December 19, 2013

OMB to Issue “Super Circular” Grant Reform Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) have announced that the reform to OMB Guidance, “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards,” is available for public inspection on the Federal Register on December 19, 2013. The guidance will be published in the December 26, 2013 edition of the Federal Register. The guidance, known as the Super Circular, combines requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-110, and A-133, as well as A-50, A-87, A-89, A-102, and A-122.

COFAR will host a webinar on December 20 at 8:45 a.m. Pacific time to discuss the new guidance. See the COFAR web site to register.

COFAR has recommended that federal agencies coordinate under OMB’s guidance to issue regulations or OMB-reviewed guidance in unison, effective one year from the publication of the final guidance on December 26.


December 13, 2013

NSF FastLane Changing Checks for Preliminary Proposals and Supplementary Funding Requests

On December 21, 2013, the National Science Foundation FastLane system will no longer provide “Required Item” or “Warning” messages if the following sections are not included in a preliminary proposal or supplemental funding request:
  • project description
  • references cited
  • biographical sketches
  • budget
  • budget justification
  • current and pending support
  • facilities, equipment and other resources
NSF is strongly encouraging proposers are strongly encouraged to perform an administrative review before submitting a preliminary proposal or supplemental funding request, to ensure that the submission complies with applicable instructions. The NSF announcement of this change is published as a FastLane Advisory.

NSF FastLane will continue to provide automated compliance checking and enforcement for other proposal types. See Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals for more information.

December 12, 2013

AHRQ Implements RPPR for Fellowships

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced that AHRQ Fellowship grantees will be required to use the eRA Commons Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) module in 2014. AHRQ plans to transition most other AHRQ awards to the RPPR later in 2014.

The eRA release scheduled for January 31, 2014, will provide AHRQ Fellowship grantees with the ability to use the RPPR in place of the PHS 416-9 Noncompeting – Individual Fellowship Progress Report for Continuation Support. AHRQ will require all Fellowship progress reports with start dates on or after August 1, 2014 to be submitted using the RPPR module.  The PHS 416-9 will no longer be available after August 1, 2014.

AHRQ use of the RPPR format will not differ from NIH; AHRQ grantees are encouraged to use the resources posted on the NIH RPPR page.

See AHRQ Implements the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for AHRQ Fellowship Grantees (NOT-HS-14-003) for more information.

November 20, 2013

Conference for Researchers on Funding and Career Opportunities in Europe, December 12-13, San Francisco

The European Commission is offering a Destination Europe conference on December 12-13, 2013, at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel. The conference will provide information on funding and career opportunities in Europe for researchers from anywhere in the world, including the U.S., as well as offering insight into European research initiatives. The conference is free but registration is required by December 1, 2013.

Major European funding mechanisms (such as the European Research Council and the Marie Curie Fellowship program) and individual European nations research programs will be discussed. In addition to plenary sessions, which will present the major European funding opportunities for individual researchers, there will be six thematic breakout sessions focusing on the following specific research topics:
  • Health and Biosciences
  • Geophysics and Ocean Science
  • Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Physics and Materials
  • Environment and Climate Change
Who should attend:
  • Researchers, of any nationality, who are considering their next career move in Europe
  • International officers of universities / research organizations
  • Anyone interested in learning about European research and innovation opportunities

November 18, 2013

NSF Issues New Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide

The National Science Foundation has published a new version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 14-1), effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after February 24, 2014. In the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 13-1) continue to apply.

The PAPPG consists of the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and the Award & Administration Guide (AAG). A summary of the changes is provided for both the GPG and the AAG. Significant changes include:
  • Addition to the certification regarding Conflict of Interest regarding the appropriate disclosure process;
  • Reiteration that indirect costs are not allowed on participant support costs;
  • Small-scale pilot of a new environmental impacts process with a few programs, prior to NSF-wide implementation; and
  • Updated process for program income reporting.

November 05, 2013

NSF and USAID Offer International Travel Allowances for NSF Graduate Research Fellows

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) - Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program provides NSF Graduate Fellows an international travel allowance to engage in research collaborations with investigators in partner countries located outside the United States. GROW offers research opportunities of 3-12 months in duration in the following partner countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.

This year, GROW is offering an additional track to provide opportunities to NSF Graduate Fellows to conduct research in developing countries. This track, developed through a partnership between NSF and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes the following developing countries: Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Senegal and South Africa. These opportunities are part of an online catalog that is available to students.

NSF Graduate Fellows may submit GROW travel requests through the GRFP FastLane module by January 8, 2014.

October 28, 2013

Revised NIH Grants Policy Statement Published, Effective October 1, 2013

The National Institutes of Health has announced publication of the revised NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS, rev. 10/1/2013), applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2013.

The revision does not introduce any new material, but “incorporates new and modified requirements, clarifies certain policies, and implements changes in statutes, regulations, and policies that have been implemented through appropriate legal and/or policy processes since the previous version of the NIHGPS dated 10/1/2012.” NIH has provided a summary of significant changes in the revision.

October 23, 2013

RAC Offices to Close During the Annual Campus Winter Break

The Office for Animal Care and Use, the Conflict of Interest Committee Office, the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, the Sponsored Projects Office, and the Research Administration and Compliance Office will be closed during the campus energy curtailment beginning Tuesday, December 24, 2013 until Thursday, January 2, 2014. Offices will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2014. Please note that limited staff and service will be available on Monday, December 23, 2013 and potentially on January 2 and 3, 2014.

