NSF: Revision of the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) Effective July 1, 2016

Effective July 1, 2016, grants made to organizations subject to 2 CFR § 200, which includes grants made to for-profit organizations (other than Small Business Innovation Research grantees) and State and local governments, will incorporate by reference the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) dated 7/1/16. The GC-1 will serve as the applicable terms and conditions for the grantee organizations outlined above, until such time as revised Research Terms and Conditions become effective. The GC-1 will not be applied to NSF cooperative agreements or to NSF fellowship awards made to individuals.
Unless otherwise noted in a specific article, the Grant General Conditions apply to all new NSF grants and funding amendments to existing NSF grants awarded on or after July 1, 2016.  For more information click here

For a copy of the GC-1 click here

 

What Criteria Will Be Used to Assess How I Address Scientific Rigor In My NIH Application?

The guidance reviewers use to assess rigor and transparency is available on the NIH website: Reviewer Guidance on Rigor and Transparency. In addition to reviewing the applicant resources and the NIH application guide, we encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the peer review criteria that will be used for their application.

Original post by NIH Staff dated 5/31/16

New Podcast on Writing the Vertebrate Animal Section in Your NIH Application

Icon for the NIH All About Grants Podcast

Proposing the use of animal models in your application? All About Grants has a new podcast episode on writing the vertebrate animal section in your grant or contract research proposal. Join Dr. Patricia Brown, director of the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare for a discussion of why this application section is required, what reviewers look for, and more.  Check out “Writing Your Vertebrate Animal Section” (mp3) (transcript) and other episodes on NIH’s All About Grants page or via our podcast RSS feed.


Original post on 4/30/16 by

Innovating to Make it Easier for You to Find the NIH Grants Information You Need

More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to wading through information on NIH grant policies and processes. NIH talks about burden frequently, usually in reference to policies and processes that add burden to our grantee community. But there is another source of burden: having to spend time digging through resources to find critical information you need to apply for or manage your grant award.

For the past year NIH staff have been strategizing how to improve upon the way we deliver information, with the goal of reducing the time it takes you to find the information you need. To do this, they’ve embarked on a comprehensive, data-driven approach to understand how you use key resources, including the NIH’s grants and funding website and the application guides. They’ve examined web analytics, looked at search term patterns, surveyed website visitors, asked you how you use — and would like to use — our application guides, and engaged usability experts to ensure we are following best practices.

NIH staff listened, learned, and have put these experiences into practice. If you’ve visited grants.nih.gov last week, you likely noticed a complete transformation. What you will find now is a simplified interface that streamlines how you find information and provides the context you need for understanding the information you find.

NIH has reimagined the application guide to better serve your needs. They’ve completely disaggregated the application guides and reassembled them in a way that addresses many of the needs expressed by the community. Some highlights of the changes include:

  • Separated the details of the grants process information from the form instructions, providing both on a How to Apply – Application Guide page for at-a-glance access to key pieces of information.
  • Provided the general instructions for the newest version of NIH application forms (known as FORMS-D), in an interactive HTML version for ease of on-line use, in addition to a pdf version for those of you who still feel compelled to print.
  • Consolidated instructions for all types of grant programs into the general instructions, and reorganized the information to make very clear how each instruction applies to each of the various grant programs (research, training, career development, etc.). These general instructions are a great option for those of you who submit applications for various types of grant programs.
  • For those of you who may only be applying to single type of grant program, NIH has a more personalized option for you. They’ve created filtered PDF versions of the form instructions that show only the instructions you need for the type of grant program to which you are applying, instructions specific to research, career development, training, fellowships, multi-project, or small business (SBIR/STTR) applications.

You will find a lot of changes across the site, all designed to simplify how you get to the information you need. You may want to try the new search interface for the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, and use the “save this search” feature to get notified of future postings that match your search. Check out the new forms library. Poke around. See what’s new!

Original post NIH dated 4/4/2016 Open Mike

New! OSP Subaward Payment Authorization Form

Beginning May 1st, 2016 OSP will be attaching a Subaward Payment Authorization cover page to all subaward invoices.  This cover page will replace the manual “stamp” currently used to provide account information, Principal Investigator signature and OSP approval.  The purpose of the new invoice cover page is to provide a mechanism of internal controls required by the new Federal Uniform Guidance for tracking the appropriateness of charges to subaward cost centers.  Upon review of the invoice, Principal Investigators will complete the cover page to approve payment.  Subaward invoices will still be routed through Research Administrators for each center.  Additional questions, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs x7446

How Do I Know If I Have the NIH Right Forms, & What Do I Do If I Don’t?

