December 18, 2017

New NSF Application Guide

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office:

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Application Guide has been issued. The NSF Application Guide has been updated to align with changes to NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1). Information about FastLane system registration has been removed and replaced with guidance for registering in Editorial changes have also been made to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section or to ensure consistency with data contained in NSF systems or other NSF policy documents.

The new NSF Application Guide will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to For technical questions relating to, please contact directly at 1-800-518-4726 or



Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution & Award Support
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
voice: 703.292.8243

December 12, 2017

Award Process Improvement

One of the pain points identified by the End to End (E2E) review of Berkeley’s Award Set-up Process was lack of transparency around the date awards are actually received by the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) and the Industry Alliance Office (IAO).

There is often a gap between the date a Principal Investigator (PI) receives informal notification about an award from a sponsor and the date that a formal notice of award with terms and conditions is received from the sponsor by SPO or IAO.

Up until now, there has been no way for SPO/IAO to notify PIs that a formal award notice from the sponsor has arrived.

SPO and IAO are now happy to announce that PIs will begin to receive email notifications from SPO/IAO as soon as the sponsor’s award notice is received and logged in, initiating the award set up process in SPO/IAO. These notices will be emailed out between 6:00 pm and 6:10 pm daily and will include the name of the sponsor and the office (SPO/IAO) that will be processing the award transaction.

Note: PIs and CSS/Department Research Administrators will continue to receive email notifications from the SPO Records Team and a copy of the award and Phoebe Award Summary (PAS) when the award set-up process is complete.

NSF Proposal Submission - April 2018

In the December issue of the NSF Proposal and Award Newsletter, the National Science Foundation announced that beginning in April 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit non-collaborative research proposals in
  • The initial release of this new capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit non- collaborative research proposals in or in FastLane.
  • Separately submitted collaborative proposals must still be submitted in FastLane.
  • NSF will preview the new functionality to the research community in February 2018, to collect preliminary feedback and to provide the community an opportunity to acclimate to the new technology.
For more details, see the article on page 6 of the NSF Proposal and Award Newsletter.

November 27, 2017

New NIH Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information Form

The National Institutes of Health will require a new Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information form for all human subjects and/or clinical trial research applications beginning for January 25, 2018 due dates. Note: This form is not just for clinical trials.

The form consolidates human subjects, inclusion enrollment, and clinical trial information previously collected across multiple agency forms. The form collects information on human subjects and clinical trials at the study level.

For more information, see the NIH New Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information Form page, including a video tour of the new form.
August 14, 2017 Research Advocate: NIH Human Subjects: New Policies and Forms Required January 25, 2018

October 30, 2017

NSF Issues Revised Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide

A message from Jean Feldman, Head of the National Science Foundation Policy Office:

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 18-1) has been issued.

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Significant changes include:
  • Addition of a new eligibility subcategory on international branch campuses of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for foreign organizations;
  • Implementation of the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase since April;
  • Increase in the Budget Justification page limitation from three pages to five pages;
  • Restructuring of coverage on grantee notifications to and requests for approval from NSF, including referral to the Prior Approval Matrix available on the NSF website; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.
You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on December 8 at 2 PM EST. Sign up to be notified when registration is available on the outreach notifications website, by selecting “All NSF Grants and Policy Outreach Events & Notifications.”

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 29, 2018, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 17-1) continue to apply. We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to


Jean Feldman
Head, Policy Office
Division of Institution and Award Support
Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management

October 03, 2017

Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality

The National Institutes of Health has issued Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (NOT-OD-17-109).