The RAC offices will also be closed for the afternoon, beginning at 12 noon, on Friday, December 20, 2013.

SPO Proposal Submission

SPO will process proposals due in December 2013 and January 2014 according to the VCR’s five-day proposal submission policy with the following exceptions:

Deadlines Due to SPO*
From Tuesday, December 24, 2013 through Thursday, January 2, 2014 Noon on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Friday, January 3, 2014 Noon on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Monday, January 6, 2014 Noon on Thursday, December 19, 2013
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 8 am on Thursday, January 2, 2014

*Note: Proposals submitted to SPO with a draft technical section on or before the five business day deadline will be considered “on time” if the proposal is complete in all other respects.

Principal Investigators also are encouraged to inform their SPO Research Analyst if they will be submitting a proposal with a due date just prior to, during, or just after the curtailment period. This will give SPO and the PI an opportunity to discuss the best way to handle the proposal to make sure it is submitted in a timely manner.

COI Disclosure Submission

In order to be on the agenda for any meeting, complete disclosure packets must be received no later than 10 working days prior to the date of the meeting.
  • The deadline for submission for the December 19, 2013 meeting is December 5, 2013.
ACUC Protocol Submission

Please note that all protocols and protocol revisions must be submitted via email to by 5 pm on the deadline date. If you wish to make changes to an approved protocol, you must first contact the Office for Animal Care and Use (OACU) to obtain a copy of the current approved version of your protocol. Failure to do so may result in your protocol being returned to you.
  • The deadline for full committee review of protocol submissions for the January 15, 2014 meeting is Monday, November 18, 2013.
  • Likewise, the deadline for protocol submission for the February 12, 2014 meeting is noon on December 20, 2013.
CPHS Protocol Submission

Important: if your study is “greater than minimal risk” needing full board review and the approval will expire before January 24, 2014, you must submit your renewal application in time for review at a December 2013 CPHS meeting.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 6, 2013 CPHS-1 meeting is Monday, November 4, 2013.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the December 13, 2013 CPHS-2 meeting is Tuesday, November 12, 2013.
  • There is no CPHS-1 meeting in January 2014.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the January 24, 2014 CPHS-2 meeting is Monday, December 16, 2013.
  • The deadline for protocol submission for the February 7, 2014 CPHS-1 meeting is Monday, January 6, 2014.

October 17, 2013

Federal Government Reopens

On October 17, 2013, the President signed into law H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, providing fiscal year 2014 appropriations for the federal government through January 15, 2014, ending the 2013 federal shutdown. The effective time for the continuing resolution begins on October 1, 2013.

Federal agencies are providing procedures for resumption of business, including updates on proposal submission deadlines and funding for pending awards.

See Impact of Federal Shutdown on Sponsored Projects on the SPO web site for the guidance received from these federal agencies. SPO will continue to update this page as more information is provided.

September 30, 2013 Research Advocate: Federal Government Shutdown: Lapse in Federal Appropriations

October 08, 2013

Implementation of New USDA NIFA RCR Requirement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture now has a requirement for responsible conduct of research training for grantees, published in the USDA NIFA Research Terms and Conditions. UC Berkeley implementation of the new requirement is available on the Required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training on the Research Administration and Compliance web site.

The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists. By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.

Note that the training referred to may be either on-campus or off-campus training. The general content of the ethics training, at a minimum, will emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration, and reporting misconduct. Each institution will be responsible for developing its own training system, as schools will need flexibility to develop training tailored to their specific student needs. UC Berkeley has membership in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR. Research project staff should choose the most appropriate RCR online modules to complete or attend one of the face-to-face training courses offered by University Extension or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as described on the campus RCR Training page under NIH RCR training options.

2013 Sponsored Projects Annual Report Published

The Sponsored Projects Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2013 is now available on the SPO web site. The report provides information on campus proposals and awards during the past year; in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the Berkeley campus received $709.9 million in contract and grant awards.

October 01, 2013

CPHS Develops Two Guidance Documents for Undergraduate-Initiated Research Activities

The Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) and the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) have developed two documents to help guide undergraduate-initiated research activities (UIRA).

These documents are on the CPHS/OPHS web site under CPHS Guidelines. The first document, Ethical Issues in Undergraduate Research Activities with Human Participants, walks undergraduate researchers through important ethical considerations that arise in human subjects research: designing the research to minimize risks to participants, creating an environment where participants are informed and are free from coercion, and providing protection for individuals who are members of a vulnerable group.

The second document, Guidance on Designing Undergraduate-Initiated Research Activities, is a practical step-by-step document on how undergraduates should select their population, recruit subjects without undue influence, obtain informed consent, minimize risk, and keep data confidential.

Please note that undergraduate students may also reference the Student Investigators Guide on the CPHS/OPHS web site. For further guidance contact the OPHS Analyst of the Day at (510) 642-7461 or email

September 30, 2013

Federal Government Shutdown: Lapse in Federal Appropriations

Federal budget appropriations provided under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6) expire at midnight on September 30, 2013. It appears a federal government shutdown is unavoidable.

Federal agencies are now providing written procedures for shutting down and how the lapse of appropriations will affect new and existing grant, contract, and cooperative agreement awards.

