NSF: Reminder of Fastlane Changes to Support PAPPG (NSF 17-1)

Effective January 30, 2017, NSF implemented the following changes in FastLane to support the policy updates in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) and to run new and enhanced automated compliance checks on proposals:

Updated References and Terminology

  • The PAPPG (NSF 17-1) 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 and is sequentially numbered from Chapter I-XII. All FastLane and Research.gov references and links to the GPG and AAG were updated to corresponding references and links in the PAPPG (NSF 17-1).
  • “International Travel” type of proposals were renamed to “Travel” and were expanded to include domestic and international travel.
  • “Facility/Center” type of proposals were renamed to “Center/Research Infrastructure.”

Enhanced Automated Compliance Checks

  • In addition to the new compliance checks for the GOALI, RAISE, and FASED types of proposals, FastLane is running enhanced automated compliance checks across several proposal types and will generate errors or warnings when the submission or deadline validation compliance checks are not met.
  • Checks are run during “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” and “Submit Proposal.” The complete list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 30, 2017, is available here.

Note About Proposal File Update (PFU):

The automated compliance checks also apply when a PFU is performed on a proposal. The compliance checks will be run on all sections of the proposal, regardless of which section was updated during the PFU. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

Proposal Submission

  • Two new types of proposals were incorporated into the PAPPG with new required supporting documents and automated proposal compliance checks.
  • Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI):GOALI is a type of proposal that seeks to stimulate collaboration between academic research institutions and industry. The new GOALI automated compliance checks require that at least one Co-Principal Investigator (PI) exists on the proposal and the “GOALI-Industrial PI Confirmation Letter” is uploaded at the time of proposal submission. All automated compliance checks applicable to Research proposals apply to GOALI proposals. GOALI proposals were previously submitted via a program solicitation.
  • Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE):The RAISE proposal type supports bold, interdisciplinary projects. The new RAISE automated compliance checks require that a “RAISE-Program Officer Concurrence Email” is uploaded at the time of proposal submission, the proposal award budget is less than or equal to $1 million, and the proposal duration is less than or equal to 5 years. All automated compliance checks applicable to Research proposals apply to RAISE proposals.
  • The Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) type of proposal was included on the FastLane dropdown menu. All automated compliance checks applicable to Research proposals apply to FASED proposals.

Deadline Submission

  • Organizations that are unable to submit a proposal prior to a deadline due to a natural or anthropogenic disaster will be required to submit a new Single Copy Document, “Nature of Natural or Anthropogenic Event,” when attempting to submit a late proposal using the “Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy” box on the NSF Cover Sheet.

For system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-381-1532 or fastlane@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

eRA Enhancements: Two More Prior Approval Requests Go Electronic March 2, 2017

The ability to request a No Cost Extension requiring a prior approval and the ability to request a change of PD/PI will be available through the Prior Approval section in eRA Commons after a release scheduled for Thursday, March 2, 2017.

The Prior Approval tab was introduced to eRA Commons in September 2016 to initially provide an electronic option for executing a request for application withdrawal (see Guide Notice NOT-OD-143). In October 2016, the ability to request to submit an unsolicited application with $500K or more in direct costs was added to Prior Approval (see Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-005).

It is important to note that these features currently only apply to NIH awards. They are also an optional method. You should contact your awarding IC to determine the best method for making these requests before initiating either a No Cost Extension or Change of PD/PI.

Features

  • Prior Approval Request for No Cost Extension (NCE)

Signing Officials (SOs) will be able to request an NCE electronically through eRA Commons via Prior Approval.

o    When is a grant eligible for a NCE through Prior Approval?

  • When an NCE under expanded authority has already been used and the grant is within 90 days of the project end date.
  • When the grantee is not under expanded authority and the grant is within 90 days of the project end date.
  • When the project end date has expired and has not been closed or has not entered unilateral closeout, whichever comes first.

o    When is a grant NOT eligible for a NCE through Prior Approval?

  • When an NCE under expanded authority has never been requested and the grant is within 90 days of the project end date. In this case,
  • the NCE will be processed normally through the Extension link in Status.
  • When the grant is closed.
  • When the grant is a fellowship grant.

o    What information will an SO need to provide?

  • The NCE request form includes:
  • Request Detail – Here you will be asked such things as the number of months you wish to extend the project end date; the amount of unobligated money still available, etc.
  • Three PDF upload fields: Progress Report, Budget Document, Justification Document

Contact the awarding IC for details on the content of these documents.

  • Prior Approval Request for Change of PD/PI

Signing Officials (SOs) can initiate the request for a Change of Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) electronically through eRA Commons via Prior Approval.

o    The following conditions must be met for a grant to be eligible for a Change of PD/PI Request:

  • The grant is awarded, and the Project Period End Date has not passed.
  • The grant is not a Fellowship or Career.

o    The details for the request require some basic information:

  • Who is being replaced, removed or added to the grant?
  • What will their level of effort be?
  • What is the effective start date for the requested changes?

o    Additionally, some files will need to be uploaded as an attachment to the request.

