January 30, 2014

COFAR Posts Training Webcast on Federal Grants Reform Uniform Guidance

On January 27, 2014, the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR), held a training webcast on the major updates to the Office of Management and Budget’s recently reformed guidance on Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 C.F.R. 200). COFAR is now providing recordings of the webcasts.

The Uniform Guidance will be implemented one year from publication on December 26, 2014. OMB and COFAR will continue to engage federal and non-federal stakeholders over the next year to facilitate a smooth implementation process.

Participants in the webcast included:
  • Norman Dong, Interim Controller Office of Management and Budget
  • Kathy Bialas, Assistant General Counsel, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
  • Jean Feldman, Head Policy Officer, Division of Institution & Award Support, National Science Foundation
  • Stephen Daniels, Director of the Division of Policy, Review and Resolution, Department of Labor 
  • Terry Ramsey, Senior Technical Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Laura Watson, Associate Deputy Administrator, Department of Labor
Uniform Guidance 1/27/2014 Training Webcast:
Training Webcast Presentation Slides:

February 12, 2014 Update: COFAR Releases Frequently Asked Questions
January 2, 2014 Research Advocate: OMB Publishes Federal Grants Reform Guidance
December 19, 2013 Research Advocate: OMB to Issue “Super Circular” Grant Reform Guidance

January 29, 2014

Proposal Timing

The Sponsored Projects Office is renewing its commitment to providing a timely response to campus principal investigators (PIs) who submit proposals in accordance to the Vice Chancellor for Research Five Day Proposal Submission Policy. To accomplish this goal, SPO is asking the campus community to renew its efforts to meeting the following proposal submission requirements established by the VCR:
  • The proposal must be received by SPO at least five working days before the funding agency deadline or the deadline of the lead institution when UC Berkeley is a subrecipient.
  • The proposal submitted to SPO must be complete. Incomplete proposals will be returned without SPO review.
This means that the proposal must be submitted “on time” and should not have any placeholders or missing sections. The PI may include a draft technical section (the narrative description of the proposed scope of work) as long as this section is marked, “Draft,” and all other administrative sections are in final form. See Vice Chancellor for Research Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO  for a full description of the VCR’s policy.

Although deviations from policy are sometimes unavoidable, PIs are cautioned that when SPO does not have adequate time to review a complete proposal, the proposal is at much greater risk for submission failure, rejection without review, and low funding priority scores.

January 27, 2014

UC Berkeley New Faculty: Grants and Contracts and More, an Introduction Using “Speed Networking”

New UC Berkeley faculty members have much to do and little time to do it. The Vice Chancellor for Research is therefore sponsoring an informal luncheon and information session (in speed-dating format) designed to give all faculty and non-faculty principal investigators who have been at UC Berkeley three years or less a chance to quickly learn about the services provided by the various central campus offices that assist faculty with grants and contracts and some other aspects of research administration.
  • Date and Time: February 11, 2014, 12:00-1:30 pm
  • Lunch/Meeting Location: Heyns Room, Faculty Club
  • RSVP Required (space is limited)
Attend this meeting and you will find out:
  • How you can find external funding opportunities and stay up-to-date on new funding initiatives
  • Where you can go to get help with everything from basic grant writing to the coordination of large multidisciplinary and multi-institutional projects
  • How you can effectively navigate the many compliance requirements that impact your research
  • How you can protect and transfer your intellectual property
  • “Who does what” at UC Berkeley from preaward proposal development through grant closeout
Participating Offices/Committees:
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Leah Esturas-Pierson at lrpierson@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-5829.

January 23, 2014

FY 2014 Federal Budget Appropriations Approved: Resources for Analyses of Agency Funding

On January 17, 2014, the President signed into law H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, providing fiscal year 2014 appropriations for the federal government through September 30, 2014. Several national organizations provide analyses of these appropriations related to research and development funding and other areas relevant to universities.

The American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) R&D Budget and Policy Program R&D in FY 2014 Appropriations page provides in-depth reports on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Current topics include:
The Association of American Universities (AAU) FY14 Budget and Appropriations resources include a chart of the Status of AAU FY14 Funding Priorities, updated January 15. The AAU Weekly Wrap-up, January 17, 2014 summarizes key agency funding levels and policy language.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Budget and Appropriations page offers information and news, including a January 17 update, Congress Approves FY 2104 Omnibus Funding Bill.

January 16, 2014

NIH Salary Cap Increases to $181,500

The National Institutes of Health posted NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution (NOT-OD-14-043) on January 16, 2014.

The notice states that NIH is operating under the continuing resolution (CR) through January 18, 2014 at the fiscal year 2013 post-sequestration level, and includes the following guidance:

“Continuing the procedures identified under NOT-OD-14-012 and consistent with NIH practices during the CRs of FY 2006 – 2013, the 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). Upward adjustments to awarded levels will be considered after FY 2014 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period. All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2013 (see NOT-OD-12-034 and NOT-OD-13-064) remain in effect under this CR including the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale. It should be noted, that the Executive Level II was increased by 1 percent from $179,700 to $181,500 by Executive Order 13655 that became effective January 12, 2014.

January 24 update: NIH has revised the Salary Cap Summary web page to include 2014.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) update from EH&S

The distribution of free lab coats and safety glasses/goggles for the campus research community will be the week of February 24, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. While much progress has been made on the steps needed to get laboratories ready for this event, help in reminding applicable principal investigators (PIs) or other laboratory personnel would be appreciated. Additionally, it is always worth pointing out that this process also leads to free laundering of lab coats.

Steps labs need to take:
  1. Ensure the lab’s roster is kept up-to-date. It is very important to click on the “click here if lab roster is current” button. (Over 80% of campus labs have done this step. If a lab hasn’t, there will be a week’s lag before the next step can be done once they do this step.)
  2. Each PI must then “activate” their lab in the Lab Hazard Assessment Tool (LHAT) and then either complete the assessment or assign and have a delegate complete the assessment. (Over 160 PIs have activated, and over 110 have completed their assessment).
  3. Upon completion of the assessment, everyone in the lab must go to LHAT to review the assessment, watch a 6 minute training video, and obtain a voucher for the PPE distribution event in February.
  4. Everyone in the lab needs to then register at Eventbrite for the two-hour window of their choice to pick up their PPE.
There are local fitting events planned for PIs. Events in the near future include: January 16, 2014 from 1:00-5:00 in 177 LSA and January 17 from 1:00-3:00 in 434 Barker. The final two events will be February 10 and 13, 2014. Times and locations will be announced. These special sessions are for PIs and will allow them to bypass the large fitting event. PIs can only participate if they have completed steps 1-3 above.

There will be two iPads given away each day of the fitting event, free pizza parties for every lab on campus that reaches 100% participation, and other enticements to encourage participation. Please contact Brandon DeFrancisci if you have any questions:

Brandon DeFrancisci
Associate Director For Health and Safety
Environment, Health & Safety
University of California, Berkeley
317 University Hall, MC 1150
Berkeley, CA 94720-1150
office: 510 643-6394
cell: 510 812-1543

January 09, 2014

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2014

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2013/2014, 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 (jbaldwin@berkeley.edu, 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 02, 2014