April 17, 2019

Salary Limitation for Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2019

The Office of Personnel Management has recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 6, 2019, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $192,300.

The National Institutes of Health has issued Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2019 (NOT-OD-19-099).

For federal awards issued in those years that were restricted to Executive Level II, including competing awards already issued in FY2019, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may rebudget funds to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level. However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards.

For more information , see the full announcement in the NIH Guide.

March 06, 2019

Indirect Cost Recovery on State of California Awards

Nathan Brostrom, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of California, has issued the following guidance on State of California sponsored projects:

On July 1, 2019, the first escalation of IDC from 25% to 30% MTDC is expected to be applied to on-campus agreements from all State of California agencies except for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

Off-campus activities will remain at 25% MTDC.

Starting on July 1, 2019, IDC on funding originating from CDFA increases to 25% MTDC. Special provisions have been made for IDC for funding from Marketing Orders and Commodity Boards.

CSU has agreed to follow UC’s course with regards to these escalations.

For more information, see State of California Proposal Requirements.

February 13, 2019

New Effective Date for the Revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

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

Dear Colleagues:

Due to the recent lapse in appropriations, implementation of the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 19-1) was postponed. We are pleased to announce that the revised PAPPG will now be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after February 25, 2019. Significant changes include:
  • Addition of Research.gov as an option for proposal preparation and submission, and proposal file updates;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for unaffiliated individuals;
  • Specification that conference proposals over $50,000 and all equipment proposals must include the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information in the proposal submission;
  • Revision of resubmission guidelines for NSF programs that accept proposals at any time;
  • Implementation of NSF’s policy on sexual harassment and other forms of harassment, or sexual assault;
  • Specification that proposers are required to have a policy or code-of-conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault, and that includes clear and accessible means of reporting violations of the policy or code-of-conduct.  This policy or code-of-conduct must be disseminated to conference participants prior to attendance at the conference as well as made available at the conference itself;
  • Emphasis on the importance of training faculty in the responsible and ethical conduct of research;
  • Incorporation of existing patent policy into the PAPPG.  This policy was previously implemented by regulation at 45 CFR 650; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.
You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

To learn about the changes in the revised PAPPG (NSF 19-1), please view the latest NSF Proposal & Award Policy Update webinar.

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on February 25, 2019, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 18-1) continue to apply. We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

Associated award terms and conditions (including RTC NSF Agency Specific Requirements, GC-1, and FL-26) will also be effective for proposals submitted or due, on or after, February 25, 2019. Cooperative Agreement Conditions (CA-FATC) and CA-FATC Modifications and Supplemental terms and conditions are effective for new awards and funding actions to existing awards beginning on February 12, 2019.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the DIAS/Policy Office at  policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
National Science Foundation

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.