See Impact of Possible Federal Shutdown on Sponsored Projects on the SPO web site for the guidance received from these federal agencies. SPO will continue to update this page as more information is provided.

September 17, 2013

NIH Invites Researchers to Test SciENcv, a Federal-Wide Researcher Profile Project

The National Institutes of Health has issued an invitation to researchers to test the beta version of the Science Experts Network (SciENcv). The new electronic system will enable researchers to easily assemble the information to populate an NIH biographical sketch (biosketch).

SciENcv is a cooperative project requested by the Federal Demonstration Partnership. Seven federal science agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Smithsonian Institution, formed an interagency workgroup to develop the concept. SciENcv is being built by the NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) under the direction of the workgroup.

The beta version will help researchers assemble an NIH biosketch by extracting information from NIH eRA Commons and PubMed. SciENcv will permit users to link their data to a persistent, unique identifier offered by ORCID.

More information on signing in to the new system, available documentation and help, and system features is available in the NIH Guide Notice, Availability of a Test (Beta) Version of the Science Experts Network (SciENcv).


September 10, 2013

PI Portfolio: Sign Up for a Demo

For principal investigators and research administrators, accessing and interpreting award financial data has been challenging and time-consuming.  PI Portfolio, a new reporting tool, will retrieve BFS award data in “real time” and provide investigators with a simple-to-understand view of budgets, expenses, and balances. PI Portfolio will be available to PIs and RAs beginning September 18.

PI Portfolio delivers the fund summary information important to PIs, along with all the transaction and personnel details RAs need. When a PI logs in, data for their active funds is automatically retrieved from BFS. RAs will be granted access by PI name or fund name/number. Everyone involved in a fund’s management can see the same consistently updated financial information on demand.

Sign up for a Demonstration

Training demonstrations -- open to all but particularly geared to RAs -- will walk through the features and data filters available in the Phase 1 release. Demonstrations are scheduled beginning September 12. Please reserve a seat at the session of your choice on the PI Portfolio Training Sign-up page.

Learn More about PI Portfolio

Watch the Overview of PI Portfolio video (9 min.) to see how the tool looks and functions, or peruse the User Guide on the PI Portfolio site.

PI Portfolio is just one of the integrated initiatives underway on campus to expand and enhance proposal and awards management systems. We’ll keep you informed as new systems and services become available. For now, plan to attend a demonstration of this new tool.

September 4 Research Advocate: PI Portfolio Financial Reporting Tool Launches September 18

September 04, 2013

PI Portfolio Financial Reporting Tool Launches September 18

UC Berkeley is launching a new financial reporting tool for principal investigators, the PI Portfolio, on September 18, 2013.

PIs will be able to log in to PI Portfolio to retrieve their active fund data automatically from BFS to produce reports. Research administrators will have access to support their researchers and will be able to customize fund reports for their purposes. PIs will be able to provide access to campus research collaborators.

Reference guides, the list of supported browsers, and other information and training is available on the PI Portfolio site. PI Portfolio is part of Cal Answers, an analytical tool to view centralized, integrated information from various campus systems.


August 13, 2013

New Process for NIH Multi-Project Applications

Over the next few months, the National Institutes of Health plans to transition all multi-project applications to electronic submission. NIH has established the following transition dates:
  • September 25, 2013: All applications submitted in response to funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) with the following activity codes intended for September 25, 2013 due dates and beyond will require electronic submission: P01, P20, P50, R24, U24, U19.
  • January 25, 2014: All applications submitted in response to FOAs with the following activity codes intended for January 25, 2014 due dates and beyond will require electronic submission: G12, P30, P40, P41, P42, P51, P60, R28, U10, U41, U42, U45, U54, U56, UC7, UM1.
To submit multi-project applications electronically, PIs must use a new online application system called ASSIST (Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking) to create the multi-project application. The UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) will then review the application created within ASSIST and approve and submit the application to NIH via NIH sponsored a webinar today to describe how such applications will be prepared and submitted using ASSIST.

Campus units planning to submit multi-project applications with these activity codes and due dates are strongly encouraged to review the ASSIST User Guide and the NIH webinar on “Electronic Submission Process for Multi-project Applications” and to notify other sites participating in the application of these new NIH requirements. NIH provides guidance and information on ASSIST on the eRA Training web site.

Please note: To access and work on the proposal within ASSIST, users must have an eRA Commons ID. UC Berkeley personnel who need to register and obtain an eRA Commons ID to use ASSIST should contact SPO for assistance with registration: The following information will need to be provided:
First Name:
Last Name:
UCB Email:
Type of account needed for ASSIST: Principal Investigator (PI), Assistant Role (ASST) or Account Administrator (AA)

Office for Human Subjects Protection Hires Assistant Director

Tani Prestage joined the UC Berkeley Office for Human Subjects Protection as Assistant Director on August 5, 2013. An IRB professional for 12 years, Tani has gained increasingly responsible experience in human subjects research protection at The Ohio State University (OSU) managing the education program, conducting quality improvement activities, and mentoring staff and practicum students. She has Master Degrees in Public Health and Counselor Education from OSU and has been a Certified IRB Professional (CIP) since 2005. Join us in welcoming Tani to the OPHS team!

