Having Challenges Tracking Down Students and Postdocs at the Time of the RPPR? Here is a Tip to Make It Easier

Establishing a process where you have students and postdocs establish an eRA Commons account at the time they start working on an NIH grant award can save you a lot of time and energy trying to track down people who may no longer be at your institution at the time of your Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) submission. You may even want to have them create an ORCID ID as well! (In case you missed it, read the November 2017 Open Mike blog post to learn more about eRA Commons and ORCID integration.)

Original post by NIH Staff 1/30/18

NSF: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Public Access

Click here to see NSF FAQ’s for Public Access updated Program Announcements & Information NSF 18-041 which replaces NSF 17-060

PAPPG (NSF 18-1) Policy Changes and Proposal Compliance Checking Updates Coming to FastLane and Research.gov on January 29

Effective January 29, 2018, NSF will implement changes in FastLane and Research.gov to support the following policy updates in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1) and to run updated Budget Justification page limit automated compliance checks in FastLane:

Standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations Template Implementation:

  • The revised PAPPG (NSF 18-1) incorporates the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase in FastLane since April 2017.
  • FastLane system instructions will be updated in accordance with the new policy.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the COA template are available at https://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/coa.jsp.

Budget Justification Page Limitation Increase:

  • The Budget Justification page limitation will increase from three pages to five pages.
  • To align with the new policy, FastLane will run an automated compliance check for the Budget Justification page limitation across several proposal types and will generate an error or warning when the submission validation compliance check is not met.
  • Compliance checks are run during “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” and “Submit Proposal.” The complete list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 29, 2018, is available at https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/autocheck/compliancechecks_jan18.pdf.

New “Substitute Negotiator” Associated Document for Change of Principal Investigator (PI) Requests:

  • A new “Substitute Negotiator” Associated Document will be available in FastLane’s Notifications and Requests module when a “Change of PI” request is made (e.g., to be utilized in cases where a former employee or Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) is being reappointed as a PI or Co-PI to an award they were previously involved with).

New “Other Request” Type:

  • A new “Other Request” type will be added to Research.gov’s Notifications and Requests module. This request will be reviewed and approved by the NSF Program Officer.

New Award Abstract Text:

  • In connection with NSF’s transparency and accountability efforts for award abstracts, the Foundation will add the following final paragraph to all award abstracts for awards with start dates of March 1 or later: “This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.”

Note about Proposal File Updates (PFU):

The automated compliance checks also apply when a PFU is performed on a proposal. The compliance checks will be run on all sections of the proposal, regardless of which section was updated during the PFU. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

NSF encourages you to share this information with your colleagues. To learn about all the changes to the PAPPG (NSF 18-1), be sure to view the latest webinar.

For IT system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or fastlane@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

 original post by NSF 1.23.18

 

Two New “All About Grants” Podcasts: 2018 Appendix Policy Changes, and Why You’re Encouraged to Submit Your Application Early

NIH’s Office of Extramural Research brings you two new “All About Grants”  podcasts to ring in the new year. In “Why it’s so Important to Submit Applications Early” (mp3transcript), Dr. Cathie Cooper, director of the Division of Receipt and Referral in the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review, talks about the importance of submitting application early due to changes in NIH’s policies and application forms for 2018.

In “Changes to the NIH Appendix Policy for 2018” (mp3transcript), Dr. Cooper joins us again to talk about the NIH appendix policy and new limits on what can be included as appendices.

All About Grants podcast episodes are produced by the NIH Office of Extramural Research, and designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others just curious about the application and award process. The podcast features NIH staff members who talk about the ins and outs of NIH funding, and provide insights on grant topics from those who live and breathe the information. Listen to more episodes via the All About Grants podcast pagethrough iTunes, or by using our RSS feed in your podcast app of choice.

 

originally posted by NIH on 12/28/17

2017 Year in Review: Grants.gov Federal Grant Highlights

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, Grants.gov pauses to look back on what was a significant year for federal grants. With important developments and growth in the grants community in 2017, this post takes note of key points worth remembering and helpful resources, not just from Grants.gov, but from some of you in the grants community.

rearview mirror and Grants.gov logo

#1 – Get Your (DATA) Act Together

This would not be a real grants ‘year in review’ for 2017 without starting with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). Coordinating across all federal award-making agencies and the diverse applicant communities to standardize and improve the quality and transparency of federal financial data? That’s big.

If you are completely unfamiliar with the DATA Act, welcome to the party—start with this basic update. You should also do a web search for training and updates about the DATA Act to hear from a variety of stakeholders on what it means for the grant community.

To get you thinking about possibilities in the future, HHS’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Grants and Acquisitions Policy and Accountability (OGAPA), Andrea Brandon, posed this question at the DATA Transparency conference in September this year, “Do we need [nonfederal entities] to actually complete an SF-424 or do we just need structured data sets that come through a particular portal?”

