January 08, 2010

Keeping Current with NIH: Recent Notices

The National Institutes of Health issued a number of important NIH Guide notices in recent weeks, linked and summarized below.

Availability of Reissued Parent Announcements for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2010
In mid-December NIH issued a notice serving as a progress report on the process of updating and reissuing NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) with due dates on or after January 25, 2010, related to the new shorter NIH forms that must be used for all new or resubmission applications targeting due dates on or after January 25, 2010.

Error-Correction Window Extended for Electronic Applications Intended for Submission Deadlines On and Between January 25 and May 7, 2010
NIH, AHRQ, FDA and CDC are temporarily extending the electronic application error correction window (the time allowed after the submission deadline to correct errors/warnings identified by the eRA system) to five business days for all electronic applications intended for submission deadlines on and between January 25, 2010 and May 7, 2010. The temporary five-day window is being used to accommodate the January 25 transition to new application forms and instructions, part of the implementation of the NIH “Enhancing Peer Review” initiative.

NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2010
This Notice provides guidance about the NIH Fiscal Operations Plan for FY 2010 and it implements the FY 2010 enacted Omnibus Appropriation Act that provided NIH with $31.0 billion or 2.3 percent more than FY 2009 funding.

Non-Competing Research Awards: Non-Competing Research Awards: The FY 2010 appropriation as specified in P.L. 111-171 provides NIH a 2 percent inflation allowance to NIH investments in research supported by research grants. Each Institute and Center (IC) will use its own discretion to allocate the adjustment among its non-competing research grants (modular and non-modular) to ensure compliance with the 2 percent inflation allowance provided in its FY 2010 committed level.

Competing Research Awards: Each NIH Institute and Center (IC) will manage its competing portfolio using funds that have not been committed for non-competing awards. Consistent with the FY 2010 appropriation, the FY 2010 average cost of competing grants is allowed to increase by 2 percent over FY 2009 when compared to similar policies.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA): NIH will support a 1 percent increase at all stipend levels.

Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts

Every year since 1990, Congress has legislatively mandated a provision limiting the direct salary that an individual may receive under an NIH grant. For FY 2010, Public Law 111-117: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level I of the Federal Executive Pay scale. The Executive Level I annual salary rate was $196,700 for the period January 1 through December 31, 2009. Effective January 1, 2010, the Executive Level I salary level increased to $199,700.

See the NIH Salary Cap Summary page for more information.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2010
This Notice establishes new stipend levels for FY 2010 Kirschstein-NRSA awards for undergraduate, predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and fellows. The Tuition and Fees, Training Related Expenses for trainees and the Institutional Allowance for individual fellows remain unchanged. The budgetary categories described in the Notice are effective only for Kirschstein-NRSA awards made with FY 2010 funds. All FY 2010 awards issued using FY 2009 stipend levels will be revised to increase the stipend category to the FY 2010 level. Retroactive adjustments or supplementation of stipends or other budgetary categories with Kirschstein-NRSA funds for an award made prior to October 1, 2009 are not permitted.

Notice of Legislative Mandates in Effect for FY2010
Public Law 111-117: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 provides funding to NIH for the fiscal year ending 2010. The intent of this Notice is to provide information on the statutory provisions that limit the use of funds on NIH grant, cooperative agreement, and contract awards for FY2010.

Implementation of the Federal Financial Report (SF-425) - Interim Guidance
The Office of Management and Budget is requiring that the Financial Status Report (FSR or SF-269/SF-269A) and the Federal Cash Transaction Report (FCTR or SF-272/SF-272A) be consolidated into a single form, the Federal Financial Report (FFR or SF-425/SF-425A). The Department of Health and Human Services has submitted the necessary paperwork to OMB to extend approved use of the SF-269 while the Department continues its phased migration to the full use of the FFR.

Effective January 1, 2010, NIH grantees are to report cash transaction data via the Payment Management System (PMS) using the FFR cash transaction data elements. The first quarter fiscal year 2010 report is for the period October 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009, and must be filed within 30 days of the end of the quarter.

Until notified otherwise, NIH grantees should continue to use the eFSR system in the eRA Commons (based on the Financial Status Report SF-269) to report actual expenditures. There are no changes in existing business practices for this reporting requirement at this time.