The quality of administrative services provided by the Research Office is critical to creating an efficient and effective research environment at the University. Our goals during this initiative are to:
Improve service to faculty who participate in sponsored research
Increase process efficiency via enhanced policies, procedures, tools, and systems
Bolster institutional compliance with federal and sponsor requirements
Implement performance metrics to continuously review administrative effectiveness
We will be engaging the broader research community and sharing our progress throughout this transformation effort. Ongoing communications and status updates can be viewed in the announcement section below.
1. Automated Closeout Report Enhancements (Monday, October 26, 2020)
AUTOMATED CLOSEOUT REPORT ENHANCEMENTS
October 23, 2020
The Automated Closeout Report (ACR) has been enhanced and will be available with the enhancements as of November 2, 2020. Through a collaborative effort, additions such as the Project Start Date and ACR Due Date have been included within the body of the ACR report for clarity and better internal controls.
The primary ACR enhancements are as follows:
Updated the webform title to “Automated Closeout Report”
Updated the overall webform instructions
Added the Project Title, Project Start Date, and ACR Due Date
Update the Equipment Inventory section instructions and corrected the issue that was causing equipment transactions to appear twice (x2) in the transaction results.
Updated the Cost-Share/Match section instructions
Updated the After End Date Charges and Potential Unallowables Charges section instructions
Added Y/N questions to the Confirm Final Expenditure section
ACR Escalation Process
The ACR escalation process will be effective as of November 2, 2020. The details of the communication timeline are provided for your review and as a reference. The use of sweep purpose codes is to be used in conjunction with the new escalation process whereby the college/departments will receive advanced notifications outlining unverified costs during closeout, and to which their units still have the opportunity to respond to and resolve prior to the finalization of the closeout.
2. New Account Code for Non-IBS Salaries (Tuesday, October 20, 2020)
NEW ACCOUNT CODE FOR NON-IBS SALARIES
October 22, 2020
Through a collaborative effort, dedicated supplemental compensation accounts have been created to assist with the proper identification of an employee’s Institutional Base Salary.
The 14 new account codes should be used in the LAM to accurately track all supplemental pay for UD employees (excluding summer salary for faculty paid via supplemental contracts).
Before, if an employee held a secondary appointment, the compensation for that appointment was distributed on the same account code (typically 121100/120200) as the compensation for the primary job. This can present problems when reporting an employee’s institutional base salary (IBS) on an effort report.
Now, an employee’s secondary appointment that is beyond the employee’s primary responsibilities can be captured through the 14 account codes outlined below.
Professional Staff Full-time Admin Supplement (Non S Contract) — This account is used to record administrative supplement for full-time exempt employees
Professional Staff Part-time Admin Supplement (Non S Contract) — This account is used to record administrative supplement for part-time exempt employees
CHAIR ADMN SUPL (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for chairpersons
CHAIR NINTH SUP (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record ninths for chairpersons
FACULTY ADMN SUPL (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for full-time faculty
FACULTY NINTH SUP (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record ninths for full-time faculty
FAC P/T ADMN SUPL (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for part-time faculty
FAC P/T NINTH SUP (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record ninths for part-time faculty
CTR DIR ADMN SUPL (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for center directors
CTR DIR NINTH SUP (NON S CONTR) – This account is used to record ninths for center directors
F/T NON-EX37.5 ADM SUP (NON SC) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for full-time (37.5 hrs/week) non-exempt employees enrolled in 403b
P/T NON-EX37.5 ADM SUP (NON SC) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for part-time (less than 37.5 hrs/week) non-exempt employees enrolled in 403b
F/T NON-EX40 ADM SUP (NON SC) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for full-time (40 hrs/week) non-exempt employees enrolled in 403b
P/T NON-EX40 ADMN SUP (NON SC) – This account is used to record administrative supplement for part-time (less than 40 hrs/week) non-exempt employees enrolled in 403b
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Samuel Mobry
3. Enforcement of NSF Formats Begin October 5 (Tuesday, September 22, 2020)
ENFORCEMENT OF NSF FORMATS BEGIN OCTOBER 5
September 22, 2020
Effective October 5, 2020, all proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be required to include NSF-approved formats for the preparation of the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support proposal documents. The NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF the.
Effective October 5, 2020, Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documentation must also be in an NSF-approved formats
Effective October 5, 2020, PIs and co-PIs must include an NSF-approved format for Current and Pending Support when notifying NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made, or since the most recent annual report.
A revised NSF Grants.gov Application Guide will be published on September 16th and effective October 5, 2020.
Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the SciENcv or NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM – 9:00 PM ET; Monday – Friday except federal holidays) or via email@example.com.
The University has continued to focus on improving services for research administration under the Operational Excellence in Research Administration (OPERA) initiative. Throughout this initiative, the Research Office has worked closely with colleagues across campus to reevaluate and enhance various processes and resources. Our goal has been to increase support to faculty by increasing efficiency and reducing administrative burden in several areas.