#2 – Not Taken for Granted

Over $700 billion in grants and cooperative agreements were awarded in FY 2017. The DATA Act gets another nod here, which led to the new beta USAspending.gov to improve the quality and transparency of federal spending data. If you are interested in more spending data, check out the USAspending.gov Agency Profiles and Spending Map.

As a note, that number does include Medicare and Medicaid funding in the form of formula grants, but there were thousands of discretionary funding opportunities posted on Grants.gov for which many of you applied for—and it is a competitive process.

Of course, we need to mention at least one grant-writing tip here—do not eliminate yourself from the competition by not checking that you have followed all the basic requirements.

#3 – Grants Community Growth with More Events and Training Resources

Anecdotally, 2017 certainly seemed like one of the most prolific with regard to grant events and training resources available to the community.

While Grants.gov could just link to their own training videos, events calendar, or other resources (YSWIDT?), they want to recognize your awesome contributions to the community.

#GrantChat – Talk with fellow grant professionals on a range of topics relevant to your work. This is a great way to hear tips, share resources, and get to know your professional peers online.

Resources By You, For You – Here’s a sampling of grant resources for you to review: eCivis blog, Grant Professionals Association Resource Center, Grant Training Center, Grant Writer’s Blog, GrantSpace by Foundation Center, GrantStation Insights blog, Learn Peak Grantmaking, Management Concepts Applying for Federal Grants & Cooperative Agreements, National Grants Management Association Annual Grants Training, NIH Regional Seminar & Extramural Nexus blog, SmartGrants Blog, the bmtconsulting blog, The Grant Plant Resources, Thompson Grants Federal Grants Forum, or check out our Where to Find Free Online Resources for Federal Grant Applicants Part 1 and Part 2 for more.

#4 – Did the 2017 Grants.gov Plan Happen?

Last January, Grants.gov shared high-level plans for 2017, and they are happy to say that they were able to stick to these plans. Admittedly, #1 and #3 from last year’s plan go hand-in-hand, but here’s a link to Grants.gov Workspace resources just in case you haven’t read about it yet.

They are proud to have received awards confirming the direction of the program. FedHealthIT 100 awarded John Enggren, the Grants.gov Program Manager, for developing Workspace and his efforts of “driving change and advancement in the Federal Health Information Technology and Consulting Market.” In June 2017, Enggren and the program also received recognition at the 2017 AFFIRM Leadership Awards Celebration for Workspace.

Original post by Grants.gov dated 1/2/2018

NIH Grants.gov Downloadable Forms Submission Option Retiring Dec. 31st, 2017

On December 31, 2017 Grants.gov will no longer allow grant applicants to download an entire application form package as a single PDF for offline data entry and later submission. If you were involved in a grant application submitted using downloadable forms in 2017, NIH is providing a final reminder to switch to one of the following submission options for 2018 submissions:

1.     NIH’s ASSIST (learn more)

2.     Institutional system-to-system solution (if your institution has one)

3.     Grants.gov Workspace (learn more)

NIIH’s  submission options page can help you compare features and considerations for each option.  Please consult with MBL’s Office of Sponsored Programs to determine option is the best fit for you and your center.

 If there is no business reason to choose one option over another, give NIH’s ASSIST a try. It’s a user-friendly, online solution optimized for NIH applications.

 Although Grants.gov will stop presenting their legacy downloadable forms package as an option at the end of this year, Grants.gov and NIH systems will continue to process previously downloaded application packages through March 2018.  If you plan to submit a downloaded application package after December 31, 2017, you might want to consider downloading an extra copy of the forms package for the opportunity before Dec 31 just in case you run into a technical difficulty with the original.

A Basic Approach to Submitting Your First Workspace Application

Basic approach to Workspace is the best path for organizations with 1-2 registered Grants.gov users

Let’s flesh out an applicant scenario that some new Workspace users will face:

You are about to begin your first federal grant application using Grants.gov Workspace. For years, you (and sometimes one other colleague) applied using the old Legacy PDF Application Package.

You traded a package of PDF forms back and forth until you were ready to cross your fingers and click Submit. It was never easy, but you had grown comfortable with the painstaking process. Now, with the upcoming retirement of the Legacy PDF, you are trying to learn the new Grants.gov method for applying.

Below you will find an example approach for applying with Workspace that keeps to the familiar workflow as much as possible.

In the coming weeks, we will also share more complex workflows that take advantage of Grants.gov Workspace’s new applicant features.

Steps to Follow

  1. Make sure at least one person at your organization is registered and has the AOR role

      2.Design an internal application workflow that ensures each PDF form is downloaded from the workspace and shared with unregistered team members

Use the interactive workflow graphic to understand, at a high level, the process you will need to follow to complete your application. Not all steps in the workflow will apply to teams of only one or two applicants.

  1. Log in and create your workspace from the Package tab on the View Grant Opportunity page

The user with the AOR role, or any other user with the Manage Workspace role, may create the workspace. The user who creates the workspace will automatically become the Workspace Owner.

