NIH: Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products

NIH Notice Number: NOT-OD-17-050
Effective date for NIH application: Applications submitted for the May 25, 2017 due date and thereafter
Effective date NIH Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR): RPPRs submitted on or after May 25, 2017
Related Announcements
NOT-OD-17-006– Request for Information (RFI): Including Preprints and Interim Research Products in NIH Applications and Reports
Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

The NIH encourages investigators to use interim research products, such as preprints, to speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work. This notice clarifies reporting instructions to allow investigators to cite their interim research products and claim them as products of NIH funding.

Definitions

Interim Research Products are complete, public research products that are not final.

A common form is the preprint, which is a complete and public draft of a scientific document. Preprints are typically unreviewed manuscripts written in the style of a peer-reviewed journal article. Scientists issue preprints to speed dissemination, establish priority, obtain feedback, and offset publication bias.

Another common type of interim product is a preregistered protocol, where a scientist publicly declares key elements of their research protocol in advance. Preregistration can help scientists enhance the rigor of their work.

Notes:

  • Awardees are not required to create interim research products through their NIH award.
  • Applicants are not required to cite interim research products as part of their grant applications.
  • Since preprints are not published in peer-reviewed journals, they do not fall under the NIH public access policy.
  • This guide notice does not apply to clinical trial registration.  See ClinicalTrials.gov about registration of clinical trial protocols.

Citing interim research products in applications, proposals and reports

Interim research products can be cited anywhere other research products are cited.  These sections include the following:

To cite the product, applicants and awardees must include the Digital Object Identifier and the Object type (e.g. preprint, protocol) in the citation. Also list any information about the document version (e.g. most recent date modified), and if relevant, the date the product was cited.

Example: Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12].  Available from: https://doi.org/10.1101/069187.

These requirements help reviewers understand that the product is public, interim, and identify the specific version is being referenced.

Note: Applicants are responsible for providing the information necessary to review a section of an application within the page limits of that section.

Claiming interim research products as products of NIH awards

NIH intends to maximize impact of interim research products that are developed with NIH funds.  Therefore, NIH expects awardees to ensure a high level of public access to NIH supported interim products.  To facilitate text mining and other analysis of these products as data, the NIH expects standardized terms of use. NIH also expects awardees will adhere to other norms of responsible scientific communication.

Specifically, to claim an interim research product as a product of an NIH award, the NIH expects that the awardee will:

  • Make the product publicly available. To maximize the impact of an interim research product, the NIH strongly encourages awardees to select a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license or dedicate their work to the public domain.
  • In the text of the document:
    • Acknowledge NIH funding in accordance with NIH Grants Policy Statement Chapter 8.2.1
    • Clearly state that the work is not peer-reviewed
    • Declare any competing interests, as an author would do for any journal article

For applications submitted for the May 25, 2017 due date and thereafter, awardees can claim these products on their progress report publication list.  They can also report them on their RPPR as of May 25, 2017, and link them to their award in their My Bibliography account.

Guidance for selecting interim research product repositories

Interim research products rely on repositories to make them public.  The repository market is growing rapidly, and in many scientific disciplines, norms for interim research products are still evolving.

The NIH would like to ensure that practices for interim products facilitate the impact, measurement and the integrity of the scientific record. Specifically, the NIH strongly encourages interim research products arising from NIH funds to be deposited in repositories that ensure:

  • Content is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
  • Interim product metadata, including usage statistics, are open, and easy to access by machines and people (e.g. via application program interfaces).
  • Content is easy to use by machines and people. This access is both a function of permission (e.g. use of Creative Commons licenses) and technology (e.g. application program interfaces).
  • Policies about plagiarism, competing interests, misconduct and other hallmarks of reputable scholarly publishing are rigorous and transparent.
  • Records of changes to the product are maintained, and users have clear ways to cite different versions of the product.
  • Links to the published version, if available.
  • A robust archiving strategy that ensures long-term preservation and access.