Most of you are aware that NIH is updating their application forms (NOT-OD-16-081).  You must use FORMS-D forms and instructions for due dates on or after May 25, 2016 and you must use FORMS-C for due dates on or before May 24, 2016.

If you’re not sure how to tell the difference between FORMS-C and D, check out the NIH resource, Do I Have the Right Electronic Forms for My Application?

It is imperative that you choose the correct application forms for your due date and submit on time.  Incorrect form selection is not a sufficient reason to submit a late application.  If you’ve selected the incorrect forms and instructions for your due date, you’ll need to switch to the correct forms before submission.  ASSIST users can take advantage of the “copy application” feature to easily move data from one form version to another.

Original post on March 31, 2016 by

What is NSF’s Public Access Policy?

NSF requires that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions (also known as “juried conference papers”) be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF; be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication; possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication; be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements. For more information, see section 3.1 of  “Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries: Increasing Access to the Results of Research Funded by the National Science Foundation” at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15052/nsf15052.pdf.

For more information also see: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/public_access/

High Level Forms D Information Update from NIH

NIH Application Forms Update: FORMS-D
The NIH periodically updates grant application forms in order to remain current with the most recent form sets available through Grants.gov and approved by the Office of Management and Budget.
NIH and other agencies serviced by NIH’s electronic Research Administration (eRA) use the ‘Competition ID’ field of Grants.gov application packages for quick and easy identification of the forms being used for a particular Funding Opportunity Announcement or individual application package.

NIH will introduce application packages with a Competition ID of ‘FORMS-D’ for due dates on or after May 25, 2016.
Changes to PHS forms included in ‘FORMS-D’ application packages are as follows:

PHS 398 Career Development Award Supplemental Form
• New “Candidate Information and Goals for Career Development” attachment (combines “Candidate’s Background”, “Career Goals and Objectives”, and “Candidate’s Plan for Career Development/Training Activities during Award Period” attachments into a single attachment)
• New “Data Safety Monitoring Plan” attachment
• New “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment
• Updated Citizenship selections
• Reorganization of attachments
• Field order and label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions
PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement
• New Vertebrate Animals section added. New questions:                                                                                                     Are animals euthanized? Yes/No                                                                                                                                                                                          If Yes, is method consistent with AVMA guidelines? Yes/No                                                                                                                                                                                          If No to AVMA guidelines, describe method/provide scientific justification
• Ability to add Program Income information for 10 budget periods (previously 5)
• Field order and label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

PHS 398 Modular Budget
• Indirect (F&A) Costs section changed to dynamically add indirect costs rather than providing static fields for four entries
• Minor label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

PHS 398 Research Plan
• New “Data Safety Monitoring Plan” attachment
• New “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment
• Minor format and label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

PHS 398 Research Training program Plan
• Removed “Background’ and “Recruitment Plan to Enhance Diversity” attachments (information previously included in these attachments moved to existing “Program Plan” attachment)
• New “Plan for the Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility” attachment
• New Data safety Monitoring Plan attachment
• Format and label changes including categorizing attachments into sections
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

PHS 398 Training Budget
• Minor label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions
PHS 398 Training Subaward Budget Attachment(s) Form
• Streamlined instruction text
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions
PHS Assignment Request Form
• New, optional form
• Used to provide structured information to NIH referral staff regarding: funding component assignment preference, study section preference, individuals who should not review your application due to conflicts, and scientific areas of expertise needed to review your application
• Complements existing “Cover Letter Attachment” on SF424 (R&R) form
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions
PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form
• New “Applicant’s Background and Goals for Fellowship Training” attachment (Combines “Doctoral Dissertation and Other Research Experience”, “Goals for Training and Career”, and “Activities Planned Under Award” attachments into a single attachment)
• New “Letters of Support from Collaborators, Contributors, and Consultants” attachment
• New “Description of Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training” attachment
• New “Data Safety Monitoring Plan” attachment
• New “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment
• New Vertebrate Animals questions added: New questions
Are animals euthanized? Yes/No
If Yes, is method consistent with AVMA guidelines? Yes/No
If No to AVMA guidelines, describe method/provide scientific justification
• Updated list of values for the “Field of Training for Current Proposal” field; changed from 4-digit codes to 3-digit codes
• Updated Citizenship selections
• Reorganization of attachments
• Format and label changes
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report
• Combines Planned Enrollment Report and Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report forms into a single form
Questions used to identify type of report:
-Delayed onset study? Yes/No
-Enrollment Type? Planned/Cumulative (Actual)                                                                                                           -Using an Existing Dataset or Resource? Yes/No                                                                                                                 -Enrollment Location? Domestic/Foreign
-Clinical Trial? Yes/No                                                                                                                                           -NIH-Defined Phase II Clinical Trial? Yes/No
• Added/updated burden statement and form expiration date
• Updated form instructions