August 07, 2013

NIH to Require eRA Commons IDs for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Over the next year, the National Institutes of Health will start requiring an eRA Commons ID for all individuals in graduate and undergraduate student roles who participate in NIH-funded projects for at least one person month or more. The information will appear on NIH progress reports, including those submitted on paper with the NIH PHS 2590 form and those submitted electronically using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

Beginning August 15, 2013, the NIH will make undergraduate, graduate student, and other project personnel roles available in the eRA Commons.

Beginning October 18, 2013, the NIH PHS 2590 and RPPR forms will be modified to prompt for this information. The newly revised instructions and forms will be available on October 18, 2013 at NIH Forms & Applications. Beginning October 18, a warning will be generated when an RPPR is submitted that lists individuals in a graduate or undergraduate student role who have not established an eRA Commons ID.

Also beginning October 18, 2013, students and postdocs who complete their eRA Commons Profile will be required to answer certain demographic questions. For items that request information on gender, race and ethnicity, and disability, one of the acceptable responses will be “I Do Not Wish to Provide.”

Beginning in October 2014, eRA Commons ID for graduate and undergraduate students will be required for progress reports. RPPRs lacking these eRA Commons IDs will receive an error, and the NIH will not accept the RPPRs without these IDs.

NIH eRA Commons at Berkeley

To obtain an eRA Commons ID, contact the UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects Office for assistance with registration: You will need to provide the following information:
First Name:
Last Name:
UC Berkeley Email:
Type of account needed (i.e., PI, Postdoc, Assist):
After SPO registers you in the Commons, you will receive an “Account Created” notification email (sent to the email you provide in the UCB Email field) containing the username and a randomly generated password. You then will be asked to create a new password.


August 01, 2013

CITI Program 2.0 Software Upgrade Complete

The CITI Program finished a major software upgrade on schedule on August 1, 2013. The new CITI Program 2.0 was designed to improve the experience of both learners and administrators. CITI, short for Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative, at the University of Miami is a leading provider of web-based training materials for research education.

Learners will find all their familiar links and tools, but in a format that is easier to navigate. In particular, the main learner menu and other learner sections are divided into areas that expand and contract on a click, to allow easier focus on particular information.

Learners in the middle of a course will not lose their coursework record. All learner records, including partial course completions, have been transferred to the updated platform.

All learners and administrators will be asked to update their passwords on the first login to the new system. This is to enable longer, case-sensitive passwords for improved security. Account holders will also be asked to confirm their primary email address, if they have not done so in the last six months.

July 31, 2013 Site Redesign

The federal web site has been redesigned. According to a notice posted on the site, although “the look and feel of the site will be different, the content and its functionality will remain the same.”

One change is that funding program announcement links now have different URLs, so if you are looking for a specific previous funding program, you may need to use the search to find it again. One improvement to the redesigned site is that the search now features faceted searching, so that you can select different categories on the left menu to refine your search results.

July 30, 2013

USDA NIFA Project Reports: REEport Reminder

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now using a new REEport system for project reports, replacing the previous CRIS database. REEport uses the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR), a standard federal progress report format.

REEport was launched in May 2013. The CRIS national database can still be searched.


July 26, 2013

NIH Issues New PHS 398 Forms and SF424 (R&R) Instructions Required for Applications Due on or after 9/25/2013

The National Institutes of Health has announced the availability of new application instructions and forms for paper-based PHS 398 applications and new Application Guide instructions for electronic SF424 (R&R) applications. The new application instructions and forms must be used for applications for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.

All PHS 398 paper application submissions intended for due dates on or after September 25, 2013, must use the new 8/2012 version of the PHS 398 instructions and forms. The 06/09 version of the form is still available to use for funding opportunitity announcements (FOAs) that have due dates prior to September 25, 2013.

As NIH announced in Notice NOT-OD-13-074 in May, applications using electronic forms will transition to new forms identified with a Competition ID of FORMS-C. Application instructions for FORMS-C are now available. Applicants must return to the FOA or the reissued Parent Announcement to download the new application forms for due dates on or after September 25, 2013.

At this time, NIH has revised the general Application Guide for Forms-B and Forms-C. NIH plans to post  the SF 424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and AHRQ in late Fall 2013, and the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies in Spring 2014.


July 25, 2013

UC Berkeley Composite Benefit Rates for FY13-14 Available

The approved UC Berkeley composite fringe benefit rates for fiscal year 2013-14 are now available and should be used to transact and budget for fringe costs. The new values will be effective retroactively, as of July 1, 2013. Future year rate estimates are for planning purposes, only (e.g., multi-year budgeting, financial aid planning, contract and grant proposal submissions, etc.). Actual rates for years beyond FY13-14 are subject to change.

See the Space and Capitol Resources Composite Benefit Rates page for a fringe benefit rate overview, additional details, and the Composite Benefit Rates FY13-14 in PDF. Also see the July 23, 2013 CALmessages notice: Town Hall Invitation & FY13-14 Composite Benefit Rates Approved! - Effective 7/1/13. The rates are also published on the SPO Salary and Benefits page.

July 23, 2013

NSF Issues Sequestration Update to Important Notice No. 133

On July 17, the National Science Foundation issued an update to Important Notice No. 133: Impact of FY 2013 Sequestration Order on NSF Awards.