Background and public comments

In the Request for Information (RFI) NOT-OD-17-006, the NIH sought input on the use of interim research products in NIH applications and reports, and the standards for reporting them. The NIH wanted to know if interim research products can increase the rigor and impact of NIH funded research. It also wanted to learn how interim research products arising from NIH funds can be created and used with integrity.

RFI respondents
The NIH received 351 responses, the majority (79%) submitted by scientists/authors. Twenty-two professional societies representing groups of scientists also submitted responses. Note, requests for information are not surveys.  Some responses are from organizations representing thousands of people; other responses are from individuals. The NIH is grateful to receive rich responses and thoughtful advice through this information request, and used these findings to shape this policy.

Defining interim products
Some respondents were confused about what interim research products are and where they were used in the NIH grant process. The RFI could have more clearly stated that the NIH has never restricted the materials that can be cited in the reference section of a research plan.  Further, several respondents referred to data and software as if NIH had not allowed them to be cited or claimed as a product of NIH funds, which is not correct. This guide notice, and related updates to application and RPPR instructions, intend to clarify these points.

Scientific impacts
Almost all respondents supported increasing the use of interim research products in NIH award processes. Many described specific scientific benefits. These include speeding dissemination by eliminating the months-long interval between submitting a manuscript to a publisher to the first public release of the manuscript.  Several respondents reported that they would submit a manuscript to a journal and a preprint repository at the same time. Respondents also noted that public comments on their interim product can improve the rigor of their work, and are an opportunity to form new scientific collaborations.  Finally, since interim research products are issued at the discretion of the author, they avoid publication bias.

Many respondents noted that interim research products can be especially helpful for new investigators. New investigators’ best work is sometimes so recent it has not had the time to be published.  Preprints can help investigators share the complete drafts of their work sooner. Further, other interim research products, such as protocols, help new investigators to document their progress and engage other scientists in discussion about their work.  Hosting repositories can amplify these benefits if they track utilization, comments, and other impact measures.

A few respondents claimed that interim products could help rivals finalize their research faster, thereby scooping the authors of interim products. However, several other respondents noted that since interim products are public, they establish priority for any inventions. Further, since authors have full control over the timing of an interim product release, they can always choose to not issue an interim product until a patent application is filed.

Information quality
Almost all respondents, even those that were strongly supportive of interim research products, felt that interim research products offered lower quality information than work that was formally peer-reviewed.

A few respondents noted special risks for the general public, clinicians, patients, and the media in accessing research products that have not been peer-reviewed.  These risks are especially great for clinical research, and there are examples when even peer-reviewed findings have been hyped and misinterpreted by the media. The NIH expects the research community to be judicious in its use of interim research products, and for some disciplines (and their leading journals) to explore the use of interim products more slowly than other disciplines.

Interim research products and NIH processes
Several responses, including some from prominent scientific societies, noted that NIH processes can already be burdensome and involve many peer-reviewed products.  They felt that including more non-peer-reviewed information into these processes will generate more burden than benefit.

Even more respondents argued that, on balance, interim products will be helpful.  Interim products are similar in quality to the preliminary data section of a research plan that reviewers are already comfortable with. These respondents suggested that reviewers should be skeptical of all claims and citations, whether peer-reviewed or not.

The NIH agrees that interim research products offer lower quality information than peer-reviewed products. This policy is not intended to replace peer-review, nor peer-reviewed journals. Instead, the NIH sees interim research products complementing final research products.

The RFI collected the fewest responses to questions about how interim research products should be cited.  Many respondents wanted to make sure that reviewers were aware that the interim product citation is not peer-reviewed, and suggested adding the label ‘not peer- reviewed’ to the citation.  This suggestion is difficult to enact because so many other standard citation formats that are not peer-reviewed do not say so in their citations (e.g. most book chapters and journal commentaries do not mention peer-review in the citation or text).

Instead, the NIH is instructing applicants and awardees that choose to cite interim research products to list the interim research product type (e.g. preprint) in the citation.  Further, the NIH is instructing awardees to explicitly state in preprints text that the work is not peer-reviewed.  These two practices should help reviewers easily identify interim products.  The NIH will offer explicit guidance to reviewers reminding them that interim research products are not peer-reviewed. Further, since interim products are new to so many biomedical disciplines, the NIH hopes that these conventions will become the norm for all interim products, and will help the media and the public understand that interim products have undergone less review than peer-reviewed articles.

