Office of Sponsored Programs Administration & Accounting


December 2015 newsletter header



Business Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 - 5:00pm

Updates from the Director


With two weeks left before winter break, there is very little time to work on funding proposals before January 4. We highly encourage you to contact us NOW about proposals due next month because January is shaping up to be a very busy month for deadlines. Factor in limited staffing in the Office of Sponsored Programs AND the potential for inclement weather and we may encounter a situation where your deadline will be missed. We will be adhering to the FIVE DAY BUSINESS RULE so that we can ensure that all proposals are complete, compliant, and submitted on time. That means submit all final materials to the Office of Sponsored Programs at least 5 business days prior to the sponsor’s published deadline.  This will ensure that we have resources available to complete your proposal and provide the best opportunity for a successful application.

Consider Year-End Transactions on your Grants Now

Please process your PAR forms for the fall salary and any salary related Accounting Transaction Vouchers (ATVs) by the first week of January.  This will help to avoid misinformation related to the fall effort reporting cycle.  

Timely Topics

National Science Foundation Updates

Public Access to Results (PAR) of NSF-funded Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) implements new public access requirements for awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016.  Products of NSF-funded research that are either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions must:

  • Be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF;
  • Be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;
  • Possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;
  • Be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and
  • Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

Principal Investigators are responsible for meeting the public access requirements and must ensure that all researchers who work on projects funded in whole or in part by NSF grants or cooperative agreements comply with the public access policy.  The OSP will issue additional updates on this initiative as they become available.   For more information, please refer to the official NSF announcement:

New  Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1)

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016.  Significant changes include:

  • Enforcement of 5 p.m. submitter’s local time across all NSF funding opportunities;
  • Implementation of NSF’s Public Access Policy;
  • Submission of proposal certifications by the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) concurrently with proposal submission;
  • NSF’s implementation of the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences on Dual Use Research of Concern;
  • Provision of Collaborators and Other Affiliations information as a new single-copy document, instead of as part of the Biographical Sketch; 
  • Submission of Biographical Sketches and Current and Pending Support separately for each senior personnel (not as a combined file);
  • Electronic signature and submission of notifications and requests by the AOR only;
  • Revision of timeframe for submission of final project reports, project outcomes reports and financial closure of awards to 120 days after the award end date

NSF Also Tightens Scrutiny on Biosketches

Reminder: Do not submit any personal information in the biographical sketch. This includes items such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, address, fax, or cell phone numbers, marital status, personal hobbies, and the like. Such personal information is not appropriate for the biographical sketch and is not relevant to the merits of the proposal. The section “Collaborations” will be removed from the new required NSF biosketch and will be uploaded separately as a single copy document.

NIH Updates

NIH rolls out new forms (FORMS C and D) and new grant policies (NOT-OD-16-004, NOT-OD-16-005. The Forms C will be effective for applications with due dates between 1/25/2016 and 5/24/2016.  Forms D will be effective on or after 5/25/2016 and are still under development. Reference the new FORMS-C application guide.

IRB Redefinition: NIH redefined the age of a child for the purposes of NIH's inclusion policy to individuals under 18 years old instead of under 21 years old.

Vertebrate Animals Update: NIH will remove redundancy with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee review while meeting the requirements of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Changes include:

  • Updated guidance on criteria to be addressed (description of procedures; justifications; minimization of pain and distress; and euthanasia)
  • A description of veterinary care is no longer required
  • Justification for the number of animals has been eliminated
  • A description and justification of the method of euthanasia is required only if the method is not consistent with AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals

NIH is Getting Serious about Biosketch Compliance

On November 5, NIH started sending email notifications to applicants indicating reviewers found one or more biosketches that did not comply with the current biosketch format (NOT-OD-15-032). These letters are currently just warnings and require no action on your part. However, they do demonstrate NIH’s commitment to enforcing compliance with biosketch policy.


What does it mean to have a compliant NIH biosketch?

eRA systems ensure some biosketch rules are met by flagging errors upon submission. Applications that violate these auto-compliance checking rules won’t even move forward to NIH for consideration.

  • A biosketch is attached for each and every Sr/Key person listed in the application
  • Each biosketch is less than or equal to 5 pages
  • Each biosketch attachment is in PDF format

There are additional rules you must follow to be compliant that aren’t systematically caught by eRA systems but by reviewers:

  • Include each section (A - Personal Statement; B – Positions and Honors; C – Contributions to Science; D – Research Support or Scholastic Performance)
  • Include no more than 5 contributions to science with no more than 4 citations per contribution
  • Ensure that if you include the optional link to a full list of your published work in a site like My Bibliography that the URL is public, accessible without providing any login or personal information, and doesn’t link to websites that may violate page limit rules
    • Note: NIH will restrict this link to federal (.gov) sites beginning with applications to due dates on/after May 25, 2016 (NOT-OD-16-004)
    • Refrain from including information, such as preliminary data, that belongs elsewhere in the application
    • Follow NIH guidance on font type, font size, paper size, and margins (See section 2.6 of application guide)

NIH cautions; don’t make extra work for your reviewer – give them a clean application without the distraction of non-compliant formatting they have to write up.

Take the worry out of biosketch preparation and use the tool SciENcv. Not only does SciENcv help manage biosketch information, it also creates perfectly compliant biosketches.

Eventually current warning letters will be replaced with notifications that applications have been removed from consideration. 

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