The Update to Important Notice No. 133 states that “while sequestration does have a significant impact on NSF’s budget, the impact on existing programs has been partially mitigated due to FY 2013 Congressional appropriations, combined with difficult choices including limits to new research that would have been initiated otherwise” and includes the following key points:
  • NSF will fully fund all existing continuing grant increments in FY 2013;
  • NSF directorates have now received full-year funding allocations, which will allow funding decisions to be made prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30th;
  • NSF expects to make fewer new awards in FY 2013;
  • NSF will fully fund all FY 2013 major research equipment and facilities construction projects;
  • Competitions for some programs and solicitations may not be conducted in FY 2013; and
  • NSF staff will not be furloughed, allowing for no interruptions to the NSF proposal review and award decision making processes.
For more information, see the SPO Impact of Federal Budget Sequestration on Sponsored Projects page.

July 17, 2013

CITI Program Unavailable July 29-31 for Software Upgrade

Starting Monday, July 29, 2013, at 8 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the CITI Program web site will be unavailable for approximately three days to complete a major software upgrade.

This software change will update many internal features of the CITI Program platform, and provide a changed user interface across the site designed to improve the experience of both learners and administrators.

Learners will find all their familiar links and tools, but in a format that is easier to navigate. In particular, the main learner menu and other learner sections will be divided into areas that expand and contract on a click, to allow easier focus on particular information.

In addition to these changes, all learners and administrators will be asked to update their passwords on the first login to the new system. This is to enable longer, case-sensitive passwords for improved security.

June 03, 2013

Human Research Protection: Three-Year Approval for Qualifying Minimal Risk Research

The Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS), in collaboration with the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects (OPHS) and the Vice Chancellor for Research, has announced the following change in policy. UC Berkeley will join UC Davis and UC San Francisco in utilizing flexibility available under our Federalwide Assurance (FWA) regarding certain study approval periods. Specifically, effective June 1, 2013, CPHS will begin issuing three (3) year approvals for research that qualifies for this extended approval period. To qualify, the research must:
  1. involve no more than minimal risk to participants (as defined by 45 CFR 46.102);
  2. not be supported by federal funds; and
  3. not be subject to federal oversight.
For more detailed information, e.g., about what to do if federal funding is received after initial approval, how to apply for Continuing Review of currently approved research, or what kind of studies are not eligible for this extended approval period, see Three-Year Approval FAQs.

The CPHS/OPHS decided to make this change after an in-depth analysis of the type of research conducted at UCB and what, if any, funding supports that research. We found that for many years, a large majority of the research conducted by UCB investigators has been determined to be no greater than minimal risk to the subjects (participants) of that research. Likewise, approximately two-thirds of the human research protocols reviewed by CPHS are not federally funded or subject to federal oversight (e.g., FDA). Therefore, CPHS/ OPHS felt that we could and should assist our investigators by using the flexibility in the terms of our FWA to grant three-year instead of one-year approval periods where appropriate. Of course, this will not change the ethical standards by which a protocol is evaluated. We hope that investigators will appreciate this reduction of their administrative burden, while we continue to work together to ensure the welfare of the people who participate as subjects in research.

May 30, 2013

New NIH Electronic Forms (FORMS-C) for Applications Due on or after September 25

National Institutes of Health applications due on or after September 25 will use a new electronic forms package, FORMS-C.

For due dates on or after September 25, 2013, most applicants will be required to use FORMS-C packages, with exceptions below. The requirement includes electronic applications submitted under the continuous submission policy, administrative supplement requests (Type 3), change of organization requests (Type 6) and change of grantee/training institution requests (Type 7). Multiproject applications that are transitioning to electronic submission beginning with the September 25, 2013 due date will also use FORMS-C packages.

NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) published between now and July that have submission due dates on or after September 25, 2013, will be posted without application packages. Beginning in July, the updated forms will be incorporated into new and existing FOAs.

  • Individual Research Career Development Award Programs (Ks), Institutional Training and Career Development Programs (Ts and Ds), and Individual National Research Service Awards (Fs) applicants will use FORMS-C packages for due dates on or after January 25, 2014.
  • Small Business programs (SBIR/STTR) applicants will transition to FORMS-C packages later in 2014.

May 28, 2013

Updates in Fund Advance Form and Procedures for Sponsored Projects

A fund advance provides a principal investigator (PI) who is awaiting his/her award with a project fund that can be charged for a limited amount of allowable pre-award costs necessary to start up the project. This same fund can then be used for all subsequent project charges when the award is finalized, thus eliminating the possibility of inappropriate cost transfers. The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO)  is responsible for processing fund advance requests for UC Berkeley PIs and departments.

Guidelines and restrictions for Fund Advance Request processing and the UCB Fund Advance Request Form can be found on the SPO web site.

Recent updates and clarifications have been made to the fund advance request guidelines and form.
  • The Type “A” fund advance is appropriate for new and competing continuation awards from U.S. federal sponsors made directly to UC Berkeley. A Type “A” is not appropriate for the non-competing segments of U.S. federal awards made to UC Berkeley. The Type “A” also is not appropriate for subagreements to UC Berkeley under U.S. federal awards awarded to other entities.
  • The Type "B" fund advance is appropriate when departments/units wish to proactively identify a backup fund to charge if the award is not received as anticipated. As in the past, the authorized financial administrator of the backup fund must certify that this fund has sufficient unrestricted funds to cover the advance.
  • The Type “A” fund advance period continues to be limited to 90 calendar days. Type “B” and “C” fund advance period extensions may be processed by SPO with chair/dean/director approval as long as no other restrictions apply.
  • A signed certification from the chair/dean/director is now included at the bottom of every fund advance form indicating that the approver understands that any deficit that results from any type of fund advance continues to be the responsibility of the PI’s department/unit and will, as in the past, be cleared according to the campus policy on deficit reduction.
All previous restrictions and requirements for processing a fund advance at UC Berkeley still apply.

