Important Note on NIH Closeout Report Deadlines

Important Note on NIH Deadlines for Required Final Reports & Grants Closeout

When an NIH awardee’s grant project periods comes to an end, recipients must close out their grant by submitting a Final Federal Financial Report (FFR), Final Progress Report (FPR), and Final Invention Statement and Certification (FIS). The deadlines for these reports has recently changed to align with forthcoming standard award terms and conditions for participating Federal research agencies. All projects with a period of performance end date on or after October 1, 2014 must submit the final FFR, the FPR, and the FIS within 120 calendar days of the end of the period of performance. For any grants with a period of performance (project period) end date prior to October 1, 2014, the reporting deadline will be 90 days from the project period end date.

As announced in the NIH Guide, eRA systems are currently being updated to reflect these changes; we expect the “grants pending closeout” search by institution in Commons Quick Queries to reflect the new deadline by July 17, 2015.

Do You Know You Have a New Option for Submitting R01, U01, and K applications?

As highlighted in an April Rock Talk blog post, NIH’s ASSIST submission system is now an option for submitting R01 applications, as well as most individual career development (K) award applications. In addition, applications to NIH’s U01 programs (Research Project Cooperative Agreements) recently joined the roster of programs supported in ASSIST.

When applying, a button to use ASSIST is linked from the required application instructions section of funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) if ASSIST is an option for that opportunity. We still give you the option to use downloadable forms or your institution’s system-to-system solution. So make sure to check in with your central grants office to find out what method they prefer to use.

Planning ahead? ASSIST will become an option for additional single project programs throughout 2015 so stay tuned!

See more at:

For more information contact the MBL Office of Sponsored Programs

NSF Uniform Guidance FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions on the National Science Foundation’s Implementation of 2 CFR § 200 (Uniform Guidance)

1. Which awards incorporate the new Uniform Guidance requirements?
The Uniform Guidance is effective for awards and funding increments on existing awards made on or after December 26, 2014. The Uniform Guidance will not be incorporated in the following circumstances:

  • If the award is a standard grant made prior to December 26, 2014; or
  • If the award is a continuing grant that has received all of its funding increments prior to December 26, 2014.

2. With the implementation of the new Uniform Guidance, how does an awardee know which terms and conditions apply an award?
For existing awards made prior to December 26, 2014, the terms and conditions referenced in the award notice will continue to apply.  If an existing award receives a funding increment on or after December 26, 2014, then the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) will be incorporated by reference into that funding amendment.

3. If an existing award receives a non-funding amendment (i.e., an amendment that does not provide any additional funding, such as a change of PI), is the amendment subject to the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) dated December 26, 2014?
No. The GC-1 is effective for new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing awards made on or after December 26, 2014. Non-funding amendments do not change the terms and conditions of the current award, except as noted in the administrative change.

4. If an existing award receives an amendment and the new GC-1 is incorporated, is it necessary to request a retroactive approval for items that normally require prior approvals?
Once an existing award receives a funding amendment that incorporates the GC-1, dated 12/26/14, preparation and submission of notifications and requests will follow the requirements specified in the new award conditions. Article 2 of the GC-1 outlines the two items that require approval from the National Science Foundation. (See also Award & Administration Guide, Exhibit II-1 for additional information.)

5. In regards to NSF’s recent change in the grant conditions that authorize grantees up to 120 days to submit final disbursement requests, will ACM$ allow for disbursement requests up to 120 days on awards not subject to the GC-1 dated, 12/26/15?
The 120 day standard will apply to all awards. The Award Cash Management System (ACM$) will not differentiate between awards and amendments made prior to December 26, 2014 and those made after December 26, 2014.  

6. It states in the Grant Proposal Guide: “No supporting documentation is required for proposed rates of 10% or less of modified total direct costs.” Is it therefore acceptable to allow less than 10% of modified total direct costs? If so, is 0% acceptable?
Submission of proposal budgets that reflect indirect cost rates below the de minimus 10% are not acceptable. NSF’s expectation with respect to indirect costs is made clear in NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.3.g(vi)(e):
“It is NSF’s expectation that, consistent with 2 CFR § 200.414, NSF awardees will use the domestic subrecipient’s applicable U.S. federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s). If no such rate exists, the NSF awardee may either negotiate a rate or use a de minimus indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs.”

