July 27, 2016

NSF Implementation of Overtime Rule FAQs

The National Science Foundation Policy Office has published Frequently Asked Questions on the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule and has sent out the following notification.
The Department of Labor recently announced the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) final over time rule. The FLSA final overtime rule automatically extends overtime pay protections to millions of workers and could impact some personnel on NSF grants, including postdoctoral researchers. The National Science Foundation continues to acknowledge the important role of postdoctoral researchers on NSF-funded projects, and, in general, NSF postdoctoral programs already include a stipend or salary in excess of the new minimum established by the FLSA final overtime rule.
Since the announcement of the new rule, NSF has received many questions on how this rule will affect NSF-funded projects. NSF has created a set of Frequently Asked Questions in order to address these questions. The FAQs are posted on the NSF Policy Office website at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/faqs/flsa_faqs.pdf.

July 15, 2016

Reminder on PHS Regulation to Disclose New Significant Financial Interests in 30 Days

A reminder from the Conflict of Interest Coordinator:

The Public Health Service (including National Institutes of Health) regulations require that when new Significant Financial Interests are acquired or discovered by an Investigator, they must be disclosed within thirty (30) days of that acquisition or discovery. When this is not done in a timely manner, the institution is not in compliance with the regulations and must perform a mandated special retrospective review which causes delays in the ability of the Committee to approve ongoing projects. This is an onerous process and falls on the faculty Conflict of Interest Committee and the COI office to handle.

Please direct any questions to Jyl Baldwin, COI Coordinator, at jbaldwin@berkeley.edu or researchcoi@berkeley.edu.

Compliance Information Form for Research Gifts No Longer Required

Effective immediately, the Compliance Information Form for Research Gifts has been discontinued and is no longer required with the Form 700-U (Principal Investigator Statement of Financial Interests) when research gifts are received. The form has been removed from the COI and SPO websites. Please direct any questions to Jyl Baldwin, COI Coordinator, at jbaldwin@berkeley.edu or researchcoi@berkeley.edu.

July 01, 2016

NSF FastLane: New Automated Proposal Submission Compliance Checks

The National Science Foundation has issued a notice that effective July 25, 2016, all proposals will be subject to a new series of automated compliance validation checks to ensure proposals comply with requirements outlined in Chapter II.C.2. of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

The new set of automated compliance checks will trigger warning or error messages depending on the funding opportunity type for each of the following rules:
  • Biographical Sketch(es) and Current and Pending Support files are required for each Senior Personnel associated with a proposal.
  • Biographical Sketch(es) can only be uploaded as a file, must not exceed two pages and can no longer be entered as text.
Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully with only one Biographical Sketch and/or Current & Pending Support file (rather than individual files for each senior personnel), a Proposal File Update performed on such proposals will be prevented from submission if it does not comply with the new compliance checks.

Proposers submitting through Grants.gov should be aware that Grants.gov will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements. Should NSF receive a proposal from Grants.gov that is not compliant, it may be returned without review.

For additional information see:
FastLane Advisory: Attention Proposers: New Automated Proposal Submission Compliance Checks Coming to FastLane
Research.gov: Attention Proposers: New Automated Proposal Submission Compliance Checks Coming to FastLane
July 26, 2016 update: NSF has notified the community that “this implementation was rescheduled due to a power outage which caused all servers to shut down. The new automated proposal submission compliance checks will be available on August 1.”

NIH SF424 and R&R Forms: Continue to Use Despite Expiration Dates

The National Institutes of Health has published OMB Approval for SF424 R&R Forms Used Federal-wide Underway - Continue to Use Current Forms Until Further Notice (NOT-OD-16-120) in the NIH Guide. From the notice:
NIH and AHRQ grant application form packages include both agency-specific forms (typically labeled PHS) and federal-wide forms (typically labeled Research & Related or R&R). Although our agency-specific forms were recently approved for use through October 31, 2018 (FORMS-D, NOT-OD-16-004), the forms used federal-wide are on different clearance cycles and have recently expired or will expire soon.
Applicants and grantees should continue to use the application form packages (FORMS-D) posted with our funding opportunity announcements despite the expiration dates noted on each form.
Grants.gov is working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the federal-wide form clearance and expects OMB approval for proposed form changes later this summer.