May 09, 2013

NIH Publishes Fiscal Policy for FY 2013

The National Institutes of Health has issued NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY 2013 (NOT-OD-13-064), that provides guidance for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 (through September 30, 2013).

Sally Rockey, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, published a Rock Talk blog post, Funding Operations for FY2013, that summarizes the new notice.

Key points from the Rock Talk post:
  • NIH will continue many of the same policies established in FY 2012, including National Research Service Awards (NRSA) stipend levels, salary limits, and other legislative mandates in effect for FY 2012.
  • Some non-competing continuation awards were already made at reduced levels (as described in an earlier blog post.) These reductions may be partially restored, but NIH institutes and centers (ICs) likely will be required to issue all non-competing awards at levels below the FY 2013 commitment indicated on the notice of grant award.
  • NIH will make fewer competing awards.
  • The policy set forth in FY 2012, which discontinued inflationary increases for future year commitments, remains in place, but adjustments for special needs will be considered.
  • NIH will continue the targeted support of new investigators, aiming for a success rate on new (type 1) R01 equivalent grants comparable to that of established investigators.
In related news, NIH Director Francis Collins is using Twitter to ask “how the #sequester is affecting your biomedical research right now,” using hashtag #NIHSequesterImpact.

More information on sequestration is available on the SPO web site: Impact of Federal Budget Sequestration on Sponsored Projects.

April 19, 2013

NIH Reminds Grantees to Use RPPR for Progress Reports for Awards with Start Dates on or after July 1, 2013

The National Institutes of Health has issued a reminder to grantees that “they are required to use the eRA Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Commons Module for submitting Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship progress reports for awards with start dates on or after July 1, 2013 (i.e., due dates on or after May 15, 2013, for SNAP awards and May 1, 2013, for Fellowships).”

Progress reports submitted in another format for SNAP and fellowships will not be processed by the NIH and will require resubmission in the RPPR format.

If a progress report for a fellowship has been submitted on paper, the grantee must resubmit the progress report using the RPPR format.

If a progress report for a SNAP grant has been initiated as an eSNAP, the grantee must contact the NIH eRA Help Desk to change the progress report format to the RPPR. It may take eRA up to two business days to reset the progress report so the grantee can start a progress report in the appropriate format.


December 4 Research Advocate: NIH RPPR Requirement Coming in Spring 2013

April 04, 2013

Obama Announces BRAIN Initiative

On April 2, President Obama announced a new BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain, to be funded with approximately $100 million in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget.

Beginning in fiscal year 2014, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation will support approximately $100 million in “research to accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.” Federal agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and other private institutions, such as the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.


April 03, 2013

National Science Board Seeks Faculty Input on Administrative Workload Associated with Federal Awards

In 2005 and 2012, the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) conducted faculty burden surveys that indicate that administrative burdens associated with federal research funding consume roughly 42 percent of an awardee’s available research time.

The National Science Board (NSB), which establishes the policies of the National Science Foundation and recommends and encourages the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering, recently established a Task Force on Administrative Burdens charged with examining faculty administrative workload as it relates to federally sponsored research.

The NSB Task Force has released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking recommendations from principal investigators for reducing the administrative workload associated with their federal awards. Responses to the RFI will be accepted through May 24, 2013.

In addition, the Task Force will be conducting three Roundtable Discussions to elicit feedback directly from faculty and administrators. To attend any of the discussions, please send email to
  • April 16, 2013, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 4:00 PM, Location TBD
  • April 30, 2013, Tufts University, Boston, MA, 11:30 AM, Winthrop Street Function Hall
  • May 1, 2013, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA, 1:30 PM, Georgia Tech Global Learning Center

March 18, 2013

PHS Financial Disclosure: $5K De Minimus Travel Disclosure

Late last year, the National Institutes of Health issued updated guidance and subsequently updated a Frequently Asked Question with respect to the ability of institutions to apply a $5,000 de minimus for disclosure of sponsored or reimbursed travel under the new (2011) PHS financial disclosure regulations.

The UC Office of the President has now issued guidance memo 13-03 to the UC policy, which confirms that campuses may choose to apply the $5,000 de minimus to the disclosure of sponsored or reimbursed travel by investigators.

The UC Berkeley COI Office has updated the financial disclosure forms, instructions and accompanying guidance on the COI Committee web site to reflect this guidance. Effective immediately, when completing PHS Financial Disclosure Form 1, Form 2, and Form 4, only travel in excess of $5,000 per entity per 12-month period should be disclosed. Questions regarding this new guidance should be directed to COI Coordinator Jyl Baldwin at or 642-8110.

February 27, 2013

Federal Budget Sequestration: NIH, NSF Issue Notices

The federal budget sequestration process was included in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which increased the debt limit, cut $1 trillion in discretionary appropriations through lower annual spending caps over nine years, and directed a committee to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal programs over fiscal years 2013-2021. This committee failed to reach an agreement, triggering sequestration to carry out the additional $1.2 trillion in cuts. The budget sequestration, set to begin in January 2013, was delayed until March 1, 2013 by Congressional passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Federal agencies have begun to issue notices related to the potential impact of sequestration on grants and contracts.