  1. Download individual PDF forms and, if applicable, distribute them to unregistered team members

Unregistered applicants on your team will be restricted to completing only the individual PDF forms that are shared with them. Without a Grants.gov account, they will not be able to access the online workspace.

  1. Upload all completed forms to the workspace and submit the application

Workspace performs some error checks on form fields automatically when uploaded. Other checks are run by clicking the Check Application button within the workspace. At any point after all required forms are in the “Passed” status, the user with the AOR role may click the Submit button.

  1. Track your application and download the entire submission for your offline record-keeping

After submitting, you can track your application using the tracking number you receive from Grants.gov. You may also want to download a copy of your submitted application for your offline recordkeeping. We recommend tracking and downloading your application via the Details tab of your workspace.

Did you find this helpful? A more in-depth version of this scenario can be found here, along with related help articles and training videos.

originally posted Posted on December 4, 2017

NIH Enforcement of Closeout Policies

NIH Notice Number: NOT-OD-18-107 Key Dates
Release Date: November 30, 2017

Related Announcements
NOT-OD-17-085
NOT-OD-17-022
NOT-OD-15-136
NOT-OD-15-135
NOT-OD-15-111
NOT-OD-14-084
Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

The purpose of this Notice is to alert the NIH extramural community that NIH is strengthening enforcement of longstanding closeout requirements, outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement Section 8.6, Closeout. NIH has consistently reminded recipients of their responsibility to submit timely, accurate final grant expenditure reports, and has communicated the critical need for recipients to reconcile cash transaction reports submitted to the HHS Payment Management System (PMS) with expenditure reports submitted to NIH.  In order to fulfill agency requirements under the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act and HHS grants policy, NIH will no longer delay the closeout of awards unless the recipient submits a prior approval request to the IC providing an acceptable written justification..  Without prior approval from the awarding IC, NIH will initiate unilateral closeout for all awards that fail to meet closeout requirements within 120 days as required by the NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIH GPS) Section 8.6. See below for details.

Background

Recipient Responsibilities

The requirement for timely closeout is generally a recipient responsibility. However, NIH may initiate unilateral closeout if a recipient does not provide timely, accurate closeout reports or does not respond timely to NIH requests to reconcile discrepancies in grant records.

NIH recipients must submit a Final Federal Financial Report (FFR), Final Research Performance Progress Report (F-RPPR), and Final Invention Statement and Certification (FIS) within 120 calendar days of the end of the period of performance (project period), as required in section 8.6 of the NIH GPS. The reports become overdue the day after the 120 calendar day period ends. Cash transaction data continues to be submitted directly to and processed by PMS. It is the recipient’s responsibility to reconcile reports submitted to PMS and to the NIH awarding Institute or Center.

NIH Actions

NIH is committed to addressing and reducing grant closeout delays and to enhance compliance with HHS regulations and policies, and the GONE Act.  Therefore, NIH will strictly enforce its closeout policies. When recipients fail to submit timely reports, NIH will initiate unilateral closeout. It is important to note that for financial closeout, if a recipient fails to submit a final expenditure FFR, HHS policy directs NIH to close the grant using the last accepted Federal Cash Transaction Report’s cash drawdown amount. This could be considered a debt or result in disallowed costs.  In addition, failure to correct recurring reporting problems may cause NIH to take one or more actions that may include, but are not limited to, corrective actions, withholding of further awards, suspension or termination.

Please direct all inquiries to: Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
Office of Extramural Research
Telephone: 301-435-0949
GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov

NIH to Publicly Post Project Outcomes

The NINDS DTR wanted to increase awareness of a NIH policy change that will impact their grantees.  The NIH has announced that NIH will be publicly posting project outcomes on NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORTER).  Please review the NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-18-103 for complete details. This applies to any outcomes submitted on or after Oct. 1, 2017. These outcomes are entered by principal investigators in the Outcomes portion (Section I) of the interim and final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) for their grants in eRA Commons.

 It is important that all PIs when writing the Outcomes portion (Section I) ensure that it is:

  • Written for the general public in clear and concise language
  • Suitable for dissemination to the general public
  • Does not include proprietary, confidential information or trade secrets
  • Not more than half a page

To help the research community understand what is an acceptable report, NIH has a specific example posted.(https://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/sample_project_outcomes_RPPR.htm )

Revised Version Issued: NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG; NSF 18-1); effective 1/29/2018 with Overview Webinar Offered

NSF has issued a revised version of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures (PAPPG) Guide which takes effect January 29, 2018.

The PAPPG details NSF’s proposal preparation and submission guidelines, and provides guidance on managing and monitoring the award and administration of grants and cooperative agreements made by the Foundation.

NSF will offer a Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Update Webinar for the research community on Friday, December 8th, 2017 from 2 – 3:15pm EST. will be offered which will provide an overview of significant changes and clarifications to the PAPPG.  There is no cost to participate. To register yourself, and/or others for this webinar, please select the register button below.

Register

To download a copy see below for available formats:

Available Formats: HTML | PDF
Document Type: Program Announcements & Information
Document Number: nsf18001