A Certificate of Confidentiality (Certificate) protects the privacy of research participants enrolled in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or other research. The Certificate prohibits disclosure in response to legal demands, such as a subpoena

In the past NIH provided Certificates of Confidentiality to PIs carrying out human subjects’ research. NIH has just issued guidance that they will no longer do this


Effective October 1, 2017, certificates of confidentiality will issue automatically for applicable NIH awards as part of the award terms and conditions

NIH will not determine applicability; that is now the responsibility of the awardee institution and investigators

Also, NIH will no longer provide a paper certificate. NIH has indicated that:
Documentation of NIH funding or support (i.e., the award notice), the NIH Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (NOT-OD-17-109), the NIH Grants Policy Statement (See subsection 301(d) of the Public Health Service Act, and any additional future guidance issued by NIH, will serve as documentation of the issuance of a Certificate for a specific study.

The policy applies to research commenced or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016. The NIH CoC website has now been updated and includes updated consent language and FAQs.

September 15, 2017

NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC)

The National Institutes of Health is updating its policy for issuing Certificates of Confidentiality for NIH-funded and conducted research, as announced in NIH Guide Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) (NOT-OD-17-109):

Effective October 1, 2017, all research that was commenced or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016 and is within the scope of this Policy is now deemed to have been issued a Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) and the policy’s disclosure requirements apply. Certificates issued in this manner (by policy) will not be issued as a separate document.

Under this policy, CoCs will become a term and condition of NIH grant awards rather than issued through a separate application process.

Institutions and investigators are responsible for determining whether the NIH research they conduct is subject to the policy and therefore automatically under a CoC. (See questions below to determine if a COC will apply below.)

Questions for Determining Applicability of NIH CoC Policy

If the research was begun or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016 and funded by NIH, respond to these questions to determine if NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality applies:
  1. Is the activity biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or other research?
  2. Does the research involve human subjects as defined by 45 CFR Part 46?
  3. Are you collecting or using biospecimens that are identifiable to an individual as part of the research?
  4. If collecting or using biospecimens as part of the research, is there a small risk that some combination of the biospecimen, a request for the biospecimen, and other available data sources could be used to deduce the identity of an individual?
  5. Does the research involve the generation of individual level, human genomic data?
If the answer to any one of these questions is “Yes,” then a CoC is automatically is issued and the policy applies.

See an explanation of the policy’s disclosure requirements in Notice of Changes to NIH Policy for Issuing Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) (NOT-OD-17-109).

August 28, 2017

NASA Adopts New Policy for No-Cost Extensions

NASA has significantly changed the process for submitting no-cost extension requests under grants and cooperative agreements. These new rules are in effect now and are being enforced:
  • Requests must be submitted within a 20-day time window, no earlier than 30 days and no later than 10 days prior to the last day of the period of performance.
  • An annual progress report must be attached. The NASA Shared Services Center’s on-line no-cost extension request web form will not allow the request to be submitted without the report. The submitter must also certify that the progress report is current and that the request is being sent within the last 30 days of the period of performance.
The web form still offers a standard rationale for use with a first no-cost extension request, and a window for entering a longer explanation for needing a second or third request.

These new requirements, and the fact that they are electronically enforced, mean that it will be essential for investigators and administrators to monitor the remaining balances of their NASA awards carefully.

August 16, 2017

Images in NIH Applications and Formatting Guidance

Reminder: Images in National Institutes of Health applications can only be used in the Research Strategy section.

NIH provides guidance on the Format Attachments page that is linked through the SF 424.
  • Digital images of material such as electron micrographs or gels must only be included within the page limits of the Research Strategy. The maximum size of images to be included should be approximately 1200 X 1500 pixels using 256 colors. Figures must be readable as printed on an 8.5” x 11” page at normal scale.
  • Investigators must use image compression such as JPEG or PNG. Do not include figures or photographs as separate attachments either as an Appendix or elsewhere in the application.
See the Format Attachments page for other important formatting information.

August 15, 2017

NSF Newsletter for August/September 2017

The National Science Foundation has published the August/September 2017 issue of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter.

  • PAPPG – Proposed Significant Changes
  • The Newly Revised Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects
  • Faculty Salary Policy – The Two Month Rule
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Pilot – FAQs
  • Project Reporting Policies and Reminders
  • Upcoming Outreach
  • NSF is Moving!