  • Biosketch for any new PD/PI
  • Other Support for any new PD/PI
  • Justification Document

Once the request is submitted, the system creates a PDF of all the submitted information and sends a notification to the SO, the Grants Management Specialist, and Program Officer so they can review the request.

NOTE: Principal Investigators cannot see Change of PD/PI Requests.

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.

Original post 2/28/2017 by eRA Communications Office

Important Information for NSF-IOS Core Programs Pre-proposal Submissions

Some PIs applying to the NSF-IOS core programs are having problems uploading the “Collab & Other Affiliations” (COA) template to the single copy documents in Fastlane during pre-proposal submission.  If you experience difficulties, the following remedies are suggested:

  1. When you save the COA template with the new file name containing your last name and the NSF proposal id, make sure that the active sheet is the ‘Collab & Other Affiliations” tab.
  2. Upload the excel file to ‘Single Copy Documents’
  3. Check the PDF conversion to make sure that the ‘Collab & Other Affiliations’ is properly displayed.

If this does not work, you can convert the excel file to a PDF prior to uploading it into single copy documents.

 

For Windows users:

  1. With the file open to the tab “Collab & Other Affiliations’ use the ‘Save As’ function.  Choose PDF in the ‘Save as Type’ dropdown button.  Under Options, choose ‘Active sheet(s)’. Then click on Save.  Upload the resulting PDF to the single copy documents in Fastlane.

 

  1. You can also use the ‘Export’ function.  With the file open to the tab “Collab & Other Affiliations” use the Export function.  Choose ‘Create PDF/XPS document’, then the ‘Save as PDF’ option. Then click on ‘Publish’.  Upload the resulting PDF to the single copy documents in Fastlane.

 

For MAC users:

  1. Use the ‘Print’ function to generate a PDF of the file.  With the tab ‘Collab & Other Users’ as the Active sheet, choose the ‘Print’ function.  Choose portrait as the orientation. Select ‘Print Active Sheets’, select the button for ‘Scale to Fit’, then choose ‘Save as PDF’ on the lower left of the page. Enter the file name and choose Save.

 

Download URL for the COA template:  https://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/ioscoatemplate.xlsx

Message reposted from:

Heinz Gert de Couet, Ph.D.

Division Director

Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)

National Science Foundation

Phone (703) 292 7176

 

NIH Implementation of Final Research Performance Progress Reports (Final RPPR)

NIH Notice Number: NOT-OD-17-022

The National Institutes of Health intends to replace the Final Progress Report (FPR) with the Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final RPPR) through a new eRA Commons module effective January 2017.

NIH implemented the interim RPPR in 2012, based on a policy memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to the heads of executive departments and agencies establishing the uniform RPPR for use by agencies supporting research and research-related activities. The RPPR replaced previous interim performance reporting formats used by NIH and other agencies.

In order to keep its promise, the Research Business Models (RBM), an Interagency Working Group of the Social, Behavioral & Economic Research Subcommittee of the Committee on Science (CoS), charged NSF and NIH to serve as the co-chairs of an interagency workgroup tasked with developing a standard format for use in reporting final progress on Federally-funded research projects and research-related activities, taking into consideration the lessons learned from implementation of the interim RPPR. This interagency workgroup completed its task and on November 16, 2016, published a Federal Register notice announcing the updated standardized RPPR to be used for final performance progress reporting.

NIH Implementation

For NIH, the Final Research Performance Progress Report (F-RPPR) will replace the Final Progress Report (FPR) for closeout effective January 1, 2017. On or after that date, NIH will no longer accept FPRs. Generally, the format will be the same as the current interim/annual RPPR, making it easier for recipients to navigate through the F-RPPR based on familiarity with the existing format of the annual RPPR. However, a significant change with implementation of the F-RPPR, is that in order to maximize public transparency, NIH will not maintain the current Type 2 policy which in accordance with NIHGPS Chapter 8.6.2 states that “whether funded or not” the progress report contained in the Type 2 application may serve in lieu of a separate final progress report. It is important to note that the discontinuance of this longstanding policy aligns NIH’s final performance reporting requirement with the requirements imposed by other Federal research awarding agencies thus reducing the administrative burden associated with a unique NIH reporting requirement.

Therefore, as a standard policy, NIH will request that organizations submit an “Interim-RPPR” while their renewal application (Type 2) is under consideration. In the event that the Type 2 is funded, NIH will treat the Interim-RPPR as the annual performance report for the final year of the previous competitive segment. If the Type 2 is not funded, the Interim-RPPR will be treated by NIH staff as the institution’s Final-RPPR.

Also, in accordance with NIH’s implementation of the F-RPPR, recipients will be required to adhere to the new requirement to report on Project Outcomes. This section will be made publicly available, thus allowing recipients the opportunity to provide the general public with a concise summary of the cumulative outcome or findings of the project (analogous to the Project Summary/Abstract section of the competing application).

As mentioned, NIH is aligning its reporting requirement with other Federal research agencies and therefore will not be making any changes to the deadline for submitting the final report- i.e., the Final RPPR or Interim-RPPR must be submitted via eRA Commons no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date. If a recipient fails to comply with this reporting requirement, NIH may take one or more enforcement actions, such as a decision not to make a non-competing continuation award, consistent with NIHGPS Chapter 8.5.2. NIH also plans to maintain the business rule in the RPPR module enabling institutional signing officials (SOs), at their discretion, to delegate submission of the Final RPPR or Interim-RPPR to the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI).

