NIH: Frequently Asked Questions

In part D of the NIH F-RPPR (participants), should we report time worked for the final budget period or time worked for the final budget period + the no cost extension period?

In the NIH Final RPPR you should report on the individuals that worked on the project during the last budget period minus any approved no-cost extensions. You can find this and more in the RPPR FAQs.

 

original post by NIH Staff 7/5/18

NSF Proposal and Award Policy Newsletters

NSF Proposal and Award Policy Newsletters:

This newsletter is produced by the Policy Office in the Division of Institution and Award Support at the National Science Foundation to provide information about upcoming changes and clarifications to policies and procedures that affect how you prepare and submit proposals and manage NSF awards.

This latest edition is particularly helpful!  You can view it here.

Previous editions are also available:

December 2017 NSF Newsletter 4

September 2017 NSF Newsletter 3

June 2017 NSF Newsletter 2

March 2017 NSF Newsletter 1

Principal Investigators, Delegate!

All you need is another Commons user with the right role. Learn how!

original post by NIH Staff 3/12/2018

NSF: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Public Access

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

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

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

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

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

 

originally posted by NIH on 12/28/17

2017 Year in Review: Grants.gov Federal Grant Highlights

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

rearview mirror and Grants.gov logo

#1 – Get Your (DATA) Act Together

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

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

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

#2 – Not Taken for Granted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Basic Approach to Submitting Your First Workspace Application

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps to Follow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

originally posted Posted on December 4, 2017

NIH to Publicly Post Project Outcomes

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

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

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

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

NIH eRA Items of Interest — October 2017

NIH eRA Items of Interest — October 2017

Multiplicity – Fun @ the Movies? Do you remember this one? Multiplicity is the Michael Keaton movie from 1996. He plays Doug Kiney, a father, husband, and construction worker who has little time for himself. Solution: Get himself cloned! Hilarity ensues (ok, not really) as things go from bad to worse.

While the concept of having multiple “you’s” may seem good, it can be very bad. And this is true in eRA Commons as well.  If you have ever attended one of our workshops or seminars, you probably have heard us say that scientists should have only one eRA Commons account that follows them throughout their research career. But sometimes a person gets a second or even a third eRA Commons account created for them.

There are a number of reasons it is important not to have duplicate accounts. NIH needs accurate information to track the careers of NIH funded researchers; it helps in the proper association of committee service for a reviewer to determine Continuous Submission status; and it keeps your grant record history together instead of being split across multiple accounts.

eRA has developed a solution! We sent targeted emails to a sampling of those PIs whom we believe from our records have duplicate accounts and will be sending more in the next two weeks. These PIs will be instructed to go to a new Account Verification screen in Commons. It is located under the Admin tab, which has sub tabs of Accounts, Delegations, and now Account Verification. If a PI has been identified as a person who has multiple accounts, the PI will see the accounts listed on this screen. The PI then will need to confirm that the accounts do belong to him or her, and then select the account that they prefer to be their permanent account. The Data Quality folks will then collapse or converge the data from the multiple accounts to the one the PI specified as preferred.

Those who have current committee or grant involvement are required to select that Commons account as preferred. Here are the instructions for accessing the account verification page and processes to identify preferred and duplicate accounts. Do not act on these until you get an email from eRA communications urging you to do so.

Since multiple Commons accounts create headaches for all involved, there is a lesson in all of this. Whether you are a Signing Official (SO), Account Administrator (AA), or a Principal Investigator (PI), know and understand the process for creating new accounts and affiliating existing accounts when a PI switches institutions. Scientist should never have a new account created for them if one already exists.

Having multiple “me’s” seems like it could be useful, until I realize my clones would all come out just like me. That is to say, just like #4.

Confusing the Data  If you know anything about computers, let’s face it, you are your parents “tech person.” The call usually goes something like this:

 Me: Hi Mom. Everything OK?

Mom: No, I can’t find my email thing.

Me: What thing, Mom?

Mom: You know, that thing I click on to read email. I was reading email, then Betty called, so we talked a bit. After that I decided to play Solitaire. Then I got to thinking about what Betty said about the sale at the mall, so I went online to look up the store hours. And now I can’t find my email thing.

Me: OK, look at the very bottom of the computer screen. Tell me what you see.

Mom: There is blue “E”, no wait, 4 blue “E’s”, then there are, wait, 1, 2, 3, … 6 rainbow looking circles, followed by a little orange cat, or is that a dog, then 5 more “E’s”….

You get the idea. My Mom has a bunch of browser windows open. And now she can’t find anything.  Well eRA Commons that holds and manages all the data about your applications and grants are kind of like my Mom. If you get too many browser windows or browser tabs open, things can get confused, and the result can be bad data.

From a non-technical perspective, when you are working within eRA Commons, your browser makes a secured, encrypted connection with eRA Commons. One connection, one stream of data back and forth, from you to the server. Think of it as a nice two lane highway. But if you open multiple windows, so maybe you can work on various parts of a form at the same time, you are adding additional lanes of traffic on that highway. And like any highway, more traffic creates a greater chance for a crash. Or in our case, creating bad data.

Some advice to save you from frustration later… work in only a single window or tab. We are in the process of updating eRA Commons so that you will be unable to open multiple windows at the same time. This will help to keep your data correct and will let you avoid issues later.

And an unhappy eRA Commons is like an unhappy Mom. If she isn’t happy, nobody is happy!

Questions? If you have a question about this email, please contact the eRA Service Desk at https://grants.nih.gov/support/  (preferred method of contact) or call 1-866-504-9552/301.402.7469.

To read other recent articles and messages from eRA Commons, please visit their Latest News page at https://era.nih.gov/news_and_events/index.cfm.

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.