Category Archives: What can your college do for you?

FY18 Fringe Benefit Rates

The Office of Naval Research has recently approved Michigan Tech’s fiscal year 2018 predetermined Fringe Benefit rates  effective July 1, 2017.  The rate agreement can be found at

The rates effective July 1, 2017 are:

Regular Non-Student Employees Rate 39%

Summer/Additional Comp Rate 20%

Graduate Student Rate 8.6%

Temporary Employees Rate 9%

Undergraduate Student Rate 0%

NSF’s Proposal Requirements for Identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information

by Research Development and Office of Sponsored Programs

On April 24, the NSF initiated a new pilot for identifying conflicts of interest that affects all NSF proposals.

The Michigan Tech offices of Research Development and Sponsored Programs want to make a special note about the requirements for the Collaborators and Other Affiliations document. Over the last few years, this document has moved from inclusion on the NSF Biosketch to a separate document. As a separate document, it has evolved from a free-form document through two versions of an Excel spreadsheet template. With all these changes, it’s easy to get confused or lose track of which template should be used.

The most up-to-date template comes directly from NSF and can be found here. We have also saved a copy of this template to the RD Toolkit here.

Here are the most important things to note:

  • Has been developed to be fillable. However, the content and format requirements must not be altered by submitters.
  • Must be saved in .xlsx or .xls formats and directly uploaded into FastLane as a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document.
  • Will be converted by FastLane from an .xlsx or .xls file to a PDF file.
  • Has been tested in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and LibreOffice.
  • Will enable preservation of searchable text that otherwise would be lost. Must be uploaded in .xlsx or .xls formats only. Uploading a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document in any other format may delay the timely processing and review of your proposal.
  • Will be directly linked in FastLane. The template and associated instructions may also be accessed directly here.

It is important to note that the new form requires additional information that was not required in previous templates. You will need to plan time during proposal preparation to update this document to the new format.

NSF announced this document on listservs and in the NSF Proposal and Award Policy Newsletter here.

AAAS Releases FY 2018 R&D Budget Dashboard to Track Federal R&D

Summary provided by Federal Science Partners:

AAAS Releases FY 2018 R&D Budget Dashboard to Track Federal R&D — As Congress considers President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, the American Association for the Advancement Science has launched an interactive resource to help keep track of congressional appropriations decisions and their impact on research and development spending levels.  The R&D Appropriations Dashboard, created by AAAS’ R&D Budget and Policy Program, provides an accessible way to monitor a vital process.  The appropriations process involves a dozen separate House and dozen separate Senate measures that impact 12 departments and agencies and multiple offices responsible for carrying out leading science programs. Since the White House released its budget proposal, the R&D Budget and Policy Program has analyzed the impact of the budget blueprint on science programs throughout federal agencies. The latest budget analysis, for instance, reports that while the president’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal calls for 9.4% increase in defense spending, very little of that increase would benefit the Pentagon’s science and technology programs. Indeed, the Defense Department’s S&T programs would decline by about 5.4% below current fiscal 2017 funding levels. Still, the proposed funding level, while a decline, would represent a 3.5% spending increase above FY 2016 levels.  The dashboard – launched on June 5 – displays the president’s requests and will track changes made by the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees and the full committees as they move through each chamber and the final version sent to the president to sign into law. Observers will be able to follow bills through each step of the decision making process. The tool currently presents data from the White House’s May 23 budget proposal. The R&D Budget team will update the dashboard as the House and Senate appropriations panels work through the appropriations system.

Changes to Graduate Assistant Cost Share (GACS) – a pilot policy till end of August, 2017

