Collaborations are Key: Planning is Essential
Collaborative arrangements are becoming the norm to exhibit depth and maximize impact in funding proposals. Since sponsors are more likely to support projects which involve collaborative aspects, it's wise to plan for successful relationships from the preliminary stages of proposal development.
Collaborations may be internal to the university that represent interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary teams within JMU, but often collaborations involve working with colleagues outside of the University. These collaborative proposals are complex and require additional time and coordination, so we encourage you to start early to avoid unnecessary stress as the proposal deadline approaches. If you are the Principal Investigator on a funding proposal and wish to include external collaborators, please set a timeline for receipt of collaborators' materials. JMU's Office of Sponsored Programs staff will assist you in setting reasonable expectations and coordinating receipt of materials from your collaborators. Please notify us as early as possible so we may discuss the best options and necessary timeline for gathering the collaboratorís information.
It often takes much longer to gather proposal materials from external collaborators for inclusion in a funding application than when all the project resources are from JMU. Each organization has its own proposal development and approval process they must follow. In most cases, their proposal development process must be completed before it can be included into JMU's proposal to begin our approval process.
To help facilitate the collaborative process, JMU has developed a Collaborator Checklist http://www.jmu.edu/sponsprog/proposal_assist/CollaborationChecklist.html. While the actual documents required may vary by application, the following is a core list of components that JMU requires to include collaboratorsí materials in our funding applications:
- Letter of Commitment - signed by an authorized representative
- Statement of Work
- Line Item Budget for the complete project period
- Budget Justification
If JMU is collaborating with another institution taking the lead on the proposal, the reverse of the situation will apply. JMU will need to provide all our approved proposal materials before the lead institution can finalize and approve the full application. JMU's Office of Sponsored Programs can again coordinate with the other institution to determine all the required documents and then work with you to develop the process and timeline for meeting the collaborator's expectations.
National Science Foundation Issues Draft PAPPG for 2014
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its draft 2014 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Once finalized, the PAPPG will go into effect January 1, 2014. "Significant" changes from the current guide are highlighted in yellow in the draft. Among them is a requirement to specify a category for a proposal, such as research; conference, symposia, or workshop; equipment/instrumentation; or facility center. The draft specifies that "indirect costs [facilities and administrative] are not allowed on participant support costs" and that proposers may be asked to provide information on possible environment impacts of a project and will be expected, when appropriate, to notify NSF of any impacts once a project has begun. Costs to acquire visas are also addressed.
Draft PAPPG: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/papp/papp14_1/draftpappg_june2013.pdf
"How careful are your basic lab practices? Of course, we all assume that those working in laboratories with bacteria, human cells, and other potentially bio-hazardous material are trained up front on what the proper PPE for an area might be and how/when to use it. All too often, though, we become complacent.
A recent study in the 'Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences' demonstrates how even the most careful of scientists can cause problems when careful is just not careful enough. Invasive, albeit hardy, species have begun to spring up in the barren, frigid wasteland of Antarctica. Plants normally only seen in places like South America have been discovered growing during the 'warmer' part of the year. Invasive species pose a threat to several of the fragile ecosystems of the area. Is it global warming, or some ancient spore causing mischief? Nope, after questioning 5,600 visitors to the area and searching 853 pieces of baggage, it seems the people that had no intention of bringing along seeds are doing do on their very person. Many of the people are the very scientists that are arriving to protect and conduct research on preserving the area.
For more information read: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/27/1119787109.full.pdf+html?sid=92e4c0c9-4a41-40be-9e76-8a4966e9b210
Now a seed is small, but much of what biomedical researchers work with every day can number in the thousands on the surface those same seeds. Though you cannot see them, researchers must always be aware of proper safety habits to keep from spreading 'work' to themselves and others. This, of course, includes taking off your gloves when leaving the lab or switching between activities."
University of South Alabama’s Office of Research Compliance and Assurance. (2012). Universal precautions. Research Compliance News. Retrieved from