August 14, 2017

NIH Human Subjects: New Policies and Forms Required January 25, 2018

Michael S. Lauer, MD, Deputy Director for Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health, sent the following message to NIH grant applicants/awardees, contractors, researchers and research administrators.

If you are conducting NIH-funded research that involves human subjects, or are considering applying to NIH for support of such research, we want to call your attention to important changes that may affect how you:
  • select the right NIH funding opportunity announcement
  • write the research strategy and human subjects sections of your application
  • comply with appropriate policies and regulations
First, familiarize yourself with the new PHS Human Subject and Clinical Trial Information form.
For application due dates of January 25, 2018, and beyond, you will be required to use an updated application forms package (FORMS-E), which includes the new human subject and clinical trial form. This form requests human subject and clinical trials information at the study level using discrete form fields, which is a change from current practice. Contract proposals will also require this information. Learn about the new form here.

Second, take a moment to answer these four questions about your current or proposed research:
  1. Does the study involve human participants?
  2. Are the participants prospectively assigned to an intervention?
  3. Is the study designed to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the participants?
  4. Is the effect that will be evaluated a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome?
If the answer to all four questions is yes, then your proposed research meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Clarified and broadened in 2014, the definition encompasses a wide range of trial types: mechanistic, exploratory/developmental, pilot/feasibility, behavioral, and more. NIH expanded the clinical trial definition in response to widespread calls from diverse stakeholders for improved reporting of research milestones and outcomes, and for assuring maximal transparency.

Need help determining whether your study would be considered by NIH to be a clinical trial? See our webpage on the definition that includes case studies, FAQs and other resources that can help. Still unsure?  Contact your NIH program official or the scientific point of contact listed on the funding opportunity announcement to which you are applying.

Third, familiarize yourself with NIH policy changes related to enhancing stewardship of clinical trials.
NIH made a number of policy changes to improve the stewardship of clinical trials across the life cycle of the trial. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with all that is changing, including:
  • the requirement to apply to an FOA that specifically allows for the submission of clinical trial applications for due dates beginning January 25, 2018.
  • Good Clinical Practice training expectations for NIH staff, grantees, and contractors that went into effect January 2017.
  • updated peer review criteria that will be included in FOAs for clinical trial applications and solicitations for due dates on/after January 25, 2018.
  • new Human Subject Information form requirements for clinical trials that will be included in updated application forms (FORMS-E) for due dates on/after January 25, 2018, and contract solicitations published as of January 25, 2018.
  • use of a single IRB for non-exempt, multi-site clinical trials for application due dates on/after January 25, 2018.
  • expanded registration and reporting to include all NIH supported clinical trials.
Improving the design, efficiency, and transparency of clinical trials is important because it:
  • respects our ethical obligation to participants to maximize the use of the knowledge from the trials in which they participate
  • facilitates design of clinical trials while reducing unnecessary duplication
  • promotes broad, timely, and responsible dissemination of research information and results
  • fosters responsible stewardship of the public’s investment in biomedical research
We have developed a new Clinical Trial Requirements for NIH Grantees and Contractors web page to bring together all the information you need to know.  Please review this information carefully.  Your attention to detail will be critical to ensuring successful funding of your clinical trial awards.

We will be putting out a series of reminder policy notices, training opportunities, and other resources in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts, in the NIH Extramural Nexus, and on my blog.

The success of clinical trials relies on the public trust in scientific rigor and ethical oversight.  We all play a critical role in this process. We are most grateful to you for your help and support.

August 11, 2017 is Changing: Be Prepared is changing!

The application package and the forms currently in use will be phased out after December 2017, and will be replaced by Workspace—a new way to create a federal grant application.

Federal agencies that previously required organizations and individuals to use to apply for federal funds in the past will require applications to be submitted via Workspace after the New Year.

Note: After the New Year, proposals to NSF still may be submitted using FastLane. NIH proposals still must be submitted via ASSIST. NASA proposals will continue to be submitted using NSPIRES.

