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-Approved Biographical Sketch & Current & Pending Support Formats (Wednesday, April 1, 2020)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Research.gov Feedback page (select “Biographical Sketch” or “Current & Pending Support” under the Site Area dropdown menu).
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.
FAQs addressing policy questions related to the PAPPG (NSF 20-1) clarifications to the current and pending support coverage, as well as questions regarding use of an NSF-approved format for current and pending support
Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman
2. ALERT: FastLane and Research.gov Will be Unavailable Nov 8 – Nov 12 (Friday, November 8, 2019)
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 email@example.com. Any policy-related questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.
Associate Vice President,
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
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.
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.
An updated summary page containing a simplified effort distribution.
The option to add attachments to reports to support certifications.
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.
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.
4. 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 email@example.com with any questions regarding these changes or effort certification in general.
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.
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.
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.
Notes: Employees can add an optional note in the “Notes” box.
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
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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?
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
· Normal access to all systems returned
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chris White
9. Updated Effort Certification Reporting Policy (Friday, April 19, 2019)
The Research Office and the Office of General Counsel recently updated the University’s Effort Certification policy to better adhere to Uniform Guidance and reduce administrative burden during the certification process. The primary changes are as follows:
There is no longer a five percent limit on the deviation between allocated or “committed” effort and reported or “actual” effort. PIs and other personnel receiving sponsored salary should still adhere to their commitments to the best of their ability and have commitment percentages updated in UD Financials whenever they change from the budgeted amount. It is the responsibility of the department to maintain communication with the sponsor and ensure that the actual effort exhibited is acceptable to the sponsor.
The deadline for certification of reports is now 60 days following the close of the reporting period. This deadline puts the University in line with the certification procedures of other large research institutions and ensures that review of reports occurs in a timely manner closer to the applicable reporting period.
PIs are reminded that effort certification is a requirement of accepting federal rewards. Knowingly certifying a false report is a violation of University policy and may result in potential disciplinary action and civil or criminal penalties.
10. Operational Excellence in Research Administration (“OPERA”) initiative (Thursday, March 28, 2019)
March 28, 2019
We recently completed an extensive evaluation of the research administration infrastructure at the University of Delaware. The goal of this evaluation was to identify opportunities to enhance processes and technology in support of our research mission and strategic plan for growth.
As a result of this evaluation, the University is now launching the Operational Excellence in Research Administration (“OPERA”) initiative to implement recommended improvements. Our goal is to create an efficient and effective administrative environment in order to increase support to faculty who participate in externally sponsored research.
We have created a webpage to keep you informed about this initiative and invite you to explore its contents. Project updates, outcomes, and links to new policies and procedures will be posted to the website on an ongoing basis to share news of our progress.
Many individuals across the University participated in the initial phase of this initiative, and we hope you continue to provide us with your feedback. We thank you in advance for your contributions to this important endeavor. Please contact us with any questions as we move forward with this new phase.