April 30, 2021

NSF: Disaster Relief Flexibilities

The National Science Foundation implementation of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum, M-21-20, “Promoting Public Trust in the Federal Government through Effective Implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act and Stewardship of the Taxpayer Resources, Appendix 3 - Disaster Relief Flexibilities to Reduce Burden for Financial Assistance” dated March 19, 2021 is now available on the NSF Coronavirus Information page.

The exceptions identified by NSF apply to NSF recipients with COVID-19 related federal financial assistance awards. Flexibilities related to NSF’s implementation of OMB Memorandum M-21-20 include:

  • Delay of the completion and submission of the Single Audit reporting package
  • Extensions of deadlines for certain funding opportunities
  • Extension of the biennial physical inventory

For a complete listing see: NSF Implementation of OMB Memorandum M-21-20.

April 12, 2021

Important Information for NIH PIs

The National Institutes of Health has issued new instructions and requirements for the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch) and Other Support for applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2021. See Upcoming Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page for Due Dates on or after May 25, 2021 (NOT-OD-21-073).

NIH Principal Investigators (PIs) should be aware that additional time and effort may be needed to comply with the following new requirements for reporting “Other Support:”

  • If foreign activities and resources are reported under “Other Support,” copies of contracts, grants or any other agreement specific to senior/key personnel foreign appointments and/or employment with a foreign institution as supporting documentation must be provided to NIH.
  • If these documents are not in English, translated copies must be provided.
  • This supporting documentation must be provided as part of the Other Support PDF following the Other Support Format page.
  • All principal investigators and other senior/key personnel must electronically sign the Other Support form, prior to its submission to NIH, certifying that the Other Support information is accurate and complete.
  • Other Support submissions must be submitted as a “flattened” PDF, after all signatures are obtained. The original electronic signatures must be available upon NIH request.

Unfunded applications submitted prior to May 25, 2021 are not subject to these requirements. The new requirements only apply to RPPRs and to applications submitted on or after May 25, 2021 (including applications submitted early for those due dates).

PIs or other Senior/Key personnel on an active NIH grant who fail to disclose Other Support information outside of Just-in-Time or the RPPR, as applicable, should notify SPO. SPO must provide the updated “Other Support” to the Grants Management Specialist named in the Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known.

See the NIH FAQs on Other Support and Foreign Components for additional information


March 12, 2021 Research Advocate: NIH: Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page

March 12, 2021

NIH: Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page

The National Institutes of Health has taken steps to align the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch), Other Support format page and Application Form Instructions with the guidance issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy Joint Committee on the Research Environment.

As a result, NIH has updated its application forms and instructions to support the need for applicants and recipients to provide full transparency and disclosure of all research activities, foreign and domestic.

The updated forms and instructions will be required for use for applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2021.

In addition to the changes to the the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch), Other Support format page and Application Form, note the following new requirements related to Other Support, effective May 25, 2021.

  • NIH will require supporting documentation, which includes copies of contracts, grants or any other agreement specific to senior/key personnel foreign appointments and/or employment with a foreign institution for all foreign activities and resources that are reported in Other Support. If the contracts, grants or other agreements are not in English, recipients must provide translated copies.

  • If a recipient organization discovers that a PI or other Senior/Key personnel on an active NIH grant has failed to disclose Other Support information outside of Just-in-Time or the RPPR, as applicable, the recipient must submit updated Other Support to the Grants Management Specialist named in the Notice of Award as soon as it becomes known.

See Upcoming Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page for Due Dates on or after May 25, 2021 (NOT-OD-21-073) for more information.

March 10, 2021

NSF FAQs on Current and Pending Support: Clarification

The National Science Foundation has added some clarifications to its Frequently Asked Questions on Current and Pending Support.

Some highlights:

In-kind contributions that are not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF and have no associated time commitment, do not need to be reported.

However, an item or service given with the expectation of an associated time commitment must be reported to NSF in the following manner.

  • If the in-kind contribution is not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF but has an associated time commitment, the information must be included as part of the current and pending support section of the proposal.  
  • If the in-kind contribution is intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed to NSF, the information must be included as part of the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal and need not be replicated in the individual’s current and pending support submission.

Senior personnel are required to provide the number of person-months (or partial person-months) per year to be devoted to the project by the individual even if this time is not budgeted in the proposal budget. NSF is not asking for information on how much time is budgeted for a particular individual(s), but rather how much time the individual(s) is/are planning to spend to complete the scope of work on the proposed project and/or award.

If a principal investigator or co-PI is not requesting salary support, they should be removed from the budget and their name and the estimated amount of time to be devoted to the project should be identified in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.

If Senior Personnel will be conducting research as part of a consulting agreement, then the consulting arrangement should be specified in the individual’s current and pending support submission.

February 26, 2021

NIH eRA Commons Modules Will Require Two-Factor Authentication

Although not required until September 15, 2021, the National Institutes of Health is encouraging users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR), and Commons Mobile to begin their switchover to the new two-factor authentication (2FA) login method (via login.gov) to access eRA modules.

Using login.gov 2FA will be required as of the deadline of September 15, 2021 for all users. The authentication will help ensure the security of personal and confidential information in these systems.

For instructions, frequently asked questions, and other resources, see NIH Extramural News Reminder: Switch Early to the New Secure Two-Factor Authentication Required to Access eRA Modules.

February 22, 2021

NIH Conference Grants: Focus on Diversity

NIH conference grant applicants (R13/U13) must now include plans to enhance diversity during the selection of organizing committees, speakers, other invited participants, such as session chairs and panel discussants, and attendees. Underrepresented groups include individuals from nationally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. See Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031) for additional details.

A recent NIH Guide notice, Notice of Changes in the Review Criteria for Applications Submitted for NIH Support for Scientific Conferences (R13 and U13) (NOT-OD-21-055), announced that reviewers of scientific conferences (R13 and U13) will be asked to evaluate a diversity plan and factor it into the overall impact score. The diversity plan will be evaluated as an additional review criterion and will not receive a separate criterion score. The new parent conference grant funding opportunity announcement, NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13) (PA-21-151), published February 10, reflects the new review criteria.

Principal investigators should carefully follow these instructions, Updated Guidelines for Enhancing Diversity and Creating Safe Environments in Conferences Supported by NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (NOT-OD-21-053), for developing the diversity plan.

Conference grant awardees also will be required to report on the effectiveness of plans to enhance diversity of underrepresented groups in annual Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) and the Final-RPPR.

January 29, 2021

New Salary Cap: NIH and AHRQ

The National Institutes of Health has released an announcement regarding the new salary cap: Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2021 (NOT-OD-21-057).

Effective January 3, 2021, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $199,300.

For issued awards that were restricted to Executive Level II (see Salary Cap Summary (FY 1990 - Present)), including competing awards already issued in FY2021, if adequate funds are available in active awards, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, recipients may rebudget funds to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level.

Also of note:

January 05, 2021

Statement of Economic Interests (700-U) Form Revised for 2021

The State of California has issued a revised 700-U Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators for immediate use. The revised form, dated 2020/2021, 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 2020 version, except for an increase in the limit for gifts of travel. Gifts of travel may be subject to a $500 gift limit in 2020. This gift limit has increased to $520 for calendar years 2021 and 2022. Please contact coi-team@berkeley.edu with any questions.

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. See State of California Financial Disclosure for more information.