What do PIs need to do now?

All that Principal Investgators (PIs) need to do now is register as an “Organization Applicant.”

To do this, the PI will need Berkeley’s DUNS number: 124726725. (Do not enter any dashes between numbers.) After registering, the PI should give their username to the campus Research Administrator (RA) who will be helping the PI with future applications in Workspace.

What do RAs need to do now?

Before an RA can help a PI with a future application in Workspace, the RA must obtain a “Manage Workspace Role.” To do this, the RA will need to register in Workspace as an Organization Applicant as described above, and SPO will need to approve the RA’s “Manage Workspace Role.”

All campus RAs planning to be involved in proposal development after the New Year should register in Workspace by September 15, 2017. SPO will approve the “Manage Workspace Role” for all campus RAs that have registered by this date.

July 27, 2017

What SPO Requires: PHS FCOI

Proposals submitted to and awards funded by Public Health Service (PHS) sponsors (and sponsors that have adopted PHS financial conflict of interest (FCOI) regulations) must follow specific campus procedures to ensure UC Berkeley conforms to the PHS FCOI requirements.

Due to improvements brought about by the campus’ End-to-End (E2E) review of research administration services, these campus requirements recently have been streamlined, and the PHS FCOI Guide for CSS/Department Research Administrators and Principal Investigators on the SPO website has been updated to reflect these improvements.

Notable changes include:
  • Elimination of the need to submit a Form 5 for each subrecipient investigator at the proposal stage. Required information is now supplied by the subrecipient’s authorized official via the current Subrecipient Commitment Form.
  • Retirement of the PI Certification Form at the proposal stage and throughout the life of the award. The information on the PI Certification Form is now included in the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator Certification provided on the PI and Co-PI approval screen in Phoebe Proposal Development.
Please note: Each time a PI/Co-PI approve a proposal in Phoebe that is being submitted to a PHS sponsor or a sponsor that has adopted PHS FCOI requirements, the PI and Co-PI are certifying and agreeing to the following:
  • All required PHS Financial Disclosures have been submitted to the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO).
  • I will submit a PHS disclosure form for all existing investigators annually and for any new UC Berkeley investigator I add to this project in the future before the investigator joins the project.
  • I will not use project funds to support any UC Berkeley investigator who makes a positive disclosure until the UC Berkeley Conflict of Interest (COI) Committee reviews and approves this disclosure.
  • I will not allow any UC Berkeley investigator to participate in this project until the investigator provides me with a certificate of completion of PHS-compliant training dated within the last four years.
  • I will maintain a file containing up to date certificates of PHS-compliant training for all UC Berkeley investigators for as long as each investigator is involved in the project and to make this information available to the UC Berkeley’s COI Coordinator upon request. PIs and Co-PIs always should make sure that have provided all required disclosures to SPO and that they understand these requirements before approving the proposal.

July 20, 2017

Reminder: Use of ASSIST for NIH Applications Required Now

Earlier this year, the Sponsored Projects Office and Campus Shared Services Research Administration agreed that all National Institutes of Health applications due after July 1, 2017 would be submitted using the NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) instead of the system.

ASSIST allows for the identification of errors that could undermine the success of the application before submission to SPO.

This is a reminder that all NIH applications developed by Berkeley principal investigators now must be processed via ASSIST not

Note: NIH proposals already in process as a application do not need to be modified.  However, after August 1, 2017, SPO will not accept any NIH application that was not processed using ASSIST.

July 11, 2017

Subrecipient Commitment Form for FDP Institutions

UC Berkeley is participating in a pilot program established by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) to test the efficacy and efficiency of using online organization profiles in lieu of subrecipient commitment forms to obtain information needed by pass-through entities when they are issuing subawards.

As a participant in this pilot program, UC Berkeley has agreed to use a modified subrecipient commitment form for subrecipients that are also participating in the FDP pilot.