NEW! MBL Rate Agreement Information

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is pleased to announce the successful negotiation of a new rate agreement with our federal cognizant agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The agreement, dated December 23, 2015, specifies the F&A rates to be applied to sponsored awards from federal and non-federal sponsors. Click here for more detailed information:  Rate Agreement MBL Community Letter

Notice on Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts

Notice on Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts

Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-045

Key Dates
Release Date: December 24, 2015

Related Announcements
NOT-OD-16-044

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

This Notice provides information regarding the salary limitation for NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards (referred to here as grants). For FY 2016, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113), signed into law on December 18, 2015, restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Executive Level II salary is currently set at $183,300, increasing to $185,100 effective January 10, 2016.

Background

Every year beginning 1990, Congress has legislatively mandated a provision limiting the direct salary that an individual may receive under an NIH grant. For FY 2015, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235), signed into law on December 16, 2014, restricted the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Executive Level II salary was $183,300. This information was published December 30, 2014 in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (NOT-OD-15-049).

For the purposes of the salary limitation, the terms “direct salary,” “salary,” and “institutional base salary” have the same meaning and are exclusive of fringe benefits and facilities and administrative (F&A) expenses, also referred to as indirect costs. An individual’s institutional base salary is the annual compensation that the applicant organization pays for an individual’s appointment, whether that individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties to the applicant organization.

NIH grant/contract awards for applications/proposals that request direct salaries of individuals in excess of the applicable RATE per year will be adjusted in accordance with the legislative salary limitation and will include a notification such as the following: None of the funds in this award shall be used to pay the salary of an individual at a rate in excess of the applicable salary cap. Please see the salary cap summary and the time frames associated with salary caps at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

Implementation of salary limitation for NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards:
No adjustments will be made to modular grant applications/awards or to previously established commitment levels for non-competing grant awards issued with FY 2016 funds.

NIH competing grant awards with categorical budgets reflecting salary levels at or above the new cap(s) that are issued on or after the January 10, 2016 effective date, will reflect adjustments to the current and all future years so that no funds are awarded or committed for salaries over the limitation.

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 FY2016, 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 and contractors may charge at the higher level. However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards and the total estimated cost of the contract will not be modified.

An individual’s base salary, per se, is NOT constrained by the legislative provision for a limitation of salary. The rate limitation simply limits the amount that may be awarded and charged to NIH grants and contracts. An institution may pay an individual’s salary amount in excess of the salary cap with non-federal funds.

The salary limitation does NOT apply to payments made to consultants under an NIH grant although, as with all costs, those payments must meet the test of reasonableness and be consistent with institutional policy.

The salary limitation provision DOES apply to subawards/subcontracts for substantive work under an NIH grant or contract.

Competing grant applications and contract proposals that include a categorical breakdown in the budget figures/business proposal should continue to reflect the actual institutional base salary of all individuals for whom reimbursement is requested. In lieu of actual base salary; however, applicants/offerors may elect to provide an explanation indicating that actual institutional base salary exceeds the current salary limitation. When this information is provided, NIH staff will make necessary adjustments to requested salaries prior to award.

Questions & Answers

1. Q: If a grant award (competing or non-competing) has already been issued in FY 2016, will an adjustment be made?
A: No adjustments will be made. However, rebudgeting is allowable.

2. Q: Can I rebudget grant funds or charge contracts issued in prior years (see Salary Cap Summary, FY 1990 – FY 2016) funds to allow for the 2016 salary cap increase?
A: Yes, provided funds are available and the increase is warranted. Prorated figures should be used for the applicable months, i.e., the $185,100 level is effective beginning January 10, 2016.

3. Q: If an application/proposal fails to provide needed salary information, will an adjustment be made based on the new rates?
A: No adjustment will be made if an application fails to provide adequate information regarding the individual’s actual salary level.