Finally, to ensure the integrity and impact of interim products, the NIH is borrowing from practices established for final products. This is why NIH is asking authors and repositories to ensure the integrity of these products by declaring competing interests, track versioning, etc. To ensure impact, the NIH is asking authors and repositories to ensure interim products are findable through DOIs, open metadata, etc. To ensure these products are usable as individual documents and in aggregate through computation analyses, the NIH is encouraging authors to adopt a number of license and technical processes (e.g. Creative Common Attribution licenses (CC-BY), application programming interfaces, archival plans, etc.), and to use repositories that support these practices.

Overall, the RFI responses described interim research products as a relatively small change that can provide benefits to NIH processes, and science as a whole. The NIH will be monitoring the use of interim products, their infrastructure, and their impacts.  It may revise these standards as practice evolves.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA)
Email: grantspolicy@od.nih.gov

Original post by NIH 3/24/2017


It’s Going Away: The Legacy PDF Application Package Will Be Retired

If you don’t know what that means and missed the previous blog posts here and here, or the Grants.gov Notices page, here’s a quick summary:

In the past, applicants have downloaded and filled out a single, big, stitched PDF application package that contained all the forms (i.e., the “legacy PDF application package”). To work as a team, you had to email the file back-and-forth while making sure all are using the same exact version of Adobe software.

How Do I Apply for a Grant, Then?!

To improve your application experience with Grants.gov, they launched Workspace in October 2015. Since its launch, they have added functionality and developed training resources that have helped many applicants transition to Workspace.

By December 31, 2017, the 2+ year lead time for transitioning will end and the legacy PDF application package will be retired.

Okay, I Get It. How Do I Apply using Workspace?

Grants.gov can help with that. First, read through this overview of how to apply for grants using Workspace, which has pages that explain the full process and roles. There are links to more specific instructions on those pages as well.

Prefer video? Watch the Learning Workspace Video Series below:

If you are still looking for more, read through the Workspace Roles 3-part series on how the core roles work together as a team: #1 Manage Workspace Role, #2 Workspace Participants, and #3 Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) Role.

There’s also online help covering how-to instructions and finer details of the system. Of course, as you use workspace there are blue question mark icons that link directly to help articles for that page.

Original Post on March 29,2017

Federal-Wide Research Terms and Conditions

Research Terms and Conditions – April 2017

Federal Register Notice – Final Notice of Standard Terms and Conditions for Research Grants

Comments received in response to the request for public comment on the updated Research Terms and Conditions to address and implement the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Federal Register [80 FR 61849, October 14 2015]

Federal Register Notice – Research Terms and Conditions to address and implement the Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR § 200 – October 14, 2015

Research Terms and Conditions Agency Implementation Statements – April 3, 2017

Research Terms and Conditions

Research Terms and Conditions Appendix A Prior Approval Matrix – March 14, 2017

Research Terms and Conditions Appendix B Subaward Requirements – March 14, 2017

Research Terms and Conditions Appendix C National Policy Requirements – March 14, 2017

Agency Specific Requirements

Research Terms and Conditions 2008-2011 (including supporting documents)

Draft Research Terms and Conditions Overlay to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance), 2 CFR § 200

Federal Register Notice – Final Notice of Standard Terms and Conditions for Research Grants

Research Terms and Conditions Agency Implementation Statements – Updated August 19, 2008

Research Terms and Conditions

Research Terms and Conditions Appendix B Subaward Requirements – June 2011

Research Terms and Conditions Appendix C National Policy Requirements – November 2014

Prior Approval Matrix

Agency Specific Requirements

RELEVANT LINKS

Research Business Models Subcommittee

Research.gov

National Science and Technology Council

 

 

Reminder of New NIH Policies Now – Or Soon To Be – In Effect

A number of NIH policies became effective in January.  Here’s a brief recap:
Effective January 1, 2017:

Final Research Performance Progress Reports: As of January 1, NIH no longer accepts the Final Progress Report (FPR) form for most grants. Instead, grantees must provide final progress reports using the Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final RPPR) format, which is submitted electronically through a new eRA Commons module. Read more in the NIH Guide (NOT-OD-17-022) and Nexus, and read about the “Interim RPPR” further below.