To find out if a potential subrecipient is participating in the FDP pilot, Research Administrators should consult the master list of Participating Organizations on the FDP website and search for a specific institution.

Please note: Cohort 3 listed below has just been added to the list of participating institutions in the FDP pilot. Research Administrators still may submit the standard Subrecipient Commitment Form for any Cohort 3 institution that is “in progress” during this transition phase.

Cohort 3 (Added to the FDP Pilot July 7, 2017)
  • Ball State University (ERI)
  • Boston University (Charles River Campus)
  • Boston University (Medical Campus)
  • Bucknell University (ERI)
  • Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (ERI)
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation, Inc. (ERI)
  • Governors State University (ERI)
  • Loyola University, Chicago (ERI)
  • Michigan State University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • Saint Louis University
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (ERI)
  • Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
  • Texas A&M University
  • Tufts Medical Center, Inc.
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • West Virginia University
  • West Virginia University Research Corporation
  • Wright State University

August 18, 2016 Research Advocate: New Process for Some Subrecipients: UCB Participating in FDP Pilot

June 12, 2017

NSF Websites Unavailable June 30-July 4

The National Science Foundation is moving its Data Center IT servers to the new NSF headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT through July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT, to prepare for NSF staff relocation in August 2017.

The NSF website, FastLane, and will be unavailable from Friday, June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT until Tuesday, July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT. During this outage period, there will be no access to these websites, proposals cannot be submitted in FastLane, and project reports and cash requests cannot be submitted in However, previously saved information and uploaded documents in FastLane and, including in-process proposals and reports, will be accessible after the Data Center move.

For more information, see NSF Important Notice No. 139, National Science Foundation Headquarters Moving to Alexandria, Virginia.

June 08, 2017

NIH’s New Next Generation Researchers Initiative

The National Institutes of Health has launched the Next Generation Researchers Initiative to bolster support for early-stage and mid-career investigators to address longstanding challenges faced by researchers trying to embark upon and sustain independent research careers.

NIH will take a multi-pronged approach to increase the number of NIH-funded early-stage and mid-career investigators and stabilize the career trajectory of scientists by:
  • Further extending the payline for early stage investigators, with an aim of funding most applications that score in the top 25 percent
  • Providing additional support for mid-career investigators with ≤ 10 years as a principal investigator
    • Extending the payline for those about to lose all NIH funding
    • Identifying “rising stars” who are seeking support for their second RPG, but just missed the payline
NIH will also place greater emphasis on current NIH funding programs aimed at early-stage and mid-career investigators, such as:
  • NIH Common Fund’s New Innovator Awards
  • National Institute of General Medicine Sciences Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA)
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Sustaining Outstanding Achievement in Research (SOAR) awards
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) from Projects to Programs
  • Other special awards from specific institutes

June 02, 2017

NIH, AHRQ, and NIOSH: Updated Policies on Post-Submission Materials

The National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have updated their policies for post-submission materials for applications submitted for due dates on or after September 25, 2017.

Post-submission materials are those submitted after submission of the grant application but prior to initial peer review. They are not intended to correct oversights or errors discovered after submission of the application, but rather allow applicants the opportunity to respond to unforeseen events.  

New: For grant applications submitted for due dates on or after September 25, 2017, citations of issued patents will be accepted as post-submission materials.

For additional information on allowable and non-allowable post-submission materials see Additional Change to the NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH Policy on Post-Submission Materials NOT-OD-17-066.

May 26, 2017

New NSF Proposal and Award Newsletter

The Policy Office in the Division of Institution and Award Support at the National Science Foundation has released the second quarterly NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter. This issue contains information and guidance on how NSF views participant support costs.

May 02, 2017

NIH Plans to Implement a Grant Support Index Limit

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins has issued an important notice, New NIH Approach to Grant Funding Aimed at Optimizing Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars.

