Fiscal Policy and Salary Cap Guidance for 2017

Now that the NIH fiscal year 2017 budget is signed into law, NIH published its final fiscal policy and salary cap guidance for this year.

In general, NIH will restore reductions to non-competing continuation awards made this year while we were operating under a pending budget (continuing resolution).  Additional details on fiscal operations, including specific funding strategies for ICs and any exceptions, will be posted at the NIH funding strategies page.

The salary cap remains unchanged from the interim guidance published in March. The direct salary limitation follows Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale, which was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017. This means that for awards issued in previous years that were restricted to Executive Level II, including competing awards already issued in fiscal year 2017, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level as long as:

  1. adequate funds are available in active awards; and
  2. the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary.

See NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-087 for details on the salary cap, and NOT-OD-17-086 for guidance on NIH fiscal policy.

Have questions about your specific award(s)? Contact the Grants Management Specialist identified on your Notice of Award.

Posted on July 25, 2017 by NIH Staff

Full article can be found at the link below:

Fiscal Policy and Salary Cap Guidance for 2017

Receiving NIH Funding? Don’t Forget Your Responsibilities in Reporting Progress and Financials

If you are a recipient of NIH funding, then you are required to report on scientific progress and financial expenditures. Submitting timely, accurate, and complete reports are an essential part of the stewardship of federally-supported research, and maintaining the public’s trust in science.

NIH recently reminded all of their recipients of their reporting responsibilities in an NIH Guide notice published June 5. The Guide notice summarizes the required information, and due dates, for Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) and Financial Expenditure –Federal Financial Reports (FFRs).

They encourage you to share this information with your colleagues at your research organization. Failure to submit complete and accurate reports doesn’t just affect one individual – it can affect future funding to the entire organization, and can result in a delay of continued support. Read more in NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-074.

Funding Friday: Federal Grants for High-Tech Research and Development

Over 225 federal grants have been posted to Grants.gov over the last two weeks.

Here are a few awards promoting the development of new technologies for science, health and security from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Funding Friday icon

1. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health – Development of a Device to Objectively Measure Pain

The purpose of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award is to develop a technology/device that objectively indicates the presence and level of pain.

Read more of this post

NSF.gov, FastLane, and Research.gov Unavailable from Friday, June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT until Tuesday, July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is moving its Data Center IT servers to the Foundation’s new headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT through July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT, to prepare for NSF staff relocation in August 2017. This move has been scheduled around a holiday weekend to minimize the systems downtime and reduce the impact on the research community and NSF staff.

Please be advised that the NSF website, FastLane, and Research.gov will be unavailable from Friday, June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT until Tuesday, July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT. During this outage period, there will be no access to these websites, proposals cannot be submitted in FastLane, and project reports and cash requests cannot be submitted in Research.gov. However, previously saved information and uploaded documents in FastLane and Research.gov, including in-process proposals and reports, will be accessible after the Data Center move.

You are encouraged to share this information with your colleagues. For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or rgov@nsf.gov. Any policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. For additional information about NSF’s relocation, please see https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/issuances/in139.jsp.

 

NIH Implementing Limits on Grant Support to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce

NIH realizes that, as stewards of the American investment in biomedical sciences, we must do all we can to protect the future of the biomedical research enterprise, taking additional measures regardless of our budget situation. In the opening pages of this blog, we noted that our increasingly hypercompetitive system is threatening the future of biomedical research and of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who we look to for discovering tomorrow’s cures. This is a strange irony, given that the last 25-50 years have been times of extraordinary discovery and progress in basic, translational, and applied science. Death rates from cardiovascular disease have plummeted, and death rates from cancer are falling steadily. Scientists have a much deeper understanding of human biology to the point where this knowledge can drive the design of drugs and biologics. Big data and high-throughput technologies now enable rapid development and testing of hypotheses that previously would have taken years. The successes are myriad. But so are the problems, problems so real that some have gone so far as to write, “It is time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research system.”

To improve opportunities for early established mid-career investigators, we will take special steps to identify meritorious applicants who are only one grant away from losing all funding. Prioritizing these applicants for funding consideration may alleviate the squeeze being felt by mid-career investigators.

And we will monitor, on a trans-agency basis, investigators’ Grant Support Index, with the idea that over time and in close consultation with the extramural research community, we will phase in a resetting of expectation for total support provided to any one investigator. We plan to implement a Grant Support Index cap of 21 points, essentially the equivalent of 3 single-PI R01 grants. Over the next few weeks to months, we will meet with NIH Advisory Councils and other stakeholder groups to explore how best to phase in and implement this cap – so that formal assessment of grant support can be used to best inform, on a trans-NIH basis, our funding decisions.

Read the entire Blog here.

OMB Extends Uniform Guidance Procurement Rules

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued an addendum to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) on May 17, 2017. The amendment allows non-federal entities an additional year to implement the Uniform Guidance requirements related to procurement. These procurement standards were previously on a delayed implementation timeframe, and this extension allows an additional year. Therefore, the new standards will apply starting with fiscal years beginning on or after Dec. 26, 2017.

 

 

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