Good Clinical Practice Training:  NIH expects NIH-funded investigators and clinical trial site staff who are responsible for the conduct, management and oversight of NIH-funded clinical trials to have Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training. As long as steps are being taken to meet the policy expectation, e.g., staff who have not yet been trained have signed up for a course, the training itself can be completed after the Jan 1, 2017 effective date. See last month’s Nexus for help identifying training opportunities.

Effective January 18, 2017:

Clinical Trial Reporting Requirements: NIH expects investigators conducting clinical trials (funded in whole or in part by the NIH) to ensure that these trials are registered at ClinicalTrials.gov within 21 days of first-patient enrollment and that the results information from these trials is submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov within one year of trial completion. NIH’s policy complements a new federal regulation to improve the accessibility of information on clinical trial availability and on the outcomes and results of completed trials. Read more on the Open Mike blog and in updated FAQs.

Effective January 25, 2017:

Application Appendix Materials: NIH eliminated most types of appendix materials for grant applications intended for due dates on or after January 25.  Applications will be withdrawn if they are submitted with appendix materials that are not specifically listed in NOT-OD-17-035, or specified in the specific funding opportunity announcement to which you are applying.

Post-submission Materials: NIH clarified the types of materials that can be submitted due to unforeseen events after submission of the grant application but prior to the initial peer review. The consolidated post-submission materials policy also makes changes related to how publications that have been accepted for publication should be communicated as a post-submission material (form and content), post-submission materials for training and fellowship applications, and the timing of post-submission materials submitted to the final due date of a Request for Application (RFA). For details, read more in the NIH Guide (NOT-OD-16-130).

Updated Application Font Guidelines: NIH updated its recommended font list and no longer requires that black text be used within grant application attachments. Read more in the NIH Guide (NOT-OD-17-030NIH Guide.

Effective February 9, 2017:

Interim RPPRs: If you submitted a renewal (Type 2) application that is under consideration, NIH Guide notice NOT-OD-17-037 explains that you must still submit a progress report via eRA Commons no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date of your existing award. If the competing renewal is funded, NIH will treat this “Interim RPPR” as the annual performance report for the final year of the previous competitive segment.  If the competing renewal is not funded, NIH will treat the Interim RPPR as the institution’s Final RPPR.

Original post on February 1, 2017 by

NIH & AHRQ Update Font Guidelines for Applications to Due Dates On or After January 25, 2017

Notice Number: NOT-OD-17-030

Key Dates
Release Date: January 4, 2017

Related Announcements
None

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Purpose

This Notice replaces all previous font guidance. It updates our recommended font list and no longer requires that black text be used within grant application attachments.

For applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2017, text in PDF attachments must follow these minimum requirements:

  • Text Color: No restriction. Though not required, black or other high-contrast text colors are recommended since they print well and are legible to the largest audience.
  • Font size:  Must be 11 points or larger. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%.
  • Type density:  Must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces).
  • Line spacing: Must be no more than six lines per vertical inch.

Since some PDF converters may reduce font size, it is important to confirm that the final PDF document complies with the font requirements.

The following fonts are recommended, although other fonts (both serif and non-serif) are acceptable if they meet the above requirements.

  • Arial
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Palatino Linotype

Legibility is of paramount importance. Applications that include PDF attachments that do not conform to the minimum requirements listed above may be withdrawn from consideration.

Related Resources

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Grants Information
Email: grantsinfo@od.nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573

New! MBL Effort Reporting: Semi-Annual Payroll Verification

MBL effort reporting procedures have changed…

The semi-annual payroll verification statement is MBL’s mechanism used to meet federal regulatory compliance for certifying effort expended on sponsored awards.  The new semi-annual payroll verification process will require that MBL PI’s certify effort for ALL project personnel every six months.