In this notice, Dr. Collins describes a new tool that NIH plans to implement—the Grant Support Index (GSI)—to ensure that the NIH supports a diversity of biomedical problems, rather than concentrating resources in a smaller number of labs. NIH’s goal is to free up about 1,600 new awards to broaden the pool of investigators conducting NIH research and improve the stability of the enterprise.

The plan is that each principal investigator (PI) that submits an application to NIH will be assigned a GSI value based on the type, complexity, and size of the PI’s current NIH awards. PIs that have GSIs over 21 (the equivalent of 3 single-PI R01 awards) will be expected to include a plan in their applications for how they would adjust their existing grant load to be within the GSI limits if their application is awarded. (Note: A GSI limit is not specified by Dr. Collins.)

Rationale for the use of the GSI from Dr. Collins:
  • The distribution of NIH grant funding is highly skewed, with 10 percent of NIH-funded investigators receiving over 40 percent of NIH funding. Analyses conducted by both NIH and others has shown that incremental research output gradually diminishes as the amount of support per investigator increases.
  • The more principal investigators must manage in terms of additional projects, personnel, and grant applications, the less additional time they have to dedicate to their research.
  • There are reasons to believe that supporting more researchers working on a diversity of biomedical problems, rather than concentrating resources in a smaller number of labs, might maximize the number of important discoveries.
This will not affect current funding and is expected to free up approximately $500-$650 million in funding for 1500-1600 new awards. The GSI could potentially be implemented for applications being accepted in September 2017.

Over the next few months, NIH will be seeking feedback from the scientific community on how best to implement the GSI limit. Dr. Collins indicates that there are still many details of the policy that need to be worked out. Look for more on this topic from NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer through his Open Mike Blog.

April 20, 2017

Advantages of Using an Updated Subrecipient Commitment Form (4/2017)

The Sponsored Projects Office has posted a new Subrecipient Commitment Form for Non-FDP Pilot Institutions (4/2017).

Advantages of using the new form:

If the subrecipient institution has answered the relevant conflict of interest (COI) question in section 5 of the Subrecipient Commitment Form for Non-FDP Pilot Institutions (4/2017), it will not be necessary to provide SPO with a PHS Financial Disclosure (Form 5) or the NSF Financial Disclosure Form for any subrecipient investigator at the proposal stage.

Please note that it also is not necessary to provide SPO with a PHS Financial Disclosure (Form 5) or the NSF Financial Disclosure Form for any subrecipient investigator at the proposal stage if the subrecipient is participating in the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse Pilot. See the list of participating institutions.

Institutions participating in the FDP pilot program are required to complete the FDP Pilot Subrecipient Project Information Form (8/2016).

April 10, 2017

New Requirement for NSF FastLane Submissions

The National Science Foundation has issued the following important message. More details are available on Collaborator and Other Affliations Information on the NSF website.

Dear Colleagues:

On April 24, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will initiate a new requirement for all FastLane proposal submissions. This requirement does not apply to NSF submissions.

The new requirement requires the use of a spreadsheet template for identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations information for Principal Investigators (PIs), co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on proposals.

Effective April 24, 2017, NSF will require the submission of a spreadsheet template to identify collaborators and other affiliations. Please note that the spreadsheet template:
  • Has been developed to be fillable. However, the content and format requirements must not be altered by submitters.
  • Must be saved in .xlsx or .xls formats and directly uploaded into FastLane as a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document.
  • Will be converted by FastLane from an .xlsx or .xls file to a PDF file.
  • Has been tested in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and LibreOffice.
  • Will enable preservation of searchable text that otherwise would be lost. Must be uploaded in .xlsx or .xls formats only. Uploading a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document in any other format may delay the timely processing and review of your proposal.
  • Will be directly linked in FastLane.
The template and associated instructions may also be accessed directly at:

NSF believes that in addition to the merit review process benefits, the Collaborators and Other Affiliations template will reduce administrative burden and improve efficiencies by providing submitters with a compliant and reusable format to maintain this information for use in subsequent proposal submissions to NSF.