7. The University has, on occasion, experienced receipt of budgets from subcontractors who elect not to charge F&A at all. Is a 0% F&A rate acceptable in these cases?
Indirect cost rates of 0% are not acceptable as this would represent a form of voluntary committed cost sharing which is prohibited under NSF’s Cost Sharing Policy.

8. Listed as a “Significant Change to the Grant Proposal Guide to Implement the Uniform Guidance” is all travel must now be justified in Line E of the budget. How detailed must this request be to meet this requirement? For instance, if the name of a conference is available but not the exact date or location, is this sufficient?
The NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.2.g(iv) outlines what is required to justify travel costs: “Travel and its relation to the proposed activities must be specified, itemized and justified by destination and cost.” Therefore, proposers should provide as much information that is available to ensure that the travel is specified, itemized and justified. NSF realizes that all details may not be available at the time of proposal submission and, thus, proposers will be unable to provide such information.                                                                                           

9. When might temporary dependent care costs be allowable?
Temporary dependent care costs resulting from travel to conferences may be allowable when all of the conditions specified in 2 CFR § 200.474 have been met. Inclusion of such costs on a proposal budget may be appropriate only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the costs have to be a direct result of the individual’s travel for the Federal award;
  • the costs have to be consistent with the non-Federal entity’s documented travel policy (so, if an institution does not allow such dependent care costs, then they would not be allowable on the NSF award); and
  • the costs have to be above the normal dependent care costs (for example, if someone currently pays for dependent care during the weekday working hours, then the grant would not pay for those costs while the person is traveling; if however there are additional costs while traveling – such as for attendance at evening meetings – which may require additional care and costs above and beyond what one would normally incur while they were at home, then those additional costs could be allowable on the award).
    NSF’s policy regarding travel support for dependents is covered in Chapter II.C.2.g(iv) of the Grant Proposal Guide: Travel support for dependents of key project personnel may be requested only when the travel is for a duration of six months or more either by inclusion in the approved budget or with the prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Grants Officer. Temporary dependent care costs above and beyond regular dependent care that directly result from travel to conferences are allowable costs provided that the conditions established in 2 CFR § 200.474 are met.

For additional information please contact the MBL Office of Sponsored Programs

NIH Policy on Application Compliance

Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-095

Key Dates
Release Date: April 15, 2015

Related Announcements
NoneIssued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The purpose of this notice is to remind applicants, both investigators and grants office officials, that to be fair to all concerned the NIH needs to consistently apply standards for application compliance.


Be mindful that non-compliance can have serious consequences. NIH may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that is not compliant with the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the Funding Opportunity Announcement, and relevant NIH Guide Notices.

Some examples of how this policy is applied to NIH applications include but are not limited to:

  • Applications containing one or more biosketches that do not conform to the required format may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-032).
  • Applications that do not conform to the page limit requirements because inappropriate materials have been included in other parts of the application may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-11-080).
  • Applications submitted as new but containing elements of a resubmission or renewal application are noncompliant with the resubmission policy and may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-059).
  • Applications submitted after 5 PM local (applicant organization) time on the application due date may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-039).

It is important to remember that these are just examples, and that all requirements specified in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the Funding Opportunity Announcement, and relevant NIH Guide Notices are to be followed. When in doubt about compliance policy, contact NIH “Grants Info” or the Division of Receipt and Referral as listed below.

If an application is withdrawn because it does not conform to the application preparation and submission instructions, a letter will be placed in the eRA Commons Status page for that application.  The PD/PI and the AOR from the applicant organization will be notified by eRA Commons to access their account and view the explanatory letter.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Grants Info
Office of Extramural Research (OER)
National Institutes of Health
Telephone:  301-435-0714


Division of Receipt and Referral
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
National Institutes of Health
Telephone: 301-435-0715

– See more at:

For additional information please contact the MBL Office of Sponsored Programs

2015 NIH Salary Cap for PI’s

The NIH has announced that the salary cap for grant, cooperative agreement and contract awards remains tied to Federal Executive Level II.  Effective Jan 11, 2015, Executive Level II increased to $183,300, up from $181,500.

Investigators should begin using the 2015 cap immediately in preparing proposal budgets.  However, in keeping with the practice we have used in the past, we will not begin charging NIH funded projects the new cap rate until July 1, 2015.  The reason for this practice is to mitigate to some extent the impact on on-going awards where funds will have to be rebudgeted to cover the increased salary costs.

For additional information please contact the MBL Office of Sponsored Programs