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This is the list of all contributions published on this web site, in chronological order.

By Carol Lunn (on 4/16/2015 @ 16:06:13, in Workshops, read 376 times)
On April 22nd, the MIST Cluster along with our partner the Louisiana Business and Technology Center (LBTC) will be hosting a workshop presented by NASA and its research partners. This workshop will bring together beach managers, researchers, public health and remote sensing experts to exchange ideas and information about beach water quality monitoring and management.

The goal of the workshop is to help promote the use of advanced beach monitoring tools throughout the Gulf Coast in an effort to enhance state beach monitoring programs and improve public health.

The workshop will be held in the ENCE Building at Louisiana State University. For additional information and to register for this event: https://sites.google.com/a/community.nasa.gov/science-ssc-nasa-gov/home/2015-beach-monitoring-workshop.

This email was sent to all faculty and posted on the ORSP blog.

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By Carol Lunn (on 4/16/2015 @ 13:59:37, in Important, read 249 times)
A notice issued by NIH on April 15 warned grant hopefuls of "serious consequences" for submitting applications with errors. "The purpose of this notice is to remind applicants, both investigators and grants office officials, that to be fair to all concerned the NIH needs to consistently apply standards for application compliance. Be mindful that non-compliance can have serious consequences. NIH may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that is not compliant with the instructions" in NIH's application guide, "Funding Opportunity Announcement, and relevant NIH Guide Notices," the announcement said. NIH gave examples of non-compliance, which included improperly completed biosketches. "Applications submitted as new but containing elements of a resubmission or renewal application are noncompliant with the resubmission policy," NIH said, in describing another example.

Link: http://www.mmsend25.com/link.cfm?r=133869014&sid=72959344&m=9877840&u=Atlantic2&j=27187256&s=http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-095.html

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By Carol Lunn (on 4/9/2015 @ 15:12:25, in Important, read 272 times)
Frequently Asked Questions on the National Science Foundation’s Implementation of 2 CFR § 200 (Uniform Guidance)

April 7, 2015

1. Which awards incorporate the new Uniform Guidance requirements?

The Uniform Guidance is effective for awards and funding increments on existing awards made on or after December 26, 2014. The Uniform Guidance will not be incorporated in the following circumstances:

• If the award is a standard grant made prior to December 26, 2014; or

• If the award is a continuing grant that has received all of its funding increments prior to December 26, 2014.

2. With the implementation of the new Uniform Guidance, how does an awardee know which terms and conditions apply an award?

For existing awards made prior to December 26, 2014, the terms and conditions referenced in the award notice will continue to apply.

If an existing award receives a funding increment on or after December 26, 2014, then the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) will be incorporated by reference into that funding amendment.

3. If an existing award receives a non-funding amendment (i.e., an amendment that does not provide any additional funding, such as a change of PI), is the amendment subject to the Grant General Conditions (GC-1) dated December 26, 2014?

No. The GC-1 is effective for new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing awards made on or after December 26, 2014. Non-funding amendments do not change the terms and conditions of the current award, except as noted in the administrative change.

4. If an existing award receives an amendment and the new GC-1 is incorporated, is it necessary to request a retroactive approval for items that normally require prior approvals?

Once an existing award receives a funding amendment that incorporates the GC-1, dated 12/26/14, preparation and submission of notifications and requests will follow the requirements specified in the new award conditions. Article 2 of the GC-1 outlines the 2 items that require approval from the National Science Foundation. (See also Award & Administration Guide, Exhibit II-1 for additional information.)

5. In regards to NSF’s recent change in the grant conditions that authorize grantees up to 120 days to submit final disbursement requests, will ACM$ allow for disbursement requests up to 120 days on awards not subject to the GC-1 dated, 12/26/15?

The 120 day standard will apply to all awards. The Award Cash Management System (ACM$) will not differentiate between awards and amendments made prior to December 26, 2014 and those made after December 26, 2014.