The statements will be sent out electronically to PI’s beginning mid-January using AdobeSign.  PI’s will have 30 days to certify/sign/return the document to OSP.

Detailed procedures for this new process are available on the OSP website or by clicking here.

 

Reminder! NSF 17-1 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Goes Into Effect 1/30/2017

Please see the information below from NSF regarding the new PAPPG with Frequently Asked Questions and the NSF Prospective New Awardee Guide

 

Original post on NSF Policy Office (Jean Feldman)

The NSF Policy Office in the Division of Institution and Award Support is responsible for developing, implementing and issuing proposal and award policy for the programs of the National Science Foundation and is available to assist you with questions involving policy related issues. Questions related to specific awards should be directed to the Division of Grants and Agreements.

General Application Guide for NIH AND Other PHS Agencies

G.100 – How to Use the Application Instructions

 

For more detailed information visit:

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/forms-d/general/g.100-how-to-use-the-application-instructions.htm

Revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), effective January 30, 2017

Please note the revised NSF Grant Proposal Guidelines ( NSF 17-1) that will go into effect for proposals submitted or due on or after January 30, 2017.

Significant changes to the NSF PAPPG are as follows:

NSF 17-1 January 30, 2017
Significant Changes and Clarifications to the PAPPG

Overall Document

  • The PAPPG has been modified in its entirety, to remove all references to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG). The document will now be referred to solely as the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The document will be sequentially numbered from Chapter I-XII and all references throughout have been modified to reflect this change. Part I of the document covers NSF’s proposal preparation and submission guidelines, and Part II covers NSF’s award, administration and monitoring guidelines.
  • Editorial changes have been made to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section or ensure consistency with data contained in NSF systems or other NSF policy documents. Throughout the PAPPG, website references and Division or Office names have been updated to reflect current information.

Significant Changes to the PAPPG Part I

  • Chapter I.D.1, Letters of Intent (LOI), includes additional language regarding the submission of a LOI for collaborative proposals. Proposers that plan to submit a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations should submit a single LOI for the entire project, given that NSF considers a collaborative proposal to be a unified research project.
  • Chapter II.B, Format of the Proposal, has been updated to include two new types of proposals, RAISE and GOALI. These two types of proposals are described in greater detail in Chapter II.E. An additional resource has also been added to this section with information on NSF auto-compliance checks that are conducted during the proposal preparation and submission process.
  • Chapter II.C.1.e, Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information, includes additional instructions for proposers. Each section of the Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information should be listed alphabetically by last name. The text has also been revised to remove the requirement that proposers list postgraduate scholar sponsors in this section of the proposal. Postgraduate scholar sponsor is not a disqualifying relationship for a reviewer, therefore, it was determined that this information is not necessary.
  • Chapter II.C.2, Sections of the Proposal, has been revised to inform proposers that proposal preparation for RAPID, EAGER, RAISE, GOALI, Ideas Lab, FASED, Conference, Equipment, Travel, Center, Research Infrastructure and Fellowship projects may deviate from the content requirements of a full research proposal.
  • Chapter II.C.2.a, Cover Sheet, has been updated to provide instructions that more closely follow the proposal preparation screens in FastLane.
  • Chapter II.C.2.d(iii), Results from Prior NSF Support, includes revised language to clarify NSF’s purpose for collecting this information in the Project Description. The purpose of the Results from Prior NSF Support section is to assist reviewers in assessing the quality of prior work conducted with current or prior NSF support. Additional instructions have also been added regarding the type of information that should be included for projects that have been recently awarded, where no new results exist.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(vi), Other Direct Costs, has been updated to include information on incentive payments, for example, payments to human subjects or incentives to promote completion of a survey. These costs should be included on line G6 of the NSF Budget and should be proposed in accordance with organizational policies and procedures. Indirect costs should be calculated on incentive payments in accordance with the organization’s approved US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s).
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(x), Fees (Line K on the Proposal Budget), has been added to provide instructions for use of the Fee line on the NSF budget, which is available for use only by the SBIR/STTR programs.
  • Chapter II.C.2.j, Special Information and Supplementary Documentation, has been updated to include language that informs submitters of the type of information that may be requested by NSF in order to comply with Federal environmental statutes, including, but not limited to, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act. And the Endangered Species Act.
  • Chapter II.D, Special Processing Instructions, has been revised to address areas where special proposal processing may be required. Information on RAPID, EAGER, Ideas Lab, FASED, Equipment, Conference, and Travel Proposals has been moved to Chapter II.E.
  • Chapter II.D.5, Proposals Involving Human Subjects, has been updated to reflect the Foundation’s implementation of 45 CFR 690.118, applications and proposals lacking definite plans for involvement of human subjects. A hypertext link is provided to an NSF-approved format that may be used to submit such determinations by proposing institutions. Clarification has also been added regarding the IRB documentation that NSF must have in order to make an award when proposals involve human subjects.
  • Chapter II.E, Types of Proposals, has been added to describe, in one place, the various other types of proposals that can be submitted to NSF, including the two new types, RAISE and GOALI. This section includes proposal preparation instructions for each of the types of proposal that may supplement or deviate from the guidance provided elsewhere in Chapter II.
  • Chapter II.E.9, Travel Proposal, has been updated from “International Travel Proposals” to “Travel Proposal” to reflect that this type of proposal can be used for both domestic and international travel requests. Additional proposal preparation instructions have also been added to inform proposers of the required proposal elements, including the requirement that the Project Description contain Results from Prior NSF Support.

