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Responding to New NIH and NSF Guidelines: Policies Sought
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) have provided applicants and awardees with updated application and award guidelines. The new policies, some of which are already in play and some that will take effect in January, give applicants a reason to shore up and revise institutional policies.
NIH has announced revisions to its standard policies, terms, and conditions of grant and cooperative agreement awards. The new Grants Policy Statement went into effect for all awards with budget periods beginning October 1, 2012. The revision does not introduce any new material for the first time, but it does incorporate policies that have been implemented over the last year. While there are no significant changes, applicants and awardees should review a summary of the additions to confirm their understanding and ensure that campus policies are NIH-compliant. GRC will continue to monitor the NIH Guide for notices of proposed and interim policy changes. Direct specific questions to the NIH grants policy division at GrantsPolicy@mail.nih.gov.
Meanwhile, NSF has updated its Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) with a number of changes that will take effect in January 2013. The most significant changes to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), the pre-award section of the PAPPG, have to do with implementation of the National Science Board’s recommendations to clarify and strengthen NSF’s longstanding, ongoing merit review criteria: intellectual merit and broader impacts.
There are several other GPG revisions worth noting, including a section dealing with the migration from the Central Contractor Registration to the System for Award Management (SAM); clarification of instructions for biographical sketches to reflect that publications are just one possible work product, and that data sets, software, patents, and copyrights may also be cited in this section of a proposal; and expanded instructions for both calculating indirect cost rates and accurately describing the internal, external, physical, and personnel resources that will be committed to a proposed project.
The Award and Administration Guide also includes a number of changes, including the post-award companion to the GPG clarification of NSF’s policy on recovery of indirect costs. Technical reporting requirements will become more stringent, and policies related to conflicts of interest and participant support costs will be strengthened and expanded as well.
GRC strongly encourages members to use the LinkedIn discussion group as a source of peer-to-peer advice, and to submit sample policies and compliance solutions for inclusion in the living, online resource library. Member input will be invaluable as the GRC staff and the Efficiency and Compliance Task Force work to build a one-stop location for members to find, review, and adapt research and sponsored programs resources.
NSF Announces Project Report Training Event
On October 9, 2012, National Science Foundation (NSF) policy office head Jean Feldman issued an alert regarding a pending change in the submission of project reports. “In early 2013, [NSF] will completely transfer all project reporting from FastLane to Research.gov,” she says. “In support of the transition, we will begin piloting the new service in Research.gov beginning in October.”
GRC encourages all members to join an October 12, 2012, project reports training webinar to hear the latest information on the pending changes. Meanwhile, it is important for research and sponsored programs administrators to alert NSF principal investigators, co-principal investigators, and future applicants that Research.gov is poised to replace FastLane entirely as the system for submitting annual, final, and interim project reports and project outcome reports. Feldman expects Research.gov’s “Project Reporting Dashboard” to make it easier for all users to submit and monitor the status of required reports.
For additional information on Research.gov and its potential impact, join a November 16, 2012, webinar, “How Can Research.gov Help Me?”