Here you will find a repository of news and announcements related to research at the University of Delaware from 2011 to the present.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Potential Partial Federal Government Shutdown (Monday, February 11, 2019)
The federal government faces the potential of a repeat partial shutdown when its current budget expires this Friday, February 15, 2019. The agencies that would be impacted are the Departments of: Homeland Security, State, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce. Accounts within these agencies include FDA, NIFA, ERS, USDA, NSF, NIST, NOAA, NASA, and many others. As Congress continues to seek resolution with the White House to avert a partial shutdown, I write providing guidance regarding the impact a shutdown would have on UD’s sponsored programs. In brief, it is expected that work on active awards will continue during a shutdown. New awards funded out of the affected agencies will not be initiated nor will pending proposals be reviewed nor processed. Most personnel–program managers, grant administrators, etc.– are prohibited from working, or even accessing their computers during the shutdown. Thus, if you have urgent business to conduct with them, contact federal personnel before the close of business Friday, February 15th. The last federal government shutdown lasted thirty-five days. All other agency budgets were approved and signed into law earlier last fall, and thus, would not be impacted by a shutdown.
As a result of the last shutdown, some but not all, of the proposal deadlines were postponed although NSF FastLane remained open for proposal submission during the shutdown. There is no clarity how the decisions were made for individual programs. Hence, all PIs preparing proposals are encouraged to stay on the current timelines for submission and continue to submit as planned during a shutdown.
Federal agency employees who are paid with annual appropriations and who perform an activity associated with contract or grant administration, including oversight, inspection, payment, or accounting will generally not continue work during a shutdown. This means that normal, routine, ongoing operational and administrative activities performed by federal employees relating to contract or grant administration (including payment processing) cannot continue when there is a gap in funding.
Agencies have the ability to halt activity on grants, though this is not expected to happen for research. In general, active grant and contract activity funded with FY2018 or prior year appropriations can continue. However, agency personnel most likely will not be available for approvals, supervisory support, and other administrative functions.
In addition, it is not certain what will be the functionality of automated payment systems. Consequently, institutions should recognize that there is some risk that requests for reimbursement will not be processed.
Other electronic administrative systems may or may not be available, depending on each agency’s approach.
In the event of a shutdown, no new awards will be issued and most likely no new obligations will be made. If your award is incrementally funded and new funds are to be obligated in fiscal year 2018, this will not happen during the shutdown.
Agencies have the ability to delay proposal deadlines to compensate for any lapse in government activity. Most likely, new grant applications will not be accepted, though this also may depend on each agency’s internal approach.
Agency specific guidance should be made available on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are required by OMB to implement agency plans for operation during a shutdown. Most likely, each agency plan will not be identical. In addition, certain programs may have special operating instructions.
4. Important revisions have been made to the Resumption of Operations at NSF page on the NSF website (Thursday, January 31, 2019)
Important revisions have been made to the Resumption of Operations at NSF page on the NSF website, including identification of new deadline dates for specific solicitations and Dear Colleague Letters. This updated information will be of interest to your membership and we would appreciate your sharing with your colleagues as soon as possible. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.
Policy-related questions regarding the resumption of operations at NSF may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman
5. New Resumption of Operations at NSF (Monday, January 28, 2019)
A Resumption of Operations at NSF page has been developed that includes Important Notice No. 145, Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation, dated January 28, 2019, as well as supplemental guidance that addresses grant and cooperative agreement-related policy and systems issues. This page will be of interest to your membership and we would appreciate your sharing this link as soon as possible. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.
Policy-related questions regarding resumption of operations at NSF may be addressed to email@example.com.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman
6. Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects Update (Common Rule) (Monday, January 21, 2019)
Significant revisions to the “Common Rule” – a regulation that governs research involving human subjects conducted or sponsored by the Federal departments and agencies that have adopted those rules – are expected to take full effect on January 21, 2019.
This is the first revision to the Common Rule since its publication in 1991 and aims to strengthen the protection of research participants, while also reducing administrative burden for investigators.
The UD Institutional Review Board (IRB) will continue providing oversight of any studies reviewed and approved prior to January 21, 2019 under the version of the Common Rule under which the study was originally approved (pre-revisions). All new project submissions to the UD IRB beginning January 21, 2019 will be required to comply with the Revised Common Rule and will need to use the new templates as posted in IRBNet.
A new course on the “Revised Common Rule” is available under the University of Delaware training curriculum at www.citiprogram.org. Below is a summary of several key provisions and changes that will require compliance beginning January 21, 2019.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact UD IRB
7. Partial Government Shutdown (Wednesday, January 2, 2019)
A partial government shutdown has continued into the new year. While NIH and the Department of Education are funded, others such as NSF, NASA, NOAA, USDA, NIST, and NEH are not. Agency Contingency Plans and FAQs can be found on the OMB website.
9. Delay on the Updated Common Rule Effective Date (Monday, January 22, 2018)
In a final rule published on January 19, 2017, federal departments and agencies listed in this document made revisions to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) adopted the same regulatory changes in a separate final rule published on September 18, 2017. The revised policy, reflected in both final rules, is described here as the “2018 Requirements.” The 2018 Requirements are scheduled to become effective on January 19, 2018, with a general compliance date of January 19, 2018 (with the exception of the revisions to the cooperative research provision).
This interim final rule delays the effective date and general compliance date of the 2018 Requirements to July 19, 2018. The federal departments and agencies listed in this document are in the process of developing a proposed rule to further delay implementation of the 2018 Requirements. The limited implementation delay accomplished by this interim final rule both provides additional time to regulated entities for the preparations necessary to implement the 2018 Requirements, and additional time for the departments and agencies listed in this document to seek input from interested stakeholders through a notice and comment rulemaking process that allows for public engagement on the proposal for a further implementation delay.
10. NSF accepting proposals related to hurricane Irma (Thursday, September 21, 2017)
With the second major hurricane – Hurricane Irma – to strike the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its staff remain strongly committed to supporting the people and institutions affected by these storms. Now that the consequences of these disasters are upon us, new science and engineering questions are being raised. Through this Dear Colleague Letter, NSF encourages the submission of proposals that seek to address the challenges related to Hurricane Irma.