Clarifications and Other Changes to the PAPPG Part I

  • Introduction A, About the National Science Foundation, has been updated to clarify where proposers can find information on one of NSF’s flagship programs, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Guidance regarding the GRFP program may be found in the program solicitation, as well as in the GRFP Administration Guide.
  • Chapter I.E, Who May Submit Proposals, includes additional language clarifying that unaffiliated individuals rarely receive direct funding support from NSF, because recipients must be able to demonstrate their ability to fully comply with the recipient requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). As such, unaffiliated individuals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with an organization that is able to meet the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200.
  • Chapter I.F, When to Submit Proposals, has been revised to include additional instructions on how to submit proposals under the Special Exception to NSF’s Deadline Date Policy. This section includes proposal preparation instructions for organizations impacted by a natural or anthropogenic disaster. Impacted proposers must check the “Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy” box on the NSF Cover Sheet and upload the requisite Single Copy Document(s).
  • Chapter II.C.2, Sections of the Proposal, has been amended to include k. Single Copy Documents in the list of the required components of a full research proposal.
  • Chapter II.C.2.f(i), Biographical Sketch(es), Senior Personnel, has been revised to reflect that FastLane no longer accepts the Biographical Sketch inserted as text. The Biographical Sketch for each senior personnel must be uploaded as a single PDF file associated with that individual.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(i)(a), Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy, has been amended to include a reference to 2 CFR § 200.430(i) to assist proposers in locating the specific requirements relevant to the documentation of effort.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(iii), Equipment (Line D on the Proposal Budget), includes an additional reference to 2 CFR § 200.313 to assist proposers in locating the specific requirements of relevance in the Uniform Guidance.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(iv)(b) Domestic Travel, has been revised to inform proposers that travel, meal and hotel expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status are unallowable. Additional language has also been added stating that costs of employees on travel status are limited to those specifically authorized by 2 CFR § 200.474.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(viii), Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A) for Colleges and Universities) (Line I on the Proposal Budget), has been updated to clarify that the use of an indirect cost rate lower than the organization’s approved negotiated indirect cost rate is considered a violation of NSF’s cost sharing policy.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(xii), Voluntary Committed and Uncommitted Cost Sharing, has been amended to include an additional reference to 2 CFR § 200.99, definition of voluntary committed cost sharing. Clarifying language has also been added to emphasize how voluntary committed and voluntary uncommitted cost sharing are treated differently by NSF. In accordance with the Uniform Guidance, in order to be considered voluntary committed cost sharing, the amount must appear on the NSF budget, and be specifically identified in the approved NSF budget. Voluntary uncommitted cost sharing, however, should not be included in the proposal budget or budget justification and these resources are not financially auditable by NSF.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(xiii)(a), Entertainment, includes an additional reference to 2 CFR § 200.438 to assist proposers in locating the specific requirements of relevance in the Uniform Guidance.
  • Chapter II.C.2.j, Special Information and Supplementary Documentation:
    • has been updated to clarify where the “Mentoring Plan” and “Data Management Plan” should be uploaded in the Supplementary Documentation section of FastLane.
