Changes to National Science Foundation Proposal Requirements Effective January 25, 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that affects all NSF proposals going forward. This new document contains NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), which governs all NSF proposal submissions.

The new guide can be found here, and a full summary of the significant changes to the Grant Proposal Guide can be found online.

In particular, investigators should note:

  • A new single-copy document is required for each senior project personnel that provides information regarding collaborators and other affiliations. This information used to be provided as part of the Biographical Sketch. The new format no longer requires proposers to identify the total number of collaborators and other affiliations when providing this information.
  • Proposers may now use third-party solutions to develop their biographical sketch, however, the information they submit must be compliant with NSF proposal preparation requirements. In addition, it is no longer allowable for the biographical sketches of all senior personnel to be grouped together in a single PDF file. Biographical sketches must now be uploaded separately for each individual identified on the proposal as senior personnel. Biographical sketches for Other Personnel and for Equipment proposals (Chapter II.C.2.f(ii) and (iii) respectively), however, should be uploaded as a single PDF file in the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal.
  • All current and project support should be listed in the Current and Pending Support section of the proposal, including internal funds allocated toward specific projects. It is no longer allowable for the current and pending support of all senior personnel to be grouped together in a single PDF file. Current and pending support must now be uploaded separately for each individual identified on the proposal as senior personnel.
  • Results from prior NSF support must be provided for any PI or co-PI that has received NSF funding with a start date in the past five years (including any current funding and no-cost extensions). Information also has been added on which types of NSF awards must be reported on in this section of the proposal.
  • The Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section, now specifies the format that must be used for letters of collaboration.
  • Public Access to Copyrighted Material, is an entirely new section which provides information on NSF’s Public Access Policy. This policy also is referenced in Chapter VI.E.1 on publication and distribution of grant materials.

February 2016 Internal Proposal Deadline Change

Due to the large number of proposals expected to be submitted to sponsors on February 16 and February 25, the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) finds it necessary to adjust the internal proposal deadline for those specific dates only to four working days prior to the sponsor’s deadline.  The additional time will allow for our analysts to perform our review process.

The internal deadline for those proposals due to sponsors on February 16 will be February 11 and for those proposals due to sponsors on February 25 will be February 22.

SPO will communicate the new internal deadline to those PI’s that have informed us about their intent to submit.  Please share this important change with your faculty and staff.

NIH Application Tips: What Staff Check After Submission that Systems Can’t

Posted on November 24, 2015 by NIH Staff
(https://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2015/11/24/application-tips-what-staff-check-after-submission-that-systems-cant/)

You may be familiar with the top ten tips for smoothly getting your application through electronic application submission systems (if not, watch this video!). But are you familiar with the kinds of things NIH staff look at after submission before your application can go to review?

The latest issue of eRA’s NIH eSubmission Items of Interest highlights some of the questions staff ask, before referring applications for further processing. These include:

Does the application include all critical sections?

  • Our systems can tell if you attached a pdf document in a certain spot in the application, but can’t assess the content of that attachment. Make sure you attach the correct document, with the correct content, in the correct spot.

Does the topic of the application fit NIH’s mission?

Is the applicant eligible to apply?

Does the application include information in inappropriate places to get around page limits?

  • Resist the temptation to use appendices and other non-page-limited application sections to augment information in your specific aims, research strategy, abstract, biosketches and other page-limited sections of your application (NOT-OD-11-080NOT-OD-07-018).

Was the application submitted on-time?

  • Unlike many agencies, NIH does not shut down the ability to submit to a funding opportunity announcement at 5:01 pm on a due date. We keep the submission door open and assess the circumstances of “late” submissions on a case-by-case basis. Staff check your cover letter submitted with your application for documented circumstances allowed under our late policy. They check to see if the application falls under our continuous submission policy. They also check to see if you ran into any system issues along the way and appropriately notified the eRA service desk to document them.

Do you already have an application with essentially the same content under review?

  • Even under our latest submission rules which allow you to submit the same application again, you can’t have overlapping applications under review at NIH at the same time (NOT-OD-14-074).

Did you follow font and margin guidelines documented in the application guide when preparing all your attachments?

 

Holiday Hours for the VP for Research Units

The Vice President for Research Office (VPR), Sponsored Programs Office (SPO), Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA), Research Development (RD), Sponsored Operations Office (SOO), Compliance, Integrity & Safety (CIS), Occupational Safety and Health Services (OSHS), Institutional Analysis (IA), Budget Office, and Innovation and Industry Engagement (IIE) all have special operating hours during the holidays.

Office hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the following days:

Monday, December 21st – Wednesday, December 23rd
Monday, December 28th – Wednesday, December 30th

If you need proposal submission services during these business days, alert SPO/IIE prior to the holiday break. Regular office hours of 8:00-5:00 will resume on Monday, January 4th.