Indirect Costs

6. It states in the Grant Proposal Guide: "No supporting documentation is required for proposed rates of 10% or less of modified total direct costs." Is it therefore acceptable to allow less than 10% of modified total direct costs? If so, is 0% acceptable?

Submission of proposal budgets that reflect indirect cost rates below the de minimus 10% are not acceptable. NSF’s expectation with respect to indirect costs is made clear in NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.3.g(vi)(e):

“It is NSF’s expectation that, consistent with 2 CFR § 200.414, NSF awardees will use the domestic subrecipient’s applicable U.S. federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s). If no such rate exists, the NSF awardee may either negotiate a rate or use a de minimus indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs.”

7. The University has, on occasion, experienced receipt of budgets from subcontractors who elect not to charge F&A at all. Is a 0% F&A rate acceptable in these cases?

Indirect cost rates of 0% are not acceptable as this would represent a form of voluntary committed cost sharing which is prohibited under NSF’s Cost Sharing Policy.

Travel

8. Listed as a "Significant Change to the Grant Proposal Guide to Implement the Uniform Guidance" is all travel must now be justified in Line E of the budget. How detailed must this request be to meet this requirement? For instance, if the name of a conference is available but not the exact date or location, is this sufficient?

The NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II.C.2.g(iv) outlines what is required to justify travel costs: “Travel and its relation to the proposed activities must be specified, itemized and justified by destination and cost.” Therefore, proposers should provide as much information that is available to ensure that the travel is specified, itemized and justified. NSF realizes that all details may not be available at the time of proposal submission and, thus, proposers will be unable to provide such information.

9. When might temporary dependent care costs be allowable?

Temporary dependent care costs resulting from travel to conferences may be allowable when all of the conditions specified in 2 CFR § 200.474 have been met. Inclusion of such costs on a proposal budget may be appropriate only if all of the following conditions are met:

• the costs have to be a direct result of the individual’s travel for the Federal award;

• the costs have to be consistent with the non-Federal entity’s documented travel policy (so, if an institution does not allow such dependent care costs, then they would not be allowable on the NSF award); and

• the costs have to be above the normal dependent care costs (for example, if someone currently pays for dependent care during the weekday working hours, then the grant would not pay for those costs while the person is traveling; if however there are additional costs while traveling – such as for attendance at evening meetings – which may require additional care and costs above and beyond what one would normally incur while they were at home, then those additional costs could be allowable on the award).

NSF’s policy regarding travel support for dependents is covered in Chapter II.C.2.g(iv) of the Grant Proposal Guide:

Travel support for dependents of key project personnel may be requested only when the travel is for a duration of six months or more either by inclusion in the approved budget or with the prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Grants Officer. Temporary dependent care costs above and beyond regular dependent care that directly result from travel to conferences are allowable costs provided that the conditions established in 2 CFR § 200.474 are met.

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By Carol Lunn (on 3/13/2015 @ 14:29:51, in Funding Opportunities, read 313 times)
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the 2015 Internal Grant Programs (IGP). Eligible UNO faculty and research employees are encouraged to apply for one of these awards as a means of honing their grant-making skills, and for the purpose of developing new areas of research or scholarly endeavors.

Budget Note: These internal awards may be used to support up to one month regular salary, but may not be used for extra compensation. The current fringe benefit rate is charged and must be included within the appropriate budget limit (FY 15 fringe is 43% and FY 16 is projected to be 44%). Indirect cost is not charged on internal awards. The forms and guidelines are available on the ORSP IGP SharePoint site: https://sharepoint.uno.edu/research/igp/default.aspx

Deadline for submission of applications: March 20, 2015

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By Carol Lunn (on 3/6/2015 @ 15:25:24, in Important, read 257 times)
As you know, we are well into our first year of compliance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In an effort to prevent IRS penalties for our University next year at this time, please be reminded that student workers and intermittent workers are not allowed to work in excess of 29 hours in a work week. Also, please be reminded that during class sessions, student workers are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per work week.

