November 10, 2011

SPO Revises Subrecipient Commitment Form and Instructions

The Sponsored Projects Office has been working over the last several months to streamline the Subrecipient Commitment Form and associated instructions. The goal in revising the form is to collect only information that is needed at the proposal stage and to make the items on the form easier to read and respond to prior to proposal submission.

The new Subrecipient Commitment Form (Version 11/10/2011), and instructions are now available on the SPO web site. The revised form can also be accessed on the SPO forms page.

SPO will accept the previous version of the Subrecipient Commitment Form until the end of the current calendar year. However, departments are encouraged to ask potential subrecipients to complete the new form when possible during the transition period.

After January 1, 2012, the new Subrecipient Commitment Form (Version 11/10/2011) will be required by SPO.

Acceleration of Unspent ARRA Grant Funds

Pam Miller, the Director of the Sponsored Projects Office, sent an advanced notification to the campus of the need to spend ARRA funds promptly or risk having these funds reclaimed by the federal government.

On September 15, 2011, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) distributed Memorandum 11-34 to the heads of executive departments and agencies of the federal government regarding the need to accelerate the expenditure of ARRA funds.

The memo stated that nearly 85 percent of ARRA funds have now been paid out and the vast majority of remaining funds have already been obligated for projects that communities are counting on for job creation. However, despite the rapid pace of spending of ARRA funds over the past 30 months, OMB noted that there remain billions in ARRA funds that, although they have been obligated, have not yet been outlayed.

In light of the current economic situation and the need for further economic stimulus, OMB is now asking federal agencies to spend these remaining ARRA funds as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In order to ensure that remaining ARRA balances are spent in an expeditious fashion, federal agencies are being asked by OMB to establish aggressive targets, consistent with programmatic objectives, for outlaying remaining funds by September 30, 2013. This new policy would compress the period of availability for the bulk of remaining funds in discretionary grant programs into the next two years.

Agencies may request waivers, but they will be granted sparingly.

SPO anticipates that the federal agencies will soon be communicating the requirements of Memorandum 11-34 the UC Berkeley campus by adding these requirements to new grant agreements, modifying terms and conditions of existing grant agreements, or other appropriate written means. Agencies also are being directed to revise the terms of ARRA discretionary grant agreements, to the extent permitted by law, to provide for reclamation of funds that remain unspent after September 30, 2013, absent a waiver issued by OMB.

Principal Investigators should contact their Research Administrators with questions about the status of their ARRA expenditures.

Update (December 14, 2011): NSF and NIH Issue Guidance to Accelerate Spending of ARRA Funds

November 03, 2011

UC Offers New Data Management Tool for Researchers: DMPTool

UC Berkeley researchers may be interested in a new data management tool developed by the University of California Digital Library in partnership with other research institutions.

DMPTool is a flexible online application to help researchers generate data management plans for ensuring good data stewardship. These plans increasingly are being required by funders such as NSF and NIH. DMPTool supports data management plans and funder requirements across the disciplines, including the humanities and physical, medical and social sciences. Users of DMPTool can view sample plans, preview funder requirements and view the latest changes to their plans. Users can create an editable document for submission to a sponsor, or create different versions as funding requirements change.