FY16 Fringe Benefit Rates Update

The Office of Naval Research has recently approved the fiscal year 2016 predetermined Fringe Benefit rates for Michigan Tech effective July 1, 2015. This predetermined rate agreement replaces the provisional rates communicated in the memo to the Deans, Chairs and Directors on July 1, 2015. This final rate agreement consists of two rate changes from the provisional rate agreement and is effective retroactively to July 1, 2015. The graduate student rate has changed to 7.7% from 9.4% and the temporary employee rate has changed to 9% from 12.5%.

These approved fringe benefit rates should be used on all Sponsored Programs proposal budgets as of the date of this memo. All funds, including sponsored projects, will be charged these new rates retroactive to July 1, 2015. Sponsored Programs Accounting will contact departments and Principal Investigators if a sponsored project that has been closed or is in the process of being closed is affected.

In accordance with the Fiscal Year 2016 approved Predetermined Fringe Benefit rate agreement, the rates effective July 1, 2015 are as follows:

· Regular Non-Student Employees Rate 37.5%

· Summer/Additional Compensation Rate 20.0%

· Graduate Student Rate 7.7%

· Temporary Employees Rate 9%

· Undergraduate Student Rate 0%

Change in Internal Proposal Deadline for NIH Proposals

The Sponsored Programs Office has changed the internal proposal deadline for NIH proposals requiring them one day earlier than the published internal deadline.  Due to the increased processing time for compliance checks during the submission process, this adjustment was necessary to ensure the complete submission by the NIH deadline.
This change has been noted on the Internal Deadline Chart.​

FY16 Fringe Benefit Rates

The Office of Naval Research has issued a Provisional Fringe Benefit rate for Michigan Tech. Effective July 1, 2015, the regular non-student employee fringe rate of 37.5%, temporary employee rate of 12.5% and graduate student employee rate of 9.4% will be applied to all funds, including active sponsored projects.  The provisional rates should be used on Sponsored Programs proposal budgets, with a sponsor submission deadline after July 8, 2015.

In accordance with the Fiscal Year 2016 Provisional Fringe Benefit rate agreement, the rate effective July 1, 2015 are as follows:

New rates effective July 1, 2015 are as follows:

  • Regular non-student rate: 37.5%
  • Summer/additional rate: 20.0%
  • Graduate student rate: 9.4%
  • Temporary employee rate: 12.5%
  • Undergraduate rate: 0%

The provisional rates are temporary and the final rates are expected in the next few months.  If the final rate agreement varies from the provisional rate agreement a memo will be sent outlining any changes to active sponsored projects and Sponsored Programs proposal budgets.

NSF CAREER 2015 Deadlines and Request for Intent to Submit

To support researchers intending to submit a CAREER proposal in 2015, the Vice President for Research Office asks Investigators to complete an “intent to submit” form that can be accessed here: https://docs.google.com/a/mtu.edu/forms/d/1FuTFllPU_YCcmsS7jwTFZLERnnG-sdUHSUFXijs-ihU/viewform?usp=send_form.

The form is non-binding (you can still change your mind), but it will help us to plan for the expected high volume of submissions. It should only take a minute or two to complete. Please fill out the intent to submit form by the end of May to aid in this process.

Please also note the following 2015 NSF CAREER internal deadlines, as these are earlier than the standard internal proposal deadlines.

  • ALL budgets for CAREER proposals are due to the sponsored programs office no later than noon on Tuesday, July 7, 2015.
  • The internal deadline for complete proposals, “submit” access, and all internal paperwork will be noon on the day falling one week prior to the applicable discipline-specific NSF deadline.

Accordingly, proposals submitted to

  • BIO, CISE, or EHR directorates will be due on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at noon
  • ENG directorate will be due on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at noon
  • GEO, MPS, SBE directorates will be due on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at noon

The CAREER solicitation and related program information can be found here: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214

Please review the solicitation carefully, with particular emphasis on eligibility and compliance requirements. Jodi Lehman (jglehman@mtu.edu) and Pete Larsen (palarsen@mtu.edu) are available to assist with proposal development.

NIH Policy on Application Compliance

NIH has recently sent out a reminder on their policy on application compliance (NOT-OD-15-095). NIH may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that is not compliant with the instruction in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, the Funding Opportunity Announcement, and relevant NIH Guide Notices. Please be mindful that non-compliance can have serious consequences.

Some examples of how this policy is applied to NIH applications include but are not limited to:

  • Applications containing one or more biosketches that do not conform to the required format may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-032).
  • Applications that do not conform to the page limit requirements because inappropriate materials have been included in other parts of the application may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-11-080).
  • Applications submitted as new but containing elements of a resubmission or renewal application are noncompliant with the resubmission policy and may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-059).
  • Applications submitted after 5 PM local (applicant organization) time on the application due date may be withdrawn (NOT-OD-15-039).

To expedite the submission process, the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) is asking PI’s to be cognizant of what elements are required and ensure they are all included in the proposal prior to the internal review. SPO will also be reviewing proposals to make sure all required documents are included and are compliant with guidelines.