In order to incentivize PIs to add graduate student support to proposals, a committee has been meeting and considering various alternatives to the current GACS criteria.  The new criteria are in the attached document.  These criteria will be introduced for a trial period, now till the end of August, 2017.  The most significant changes are:
1)  GACS will be available even if cost share is not mandatory
2)  GACS support will depend on the average annual direct costs (not including overhead) of the proposal.
3)  GACS support for proposals with average annual direct costs between $25K to $100k will be eligible for 100% of tuition support (approximately $19K, 19 credits; 9+9+1); proposals must include full-time year-round stipend support from sponsor so that students receive continuous support.
4)  GACS support for proposals with average annual direct costs between $101K to $200k will be eligible for 50% of tuition support (approximately $9.5K, 8.5 credits); proposals must include full-time year-round stipend support from sponsor.
5)  GACS support for proposals with mandatory cost-share and large proposals (>$350k annual average direct costs) will also be in the form of tuition support.  Details are included in the attachment.
I hope that your faculty will take advantage of the enhanced GACS support.  SRO is aware of these new criteria and will bring it to the attention of PIs when they prepare budgets.
The committee members include: Nina Mahmoudian (MEEM), Jason Carter (KIP), Victor Busov (SFRES), Lisa Jukkula (SRO), Tammy LaBissoniere (SRA), Pete Larsen (SRO) (Heather Suokas (Grad School) and myself.
The committee is continuing to meet and discuss how best to use GACS funds to incentivize adding graduate student support to proposals.  Please get in touch with us with your suggestions/comments.
Pushpalatha Murthy
Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI-49931
Ph: 906-487-2326

Sponsored Programs Office will pilot a two-tier internal deadline structure for the following opportunities in June and July, 2017:

NIH R01 Research Grants – sponsor deadline June 5

NIH R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award – sponsor deadline June 16

NIH R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) – sponsor deadline June 25

NSF CAREER – sponsor deadline July 19, 20 and 21 depending on Directorate

This pilot will include a staggered, two-tier internal deadline structure for the submission of the final internal and external documents related to each of the above opportunities.  All final internal documents and the application package (completed in NIH ASSIST or NSF FastLane) will be due to the Sponsored Programs Office no later than 7:00 a.m., 1 week (7 calendar days) prior to the sponsor deadline.  However, not all of the science documents in the application package needs to be final at this point and the application package does not need to include the completed budget forms.  All final science related documents will be due to the Sponsored Programs Office no later than 7:00 a.m. the day of the sponsor deadline.  Once received, personnel in the Sponsored Programs Office will upload the final documents into the application package.  This later deadline will provide valuable time for the PI/researcher to focus on the science aspects of the proposal.

Once the Sponsored Programs Office receives the internal documents and the application package, personnel in the Sponsored Programs Office will enter the approved budget into the applicable application package….the PI/researcher will not need to complete this task.

The specific science related documents for each application package will be identified and communicated to the respective Principal Investigators once the intent to submit is known.

Please share this information with your faculty/staff and let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Lisa Jukkala
Director, Sponsored Programs Office
Michigan Technological University
3rd Floor Lakeshore Center
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI  49931-1295
Phone:  906/487-2226
Fax:  906/487-2245

Dr. Bill Farquhar’s presentation

Thanks to those who came to Dr. Bill Farquhar’s presentation on April 21.  The feedback I received from many of you was quite positive. Most felt it was, if nothing else, a very thought-provoking session.

Several of you asked if you could have a copy of the presentation; I have attached for you.  There are some real gems hidden in his presentation regarding how they changed the culture at U Delaware, where they now have 5 active NIH R01’s in a department that had nothing but NIH R15 grants 8 years ago…

Jason R. Carter, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Dept of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Phone: (906)487-2715
Fax: (906)487-0985



Mobility @ Michigan Tech Thursday, April 20 at 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Michigan Tech is pleased to announce its inaugural Mobility Summit, which will occur on campus Thursday, April 20 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be the featured keynote speaker. The summit will include poster presentations, research discussions/visioning in the broad theme of mobility technologies (similar to the recent Tech Talks), and a lunch session with MDOT Director Steudle. The event is being organized by Michigan Tech’s mobility-affiliated research centers and institutes, the Vice President for Research, and the College of Engineering.

Please “save the date” to join this important discussion and RSVP by clicking here. If you have contacts external to Michigan Tech that would be interested in joining this discussion, please forward this invitation so we can include them as materials are disseminated.

If you and/or your students are interested in presenting a mobility-related poster during the morning research session, please fill in this interest form by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 7. If you have questions about presenting a poster, please contact Pam Hannon in the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute for more information (906-487-3065 or

Additional information and a more detailed agenda will be sent to registered attendees in the coming days.

Thursday, April 20 at 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Lobby