Notices and Announcements

Here you will find a repository of news and announcements related to research at the University of Delaware from 2011 to the present.

1. NOW AVAILABLE: Cost Sharing and Single Copy Docs Submitted in Research.gov (Wednesday, July 29, 2020)

 

NOW AVAILABLE ON RESEARCH.GOV

July 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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. 

Research.gov Support for Full Research Proposals

Research.gov now supports all Full Research proposals that conform to standard Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) requirements for formatting and document content including:

  • 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)

Cost Sharing

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.

New system-related cost sharing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available in the “Proposal Sections” FAQ topic on the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission webpage. A new automated compliance warning message and business rules for cost sharing have also been added. Please refer to the updated Research.gov Compliance Checklist dated July 27, 2020 on theAutomated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals webpage. Compliance checks triggering an error will prohibit proposal submission to NSF, whereas checks triggering a warning will allow proposal submission to NSF.   

Single Copy Documents

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:

  • Deviation Authorization (PAPPG Chapter II.A.):
    • The Deviation Authorization link can be accessed both in the Optional proposal section as well as via the Deviation Authorization tab in the left navigation pane Optional menu.
    • Once the Deviation Authorization link is clicked in either location, a text entry field with a 256-character limit will be available on the screen.
    • After the Deviation Authorization text entry field is saved, the text is converted to a PDF file. Editing the text entry field and clicking save will generate a new PDF file.
  • Special Exception – Natural or Anthropogenic Event (PAPPG Chapter I.F.3.):
    • 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.
  • Proprietary or Privileged Information (PAPPG Chapter II.D.1.)
    • 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.
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (PAPPG Chapter I.G.2. and PAPPG Chapter II.C.1.d.)
    • 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

What's Ahead in the Research.gov Proposal Submission System?

Features supporting the following types of proposals are planned for a late fall 2020 release in Research.gov:

  • Rapid Response Research (RAPID)
  • EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)
  • Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)

NSF is also currently developing a Research.gov demo site that will be available for training purposes. Stay tuned for additional information about these exciting developments in the coming months!

Help NSF Build Research.gov

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).

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Friedland
Associate Vice President, Research Administration

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

2. University of Delaware’s FY21 Fringe Benefit Rates Announced (Monday, July 13, 2020)

July 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues,  

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:

  1. Here is a link to an updated FY20-21 Salary Reference Sheet.
  2. The Research Office has modified the budget template which may be found on the RO website under Frequently Asked Questions, Getting Started, “How do I construct a budget?” to include the updated rates.
  3. The Research Office has also updated the budget justification template which may be found on the RO website under Budgets & Rates, Budget Justification Template.
  4. Due to the transition to DHHS as UD's cognizant agency, the F&A rate agreement has been updated as well.

If you have any questions, please contact your Contract & Grant Specialist.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Friedland
Associate Vice President, Research Administration

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

3. Fixed Fringe Rate Agreement Announced (Thursday, July 2, 2020)

Dear Colleagues,  

The University of Delaware has submitted FY21 Fringe Benefit Proposal to Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the period 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021. You will find a letter from the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Deputy Treasurer on the Research Office (RO) website for your reference. You will also find the new rates on the RO website in the UD Proposal Development Guide.

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:

  1. Attached to this email please find an updated FY20-21 Salary Reference Sheet
  2. The Research Office has modified the budget template found on our website under Frequently Asked Questions, Getting Started, “How do I construct a budget?” to include the updated rates.
  3. The Research Office has also updated the budget justification template found on our website under Budgets & Rates, Budget Justification Template.

If you have any questions, please contact your Contract & Grant Specialist.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Friedland
Associate Vice President, Research Administration

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

4. 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.

Tagging Guidance

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.

Personnel Costs

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.

 Non-Personnel Costs

The Research Office recommends that units tag non-personnel costs that are allocated to sponsored programs with Userfield “CV19-RSCH”.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeffrey Friedland

5. 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.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeffrey Friedland

6. 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.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeffrey Friedland

7. NSF Bio Sketch and Support Document Format Webinar (Thursday, April 16, 2020)

NSF BIO SKETCH & SUPPORT DOCUMENT FORMAT WEBINAR

April 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues,  

  NSF recently recorded a webinar about the requirement to use an NSF-approved format for both the biographical sketch and current & pending support documents as part of proposals submitted to NSF. The policy, outlined in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), goes into effect for proposals submitted or due, on or after June 1, 2020.  The two NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae, and an NSF Fillable PDF.   Webinar topics include:

  • the policy guidance for preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support sections of the proposal;  
  • a walk-through of the user experience in accessing these formats in NSF systems;
  • detailed guidance from NIH on using SciENcv for preparing both documents; and
  • answers to a number of frequently asked questions.

  For additional information, see the NSF pages for the biographical sketch and current and pending support.  We would like your feedback on these formats prior to the June 1st requirement. Please provide your comments and questions to policy@nsf.gov

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman

8. OPERA April 2020 (Wednesday, April 1, 2020)

In recent months, the University has been focused 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 process enhancements and resources available effective immediately:

New Process Enhancements and ResourcesKey Impacts
Subawards
Provider Category Determination WorksheetThe Provider Category Determination Worksheet was updated to a fillable PDF:

·       Questions on this form have been updated to increase accuracy of UD determination of external subrecipients versus contractors.

·       Subaward documents can be attached to this form to combine related UD Financials: PeopleSoft uploads during proposal submission.

Bolster Compliance &
Promote Efficiency
Subaward Management PolicyThe new Subaward Management Policy outlines PI, unit, and Research Office responsibilities for managing outgoing subawards execution, amendment, monitoring, and closeout.Clarify Roles & Responsibilities
Closeout
Technical ReportsAttaching “Proof of Submission” documentation is no longer required for technical reports on the ACR webform:

·       The ACR Webform question serves only as a reminder for unit administrators to notify the PI of relevant sponsor due dates, and to contact Contract and Grants Specialists for applicable federal submissions (ex: NIH).