March 23, 2017

Research Administrators’ June RAC Forum Poster Session

As of June 14, 2017, the Research Administration and Compliance (RAC) Forum will be renamed the Research Administration Community (RAC) Forum to reflect the reality of the cooperative nature of research administration on the Berkeley campus. To launch this new enterprise, the June 14th RAC Forum at the Alumni House will be a Poster Session Event “Promoting a Culture of Collaboration.”

This event will provide research administrators across campus with an opportunity to display posters illustrating a process, policy, or job aid that they believe has improved (or has the potential to improve) the effectiveness or efficiency of research administration on the UC Berkeley campus.

Each of the following “research administration communities” are invited to display posters at this event: CSS RA, Department RA, SPO, CGA, and IAO. For information on how to create and display a poster at the June 14th RAC Forum, go to the June 2017 RAC Forum folder in UC Berkeley Box.

In this folder applicants will find an overview of the poster event and instructions. This folder also includes blank poster templates that can be used/adapted to create a 36" x 48" poster. Applicants should read the poster instructions first as well as the tips for creating a visually interesting poster.

The applicant/s that submit the best poster (as judged by RAC Forum attendees) will be treated to a luncheon at the Women’s Faculty Club over the summer months.

March 17, 2017

NIH Operating Under a Continuing Resolution

The National Institutes of Health has issued NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution (NOT-17-048). The notice states:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including NIH, operates under the “Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017,” (Public Law 114-254) signed by President Obama on December 10, 2016.  This Act (CR) continues government operations through April 28, 2017 at 99.8099 percent of the FY 2016 enacted level.

Continuing the procedures identified under NOT-OD-17-001 and NOT-OD-16-046 and consistent with NIH practices during the CRs of FY 2006 – 2016, 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 2017 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period. All legislative mandates that were in effect in FY 2016 (see NOT-OD-16-044 and NOT-OD-16-048) remain in effect under this CR.  Per NOT-OD-17-049, the salary limitation set at Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale, was increased from $185,100 to $187,000, effective January 8, 2017. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral stipend levels and tuition/fees for FY 2017 are described in NOT-OD-17-003. Until further notice, the undergraduate and predoctoral stipends and tuition/fees will remain at the levels announced in NOT-OD-16-062.
NIH has issued a companion notice, Interim Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements (NOT-17-049), stating:
…The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Executive Level II salary was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017.

For awards issued in those years that were restricted to Executive Level II (see Salary Cap Summary, FY 1990 – FY 2016), including competing awards already issued in FY2017, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level. However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards.…
See notices NOT-17-048 and NOT-17-049 for more information.

March 15, 2017

Research Terms and Conditions Implementing the Uniform Guidance

In 2005, standard research terms and conditions (known as “RTCs”) were adopted by many (but not all) federal agencies. RTCs allowed principal investigators to manage their federal grants more efficiently and effectively. For example, research projects subject to the RTCs were allowed to incur 90 day pre-award costs.

When OMB issued Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) in 2013, the RTCs were suspended until a revised set of RTCs for implementing the Uniform Guidance could be developed.

New RTCs have been written to comply with the requirements set out in the Uniform Guidance, and most (but not all) federal agencies are planning to implement the RTCs at different dates in 2017.

The Final Notice of Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) To Address and Implement the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards Issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was published in the March 14 Federal Register.

Agencies participating, with implementation dates, are:
Note that the Department of Defense is not included; but will implement award terms in compliance with 2 CFR 200.

While the Uniform Guidance outlines provisions that are specific to research, these terms and conditions:
  • Incorporate the entire Uniform Guidance by reference, clarifying or supplementing select provisions where appropriate and consistent with government-wide research policy.
  • Incorporate the latest version of the Frequently Asked Questions for the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 CFR 200.
  • Apply to an award when included as part of the award or when incorporated in the award by reference. Use of the RTCs is envisioned as a streamlined approach that supports the implementation of the Uniform Guidance by providing clarification, supplementary guidance, and, where appropriate, selected options, while meeting the spirit and intent of a uniform implementation.
In addition to the RTCs, three companion resources will be developed: Appendix A, Prior Approval Matrix; Appendix B, Subaward Requirements Matrix; and Appendix C, National Policy Requirements Matrix.


