November 01, 2018

NIH and NSF Current and Pending Support Requirements

On August 20, 2018, Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health, issued a letter that discussed several concerns, including grantee failures to disclose substantial resource contributions from other organizations, such as foreign governments and foreign institutions of higher education, in grant applications.

To promote and foster compliance with federal funding application rules, it is important to carefully follow the instructions published by federal sponsors. Failure to do so could lead to questions from federal sponsors about specific applications, funded projects, and progress reports. For your convenience, below are the National Institutes of Health definition of Other Support, and the National Science Foundation definition of Current and Pending Support.
  • NIH: “Other Support includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts do not need to be included”. [emphasis added]

  • NSF: Current and Pending Support is the support requested or available from other federal agencies and other sources. The NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.2.h states that “All current project support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations, or internal funds allocated toward specific projects) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and any other senior personnel must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s).” [emphasis added]
For all other federal sponsors, please follow the application directions for disclosing the support of other organizations in your proposal. If you have any questions about the sponsor’s requirements, please contact your SPO Contract and Grant Officer for assistance.

With heightened federal scrutiny and increasing concerns about this issue, it is more important than ever that together we ensure the submission of accurate and complete information about project support to federal sponsors.

October 12, 2018

NIH Seeks Comments on Proposed Data Management and Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health issued Request for Information (RFI) on Proposed Provisions for a Draft Data Management and Sharing Policy for NIH Funded or Supported Research (NOT-OD-19-014) to solicit public input on proposed key provisions that could serve as the foundation for a future NIH policy for data management and sharing. The feedback will help NIH develop a draft policy.

NIH is accepting comments through December 10, 2018.

NIH is hosting a webinar on the proposed key provisions on November 7, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00am PT.

For more information, see

October 09, 2018

NSF Revises Award Terms and Conditions

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, on October 9, 2018:

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to make you aware that the following sets of NSF Award Terms and Conditions have been revised:
  • NSF Agency Specific Requirements to the Research Terms and Conditions (ASR);
  • Cooperative Agreement Financial & Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC);
  • Cooperative Agreement Modifications and Supplemental Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions for Major Multi-User Research Facility Projects and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers;
  • Grant General Conditions (GC-1); and
  • Administration of NSF Conference or Group Travel Award Grant Conditions (FL-26)
Important changes include:
  • Revision of the Micro-purchase and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds (Procurement Standards) article to align with Section 806 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018, as implemented by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-18-18, dated June 20, 2018; and
  • Implementation of the “Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault” award term and condition.
Each set of terms and conditions is accompanied by a summary of changes made to that document.
  • The revised Terms and Conditions will apply to all new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing NSF awards made on or after October 22, 2018.
If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the DIAS Policy Office at policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution & Award Support (DIAS)
Office of Budget, Finance and Award Management
Email: jfeldman@nsf.gov
Phone: 703.292.8243

September 14, 2018

Opportunity to Influence NSF Priorities: NSF 2026 Idea Machine

The National Science Foundation is encouraging researchers, the public, and other interested stakeholders to contribute to NSF’s mission to support basic research and enable new discoveries that drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and advance knowledge to sustain U.S. global leadership in science and engineering.

The NSF 2026 Idea Machine is a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants can earn prizes and receive public recognition by suggesting the pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade, the next set of “Big Ideas” for future investment by NSF. Submit entries by October 26, 2018.


September 13, 2018 CALmessages notice: Opportunity to influence future NSF priorities: The NSF 2026 Idea Machine

September 04, 2018

NIH Delays Implementation of Revised Definition of a Clinical Trial and Associated Requirements

The National Institutes of Health has issued Delayed Enforcement and Short-Term Flexibilities for Some Requirements Affecting Prospective Basic Science Studies Involving Human Participants (NOT-OD-18-212) delaying the implementation of its revised definition of a clinical trial and associated requirements until September 24, 2019.

