Office of Sponsored Programs Administration & Accounting


July 2015 Newsletter Header



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

From May 11, 2015 - Aug. 21, 2015, the Office of Sponsored Programs will be following JMU's Summer Schedule:
Monday - Thursday, 8:00am - 5:00pm, and Friday, 8:00am - 12noon

Updates from the Director

Spring Effort Certifications Delayed but Coming Soon

You may have wondered why you have not received a reminder to complete your Spring Term Effort Certifications from the Effort Reporting System (ERS).  The ERS is undergoing an upgrade which has delayed Spring certifications but they will be generated in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for your notifications.


Featured Funding Opportunity

Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

On June 17, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the broad agency announcement (BAA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) as part of the larger University Research Initiative (URI) aimed at institutions of higher education. 

MURIs remain one of the signature DoD research programs for the university community and stand as the benchmark for building a defense-oriented research capability on campus.  This year’s MURI topics are intended to be broader in several areas. Like previous years, topics are developed and submitted by the Services (Air Force, Army, and Navy.

Individual awards can range from $1 million to $2.5 million annually for up to five years, and MURI awards have typically fallen between $1.25 million and $1.5 million annually. 

Whitepapers due September 8, 2015

Time Line for Submission of White Papers:  

  • Questions Regarding white papers are due on Tuesday, August 25 at 4:00PM Eastern
  • White papers are due on Tuesday, September 8 at  4:00 PM Eastern
  • DOD will send notification of initial DOD evaluations of white papers on September 24.
  • Questions regarding full proposals are due Monday, November 23, at 4:00PM Eastern
  • Full proposals are due Monday, December 7 at  4:00 PM Eastern
  • Notification of selection for award will be made on April 5, 2016
  • Grants will start on June 1, 2016

View the full solicitation (ONR-15-FOA-0011) here.

Timely Topics

New Federal Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) in Effect July 1

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS who is JMU’s cognizant agency) has just approved a four-year extension of current facilities and administrative (F&A) or indirect cost rates for JMU. The current rates will remain in effect through 6/30/2019.

The rates are a result of a detailed analysis of sponsored project costs and space usage. F&A costs, also known as indirect costs, are the mechanism the federal government allows for the University to recover costs that cannot be easily assigned to specific projects.  Since the charges are not specifically assigned to a project, they are charged on an average basis to all projects using this rate.

F&A costs consist of building costs, utility costs, equipment costs, operating and maintenance costs, and administrative costs incurred by the University. It is important to note that the final approved rates are less than the University’s actual costs calculated.  This is due to a regulatory cap on administrative expenses and negotiations between the University and the Federal negotiators regarding facility costs.

Our current agreement is dated 6/08/2015 and formalizes the following negotiated rates:

Activity Type

On-Campus Rate

Off-Campus Rate *

Effective Dates

Organized Research



7/01/2015 – 6/30/2017

Organized Research



7/01/2017 – 6/30/2019




7/01/2014 – 6/30/2019

Other Sponsored Activities



7/01/2015 – 6/30/2019

Calculation Method: Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC)

MTDC Base Includes:

Salaries & Wages

  • Fringe benefits
  • Materials
  • Supplies
  • Equipment under $5,000 acquisition cost per unit is considered Materials & Supplies.
  • Services
  • Travel
  • Subgrants/subcontracts up to first $25,000 of each subaward regardless of duration

MTDC Base Excludes:

  • Equipment (acquisition cost over $5,000 per unit)
  • Capital Expenditures
  • Charges for patient care
  • Tuition remission
  • Rental costs of off-site facilities
  • Student scholarships and fellowships & stipends
  • The portion of each subgrant/subcontract in excess of $25,000

*Off-campus rates apply when more than 50% of the project is performed off campus and in a facility not owned by the University.


New Procedures in Effect for Budgeting and Administering Participant Support Costs

Procedural Changes: Effective immediately Sponsored Programs Administration & Accounting is implementing new procedures for identifying, budgeting and administering Participant Support Costs on grant proposals and awards.  These changes govern budgeting and administration of all funding which includes the sponsor-defined category of Participant Support Costs.  Participant Support Costs (PSC) must be clearly identified and justified at the proposal stage and properly accounted for and administered in accordance with the sponsor’s regulations.  PSCs are excluded from the application of facilities and administrative/indirect costs, will be tracked separately, cannot be rebudgeted without specific written prior approval from the sponsor, must be returned if unused at the conclusion of the project and cannot be used to offset cost overruns in other categories.

How will it affect you? The biggest change that principal investigators will see is that when receiving an award which includes PSC, two department ID’s will be assigned: one for the base award and one for the PSC part of the award. This is to meet sponsor requirements that these expenditures are segregated and monitored separately from the other costs associated with the award.


Participant support costs: Direct costs for items such as participant stipends, supplies, per diem, tuition, travel expenses, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of a participant (but not employees) in connection with a meeting, workshop, conference, symposium or training project.

Participant: A participant is a non-university employee who is a recipient of a service or training session associated with a workshop, conference, seminar, symposium or other information sharing activity. Participants may be students, national scholars and scientists, private sector representatives, agency personnel, teachers, and others who attend and participate in the conference, workshop, or training activity supported by a particular award. University employees cannot be participants. Participants perform no work or services for the project or program other than for their own benefit. A participant is not involved in providing any deliverable to the university or a third party.


New NSF Report Shows Federal Funding for Science and Engineering at Universities Down 6%

In FY 2013, federal agencies obligated $29 billion to 995 academic institutions for science and engineering (S&E) activities. This represents a 6% decrease in current dollars from the $31 billion obligated to 1,073 academic institutions in FY 2012. This is the third year in a row of declining S&E funding to academic institutions. These statistics are from the Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions from the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF, NCSES).

After adjustment for inflation, federal S&E obligations to academic institutions declined by $1 billion (4%) from FY 2011 to FY 2012 and declined by $2 billion (7%) between FY 2012 and FY 2013.

This national downward trend in federal research dollars flowing to universities is consistent with the 16% decline since FY2014 in federal dollars to JMU for research.

Full Story.

Compliance Corner

Focus on Biosafety

 JMU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and the NIH Guidelines:

The JMU IBC reviews and documents all research and teaching activities that involve the use of recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. This includes activities that are conducted with non-infectious or non-toxic agents. JMU IBC policies are based on the requirements outlined in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules.

The JMU IBC reviews all research and teaching activities involving recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, even if the experiments are exempt by the NIH guidelines.

Do I need to register with the IBC?

If your research and/or teaching activities involve any of the following items, yes, you need to register with the IBC.

  • Infectious Agents (bacteria, viruses, protozoans, fungi, etc.)
  • Biologically derived toxins
  • Human and/or non-human primate cells, tissues, blood or body fluids
  • Production of cultures ≥10 L
  • Recombinant DNA/RNA
  • Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules
  • Transgenic Animals, invertebrates and/or plants
  • Select Agents
  • Prions
  • Dual-Use Technologies
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Human gene transfer

 If you are unsure whether or not you need to register your activities with the JMU IBC, please contact the Office of Research Integrity at

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