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. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. OPERA Updates (Tuesday, October 8, 2019)

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 Resources

Key Impacts

Award Setup

Chart of Accounts Notice (COA)

The Chart of Accounts (COA) Notice has been updated to simplify email communications and links to resources for new awards and modifications.

Streamline Communications

Sponsor Terms & Conditions Webpage

A new Sponsor Terms and Conditions webpage has been created as a one-stop resource for common sponsor guidelines.

Clarify Responsibilities

Proposal Submission

UD Financials: PeopleSoft Proposal Entry User Guide

A new UD Financials: PeopleSoft User Guide for Proposal Submission has been created to consolidate and simplify step-by-step instructions for proposal entry in UD Financials: PeopleSoft.

Enhance Training Resources

PI Eligibility Form

The PI Eligibility Form has been translated to fillable PDF format to allow for electronic signatures and approval routing.

Promote Efficiency

3-Business-Day Internal Proposal Deadline Policy

The Research Office has adopted an updated 3-Business-Day Internal Proposal Deadline Policy to clarify proposal review aspects and timing:

  • Proposals are due to the Research Office by 8:00am at least 3-Business-Days prior to the sponsor agency deadline. Final technical/scientific content may be omitted until 8:00am on the sponsor agency deadline.
  • The Research Office will follow a “staggered” review process wherein the date a proposal is received dictates the level of review provided by the assigned Contract and Grants Specialist:
    • 3+ Business Days à Full Review (All proposal aspects)
    • 2 Business Days à Limited Review (UD and sponsor requirements)
    • 1 Business Day à Minimal Review (UD institutional risk areas only)
  • An accompanying Sample Proposal Timeline has been created which outlines key components and target dates for standard proposals.

Increase Accountability
&
Ensure Proposal Acceptance

Transactions

Graduate Tuition Policy

The Graduate Tuition Policy has been updated to clarify guidelines for tuition budgeting, policy exceptions, and post-award management:

  • Graduate tuition will be budgeted as a direct charge to all grants and contracts at a minimum rate of 20% of the full-time tuition at the program rate for the fall/spring semesters.

Reduce Administrative Burden
&
Clarify Guidelines

Budget Categories List

The list of active Budget Categories is updated to reflect up-to-date account codes for sponsored programs use.

Mitigate Financial Risk

Cash Management

Accounts Receivables Monitoring, Collections, and Write-Offs Procedure

A new AR Monitoring, Collections, and Write-Offs Procedure has been adopted to standardize and increase follow-up for sponsored research payments.

  • The Department/College Administrator and Principal Investigator will be notified of payments outstanding for 121-180 Days.

Mitigate Financial Risk

Effort Reporting

New Effort Certification View

A New Effort Certification View has been implemented for employees certifying their own reports. Key aspects of the new layout include:

  • An updated summary page containing a simplified effort distribution.
  • The option to add attachments to reports to support certifications.

Enhance Technology
&
Increase Compliance

Automated Dunning Notices for Overdue Effort Reports

Automated dunning notifications will be sent via the Effort Certification System to cut down on overdue effort reports. Notices will be sent to effort administrators and current report holders, gradually escalating to department chairs, assistant deans, and college deans in accordance with UD’s Effort Policy.

Bolster Compliance

We will continue to provide updates as the OPERA initiative progresses. Please reach out to your unit’s Contract and Grants Speciaist in the Research Office with any questions or to provide ongoing feedback.

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

6. New Effort Certification View (Monday, September 30, 2019)

Beginning October 1st, those who log in to the Effort Certification System to certify their own effort reports will see a new view that displays effort distributions in a clearer and simpler layout. Please see below for an example of this new view and details regarding updated features of the report. Please contact effortcert@udel.edu with any questions regarding these changes or effort certification in general.

  1. Admin/Payroll View Button: Effort administrators and employees viewing reports that are not their own will still initially see the “Admin/Payroll” view with commitments and dollar amounts when accessing a report. All users can toggle between views by clicking the “Admin/Payroll view” / “View employee summary” box under the name of the effort administrator at the top of the report.
  2. Sponsored v. Non-Sponsored Activity Detail: Salary distributions are split into two sections: Sponsored activity and non-sponsored activity. The sponsored activity section contains the percentages for direct sponsored salary and corresponding cost share contributions. The non-sponsored activity section contains percentages for payments for internal responsibilities such as instruction, public service, and departmental research.
  3. Action: Towards the bottom of the report, employees have two options: Certify effort for the period or send the report back to the report’s effort administrator for corrections. If the employee selects “Certify effort,” a checkbox will appear along with e-signature boxes to ensure the employee intends to certify the report as accurate.
  4. Notes: Employees can add an optional note in the “Notes” box.
  5. Attachments: Employees also now have the option to add attachments that will be visible to others viewing the report prior to final certification. All common file types are supported (Excel, Word, PDF, JPG, etc.). To add an attachment, click “Choose File,” select the file to be uploaded, click “Open,” and click the green “Add line” button to save the attachment to the report.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ryan Barthold

7. NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies Related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components (Thursday, July 11, 2019)

NIH notice is to remind the extramural community about the need to report foreign activities through documentation of other support, foreign components, and financial conflict of interest to prevent scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap. NIH has long required full transparency for all research activities both domestic and foreign and does not consider these clarifications to be changes in policy. The requirements referenced in this Notice, along with the other obligations in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS) and other terms and conditions of award, are instrumental to achieving the mutual goal of NIH and the extramural community, to protect the integrity of biomedical research.

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

8. NOTICE: 148100 REU Account Code Discontinued Effective July 1, 2019 (Wednesday, June 26, 2019)

The account code 148100 for Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) was originally established in UD PeopleSoft Financials to capture charges for UD awards funded by the NSF REU Program. However, recent analyses conducted by the Research and Finance Offices indicate use of the 148100 account code beyond that of its original purpose, necessitating downstream cleanup to reflect accurate award financials and associated facilities and administrative costs.

As a result, use of the 148100 REU account code will be discontinued at the University of Delaware as of 7/1/2019. For sponsored projects, please consult with your unit’s assigned Contract & Grants Specialist in the Research Office to determine the correct account code(s) to budget and allocate impacted charges moving forward. For most cases, including those related to non-sponsored projects, use of account codes designated for Participant Support Costs is appropriate.

The Research Office is reviewing sponsored projects on an ongoing basis to identify potential actions. If you believe a project you manage may be impacted, please contact your unit’s assigned Sponsored Research Accountant within the Research Office for further assistance.

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

9. U.S. entities working with and conducting business with Chinese government-subsidized companies (Tuesday, May 21, 2019)

For some time now the Federal government has expressed varying degrees of concern regarding U.S. entities working with and conducting business with Chinese government-subsidized companies such as the telecommunication company Huawei Technologies. Recently, those reservations have been formalized and have been elevated to the inclusion of Huawei on Federal government lists for Excluded Parties and Ineligible (Proceedings Pending) Suppliers.

In light of the Federal government’s recent actions and heightened sensitivity and concern pertaining to Huawei and its subsidiaries, the University of Delaware (UD) has suspended its acceptance of donations from and entering into agreements with Huawei and its subsidiaries. This UD decision regarding Huawei is consistent with those made by other leading U.S. research universities such as MIT, Princeton and UC Berkeley. The University’s moratorium extends to knowingly purchasing electronics containing Huawei developed or manufactured technology and software regardless of funding source.

Specific inquiries regarding the UD moratorium on Huawei-related transactions, as they relate to the UD community, may be directed to procurement@udel.edu or UDresearch@udel.edu.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Research Office

10. UD Financials Upgrade – Friday 5/10/19 (Thursday, May 9, 2019)

In conjunction with IT and other Financials stakeholders, we plan to upgrade UD Financials (PeopleSoft) to the latest version of the software starting on Friday, 5/10. We will be using a sequential approach to upgrade Production (FIPRD – proposal entry) first and then Report (FIRPT – queries). What does this mean for your sponsored programs related work?

THURSDAY, 5/9:  Normal access to FIPRD & FIRPT and webforms through the close of business

FRIDAY, 5/10, 7am through Tuesday, 5/14, close of business:  · FIPRD unavailable. No proposals can be entered or edited · No Proposal Approval webforms can be accessed or routed · Conflict of Interest webform cannot be accessed · Budget Revision – Contracts and Grants cannot be accessed · Automated Closeout Reports cannot be accessed · New effort reports cannot be pushed; existing effort reports can be viewed and certified · Some other webforms are unavailable, as described in the 5/2 email from the Controller’s Office

WEDNESDAY, 5/15 through THURSDAY, 5/16: · FIPRD available for normal proposal processing · All RO-related webforms listed above available for normal processing · FIRPT unavailable – no access to PeopleSoft Query

FRIDAY, 5/17:  · Normal access to all systems returned

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chris White

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