During the interim period:
  • NIH will delay enforcing that investigators register and report their studies in clinicaltrials.gov. Note: Basic research studies involving human participants are still expected to register and report their studies through portals other than clinicaltrials.gov.
  • NIH has instituted a period of leniency for applications submitted to the incorrect funding opportunity announcement (FOA) based on study-type designation (e.g., clinical trials required, clinical trials optional, clinical trials not allowed). NIH will not administratively reject any applications submitted to an incorrect study-type FOA, and applications will be reviewed based on the review criteria of the FOA to which they are submitted.
  • NIH will expect clinical trials that do not meet the definition of a prospective basic science study involving human participants to continue to comply fully with the clinical trials policies.
NIH also will assess its approach to registration and reporting for these studies and seek feedback from the research community on its registration and reporting requirements. NIH will continue to expect all personnel involved in the conduct, oversight, or management of prospective basic research studies involving human participants to obtain Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training.

NIH also plans to issue FOAs specifically for prospective basic science studies involving human participants. These FOAs are anticipated to be published in November 2018 with due dates beginning January 25, 2019. Therefore, those submitting on or after the February 2019 due dates will have FOAs specifically designed for these prospective basic science studies with humans.

July 18, 2018

CPHS Policy for the Revised Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and 16 other federal departments and agencies have issued a Final Rule to delay for an additional six months the general compliance date for changes recently made to the revised Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (also known as the Common Rule – 45CFR46) making the general compliance date of the 2018 Requirements now effective on January 21, 2019.

Background

This policy was originally promulgated as a Common Rule in 1991, and was revised on January 19, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 7149) (the revised Common Rule is also known as the “2018 Requirements”). The effective and general compliance date for the 2018 Requirements was delayed to July 19, 2018 by an interim final rule that was published on January 22, 2018 (83 Fed. Reg. 2885). Subsequently, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published on April 20, 2018 (83 FR 17595), which proposed an additional six-month delay for the general compliance date for the 2018 Requirements making the general compliance date of the 2018 Requirements final and now effective on January 21,2019.

The University of California, Berkeley, consistent with other campuses in the University of California System, has developed an implementation plan to accommodate the changes and provisions of the revised Common Rule that will go into effect on January 21, 2019. The Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) and the Office for Human Subjects Protection (OPHS) will be disseminating these plans shortly. Investigators who conduct human subjects research should be attentive to email notices from OPHS and postings on the CPHS website regarding the upcoming changes.

July 13, 2018

Upcoming NIH Mandate: T32, TL1, T90/R90, and T15

The National Institutes of Health has announced that they will be mandating data tables in training grants and progress reports for the following activity codes: T32, TL1, T90/R90, and T15.

These data tables are to be created using the xTRACT system.

NIH principal investigators and their assistants are encouraged to become familiar with this system, which is accessed via the eRA Commons, before it becomes a proposal/report requirement.

xTRACT is designed to make it simpler for applicants and grantees to create training tables required for training grant applications and progress reports to NIH, as this system is designed to replace the current laborious method of creating the tables in free form in Word format. Automation should significantly reduce workload.

For more information, see Advance Notice of Transition to the xTRACT System for Preparing Research Training Data Tables (NOT-OD-18-133).

June 22, 2018

NSF Procedures for Breach of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

The National Science Foundation Research Terms and Conditions (effective March 1, 2018) require recipients of NSF funding to protect Personally Identifiable Information within the scope of an NSF award. Article 35 states:

“Grantees that use or operate a Federal information system or create, collect, use, process, store, maintain, disseminate, disclose, or dispose of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) within the scope of an NSF award, must have procedures in place to respond to a breach of PII. These procedures should promote cooperation and the free exchange of information with NSF, as needed to properly escalate, refer and respond to a breach. Grantees will notify NSF upon learning that a breach of PII within the scope of an NSF award has occurred.”

“Personally Identifiable Information” can generally be defined as any information/data that could potentially be used to identify a specific individual. Examples include, but are not limited to, names, SSNs, driver’s license numbers, medical information, etc. A “breach” of Personally Identifiable Information can be defined as a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is suspected to have been copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so. More information on Personally Identifiable Information can be found on the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) website.

