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.

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

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

 

NIH Grants Policy Statement

NIH issues a revised Grants Policy Statement each fall. The latest version, issued in October, introduces no new policies. Rather, it incorporates updates made throughout the year. This revision applies to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2017.

Changes in NIH policy made throughout the year are issued as policy notices in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. We aggregate these notices on our Notices of Changes to Grants Policy web page for your convenience. Remember that applicants and grantees are responsible for tracking policy changes as they happen.

You can track publication of policy notices in a number of ways:

  1. Sign up to receive the weekly Table of Contents for the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts via email or RSS feed.
  2. Get immediate updates on new funding opportunities and notices by following @NIHFunding on Twitter.
  3.  Or set and save a query to receive just the policy notices by email as they are issued (you can cancel any time):
    • Go to the NIH Guide for Contracts
    • Deselect  funding opportunities
    • Select “NIH” under organization
    • Add today’s date for release date
    • Select “save this search” under the top current search box
    • Provide your email

Original post on November 8, 2017 by NIH Staff

NSF Announces the Switch to No-Deadline for DEB Core Programs

From NSF, Division of Environmental Biology (DEB);

As per the newly issued Dear Colleague Letter, the core programs in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) are discontinuing the use of the preliminary proposal mechanism.  We are enacting a “no-deadline”, full proposal mechanism for proposals submitted to the core programs, including the DEB LTREB program. There will be no call for preliminary proposals in January 2018. Instead, new solicitations describing funding opportunities will be released in 2018, for awards starting in fiscal year 2019.

Why did DEB make the decision to switch to a “no-deadline” model and what does that mean for submitting proposals?

After a three year pilot of the preliminary proposal system, DEB contracted an outside agency, Abt, to conduct an evaluation of the pilot program. You can read about the results of that report, and get a link to the full report on a previous blog post here.  In sum, the assessment found the switch to preliminary proposals produced mixed results.

With respect to the external scientific community, the preliminary proposal system achieved our objective of reducing demands on the reviewers, PIs, and institutions. Yet, the system also produced a frustrated PI community who found the “one date deadline” model too restrictive.

DEB staff largely viewed the preliminary proposal system positively, yet noted significant drawbacks. On the positive side, the system was efficient at filtering out proposals at the preliminary proposal stage, thus improving the quality of full proposals. It also simplified program budget management as all of the full proposals were funded at the same time of year.  However, it exacerbated workload in the winter and spring, making those very stressful times of the year. Concerns were also expressed about the fact that preliminary proposals were not subject to (ad hoc) review, and further, that interdisciplinary preliminary proposals could not be co-reviewed across programs. This latter issue was a decisive factor for BIO senior managers. They felt that the preliminary proposal system worked against efforts to encourage more integrative and interdisciplinary research; i.e., proposals that crossed BIO divisions and spanned levels of biological organization.

DEB will release new solicitations, in spring/summer 2018, with guidelines for submitting full proposals at any time of the year, to any of the DEB core programs. The first awards from those proposals would be made in FY 2019 (FY19 begins on October 1, 2018). These upcoming solicitations will also announce and provide guidelines for writing proposals related to the BIO initiative: Understanding the Rules of Life with the goal of promoting research that crosses BIO divisional, disciplinary boundaries (i.e. DBI, EF, IOS, and MCB).

What are the additional benefits of the no-deadline model to the investigator?

If you’ve been hindered in the past by ill-timed teaching loads, health or personal issues, field work, or other career commitments, consider the burden lifted. You now have the power to determine when and how your project ideas are written and submitted. Investigators can write and submit proposals during times of the year best suited to their schedules. By removing the annual deadline, you and your collaborators have more time and flexibility to coordinate on proposals. The no-deadline model also makes space for planning your submission around major life events.

What’s next?

For the next 6 months, we will be completing review of the full proposals already received in response to the CAREER and August 2nd core program submission deadlines, and making award recommendations.  We then anticipate finalizing our new solicitations and planning for how to handle a review process designed around no-deadline submissions.  We hope investigators will take the extra time to carefully craft proposals and submit them only when they are ready. From our side, we anticipate creating more integrative and dynamic panels that better accommodate the interdisciplinary science we see bubbling up in all of our core programs. But truly, there’s a great deal we can’t predict; we’re taking a risk in moving back to full proposals. Managing funding programs when you don’t know how many or when proposals will be submitted, is a bit scary. We are willing to take this risk in the hopes that this new model will result in better proposals and more integrative science while at the same time providing greater flexibility to the community.

NSF encourages you to check out the FAQ sheet around the new announcement, subscribe to the blog, sign up for email alerts at nsf.gov, and stay tuned for more details to follow.

eRA Enhancement: Ability for Agency to Request Additional Materials for Interim RPPR via Commons Coming September 20, 2017

A new capability will be added to eRA Commons during a software release on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. There is no anticipated downtime during this release.

Awarding agencies will be able to request additional materials for an Interim RPPR from the principal investigator (PI) and signing official (SO) via eRA Commons. In turn, the SO will be able to submit the additional materials via eRA Commons, in a process that is similar to the Final Progress Report Additional Materials (FRAM) process.

The SO and PI will receive an email request from the program official at the awarding agency. They will also see the Interim Progress Report Addition Materials (IRAM) link requesting the information on the Status Results screen, in the Available Actions column.

As with the RPPR, a PD/PI (or Contact PI, in the case of multiple PIs) can enter the IRAM. However, only the SO can submit an IRAM to the agency.

For detailed information and screenshots, please see the Latest News section in the eRA Commons online help, following the release.

NIH: FORMS-E Application Packages for All Applications on or After January 25, 2018

Effective for all NIH receipt dates on or after January 25, 2018 applicants must use FORMS-E application packages – see NOT-OD-17-062 (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-062.html).  This change will apply to ALL NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) and ALL NIH application types (new, resubmission, renewal, revision).  Applications submitted using the wrong forms will automatically be withdrawn by the NIH Center for Scientific Review Division of Receipt and Referral and will not be reviewed.  Application guides for FORMS-E application packages will be posted on the How to Apply ? Application Guide page (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide.html) no later than October 25, 2017.

How to Add Outside Users to a Workspace on Grants.gov

Applicant teams sometimes bring on outside contributors and consultants to assist with their federal grant application. Until recently, these outside users needed to create a Grants.gov account for every applicant organization they assist – meaning that some users had to juggle dozens of separate accounts.

However, in June, Grants.gov eliminated this burden. Now, a single user account can be associated with workspaces across multiple organizations.

Watch this video to learn more about the arrival of this much-requested feature:

If you are a Workspace Owner, E-Business Point of Contact or an AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) with MPIN access, it’s actually very easy to add external participants to a workspace:

  • Go to the Participants tab and click on the Add By Username button.
  • In the pop-up window, type the external applicant’s username and click Search.
  • The window will expand to include the name, email address and form access level of the user to be added to the workspace. If you want to adjust the form access level, do so now.
  • Then click Save. The new user will now be listed alongside the other participants in the workspace.

Originally posted on Grants.gov on July 5, 2017

How Do I Download, Complete & Upload a Workspace Form?

The Grants.gov Support Center helps you resolve problems and complete your federal grant applications before the deadline. One of the most common questions the Support Center gets is how to use Workspace forms.

Below are general steps to answer that question. “General” because the steps below depend on whether you are filling out a webform or a PDF version of the form—you get to choose. Since this is the most common Workspace-related question to the Support Center, we know many of you have no problem creating a workspace since the forms are only accessible through that.

Filling Out a Webform

  • Access the Forms tab of a workspace
  • Click the Webforms link under the Actions column
  • Enter the required data in the webform
  • Save your progress & check for errors to see how you are doing

Those are the 4 main steps to filling out a webform in a workspace. For more detailed instructions, please read this help article or watch this video that both explain how to fill out webforms.

Downloading, Completing & Uploading a PDF Workspace Form

The steps for filling out a PDF form from workspace is more complicated, so we recommend you try out the webform version before trying the PDF (but it’s up to you to choose which, unless a webform version is not yet available).

  • Access the Forms tab of a workspace
  • Make sure you and all of your fellow workspace participants have a compatible version of Adobe PDF software
  • Click the Download link in the Actions column and lock the form to work on it exclusively
  • Open the form using only a compatible version of Adobe Reader/Acrobat
  • Enter the required data in the PDF form
  • Save the PDF using only the buttons within the form; do not use the Adobe Save feature as this can introduce errors into the form
  • Access the Forms tab of a workspace again
  • Click the Upload button and locate the saved PDF form

Those are the 8 main steps to downloading, completing & uploading a PDF form in a workspace, but there are other important details you need to know when using the PDF version of the form. Read the Managing Forms help article in the online user guide, which features specific help articles about downloading, locking, completing, and uploading PDF forms.

Comment on this postOriginal post Grants.gov 6/26/17

eRA Enhancements: Prior Approval to Include Carryover Option

The ability to electronically submit a carryover request to NIH will be available through the Prior Approval module in eRA Commons after a release scheduled on Thursday, June 8, 2017 after 5 p.m. Carryover allows leftover, unobligated grantee funds to be carried over from one budget year to another, and may require permission be obtained from the awarding IC.

The Prior Approval module currently supports the electronic submission of the following requests:

  • Withdrawal of an application
  • $500K or more in direct costs
  • Change of PD/PI
  • No Cost Extension requiring Prior Approval

It is important to note that these features are optional and currently apply only to NIH awards. You can learn more about these electronic submission options by reviewing the tutorials found at: https://era.nih.gov/era_training/era_videos.cfm#eracommons.

Features

 · Carryover Request

Only a Signing Official (SO) will be able to initiate the carryover request.

When is a grant eligible for a carryover request?

  • The grant does not have expanded authority.
  • The Project period has not ended or a no-cost extension (NCE) request has been submitted by the institution requesting additional time.
  • The grant is not in closeout.
  • The grant has not been closed.

What information will an SO need to provide for a carryover request?

The carryover request form requires:

  • Amount of funds to be carried over
  • Explanation of unobligated balance
  • Detailed Budget
  • Scientific Justification

The high level steps In Prior Approval are as follows:

  • A list of eligible grants will be displayed.
  • The SO will pick a grant and initiate the request
  • If there is an overdue Federal Financial Report for that grant, the system will issue a warning. The SO can choose to ignore the warning and continue. However, the FFR will have to be submitted before the carryover can be approved by the funding agency.

Note: If the SO wants to initiate a no cost extension request in tandem with the carryover request (and it is within 90 days of the project period end date), a button will allow the SO to do that without searching for the grant again.

Any clarifications and back and forth between the SO and the program official will occur outside of the system.

Please note that the subsequent review and approval process remains the same.

Following the release, please look for details and screenshots in the eRA Commons Online Help.

The video tutorial for the Prior Approval Carryover Request can be found at:

https://era.nih.gov/era_training/era_videos.cfm#carryover