    • includes additional language to emphasize the importance of submitting letters of support only when specifically required by a program solicitation.
    • has been amended to reflect changes in requirements for Antarctic proposals. Antarctic proposals to any NSF program require “Logistical Requirements and Field Plan” supplementary documentation to be submitted with the proposal.
  • Chapter II.D.3.b, Submission of a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations, has been updated to include the Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information in the list of required sections for a collaborative proposal. The Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information should be separately provided by the lead and non-lead organization(s) in a separately submitted collaborative proposal.
  • Chapter II.D.4, Proposals Involving Vertebrate Animals, has been revised to enhance clarity on the use of vertebrate animals for research or education on NSF supported projects. The revised language in this section states that any project proposing the use of vertebrate animals for research or education must comply with the provision in PHS Assurance for Institutional Commitment (Section II) that requires the submitting organization to establish and maintain a program for activities involving animals in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). Taxon-specific guidelines may be used as supplemental references. Departures from the Guide must be approved by the IACUC and based on scientific, veterinary, medical, or animal welfare issues (for more information, see OLAW-Departures from the Guide).
  • Chapter II.D.7, Projects Requiring High-Performance Computing Resources, Large Amounts of Data Storage, or Advanced Visualization Resources, includes additional language that clarifies how submitters can address the locally available high-performance computing resources in their proposal. The description of available computing resources has also been updated.
  • Chapter II.E.11, Research Infrastructure Proposal, has been updated to include a reference to the Large Facilities Manual, a public document managed by the Large Facilities Office, which contains NSF policy related to the planning and management of large facility projects.
  • Exhibit II-1, Proposal Preparation Checklist, has been clarified with an additional sentence letting proposers know that FastLane uses different rules for each type of proposal (e.g. Research, RAPID, EAGER, RAISE, GOALI, Ideas Lab, FASED, Conference, Equipment or Travel) to check for compliance prior to submission to NSF. Additional checklist components have also been added to assist proposers in the pre-submission administrative review of proposals to NSF.
  • Exhibit II-2, Potentially Disqualifying Conflicts of Interest, has been updated to clarify the types of relationships that would prevent a reviewer from reviewing a proposal unless a waiver has been granted by NSF. Specifically, language relating to serving as a consultant at an organization, and involvement as a former Ph.D. student/ advisor has been added in this exhibit.
  • Exhibit II-6, Nondiscrimination Certification, has been revised to ensure that references to subrecipients, contractors and subawards are consistent with definitions in 2 CFR § 200, Subpart A, Acronyms and Definitions.
  • Exhibit II-7, Definitions of Categories of Personnel, has been updated to clarify that a Faculty Associate can be a faculty member or equivalent at the performing institution.
  • Chapter III.F.2(c)(3), Process to Appeal NSF’s Decision to Decline a Proposal for Financial or Administrative Reasons, Procedures, includes additional language to clarify that proposers may submit documentation to support their statements – even documentation that may not have been presented as part of the original review process – as long as it is not “new” information that would not have been available at the time the decision to decline was made.
  • Chapter IV.D.2(b), Reconsideration, has been updated to include Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) in the list of proposals for which NSF’s reconsideration process does not apply.