Any suspected breach of Personally Identifiable Information that occurs within the context of an NSF supported research or training grant or contract, should be reported to the director of the Sponsored Projects Office (plfmiller@berkeley.edu) and to Berkeley Information Security. This office will validate the scope and nature of the incident and will follow up with an Incident Response Plan.

If the breach includes Personally Identifiable Information that is collected as part of an IRB approved research study or participants or trainees in an NSF Training Grant, the Office for Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) also should be contacted as soon as possible.

We want to remind all human subjects researchers that, under the context of an IRB approved protocol, a Personally Identifiable Information breach would constitute an adverse event/unanticipated problem (loss of confidentiality) which would have to be reported to the IRB office within 7 calendar days of the Principal Investigator’s knowledge of the incident (with a formal report submitted within 14 calendar days).

Examples of data breaches include, but are not limited to:
  • Loss/theft of device/computer/server storing PII or documents with PII
  • Hacking of device/computer/server storing PII including any suspected malware or ransomware infection of device
  •  Insecure electronic transmission of PII (e.g. using email to transmit confidential information) · Loss/theft of passwords or password storing software
  •  Insecure or unauthorized disposal of devices/computers or documents with PII
For more information about protecting the confidentiality of UC information and data please go to the UC Berkeley Information Security and Policy website.

June 01, 2018

NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter: Latest Edition

Below is a message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, on June 1, 2018. Topics inside the new May 2018 edition of the of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter are:
  • Draft PAPPG posted in Federal Register,
  • Proposal Submission via Research.gov,
  • New Account Management System,
  • Revision of NSF Terms and Conditions,
  • Public Access Expansion Repository, and
  • Faculty Compensation Reminder.

Dear Colleagues:

The Policy Office in the Division of Institution & Award Support at the National Science Foundation is pleased to release the latest edition of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter.

You may sign up to receive this newsletter automatically via NSF Update. This mechanism allows you to choose to be notified about NSF programs, policies and events. To do this, navigate to www.nsf.gov, and click on the envelope icon in the “Follow Us” section of the website. After entering your e-mail address, you can select the topics you’re interested in learning about. To receive this newsletter, check the boxes for Newsletters/ Journals and Publications: Policies and Procedures.

We hope that you will find the information in this latest edition to be useful. If you have ideas for future topics to be addressed in the newsletter, please send them to policy@nsf.gov.

Best,

Jean

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

May 30, 2018

NIH Regional Seminar in San Francisco in October

The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) is offering the NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration in San Francisco, California this fall: October 17-19, 2018. Registration is now open.

The NIH Regional Seminar serves the NIH mission of providing education and training for the next generation of biomedical and behavioral scientists. This seminar is intended to:
  • Demystify the application and review process
  • Clarify federal regulations and policies
  • Highlight current areas of special interest or concern
Who Should Attend? The seminar and optional workshops are appropriate for those who are new to working with the NIH grants process – administrators, early stage investigators, researchers, graduate students, etc. For those with more experience, the seminar offers a few more advanced sessions, updates on policies and processes direct from NIH staff, as well as valuable presentation resources to share with your institution.

Who are the Presenters? The NIH Regional Seminar involves approximately 65 NIH and HHS staff who are brought to a central location in order to educate, share, and hear your questions over the course of two days, plus the pre-seminar workshops. (Faculty Page with pictures and bios will be posted this spring, so keep watching this website!)

This seminar is your opportunity to make direct contact with NIH policy officials, grants management, program and review staff, and representatives from the HHS Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and others. In addition, take advantage of discussions involving more than 600 fellow attendees from around the world.

In addition to learning more about the NIH grants processes and policies through the optional workshops and 2-day sessions, there are opportunities throughout the seminar to Meet the Experts 1:1. These 15 minutes chats are a great way to get more specific questions answered by NIH & HHS experts. You’ll have the opportunity to sign up in advance or on-site to speak with the expert(s) of your choice participating in the seminar.