Note: Implementation of the Final RPPR for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants will occur approximately 2 months after implementation for all other NIH grants due to unique final reporting requirements under the Small Business Administration’s SBIR/STTR Policy Directive.

FAQs and additional information pertaining to NIH’s implementation of the F-RPPR will be available on the NIH RPPR website.

Original post by NIH November 23, 2016

Update Your Browser!

Update Your Web Browser by Nov. 30 to Continue Using eRA Commons, ASSIST, IAR & iEdison

eRA is strengthening the security of its modules on November 30 by moving to the ‘https only’ secure connection for websites, as mandated for all federal agencies. With the implementation of this security protocol, older internet browsers may not work, and you may need to update your browser to access any eRA module, including eRA Commons, ASSIST, IAR and iEdison.

An October 26 eRA email bulletin lists the web browsers and versions that will continue to work after the security upgrade. While these versions will continue to work past November 30, for an optimal experience when using eRA modules, we encourage you to use the browsers and software versions listed in the eRA browser compatibility statement. (Note that eRA uses Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer to develop and test its modules for browser compatibility.)

Originally posted on October 31, 2016 by

NSF’s Strategic Plan Suggestions

Every four years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) updates its Strategic Plan.  As they prepare to do this in the 2017-2018 timeframe, they invite feedback on the Vision, Core Values, Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives in NSF’s current Strategic Plan.  They encourage you to take a look at either this summary of the current Strategic Plan:
http://www.nsf.gov/news/strategicplan/nsfstrategicplan20142018flyer.pdf,
or the complete plan, which may be found here:
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14043/nsf14043.pdf

You can post your comments here:https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/strategicplan/feedback.jsp

Please note that comments received are not anonymous and may become part of a public record.

NSF Update: Automated Compliance Checks now effective August 1, 2016

Please note that this implementation was rescheduled due to a power outage which caused all servers to shut down. The new automated proposal submission compliance checks will be available on August 1.

On August 1, 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will release updates to FastLane that may impact the way you work.

NSF continues to focus on the automated compliance checks of proposals in order to decrease the burden on both the research community and NSF staff.  Effective August 1, 2016, all proposals will be subject to a new series of automated compliance validation checks to ensure proposals comply with requirements outlined in Chapter II.C.2. of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

The new set of automated compliance checks will trigger error messages for each of the following rules:

o   Biographical Sketch(es) and Current and Pending Support files are required  for each Senior Personnel associated with a proposal; and

o   Biographical Sketch(es) can only be uploaded as a file, must not exceed two pages and can no longer be entered as text.

Note About Proposal File Update (PFU): Proposers should be aware should that if a proposal was received prior to August 1 and contained only one Biographical Sketch and/or Current & Pending Support file (rather than individual files for each senior personnel), a PFU addressing any section of the proposal will result in the proposal not being accepted if it does not comply with these new compliance checks.  The checks will be run on all sections of the proposal regardless of which section was updated during the PFU.

Note About Grants.gov:

Proposers should also be aware that Grants.gov will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements. Should NSF receive a proposal from Grants.gov that is not compliant, it will be returned without review.

Please note that the new set of compliance checks are in addition to the compliance checks that currently exist in FastLane. You can view a complete list of FastLane auto-compliance checks, including these checks, by clicking here . The list specifies which checks are run depending on funding opportunity type (GPG, Program Description, Program Announcement, or Program Solicitation) and type of proposal (Research, RAPID, EAGER, Ideas Lab, Conference, Equipment, International Travel, Facility/Center, or Fellowship). It also specifies whether the check triggers a “warning” or error” message for non-compliant proposals.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

Important Information Regarding Automated Compliance Checking at NSF

On July 25, 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will perform additional automated compliance checks on proposals submitted through FastLane.  These automated compliance checks will not be conducted on proposals submitted to NSF via Grants.gov.  Proposers submitting through Grants.gov should be aware that Grants.gov will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements.  Should NSF receive a proposal from Grants.gov that is not compliant, it will be returned without review.

Please note that the new set of compliance checks are in addition to the compliance checks that currently exist in FastLane.  You can also choose to view a complete list of FastLane auto-compliance checks, including these checks, by clicking here . The list specifies which checks are run depending on funding opportunity type (GPG, Program Description, Program Announcement, or Program Solicitation) and type of proposal (Research, RAPID, EAGER, Ideas Lab, Conference, Equipment, International Travel, Facility/Center, or Fellowship).  It also specifies whether the check triggers a “warning” or “error” message for non-compliant proposals.

You are encouraged to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Rgov@nsf.gov.  Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

If you would like to stay up-to-date on upcoming events or future enhancements to Research.gov and/or FastLane, subscribe to the new System Updates NSF listserv.  To subscribe, simply email:  system_updates-subscribe-request@listserv.nsf.gov and you will be automatically enrolled.

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