As a result, we are announcing new policy enhancements and resources available effective immediately:
It is expected that effort reports are properly completed within 90 days from distribution. If effort is not certified within 120 days from distribution, the cost will be moved to non-sponsored departmental/unit funding pending final resolution. Extenuating circumstances that prevent timely certification should be brought to the attention of the Manager of Financial Compliance.
The Cost Sharing Policy was updated to remove the mandatory 1% effort requirement. Principal Investigators and other senior/key personnel must demonstrate effort on their proposals and awards. This effort may be reflected as direct salary or Cost Sharing on an award.
Reduce Administrative Burden
We will continue to provide updates as the OPERA initiative progresses. Please reach out to the Research Office with any questions or ongoing feedback.
5. NOW AVAILABLE: Cost Sharing and Single Copy Docs Submitted in Research.gov (Wednesday, July 29, 2020)
NOW AVAILABLE ON RESEARCH.GOV
July 29, 2020
Effective July 27, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) enabled cost sharing (Line M on the proposal budget) for programs with mandatory cost sharing requirements on proposals submitted in Research.gov. In addition, enhancements were deployed to the proposal Cover Sheet and proposal upload screens to support Single Copy Documents, which include Deviation Authorization, Special Exception – Natural or Anthropogenic Event, Proprietary or Privileged Information, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, and Additional Single Copy Documents. New associated automated compliance error and warning messages as well as business rules were also implemented.
Single submissions from one organization (available since April 2018)
Single submission collaborative proposals with subawards (available since June 2019)
Separately submitted collaborative proposals from multiple organizations (available since March 2020)
The requirement to include cost sharing in a proposal is identified in the program solicitation, and Line M on the proposal budget will only be available for the select few programs that require cost sharing. Line M will appear in year one of the prime organization's proposal budget when the selected funding opportunity includes a mandatory cost sharing requirement. Please see PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.g.xii. for additional information about NSF's cost sharing policy.
Single Copy Documents are for certain categories of information that are submitted in conjunction with a proposal and are for NSF use only. They are not provided to reviewers for use in the review of the proposal. Please see PAPPG (NSF 20-1) for Single Copy Document requirements. Research.gov system-related details for Single Copy Documents are included below:
When the Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet and the Cover Sheet is saved, the Special Exception – Natural or Anthropogenic Event upload section will be accessible either through a link in the blue information message at the top of the Cover Sheet, or by a link in the Other Information section of the Cover Sheet.
After a compliant Natural or Anthropogenic Event document has been uploaded,
the listed deadline due date is bypassed allowing the Authorized Organizational Representative to submit the proposal in Research.gov after the listed deadline.
An error preventing proposal submission will be triggered if the Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet, but a compliant document has not been uploaded in the Special Exception – Natural or Anthropogenic Event upload section.
Note that checking the Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy box on the Cover Sheet and uploading a Special Exception – Natural or Anthropogenic Event document will allow proposal submission after the listed deadline in Research.gov, however acceptance remains at the discretion of the NSF Program Officer.
When the Proprietary or Privileged Information checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet and the Cover Sheet is saved, the Proprietary or Privileged Information upload section will be accessible either through a link in the blue information message at the top of the Cover Sheet, or by a link in the Other Information section of the Cover Sheet.
An error preventing proposal submission will be triggered if the Proprietary or Privileged Information checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet, but a compliant document has not been uploaded in the Proprietary or Privileged Information upload section.
When the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet and the Cover Sheet is saved, the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities upload section will be accessible either through a link in the blue information message at the top of the Cover Sheet, or by a link in the Other Information section of the Cover Sheet.
An error preventing proposal submission will be triggered if the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities checkbox is selected on the Cover Sheet, but a compliant document has not been uploaded in the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities upload section.
Additional Single Copy Documents
The Additional Single Copy Documents link can be accessed both in the Optional proposal section as well as via the Single Copy Documents tab in the left navigation pane Optional menu. Once the Additional Single Copy Documents link is clicked in either location, an upload section will be available on the screen.
The Additional Single Copy Documents section supports multiple file uploads.
Other Related Changes for Single Copy Documents
New Automated Compliance Error Messages and Business Rules: Please see the updated Research.gov Compliance Checklist dated July 27, 2020 on the Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals webpage for additional details. Compliance checks triggering an error will prohibit proposal submission to NSF, whereas checks triggering a warning will allow proposal submission to NSF.
Research.gov is being developed incrementally, and features are expanding with the goal of transitioning all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to Research.gov. NSF strongly encourages the use of Research.gov where possible and wants feedback on your experience, so we can continue to make improvements. Please submit your feedback on the Research.gov Feedbackpage (select “Proposal Preparation & Submission” under the Site Area dropdown menu).
Jeffrey Friedland Associate Vice President, Research Administration
6. University of Delaware’s FY21 Fringe Benefit Rates Announced (Monday, July 13, 2020)
July 13, 2020
The University of Delaware’s FY21 Fringe Benefit rates have been finalized with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), our new cognizant agency for the period 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021. The new rate agreement with DHHS and the new rates are located on the Research Office (RO) website for your reference.