What are some of the topics? Here’s a quick overview of some of the topics:
  • Budget Basics for Administrators and Investigators
  • Career Development Awards
  • Clinical Trials
  • Compliance (Case Studies)
  • Current Issues at NIH
  • Diversity in the Extramural Research Workplace
  • electronic Research Administration (eRA)
  • Financial Conflict of Interest
  • Fundamentals of the NIH Grants Process
  • Grant Writing for Success
  • Human Research Protections
  • Intellectual Property, Inventions, and Patents
  • Loan Repayment Program
  • Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
  • Peer Review Process
  • Preventing & Detecting Fraud
  • Public Access
  • SciENcv
  • R&D Contracts
  • Research Integrity
  • Rigor & Reproducibility
  • Training/Fellowships
  • SBIR/STTR Program
  • …and that’s not all!
Can I go ahead and make my hotel reservations now? Yes! See the Hotel/Travel page for all the details. The room block is for a limited time and rooms traditionally sell out before the date for this seminar.

For inquiries regarding the seminar, email NIHRegionalSeminars@mail.nih.gov.

Listserv information is available on the NIH Regional Seminar page.

April 18, 2018

Update from NSF on Research.gov Proposal Submission

Beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research.gov system.

The initial release of this new Research.gov capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities. As a result, proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018. Other proposal types will be added to Research.gov in the future.

Note that proposals initiated in the new Research.gov system will not be available in FastLane, and proposals prepared in FastLane will not be available in the new system.

NSF is developing this new system incrementally, and as NSF migrates capabilities from FastLane to Research.gov, the Research.gov system features will expand until Research.gov eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission. There will be no impact to Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Services, and NSF will continue to fully support these proposal submission methods.

The Research.gov proposal site modernizes proposal preparation and submission capabilities and focuses on enhancing the user experience and reducing administrative burden with an intuitive interface and real-time compliance checking. The new functionality provides the ability to create, submit, track, and update proposals associated with active NSF funding opportunities and furthers NSF’s goal to provide quick access to proposal information and grants management services in one location.

February 26, 2018 Research Advocate: NSF Research.gov Proposal Submission Update

March 22, 2018

New Way to Sign In to NSF FastLane and Research.gov as of March 26, 2018

On March 26, 2018, (Monday) the National Science Foundation will introduce a new centralized and streamlined account registration process in Research.gov for the research community that will provide each new user with a single profile and unique identifier (i.e., NSF ID) for signing in to FastLane and Research.gov for proposal and award activities.

Existing NSF account holders, including Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Service (ASWS) users, will be migrated to the new account management system through a simple, one-time operation when initially signing in to FastLane or Research.gov after the new functionality is released. Account holders will be required to verify information to transfer it to the new system. Each user will have one NSF ID.

Users with existing NSF accounts can access the NSF ID Lookup page for their NSF ID. Forgotten passwords for established NSF accounts may be retrieved here.

New users will be able to register directly with NSF through Research.gov on or after March 26, 2018, via this link: https://www.research.gov/accountmgmt/#/registration. Note that this link will not work until March 26, 2018.

For Submissions to NSF via Grants.gov: Beginning on March 26, 2018, the Principal Investigator (PI), all co-PIs, and the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) listed on a Grants.gov proposal must all be registered with NSF prior to proposal submission. NSF IDs for the PI, all co-PIs, and the AOR listed will need to be included in the proposal submission.

The new centralized account management functionality is being released first to the Administrator, PI, AOR, Sponsored Project Officer (SPO), Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Coordinating Official and Financial Official, and Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) groups. NSF plans to eventually expand the new functionality in the future to additional groups including proposal reviewers, GRFP applicants, and NSF staff

For more information, see the NSF notice on Research.gov.

March 09, 2018

NSF Organizational Definition of a “Year”

The National Science Foundation generally limits the salary compensation requested for senior personnel to no more than two person months of salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants.

The January 29, 2018 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) now states that it is the proposing organization’s responsibility to define and consistently apply the term “year.” Furthermore, the organization’s definition of a “year” now must be described in the budget justification submitted with every NSF proposal.

Effective April 1, 2018: For the purpose of submitting NSF proposals and managing NSF salary compensation for senior personnel after an award is made, UC Berkeley’s definition of a “year” shall be the institution’s fiscal year, i.e. July 1st to June 30th. This definition must be included in the budget justification for all NSF proposals submitted by Berkeley Principal Investigators.