4. Q: Does the NIH appropriation language link the salary cap to a Federal Executive Level or to a dollar level?
A: The link is to the Federal Executive Level pay scale (i.e., Executive Level I for FYs 2001-2011, Executive Level II for FYs 2012-2016).

5. Q: As the cap is linked to Federal Executive Levels, can grantees/contractors with ongoing awards rebudget/charge up to the various salary caps, based on the fiscal year of the award and the time the salary expense is incurred?
A: Yes, salary may be charged in accordance with the FY cap(s), as long as the levels are consistent with the individual’s institutional base pay. Please refer to the salary cap summary with times frames for existing salary caps, at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm.

6. Q: Will grantees be permitted to submit revised categorical budgets reflecting higher base salaries?
A: Not as a general rule. NIH policy for categorical budgets states that grantees should always reflect actual base salaries in the requested budgets or provide an explanation indicating that actual institutional base salary exceeds the current salary limitation. As a general rule, NIH will use the information available in the existing application and make adjustments for the salary cap based on information available at the time of award.

The following are examples of the adjustments that NIH will make when salaries exceed the current salary limitation:

Example 1. Individual with Full-Time Appointment (based on grant award/contract issued on or after January 10, 2016 with salary limitation of $185,100)

Individual’s institutional base salary for a FULL-TIME calendar year appointment $ 200,000
Research effort requested in application/proposal – 6 months (50%)
Direct Salary requested $  100,000
Fringe benefits requested (25% of salary) $   25,000
Subtotal $ 125,000
Applicant organization’s F&A (indirect) costs at a rate of 45% of subtotal $   56,250
Amount requested – salary plus fringe benefits plus associated F&A (indirect) costs $ 181,250
If a grant/contract is to be funded, the amount included for the above individual will be calculated as follows:
Direct salary – restricted to a RATE of $ 185,100
Divided by 12 months multiplied by 6 months (50%) $   92,550
Fringe benefits (25% of allowable salary) $   23,137
Subtotal $  115,687
Associated F&A (indirect) costs at 45% of subtotal $   52,059
Total amount to be awarded due to salary limitation $  167,746
Amount of reduction due to salary limitation
($181,250 requested minus $167,746 awarded) $ 13,504

Example 2. Individual with Half-Time Appointment (based on a grant award/contract issued on or after January 10, 2016 with salary limitation of $185,100)

Individual’s institutional base salary for a HALF-TIME calendar year appointment $  100,000
Research effort requested in application/proposal – 1.8 months (30% of 6 months)
Direct Salary requested $   30,000
Fringe benefits requested (25% of salary) $    7,500
Subtotal $   37,500
Applicant organization’s F&A (indirect) costs at a rate of 45% of subtotal $   16,875
Amount requested – salary plus fringe benefits  
plus associated F&A (indirect) costs $   54,375
If a grant/contract is to be funded, the amount included in the award for the above individual will be calculated as follows:
Direct salary – restricted to a RATE of $   92,550
Divided by 6 months multiplied by 1.8 months (30%) $   27,765
Fringe benefits (25% of allowable salary) $     6,941
Subtotal $   34,706
Associated F&A (indirect) cost at 45% of subtotal $   15,618
Total amount to be awarded due to salary limitation $   50,326
Amount of reduction due to salary limitation  
($54,375 requested minus $50,326 awarded) $    4,049

Example 3. Individual with a Nine-Month Appointment (based on a grant award/contract issued on or after January 10, 2016 with salary limitation of $185,100)

Individual’s institutional base salary for a nine-month calendar year appointment $   150,000
Research effort requested in application/proposal – 2.7 months (30% of 9 months)
Direct Salary requested $   45,000
Fringe benefits requested (25% of salary) $   11,250
Subtotal $   56,250
Applicant organization’s F&A (indirect) costs at a rate of 45% of subtotal $   25,313
Amount requested – salary plus fringe benefits  
Plus associated F&A (indirect) costs $   81,563
If a grant/contract is to be funded, the amount included in the award for the above individual will be calculated as follows:
Direct salary – restricted to a RATE of $  138,825
Divided by 9 months multiplied by 2.7months (30%) $   41,648
Fringe benefits (25% of allowable salary) $   10,412
Subtotal $   52,060
Associated F&A (indirect) cost at 45% of subtotal $   23,427
Total amount to be awarded due to salary limitation $   75,487
Amount of reduction due to salary limitation  
($81,563 requested minus $75,487 awarded) $   6,076

Inquiries

Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA)
Office of Extramural Research
National Institutes of Health
Telephone: 301-435-0949
Email: GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov