of the award or when incorporated in the award by reference. Use of the RTCs is envisioned as a streamlined approach that supports the implementation of the Uniform Guidance by providing clarification, supplementary guidance, and, where appropriate, selected options, while meeting the spirit and intent of a uniform implementation;
  • Include flexibility for additional individual agency clarification through the incorporation of agency-specific requirements.

Please note that the previous version of the RTCs incorporated the full set of OMB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by reference. This set of FAQs has not yet been updated to align with 2 CFR §200, and, as such has been deleted from the RTC Overlay.

Award specific questions should be directed to the applicable participating agency.

Best,

Jean Feldman (Head, Policy Office, NSF) and Michelle Bulls (Director, Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration, NIH)
co-Chairs, Research Terms and Conditions Working Group 

September 29, 2020

NSF Updates to the Research Performance Progress Report

Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, has issued a message regarding upcoming changes to the NSF RPPR implementation, which go into effect on October 5, 2020.

Note that the following questions will now appear:

  • Has there been a change in the active other support of the PI/PD(s) since the last reporting period? (Edit Participants screen); 
  • What was the impact on teaching and educational experiences? (Impact tab)
  • What percentage of the award’s budget was spent in a foreign country? (Impact tab); and 
  • Has there been a change in primary performance site location from that originally proposed? (Changes/Problems tab).

Additional details about the RPPR can be found on Research.gov About Project Reports.


Dear Colleagues:

Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will enhance the Project Reporting System in Research.gov to implement the revised Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). The RPPR is a uniform format for reporting performance progress on Federally funded research projects and research-related activities. NSF awardees use the RPPR to prepare and submit annual and final project reports to NSF. Further details about the RPPR can be found on the Research.gov About Project Reports website.

New Question for Project Reports with Active Other Support Changes

  • On October 5, 2020, NSF will add the following new question to the Edit Participants screen: Has there been a change in the active other support of the PI/PD(s) since the last reporting period? If Principal Investigators (PIs)/Project Directors (PDs) and co-PIs/co-PDs select “Yes,” they will be required to upload their most up-to-date Current and Pending Support document in an NSF-approved format to notify NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made or since the most recent annual report.
  • Current and Pending Support documents not in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error preventing document upload and submission of the annual or final project report.
  • The NSF-approved formats for Current and Pending Support are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.
  • The NSF Current and Pending Support website includes additional information as well as links to system-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for both NSF-approved formats. A set of policy-related FAQs related to current and pending support is also available.
  • The complete lists of FastLane and Research.gov automated proposal compliance checks effective October 5, 2020, are available on the Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals website.

Additional New Questions from the Revised RPPR

Beginning October 5, 2020, NSF will also add the following three questions to the “Impact” and “Changes/Problems” tabs:

  • What was the impact on teaching and educational experiences? (Impact tab);
  • What percentage of the award’s budget was spent in a foreign country? (Impact tab); and
  • Has there been a change in primary performance site location from that originally proposed? (Changes/Problems tab).

NSF-specific Updates

  • NSF-specific help text updates have been added throughout, and NSF-specific instructions have been clarified or enhanced.
  • To reduce administrative burden, NSF has consolidated data entry fields where possible.

Current and Pending Support Format Training Resources

To learn more about the NSF-approved formats for Current and Pending Support, please view the NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) webinar and NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch & Current and Pending Support Sections of NSF Proposals webinar.

SciENcv has created the following materials to guide the community through the preparation of the NSF Current and Pending Support document in SciENcv:

Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the NSF-approved formats or the Research.gov Project Reporting System, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via rgov@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
National Science Foundation
email: policy@nsf.gov

September 15, 2020

Enforcement of NSF-Approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Formats Begins on October 5, 2020

Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, has issued a message regarding enforcement of new NSF-approved formats for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support, effective October 5, 2020.

Note that the new NSF-approved formats are: SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.

The Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending requirements apply to proposal submissions, as well as other actions such as Change PI requests and RPPRs (where active other support has changed since the award was made, or since the most recent annual report).

Additional information and FAQs appear below, along with video tutorials for SciENcv.


Dear Colleagues:

Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will begin enforcing the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) requirement to use NSF-approved formats for the preparation of the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support proposal documents. The NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.

All other PAPPG (NSF 20-1) changes were effective on June 1, 2020. Please refer to the complete list of PAPPG (NSF 20-1) significant changes and clarifications which include the IT system changes and other policy-related changes. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on proposal preparation and award administration related to NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) is also available and includes Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support information.

Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Websites

  • The NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites include links to the NSF-fillable PDF formats, updated FAQs, and instructions.
  • For the fillable PDF formats, NSF recommends users download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. Populating content directly into a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) may result in formatting inconsistencies. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov, or Grants.gov.
  • Beginning on October 5, 2020, links to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites will also be located in FastLane (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Personnel pages), in Research.gov (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Upload pages), and in Grants.gov (on the NSF Senior Key Person Profile form version 2.0).

Change of Principal Investigator (PI) and Add/Change Co-PI Requests

  • Effective October 5, 2020, Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documentation must also be in an NSF-approved format when uploaded with a Change of PI and an Add/Change co-PI request in FastLane.

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Submissions with Active Other Support Changes

  • Effective October 5, 2020, PIs and co-PIs must include an NSF-approved format for Current and Pending Support when notifying NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made, or since the most recent annual report.
  • This new requirement serves as NSF’s implementation of the revised RPPR, a uniform format for reporting performance progress on Federally-funded research projects and research-related activities.
  • Further details about the RPPR can be found on the Research.gov About Project Reports website.

