January 03, 2019

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2019

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2018/2019, 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 2018 version, except for an increase in the limit for gifts of travel. Gifts of travel may be subject to a $470 gift limit in 2018. This gift limit has increased from $470 to $500 in 2019 and 2020. Please contact Alaisha Hellman (amhellman@berkeley.edu, 510/642-0122) 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. Please see State of California Financial Disclosure for more information.

December 20, 2018

What Happens If the Federal Government Shuts Down?

There is once again the possibility of a federal government shutdown. The deadline for averting a shutdown is December 21, 2018. If a shutdown occurs, it will be a “partial” government shutdown that it will affect some government sponsors and not others. For example, DHHS, DOD, and DOE appropriations are signed into law, but NSF, NASA, DOI, DOC, and EPA appropriations (as of this date) have not been finalized.

This means that these agencies will order agency employees to stay home, i.e., they will be furloughed. With agency personnel furloughed, it will not be possible to communicate with federal sponsors by email or phone. It is likely that NSF FastLane and Research.gov as well as other federal agency portals will not be available. Based on past experience, proposals will not be accepted or reviewed and no new awards will be made by agencies subject to this partial shutdown. However, existing federal projects, in most cases, will continue to operate, and already authorized funding will not be impacted.

However, it is important to read agency specific guidance. For example, NASA's most recent guidance on shutdown procedures is that grantees and partners in cooperative agreements may be authorized to work under a CR continue at their normal level of operations as long as funds already obligated remain available, the work does not require access to a NASA or other closed Government facility, and the work does not require any civil servant oversight or other government support that would be funded by a lapsed appropriation. NASA also states that it still may be necessary to suspend or reduce planned work during a funding hiatus.

What we know now about federal agencies and their contingency plans for shutdown is posted on the SPO website. We will update this information as we receive it. Please see the see the Federal Agency Contingency Plans on the OMB website for information on plans for agencies across the federal government.

January 19, 2018 Research Advocate: What Happens If the Federal Government Shuts Down?

New NIH Training Grant Requirement

Applications for National Institutes of Health institutional training grants (T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TL4) must include a letter on institutional letterhead signed by a key institutional leader that describes the institutional commitment to ensuring that proper policies, procedures, and oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory practices. This policy applies to applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.

The full announcement is found in the NIH Guide Notice Harassment and Discrimination Protections in NIH Training Applications (NOT-OD-12-029).

A letter from University of California Provost Michael Brown will meet this new requirement for institutional training grant applications. Please include this letter in training grant applications submitted to the Sponsored Projects Office on or after January 25, 2019.

December 07, 2018

Revision of NSF Award Terms and Conditions

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office:

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 Special Terms and Conditions (FL 26) for Administration of NSF Conference or Travel Grants. 
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 January 28, 2019.

Questions regarding NSF terms and conditions may be sent to 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
National Science Foundation

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