March 21, 2017 update: Includes addition of Appendix A Prior Approval Matrix, Appendix C National Policy Requirements; and DOE, HHS/NIH, and NSF Agency Specific Requirements.

March 08, 2017

New NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter

The Policy Office in the Division of Institution & Award Support at the National Science Foundation has published the first issue of the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter, a new quarterly publication designed to provide information about upcoming changes and clarifications to policies and procedures that affect how you prepare and submit proposals and manage NSF awards.

The first issue includes articles on PAPPG issuance and implementation, human subjects and vertebrate animals, and new types of NSF proposals.

January 27, 2017

NIH Implementation of the Interim-Research Performance Progress Report

Effective February 9, 2017, if the recipient organization has submitted a renewal application on or before the date by which a Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final-RPPR) would be required for the current competitive segment, then submission of an "Interim-RPPR" via eRA Commons is now required. Based on this requirement, the NIH will discontinue the policy for renewal applications whereby, “whether funded or not,” the progress report contained in the renewal application may serve in lieu of a separate final progress report.

For more information on this policy, see NIH Implementation of the Interim-RPPR while a Renewal Application is Under Consideration (NOT-OD-17-037).

November 28, 2016 Research Advocate: NIH Implementation of Final Research Performance Progress Reports (Final RPPR)

January 13, 2017

What Errors Will Impact Your NSF Proposal?

NSF has implemented an automated process to help PIs identify proposal errors prior to submission in Fastlane. The next release of auto-compliance checks will support additional standard proposal type requirements and include checks for new types of proposals. NSF plans to implement FastLane changes effective January 30, 2017 that include the new compliance checks.

See the NSF website for a complete listing of current automated proposal compliance checks performed by FastLane as of August 1, 2016.

NSF will be publishing the list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 30, 2017, and updating the advisory accordingly. For more information, see Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals.

September 20, 2016 Research Advocate: NSF Proposals: New FastLane Compliance Checks Effective September 26

January 12, 2017

NIH and AHRQ Font Requirements

For applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for due dates on or after January 25, 2017, text in PDF attachments must follow these minimum requirements:
  • Text Color: No restriction. Though not required, black or other high-contrast text colors are recommended since they print well and are legible to the largest audience.
  • Font size: Must be 11 points or larger. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%.
  • Type density: Must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces).
  • Line spacing: Must be no more than six lines per vertical inch.
 For additional information, see the NIH Guide notice NIH & AHRQ Update Font Guidelines for Applications to Due Dates On or After January 25, 2017 (NOT-OD-17-030).

January 10, 2017

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2017

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2016/2017, is available on the Conflict of Interest Committee website and is the only version that will now be accepted. The form and requirements are the same as the previous 2016 version. If you have any questions please contact Jyl Baldwin (, 2-8110).

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. Please see State of California Financial Disclosure for more information.

January 03, 2017

New Law Prohibits State Funding of Travel to Certain States

Effective January 1, 2017, State of California law AB 1887 prohibits state-funded travel to a state that has passed a law after June 26, 2015 that (1) authorizes discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, or (2) voids or repeals existing state or local protections against such discrimination. The law expressly identifies the University of California and the California State University as entities covered by the law.

The State Attorney General must develop, maintain, and post online the current list of states where travel restrictions would apply. As of January 3, 2017, the list includes four states: Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

AB 1887 provides a number of exceptions where state-funded travel will be allowed to states that are otherwise on the Attorney General's list. For more information, including a link to Frequently Asked Questions, see the Berkeley Travel notice: Law Prohibiting State-Funded Travel to States Discriminating on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression.