May 25, 2012

No-Cost Extensions for NIH Grants Funded by ARRA

On September 15, 2011, the Office of Management and Budget issued OMB memorandum M-11-34, “Accelerating Spending of Remaining Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Discretionary Grant Programs.” This memo directed Federal agencies to take steps to ensure grantees complete Recovery Act projects by September 30, 2013.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have provided guidance on meeting the accelerated spending goal. NSF published additional Frequently Asked Questions changing the deadline for no-cost extension requests to NSF from June to March.

For NIH awards funded by ARRA scheduled to end on or before September 30, 2013, a no-cost extension must be submitted to NIH by June 1, 2012.

If a no-cost extension is necessary, it must be requested through SPO and sent to the NIH by June 1, 2012, no matter the end date of the award.

NSF and NIH will grant approvals based on the allowable exceptions described in OMB M-11-34. Grantees may still exercise their one-time, grantee-approved no-cost extension as long as the period of performance does not extend beyond September 30, 2013. Sponsors must approve all extensions beyond the September 30, 2013 date, and no unilateral extension beyond September 30, 2013 will be recognized by the sponsor. Grantees are still encouraged to responsibly accelerate spending. For more information see Accelerating Spending of ARRA Funding on the SPO web site.

PI requests for a no-cost extension should be submitted to SPO as soon as possible in order for the request to be submitted to NIH by the June 1, 2012 deadline.

December 14, 2011 Research Advocate article: NSF and NIH Issue Guidance to Accelerate Spending of ARRA Funds
November 10, 2011 Research Advocate article: Acceleration of Unspent ARRA Grant Funds

May 22, 2012

NIH Piloting Special Review for PIs with Over $1.5M in Research Project Grants

The National Institutes of Health published a Notice of NIH Piloting of Procedures for Special Council Review of Research Applications from PD(s)/PI(s) with More than $1.5 Million Total Annual NIH Support (NOT-OD-12-110) in the May 18 NIH Guide.

In a follow-up Rock Talk post, Dr. Sally Rockey, the NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, writes, “This is not a cap on the total amount of funds an investigator can receive from NIH. It is a special review during Advisory Council deliberations to determine if additional funds should be provided to well-supported investigators.”

The Notice states that:

“During the current round of May IC Council meetings, NIH will be piloting the procedures whereby Council members will be asked to provide additional consideration of new and renewal applications from well-supported investigators who currently receive more than $1.5 million in Research Project Grants (RPGs). These RPGs are generally investigator-initiated research projects rather than NIH’s other grant programs which include support for investigator training and career development and center grants.  In addition to the common R01 grant program, the RPG level includes cooperative agreements (example: U01) and subproject costs where an investigator is a sub-project leader on a Program Project Grant (P01) or other multi-project RPG award.  Multiple PD/PI projects are also proportionally included in determining the $1.5 million level for a specific PD/PI.”

Exclusions to the pilot include applications in response to most RFAs, P01s and other multi-project RPGs unless all of the PD/PIs and sub-project leaders are at or above the $1.5M level, and multiple PD/PI projects unless all of the PDs/PIs are above $1.5 million.

May 04, 2012 and Fastlane Unavailable This Weekend

Both the National Science Foundation web site and NSF FastLane will be unavailable this weekend for scheduled maintenance. The sites will be down from 5:00 pm Pacific Time, Friday, May 4 to 8:59 pm Pacific Time, Sunday, May 6.

NSF provides guidance in a FastLane Advisory for reviewers and panelists planning to work on a review or submit a review during the weekend outage.