Significant Changes to the PAPPG Part II

  • Chapter VI.D.3.c(ii), NSF-Approved Extension, has been updated to clarify that a request for an NSF-approved extension should be submitted at least 45 days prior to the end date of the grant and must be signed and submitted by the AOR via use of NSF’s electronic systems. Information has also been added to make grantees aware of the limited time period of availability of funds due to cancelation of appropriations.
  • Chapter VII.B.2.c, Addition of co-PI/co-PD, has been added to provide instructions to grantees desiring to add a new co-PI/co-PD. This section includes instructions on how an AOR can prepare and submit this request via use of NSF’s electronic systems. This section lists the required components of this type of grantee request.
  • Chapter VIII.C.2, Payment Policies, has been amended to remove the requirement that grantees must certify that all disbursements have been made, or will be made within three days of the receipt of the payment.
  • Chapter VIII.E.6, Award Financial Reporting Requirements and Final Disbursement, has been supplemented with a new subpart, E.6., to make grantees aware of how NSF awards with canceled appropriations will be treated and to include the regulatory citation related to expiration of appropriated funds. In accordance with 31 USC 1552(a), funds will no longer be available for expenditure for any purpose beyond September 30th of the fifth fiscal year after the expiration of a fixed appropriation’s period of availability for incurring new obligations.
  • Chapter X.C.5, Travel and Temporary Dependent Care Costs, includes additional information on allowable travel expenses to specify that costs of employees on travel status are limited to those specifically authorized by 2 CFR § 200.474.
  • Chapter XI.B.1, Human Subjects, has been updated to reflect the Foundation’s implementation of 45 CFR 690.118, applications and proposals lacking definite plans for involvement of human subjects. Clarification has also been added regarding the IRB documentation that NSF must have for projects that involve human subjects.

Clarifications and Other Changes to the PAPPG Part II

  • Chapter VII.B.2.e, Substitute (Change) PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD, includes additional instructions on how an AOR can prepare and submit the request via use of NSF’s electronic systems. This section now lists the required components of this type of grantee request.
  • Chapter VIII.E.5, Award Financial Reporting Requirements and Final Disbursement, has been updated to inform grantees of the time limits applicable to the upward or downward adjustments to the Federal share of costs for a financially closed award.
  • Chapter IX.A, Conflict of Interest Policies, has been amended to remove the term “contractors” from this section for greater consistency with 2 CFR § 200, Subpart A, Acronyms and Definitions.
  • Chapter X.A.2.b, Pre-Award (Pre-Start Date) Costs, includes an additional footnote reminding grantees that in the case of a renewal award, costs incurred under the old grant cannot be transferred to the new grant.
  • Chapter X.B.2, Administrative and Clerical Salaries & Wages, has been updated to reference 2 CFR § 200.413, Direct Costs. Language has also been added to clarify that an AOR should initiate the request for NSF approval to direct charge salaries of administrative or clerical staff after an award has been made.
  • Chapter X.B.3, Intra-University (IHE) Consulting, has been revised to include an additional reference to 2 CFR § 200.430(h)(3) to assist proposers in locating the relevant requirements in the Uniform Guidance.
  • Chapter XI.B.3, Vertebrate Animals, has been supplemented with language regarding NSF’s implementation of the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System.

 

Available Formats: HTML | PDF
Document Type: Policies and Procedures
Document Number: nsf17001

Public Comment: Effective January 30, 2017

Document History: Posted: October 25, 2016. Replaces: nsf16001.

 

Original post by NSF 10/25/16

Effort Reporting Changes

Effort Reporting Changes

Effective July 1, 2016, and in accordance with federal regulations pertaining to effort certification on federal awards (Uniform Guidance Subpart E §200.430), MBL effort reporting procedures have changed. Sponsored project personnel are no longer required to certify effort on a monthly basis. The new biannual payroll verification process will require that Principal Investigators certify effort for all project personnel every six months. Please note that the process for PI-review of project expenditures and correcting project salary cost allocations (and any applicable cost corrections) will continue on a monthly basis in consult with the appropriate Research Administrator.

Principal investigators will have 30 days to complete the first iteration of the biannual payroll verification in January, 2017 for the 6-month time period beginning July 1 through December 31, 2016. Detailed procedures for this new process will be announced shortly and will be available on the OSP website.