Note: For updated information, see Impact of Federal Budget Sequestration on Sponsored Projects on the Sponsored Projects Office web site.

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health published NIH Operation Plan in the Event of a Sequestration (NOT-OD-13-043) on February 21, 2013. This notice states the following.
“The NIH continues to operate under a Continuing Resolution as described in NOT-OD-13-002, and therefore all non-competing continuation awards are currently being funded at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). Final levels of FY 2013 funding may be reduced by a sequestration. Despite the potential for reduced funding, the NIH remains committed to our mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

Should a sequestration occur, NIH likely will reduce the final FY 2013 funding levels of non-competing continuation grants and expects to make fewer competing awards to allow the agency to meet the available budget allocation. Although each NIH Institute and Center (IC) will assess allocations within their portfolio to maximize the scientific impact, non-competing continuation awards that have already been made may be restored above the current level as described in NOT-OD-13-002 but likely will not reach the full FY 2013 commitment level described in the Notice of Award. Finally, in the event of a sequestration, NIH ICs will announce their respective approaches to meeting the new budget level.”

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation issued Important Notice No. 133: Impact of FY 2013 Sequestration Order on NSF Awards on February 27, 2013. This notice to presidents of universities and colleges and heads of other NSF awardee institutions includes the following statement.
“At NSF, the major impact of sequestration will be seen in reductions to the number of new research grants and cooperative agreements awarded in FY 2013. We anticipate that the total number of new research grants will be reduced by approximately 1,000.

In keeping with the first core principle listed above, and to assure continuity and minimize disruption of scientific research, all continuing grant increments in FY 2013 will be awarded, as scheduled, and there will be no impact on existing NSF standard grants. The same intent applies to annual increments for cooperative agreements, though overall funding constraints may require reductions to certain major investments. These will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

It is also important to advise you that the Foundation is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will expire on March 27, 2013. Once NSF has appropriations in place beyond March 27th, we will revise this notice as necessary.”


NSF Workshop at UC Davis on April 25

The National Science Foundation and UC Davis will be holding a one-day workshop on Thursday, April 25, 2013, from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm at the UC Davis Conference Center.

This NSF Day workshop is primarily designed for researchers and educators less experienced in proposing to the NSF; however, more experienced proposers and NSF grantees may well find the workshop useful and informative. The workshop will provide an overview of NSF, its mission, priorities, and budget. It will cover the NSF proposal and merit review process and NSF programs that cut across disciplines. Additionally, representatives from the seven NSF directorates and the Office of International Science and Engineering and the Office of Integrative Activities will make presentations on their programs and will also be available informally and in breakout sessions for discussions of potential research proposals.

Registration is limited, so please register early. There is a registration fee of $35. See NSF Day at the University of California, Davis for more information.

February 26, 2013

Federal Public Access Policy Expanding

On February 22, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a new policy to expand the federal public access policy.

OSTP Director John Holdren has “directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.” Each agency will have six months to submit a draft plan to OSTP.

The National Institutes of Health has had a public access policy in place since 2008. Direct Holdren stated, “while this new policy call does not insist that every agency copy the NIH approach exactly, it does ensure that similar policies will appear across government.”

The National Science Foundation issued a same-day response to the new policy, stating that NSF and other federal partners have a “commitment to expand public access to the results of its funded research” and that “NSF has already laid out a tentative timeline for consultation, planning, systems development, and changes to its policies, which will be fine-tuned over the coming months.”


February 14 Research Advocate: NIH Public Access Policy Applies to Awards with July 1 Start Dates

February 25, 2013

Proposal Information: Change in Congressional District, State Assembly District

In January 2013, the U. S. Congressional District for the Berkeley campus changed from the 9th to 13th District, and the California State Assembly District changed from the 14th to the 15th.

Please use the following information for all future proposals:

U.S. Congressional District: 13th
State Assembly District: 15th
State Senate District: 9th

For more information, see:

February 23, 2013

Participant Support Costs in NSF REUs

The National Science Foundation has released a revised Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program Announcement (NSF 13-542). Effective with this REU Program Announcement, NSF no longer permits the recovery of indirect costs on Participant Support Costs in REU awards. NSF states:
“Recovery of indirect costs (F&A) is prohibited on Participant Support Costs in REU Site proposals and REU Supplemental funding requests. This limitation may entail mandatory committed cost sharing by the institution. In such cases, it constitutes an exception to NSF’s cost sharing policy.”
Reminder from the Sponsored Projects Office:

Until a formal change in NSF policy on this issue is announced, UC Berkeley PIs should act in accordance with the following NSF written guidance and not charge F&A on participant support costs, except under exceptional circumstances with the prior approval of NSF.
“(iv) Generally, indirect costs (F&A) are not allowed on participant support costs. However, an allowance for indirect costs associated with participant support costs may be established or negotiated in advance when circumstances indicate that the grantee could be expected to incur significant expenses in administering participant payments (other than salary or other direct expenses being reimbursed under the award.”

February 20, 2013

NSF FastLane Begins Automated Proposal Compliance Checking on March 18

Beginning March 18, 2013, the National Science Foundation FastLane system will begin automated compliance checking of all sections of proposals required in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The required sections include: Project Summary; Budget Justification; Project Description; Current and Pending Support; References Cited; Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources; Biographical Sketch(es); Data Management Plan; Budget; Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable).