·       It is the PI/unit’s responsibility to store copies of submitted technical reports and provide them to the Research Office if necessary (ex: to support billing or audit requests).

Reduce Administrative Burden
Research Office Record Retention ProcedureA new Research Office Record Retention Procedure has been implemented by the Research Office to provide guidance on document maintenance and destruction.

·       The standard record retention period is 4 years after the award end date for sponsored programs documents.

·       Certain sponsors may have longer record retention periods; additional exceptions are outlined in the procedure.

·       Units will no longer receive any physical files from the Research Office due to transition to electronic filing practices.

Promote Efficiency
Transactions
Direct Charging ProcedureThe new Direct Charging Procedure outlines cost principles and UD standards for allocating expenditures to sponsored research programs. This includes instructions and examples for split cost allocations.Mitigate Financial Risk

 

We will continue to provide updates as the OPERA initiative progresses. Please reach out to the Research Office with any questions or ongoing feedback.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

9. NSF-Approved Biographical Sketch & Current & Pending Support Formats (Wednesday, April 1, 2020)

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce the availability of both NSF-approved formats for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals that fall under the revised Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) (see the February 6, 2020 webinar for complete details on all revisions to the PAPPG).

 

Although use of an NSF-approved format for submission of these proposal sections is not required until implementation of the revised PAPPG (NSF 20-1) on June 1, 2020, NSF is encouraging proposers to begin using the NSF-approved formats now. NSF values the feedback from the research community, and we would like to hear about your experience with the new NSF-approved formats. Information about how to provide feedback is included below.

 

Use of an NSF-approved format aims to reduce administrative burden and improve efficiencies by providing proposers with a compliant and reusable way to maintain this information for subsequent proposal submissions to NSF, while also ensuring that the information is submitted in a standard and searchable composition.

 

NSF-approved Formats

  • SciENcv: NSF has partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae as an NSF-approved format for use in preparation of both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of an NSF proposal. SciENcv will produce an NSF-compliant PDF version of the documents which proposers can save and submit as part of their proposals via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov. Additional information about the NSF-approved SciENcv formats is available on the NSF biographical sketch and current and pending support websites.

 

The SciENcv tool integrates with ORCID, enabling proposers to populate their Biographical Sketches by importing data directly from their ORCID records rather than having to manually enter all the required information. Additionally, Biographical Sketch data maintained in SciENcv can be quickly and easily updated on an ongoing basis for subsequent proposal submissions.

 

  • NSF Fillable PDF: NSF is also providing a fillable PDF as an NSF-approved format for use to prepare both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of an NSF proposal. Proposers can download the respective fillable PDF form from the NSF biographical sketch and current and pending support websites and then submit the completed forms as part of their proposals via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov. Note that the NSF fillable PDF for the Biographical Sketch does not integrate with ORCID.

 

It is important to note that beginning June 1, 2020, proposers will be required to use one of the NSF-approved formats for both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of NSF proposals. Proposals submitted via FastLane, Research.gov and Grants.gov will be compliance checked to ensure that the documents were prepared in accordance with this new policy.

We Want Your Feedback

Although not required for proposal submission until June 1, 2020, we hope that you will start using the NSF-approved formats for Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support as soon as possible. If you have any feedback that would help us make improvements to the two formats in the future, please let us know. Feedback may be submitted by email to policy@nsf.gov or via the Research.gov Feedback page (select “Biographical Sketch” or “Current & Pending Support” under the Site Area dropdown menu).

Upcoming Webinars

To assist the community about these new requirements and to start using SciENcv now, NSF and NIH are planning to conduct a joint webinar that will include a walk-through of how to prepare the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents in SciENcv. Information will be provided as soon as it is available, and we encourage you to sign up for notifications

 

We also invite you to participate in the next NSF Electronic Research Administration (ERA) Forum on May 14, 2020 at 1:00PM – 2:30PM EDT where we will discuss the NSF-approved format requirements, as well as the new capability to prepare and submit separately submitted collaborative proposals in Research.gov. To sign up for ERA Forum notifications including registration availability for the May 14 event, please send a blank email to NSF-ERA-FORUM-subscribe-request@listserv.nsf.gov and you will be automatically enrolled.

 

Training Resources

The following training resources are now available, and NSF will continue to keep the community informed as additional resources are released.

Biographical Sketch Resources

 

Current and Pending Support Resources

 

Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have technical or IT system-related questions, 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 fastlane@nsf.gov.

Regards,

Jean

 

Jean Feldman

Head, Policy Office

Division of Institution and Award Support

Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management

National Science Foundation

email: policy@nsf.gov

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman

10. ALERT: FastLane and Research.gov Will be Unavailable Nov 8 – Nov 12 (Friday, November 8, 2019)

Dear Colleagues,

ALERT: FastLane and Research.gov will be unavailable from Friday, November 8 at 8:00 PM EST until Tuesday, November 12 at 6:00 AM EST.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is migrating its business applications to a modern and flexible platform from November 8 at 8:00 PM EST through November 12 at 6:00 AM EST. As part of this effort, NSF will also upgrade the alpha-numeric character set used by the FastLane and Research.gov systems to correct text errors, such as special characters displaying as question marks (“?”) in proposals and project reports. This migration has been scheduled over the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend to minimize the impact of the systems downtime on the research community and NSF staff.

During this outage, there will be no access to these websites, proposals cannot be submitted in FastLane or Research.gov, 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-progress proposals and project reports, will be accessible after the migration is completed.

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. Any policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Friedland
Associate Vice President,
Research Administration

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

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