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.