Note: If anticipated at the proposal stage, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.

Also, under normal re-budgeting authority, NSF allows the University to increase or decrease the person months senior personnel devote to an NSF project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two-month salary policy. No prior approval from NSF is necessary as long as that change does not cause the objectives or scope of the project to change. NSF prior approval is necessary if the objectives or scope of the project change.

For more information see NSF’s Senior Personnel Salaries and Wages Policy.

February 26, 2018

NSF Research.gov Proposal Submission Update

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office, on February 26, 2018:

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov. The initial release of this new Research.gov capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018.

Research.gov Proposal Preparation Site Preview

The other exciting news that we want to share is that starting today, NSF is previewing the new Research.gov proposal preparation functionality to the research community to collect preliminary feedback and to provide the community an opportunity to acclimate to the new technology. The preview can be accessed by selecting the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” tab on the top navigation bar after signing in to Research.gov and then choosing “Prepare Proposal.” This preview will continue until 8:00PM EDT on April 27, 2018, and will allow any research community user with a FastLane or Research.gov account to sample the following proposal preparation features prior to the initial release on April 30, 2018:
  • Initiate full, research non-collaborative proposals (other proposal types are planned for future releases);
  • Add Principal Investigators (PIs), Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, and Other Authorized Users;
  • Upload required proposal documents;
  • Create budgets;
  • Check compliance; and
  • Enable Sponsored Project Officer (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) access for review.
Please be aware of the following important items as you test the new functionality during the preview period:
  • All test data entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site from February 26, 2018, until the preview concludes at 8:00PM EDT on April 27, 2018, will be deleted at the end of the preview period.
  • NSF will not be able to recover any proposal test data entered during the preview period and deleted by NSF after the preview period concludes.
  • Information entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site during the preview period will not be submitted to NSF.
  • Test data can be entered on the Research.gov proposal preparation site but actual proposals cannot be submitted to NSF via Research.gov during the preview period.
  • Additional information will be available on a Research.gov “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page accessible on the Research.gov homepage.
Feedback on the New Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site

Your feedback on the new Research.gov proposal preparation functionality during the preview period (February 26, 2018 through April 27, 2018) and on the full Research.gov proposal preparation and submission functionality after the initial release on April 30, 2018, is vital to NSF. The survey link will soon be available on the Research.gov “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page. Feedback from the community and NSF staff will be used to implement enhancements and expand functionality incrementally, with the goal of eventually transitioning all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to Research.gov.

NSF’s goals for the new Research.govproposal preparation and submission functionality are to:
  • Modernize the applications supporting the proposalsubmission and merit review processes and improve the user experience via the development of a new application;
  • Reduce the administrative burden to the research community and NSF staff associated with preparation, submission, and management of proposals;
  • Increase efficiencies in proposal preparation, submission, and management;
  • Improve data quality and capture proposal content in a way that supports data analytics; and
  • Improve availability, security, and flexibility of proposal preparation and submission IT systems.
We invite you to keep these goals in mind as you prepare and submit your feedback on the new functionality, so that we may improve the new Research.gov interface and develop additional available features.

For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
voice: 703-292-4573
email: jfeldman@nsf.gov

Update: “Research.gov Proposal Preparation Site Preview Now Available and Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site Initial Release Will Be on April 30” announcement published on NSF FastLane and Research.gov.

February 08, 2018

NSF Notice on Harassment

The National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice No. 144: Harassment. NSF is working to make certain NSF’s awardee organizations respond promptly and appropriately to instances of sexual and all other forms of harassment.

This notice describes a new award term that includes the following new requirements:
  • Grantee organizations will be required to report findings of sexual harassment, or any other kind of harassment regarding a PI or co/PI or any other grant personnel.
  • Grantees also will be required to report the placement of the PI or co-PI on administrative leave relating to a harassment finding or investigation.
NSF will be soliciting feedback on this term through an announcement in the Federal Register within the next few weeks.

For more information see Important Notice No. 144 and the NSF Sexual Harassment page.