Effective immediately, all new proposals will use the fixed fringe rates, which have been programmed into PeopleSoft. These rates will also be applied to existing awards.
Several job aids have been revised for use by the research community regarding the fringe rates:
Effective immediately, all new proposals will use the provisional fringe rates which have been programmed into PeopleSoft. These rates will also be applied to existing awards. Please note that these provisional rates have not yet been finalized with our new cognizant agency, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Several job aids have been revised for use by the research community regarding the fringe rates:
8. Tagging COVID-19 Research Costs (Wednesday, June 17, 2020)
COVID-19 Research Costs
Tagging COVID-19 research costs will make it easier to identify, review, and clean-up costs as sponsor guidance continues to evolve. Monitoring COVID-19 costs will also allow leadership to gauge the potential financial impact to the institution and its research portfolio. While there is no commitment to cover these costs with institutional funds, UD continues to advocate with sponsors for cost extensions during the pandemic.
The tagging includes costs that are allocated to extramural funding due to sponsor-issued administrative relief temporarily allowing costs that are not normally chargeable to awards, as well as other costs associated with loss of operations. The primary examples include:
Personnel costs for individuals that may be unable to work as a result of or related to the effects of COVID-19.
Non-refundable costs associated with the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award.
Costs associated with ramping down research efforts (ex. abandoned experiments, etc.).
Costs associated with ramping up research efforts when the time comes (ex. replacement supplies for abandoned experiments, etc.).
Costs of PPE donated (including PPE prepared) by researchers to support local response efforts. Due to the public health emergency, some agencies may provide flexibilities in spending and consider these “other costs” that may potentially be allowable. As a specific example, NIH COVID-19 FAQ Section 4, Part D, No. 6 indicates recipients may donate PPE and other lab supplies in support of COVID-19 efforts.
While the specific period for tagging costs may vary by sponsor, the general timeframe should be considered as March 2020 onward, through the expiration of the sponsored-issued administrative relief and if applicable the ramping up of research efforts.
The Provost’s Office has issued guidance that personnel costs should be tagged with Userfield “CV19-COMP”. Please note that the Userfield is titled “UD Chartfield” in the LAM.
The Research Office recommends that units tag non-personnel costs that are allocated to sponsored programs with Userfield “CV19-RSCH”.
9. Allocating Sponsored Expenditures to Temporary Purpose Codes (Wednesday, June 17, 2020)
Allocating Sponsored Expenditures to Temporary Purpose Codes
The Research Office would like to remind department administrators about adherence to Uniform Guidance regulations to avoid temporarily charging expenses to purpose codes, specifically 2 CFR section 200.405: Allocable Costs. All efforts should be made to initially allocate the expense to the correct purpose code as to avoid cost transfers at later dates. If the purpose code is unavailable at the time of the expenditure, the expense should be allocated to either a departmental pending/holding code or, if applicable, a request for a pre-award purpose code should be made to the Research Office. Under no circumstances should a sponsored purpose code be used to temporarily hold expenses that are to be transferred to another award at a later date.
An administrator should charge salary expenditures to an award only if they are confident the accompanying level of effort was performed on the award. If there is uncertainty regarding the effort distribution of an individual over the course of a pay period, a non-sponsored departmental code should be charged until the effort of the individual can be confirmed by the PI or the individual themselves.
10. Participant Support Costs (Wednesday, June 17, 2020)
Participant Support Costs: Post-Award Monitoring
Participant Support Costs (per Uniform Guidance 2 CFR § 200.75) are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees. Please be aware that some federal sponsors may place additional restrictions on these types of costs. For example, the NIH Grants Policy Statement notes that participant support is only allowable when it is identified in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to which the PI applies to. If it was not specifically identified in the FOA, participant support costs are unallowable.
Undergraduate research programs that issue stipends for research or training experiences, such as the Summer Scholars Program, are participant support costs. Since participants do not provide services it is not necessarily clear how they benefit the award. If a PI would like to fund an undergraduate researcher providing services in direct benefit of an award, the appropriate option is to employ the individual, so the costs are expensed as a salary/wage. The addition of a participant program, where not previously awarded, may be considered a change in scope requiring an agency’s prior approval.
Listed below are some helpful questions to consider when choosing to allocate participant support costs to a sponsored program:
Does the awarding agency have any policy restrictions on participant support costs?
How were the funds internally budgeted in PeopleSoft upon receipt of the award?
Is prior approval of the awarding agency required in order to allocate participant support costs?
Additional guidance on participant support costs can be found in the Grant Management Guide. For any questions, please consult with your unit’s assigned Contract & Grants Specialist in the Research Office.
Jeffrey Friedland Associate Vice President for Research Administration 210 - A Hullihen Hall Ph: (302) 831-4978
HOURS OF OPERATION
The University of Delaware Research Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Research Office is closed Saturday and Sunday and observes all University closings and holidays. See the Academic Calendar for more information.