Please forward this reminder to appropriate personnel who may not be on distribution.

Thanks,

Ranzy P. Montet

Assistant VP for Human Resource Management

504-280-6259 (Office)

504-280-6390 (Fax)

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By Carol Lunn (on 2/26/2015 @ 15:05:37, in Professional Development, read 396 times)
In a recent blog post and notice, NIH officials have made clear that recipients of the agency's largess should give back as peer reviewers. NIH first announced five years ago that it "calls upon investigators who have received research grant funding from the NIH to serve...when invited to do so." At the time, NIH also said, "this expectation for service is entirely voluntary and an inability to serve has no impact on an investigator's ability to compete for grant support." On Feb. 20, Richard Nakamura, director of NIH's Center for Scientific Review, the office that handles most of the peer review of applications for funding, addressed the issue anew on the blog Rock Talk, so-named because posts are usually authored by Sally Rockey, NIH's deputy director for extramural research. NIH crunched the numbers on the 25,500 investigators who have received "a total of $1 million in total costs from NIH in the last five years" and, based on the calculation that "one day of peer review service per year would be considered a reasonable expectation for service," concluded that "currently fewer than half of these funded scientists (45%) achieve that level of service" on peer review groups, Nakamura said. The complementary NIH notice, "Reinforcing Service to the Biomedical Research Community," said, in part, "NIH expects principal investigators of NIH supported grants and contracts to serve on NIH peer review groups, when asked" and "expects grantee institutions and R&D [research and development] contract recipients to encourage" such service among their NIH-supported investigators.

Link: http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2015/02/20/supporting-the-call-to-peer-review-service/

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By Carol Lunn (on 2/20/2015 @ 12:35:49, in ORSP Announcements, read 336 times)
The CERF 2015 Scientific Program Committee invites you to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation for CERF 2015. The Federation is committed to bringing scientists and students from around the world together to exchange information and ideas about the science and management of coastal ecosystems. CERF conferences provide outstanding opportunities for professionals at all stages in their career for continuing education and development.

There will be over 100 sessions at CERF 2015! Please consider submitting an abstract that examines new findings within CERF’s traditional scientific, education and management disciplines and encourages interaction among coastal and estuarine scientists and managers.

Additionally, the Scientific Program Committee encourages abstracts that promote intellectually stimulating discussions of the Grand Challenges in estuarine and coastal science including:

• Managing and mitigating the risks of climate change

• Synergistic effects of ocean acidification with hypoxia, eutrophication or other conditions

• Polar estuaries and coasts

• Making data work

• Cities by the sea

• Estuaries under threat and

• Multiple uses of coastal resources

Visit the website (http://www.erf.org/call-for-abstracts) for full information on sessions and procedures surrounding how to submit an abstract for CERF 2015.

Please contact the office conference@erf.org or (206) 209-2562 with questions.

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University of New Orleans computer science professor Stephen Ware has been awarded a two-year $138,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to develop artificial intelligence systems that interact more naturally with people.

Ware, an assistant professor of computer science, does research on computational models of narrative, meaning he studies how insights about human storytelling and story understanding can be better integrated into artificial intelligence systems. This grant will enable researchers in Ware’s Narrative Intelligence Lab to study how people reason hypothetically when reading and writing stories.

“Imagine a video game that tells a story, or an intelligent tutoring system that adapts to the individual needs of the student, or a military training simulation that responds to the choices of the trainee,” Ware said. “All of these systems need to change the narrative as they are used, and to make those changes they need some way to reason about narrative.”

Ware teaches classes at UNO on artificial intelligence and game development.

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By Carol Lunn (on 1/20/2015 @ 08:57:41, in Important, read 211 times)
On January 26, 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will implement changes in FastLane to support the revised version of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and to run additional automated compliance checks on proposals.

Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 15-1)

A revised PAPPG was issued on November 20, 2014, which incorporates OMB’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance), as well as other policy updates. The following changes will be made to FastLane to support the revised PAPPG:

• Budget Form Update: The budget form will be updated so that the “Residual Funds” line (Line K) will not be editable for all programs except Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR). As this field is currently used for the purpose of collecting fees, “Residual Funds” will be renamed to “Small Business Fee.”

• Budget Justification Upload: Budget justification can no longer be entered as text. Awardees will be required to upload a budget justification for each organization added to the budget via an upload screen. Already, 95% of proposers take advantage of the upload option.

• Cost Sharing Notifications Requirement: The existing requirement that only awards with cost sharing of $500,000 or more must submit a cost sharing certificate will be modified to support the revised policy which specifies that cost sharing notifications must be submitted by all awardees with awards that include cost sharing.

• New Funding Mechanism: The FastLane proposal cover sheet will be updated to include the new funding mechanism type, Ideas Lab. Ideas Lab is designed to support the development and implementation of creative and innovative project ideas. These projects will typically be high-risk/high-impact as they represent new and unproven ideas, approaches, and/or technologies.

Automated Compliance Checks

FastLane will begin to run an additional 24 automated compliance checks on proposals to ensure they comply with requirements outlined in the PAPPG, Chapter II.C.2 of the Grants Proposal Guide (GPG). These checks will validate a proposal for compliance with page count, proposal sections per type of funding mechanism and budget related rules for proposals submitted in response to the GPG, Program Announcements and Program Descriptions. At this time, these checks will not be enforced for proposals submitted in response to Program Solicitations.

• Page Count: Page count rules will be enforced on the following proposal sections:

o Project Description: 15-page limit [exceptions: 8-page limit for Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and 5-page limit for Rapid Response Research (RAPID)]

o Budget Justification: 3-page limit for the proposing institution and a separate, 3-page limit for each sub-recipient organization

o Mentoring Plan: 1-page limit

o Data Management Plan: 2-page limit

• Budget: Budget-related checks will focus primarily on proposal duration and requested amount. For example, the system will enforce a maximum requested amount of $200,000 for a RAPID proposal and $300,000 for an EAGER proposal.

• Proposal Section: Proposal sections will be enforced by their funding mechanism for Program Announcement, Program Description and other GPG-type funding opportunities. For example, an error message will appear if a Project Description was not provided for an EAGER proposal.

The checks detailed above will be triggered when the “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” or “Submit Proposal” functions are selected by a proposer or proposing organization. Depending on the rule being checked, a warning or error message will display when a proposal is found to be non-compliant. If an error message appears, the organization will not be able to submit the proposal until it is compliant. To view a detailed list of all compliance checks, click here.

We encourage you to share this information with your respective organization. Please contact policy@nsf.gov for any further questions.

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By Carol Lunn (on 1/14/2015 @ 13:01:06, in Board of Regents, read 356 times)
The Board of Regents made the following announcement: It has come to our attention that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, and Chapter II, Parts 200, 215, 220, 225, and 230), which went into effect on December 26, 2014, contains provisions which effect the indirect cost rate that can be claimed for proposals and subawards submitted to federal agencies.

2 CFR 200, section 414, paragraph (c) (1) states that "the negotiated rates must be accepted by all Federal awarding agencies" unless deviation is required by Federal statute or regulation or when OMB is notified of any approved deviations by the Federal awarding agency head.

Furthermore, Paragraph (c) (d) further requires that the pass-through entities (i.e., the Board of Regents) comply with section 200.331,which states in 200.331(4) that "an approved federally recognized indirect cost rate negotiated between the subrecipient and the Federal government" must be included in the subaward by the pass-through entities.

What this means is that the restriction on indirect costs that can be claimed for federal NASA funds that was indicated in our RFP (i.e., 25% of wages, salaries and fringe) is no longer in effect. Institutions may charge their federally-negotiated F&A rate for the NASA portion of the funds. The Support Fund portion is still restricted to 25% of salaries, wages, and fringe, however.

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