Automated Compliance Checks for NSF-approved Formats

  • Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents not in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error and ultimately will prevent proposal submission or completion of the post-award action. This compliance check applies to proposals, Change of PI requests, Add/Change co-PI requests, and relevant RPPR submissions.
  • The complete lists of FastLane and Research.gov automated proposal compliance checks effective October 5, 2020, are available on the Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals website.
  • Note that automated compliance checks also apply when a proposal file update (PFU) is performed on a proposal. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

NSF-approved Format Updates

Based on feedback from the research community, NSF has enhanced both approved formats, and users are encouraged to use the latest versions. Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv and the system-related FAQs on using the NSF fillable PDF for a list of the improvements to each format. In particular, note the permitted use of “et al.” for publication citations in the Biographical Sketch when listing multiple authors. Senior personnel who wish to include publications in the products section of the Biographical Sketch that include multiple authors may, at their discretion, choose to list one or more of the authors and then "et al." in lieu of including the complete listing of authors' names.

SciENcv Enhancements

The SciENcv module for creating NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents will be updated prior to October 5, 2020; however, all SciENcv-generated Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support PDF documents created on or after April 1, 2020 remain compliant in NSF systems.

Prior to the October 5th requirement to use the NSF-approved format, SciENcv will make a number of enhancements that include:

  • ability for users to reorder products and appointments in the Biographical Sketch
  • ability for users to edit long author citations imported from ORCID on the Biographical Sketch and add “et al.”
  • addition of a Current and Pending Support tool tip to provide clarification and guidance on how users should document support under a fiscal year calendar

Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv for details.

As a reminder, the SciENcv tool integrates with ORCID, enabling users to populate the Biographical Sketch by importing data directly from ORCID records rather than having to manually enter all the required information. This helps reduce administrative burden associated with the Biographical Sketch preparation process. Additionally, SciENcv allows users to grant access to delegates to assist with maintaining and updating data. SciENcv also offers users a dynamic and more customized PDF. For example, users with fewer Current and Pending Support entries may elect to use SciENcv to generate their Current and Pending Support PDF document since SciENcv will produce a PDF without any blank pages. Conversely, the Current and Pending Support fillable PDF will always be 15 pages regardless of how much data is included.

Latest NSF Fillable PDF Version

  • Revised NSF fillable PDF formats were released on May 1, 2020; however, the previous versions remain compliant in NSF systems.
  • The May 1, 2020 version is indicated by "Revised 05/01/2020" printed on the first page of each form.

Additional Training Resources

To learn more about the NSF-approved formats for Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support, please view the NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) webinar and NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch & Current and Pending Support Sections of NSF Proposals webinar.

SciENcv has created the following materials to guide NSF users through the preparation of the NSF documents available in SciENcv:

Other Updates for Proposers

A revised NSF Grants.gov Application Guide will be published on September 16th and effective October 5, 2020. The Guide will be updated to remove references and instructions for the Research & Related Personal Data Form. NSF will no longer require this form, and this form will no longer be included in NSF's packages effective October 5, 2020.

Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the SciENcv or NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
email: policy@nsf.gov

July 24, 2020

ASSIST for the Submission of NIH Administrative Supplements

Beginning Saturday, July 25, 2020, the use of ASSIST for the submission of administrative supplements will be expanded. Paper submissions and the previous “streamlined” process within eRA Commons that permitted administrative supplement requests to be submitted directly to the awarding agency without having to go through Grants.gov, will no longer be accepted.

As of this date, there will be three methods for initiating an administrative supplement through eRA systems:
  • Initiate in ASSIST, enter the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for an administrative supplement and enter information manually;
  • Initiate in ASSIST and after entering the Federal ID number of the parent grant award, some of the information from the parent award is prepopulated;
  • Initiate through eRA Commons and after identifying a specific grant for administrative supplement, be directed by the system to ASSIST where some information from the parent award is prepopulated.
For more information, see NIH eRA Information: Use of ASSIST Expanded for Submission of Administrative Supplements.

July 1, 2020 Research Advocate: Update to NIH Administrative Supplement Policies

July 21, 2020

NIH Requirements: Disclosure of Other Support, Foreign Relationships and Activities, and Conflicts of Interest

Full transparency in National Institutes of Health applications and throughout the life of an NIH grant is critical. NIH requires the disclosure of all sources of research support, foreign components, and financial conflicts of interest.

A chart with examples of what to disclose to NIH about Senior/Key Personnel on Applications and Awards can be found on the NIH Protecting U.S. Biomedical Intellectual Innovation page.

July 10, 2020

NIH Guidance on Applications for Fall 2020 Due Dates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The National Institutes of Health has issued Guidance for Applicants Preparing Applications for the Fall 2020 Due Dates During the COVID-19 Pandemic (NOT-OD-20-122), with particular focus on not including contingency plans related to COVID-19 in proposals:
“NIH grant applications should NOT include contingency plans that would outline steps needed to recover from temporary, emergency situations, or institutional return-to-the-workplace plans, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The guidance goes into effect beginning with applications submitted for the September 25, 2020 due date.

July 02, 2020

NSF Post-Award Disclosure of Current Support and In-Kind Contribution Information

Federal funding agencies have become increasingly concerned about the accurate reporting of current and pending support in proposals. The National Science Foundation has updated the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) dated October 5, 2020 to provide guidance on how a priincipal investigator or co-PI of an active NSF grant can disclose current support or in-kind contribution information that was not submitted at the proposal stage.

Effective October 5, 2020, the missing information must be submitted by the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) within 30 calendar days of the identification of the undisclosed current support or in-kind contribution through use of the “Other Request” category in the Notification and Request Module in Research.gov.

See: Section 47 of the NSF Grant General Conditions for more information on these requirements.