Proposal submission instructions for conferences, symposia, or workshops; international travel grants; or program solicitations may deviate from the GPG instructions. If the submission instructions do not require one of the above sections to be provided, proposers will need to insert text or upload a document in that section of the proposal that states, “Not Applicable.”

Additionally, proposers providing Biographical Sketches and/or Current and Pending Support information for Principal Investigators (PIs), co-PI(s), or Senior Personnel in a single PDF file associated with the PI must insert text or upload a document in that section of the proposal that states, “Not Applicable,” for any co-PI or Senior Personnel, so that FastLane will accept the proposal.

PIs will receive a warning message if any of the GPG-required sections is missing, however, the PI will still be able to submit the proposal to the Sponsored Project Office. If SPO attempts to submit a proposal that is missing any of the GPG-required sections, FastLane will prevent submission to NSF. SPO must obtain all required sections and then submit the proposal in FastLane by the NSF deadline.

Proposals submitted through must include all GPG-required sections or include a document stating that the section is “Not Applicable.”

For additional information, see Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals. NSF is hosting an NSF Proposal Submission and Project Report Update - Webinar on March 8 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm PST; contact NSF to participate.

February 14, 2013

NIH Public Access Policy Applies to Awards with July 1 Start Dates

The National Institutes of Health has published Changes to Public Access Policy Compliance Efforts Apply to All Awards with Anticipated Start Dates on or after July 1, 2013 (NOT-OD-13-042):

For non-competing continuation grant awards with a start date of July 1, 2013 or beyond:
  1. NIH will delay processing of an award if publications arising from it are not in compliance with the NIH public access policy.
  2. Investigators will need to use My NCBI to enter papers onto progress reports.  Papers can be associated electronically using the RPPR, or included in the PHS 2590 using the My NCBI generated PDF report.
For more information, see Upcoming Changes to Public Access Policy Reporting Requirements and Related NIH Efforts to Enhance Compliance (NOT-OD-12-160).

The NIH Rock Talk post, Update on NIH’s Public Access Policy, provides additional details and resources.

November 20, 2012 Research Advocate: NIH Changing Public Access Policy Reporting Requirements

February 04, 2013

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2013

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2012/2013, is available on the Conflict of Interest Committee web site and is the only version that will now be accepted. If you have any questions please contact Jyl Baldwin (, 2-8110). This year, no changes have been made to the form itself, and there are no substantive changes to the instructions.

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. For research projects, the Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators (Form 700-U) should accompany the proposal and Proposal Review Form to the Sponsored Projects Office or to the Industry Alliances Office. For MTAs, the Form 700-U should accompany the Material Transfer Agreement Review Form to the Industry Alliances Office.

January 31, 2013

OMB Issues Proposed Guidance on Federal Grants Reform

The federal Office of Management and Budget has published the Proposed Guidance, Reform of Federal Policies Relating to Grants and Cooperative Agreements: Cost Principles and Administrative Requirements (Including Single Audit Act).

The proposed guidance would supersede and streamline requirements from eight OMB circulars (OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, and A-122; Circulars A-89, A-102, and A-133; the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up; and pending further review, the Cost Principles for Hospitals at 45 CFR Part 74, Appendix E), combining the eight circulars into one document.

The official notice officially appears in the February 1 Federal Register. On January 31, OMB provided the preliminary Federal Register Notice, the 244-page full text of the Proposed Guidance, and six additional crosswalks and comparisons between the current OMB circulars and the proposed guidance.
OMB will host an informational webcast with the Council on Financial Assistance Reform and key stakeholders on Friday, February 8, at 8am PST, to be available at

Comments on the proposed changes are due by May 2 on, under docket OMB-2013-0001.

January 07, 2013

NIH Non-Competing Grant Awards Issued at Reduced Levels

The Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, operates under a Continuing Resolution (CR) (H. J. Resolution 117) that was signed by President Obama as Public Law 112-175 on September 28, 2012. The CR continues government operations through March 27, 2013 at the FY 2012 level plus 0.6 percent.

Until FY 2013 appropriations are enacted, NIH will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). This is consistent with NIH’s practice during the CRs of FY 2006 - 2012. Upward adjustments to awarded levels will be considered after NIH FY 2013 appropriations are enacted but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period. All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2012 remain in effect under the CR, including the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale ($179,700), which was effective with grant awards with an initial Issue Date on or after December 23, 2011 (see NOT-OD-12-034 and NOT-OD-12-035).

January 04, 2013

NSF Requires Project Reports in on February 1

The National Science Foundation has issued the following alert on
NSF awardees must stop submitting project reports in FastLane starting on February 1, 2013. On March 18, 2013, NSF will transfer its current project reporting service from FastLane to As part of this transition, FastLane reports must be frozen. To assist the community with this transition, the overdue date will be extended for all project reports that are currently scheduled to become overdue between January 31 and April 30, 2013.
Principal investigators (PIs) and Co-PIs will use to meet all NSF project reporting requirements, including submission of final, annual, and interim project reports and the project outcomes report. For more information, see Project Reporting on

October 10, 2012 Research Advocate: NSF Webinars on Transfer of Project Reports to
January 10, 2012 Research Advocate: NSF’s CalNet ID Login Now Available