One Simple Trick Will Get Your Money, and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

In keeping with the topic from two weeks ago (“Hip Hip Hooray for New F&A“), we’d like to highlight the importance of correctly calculating your indirect costs using the new rates.  Remember:


  • Each year of your project is going to have differently applicable F&A rates
  • Each year of your project may have more than one applicable F&A rate, and should be proportionately weighted


If, for example, you have a project that begins on September 1, 2014, a 52% F&A rate will apply to the first month of your project, but the new 52.5% will apply to the remaining 11 months in that first project year.  On the second year of the project, 52.5% will apply to the first month, but the new 53% will apply to the remaining 11 months of that project period (and so on, and so forth).


The importance of calculating out each year correctly comes down to safeguarding against leaving money on the table.  Using a single F&A rate for all project years means leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table when submitting your proposal budget.  On a five-year/modular project, for example, calculating the correct and proportional indirect costs based on the rate agreement will generate over $18,000 more in qualified project dollars than using a flat, single rate.


For help determining your multi-rate F&A calculation, check out the spreadsheet we developed; it will calculate your proportional F&A costs and highlight what needs to go into your SF424 (see the example tab for a visual explanation). Feel free to contact us with any questions!


Aquiring Your PMCID By All Means Necessary

You may by now be familiar with the four proffered methods of bringing your publications compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy.  If you are not, you may want to check out our primer to familiarize yourself with the steps to becoming public access compliant (and, therefore, obtaining your PMCID number; for more information about the stages in which you can submit your publication, check out the NIH’s overview table).  Method A is the easiest, as it allows the journal itself to deposit your manuscript without your involvement.  Only certain journals have a “Method A relationship” with the NIH, however; if you have published in a journal that is not Method A, you’ll have to choose one of the author-initiated Methods B-D in order to bring your publication to compliance.




There is a less-publicized “gray area” means of submission that is not provided for in the infamous “Chart of Methods”.  Some publishers (Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Sage, etc.) have relationships with the NIH that streamline the process of submission for journals in their houses, even if they are not Method A.  There are steps in place by these publishers as “author services” that allow you to use their channels to obtain your PMCID number, and therefore, your compliance.


In most cases, once your paper has been accepted for publication, you will be requested to fill out a funding form and identify yourself as a NIH author.  This will trigger an operational process that ensures that the publisher will send to PMC the final peer-reviewed manuscript, and authorize its public access posting.  In most cases, this happens within 12 months of final publication.  You should be contacted by NIH once your manuscript has been deposited.  Different publishers have different methods; be sure to check with yours!


In short, if your journal is not Method A, check with your publisher for any existing relationship with NIH regarding its public access policy before you begin processes for Methods B-D.  You may save yourself a lot of time and frustration!

Hip Hip Hooray for New F&A

Wayne State University recently received its final Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs rate agreement.  It’s very important that, when you are calculating your modified total direct costs, they reflect the following numbers for all forthcoming RESEARCH projects ON CAMPUS:


Project Period

F&A Rate

Now until 09/30/2014






10/01/2016-09/30/2018 (and later, until a new agreement is in place)


 ** As most projects have an earliest start date of 04/2015 at this point, this will be the first-year rate for most projects at this point.  Please contact RAS if you are unsure.


Beginning 10/01/2014, the University fringe rate for faculty and administration will change as well, to 26.6%.


The new rate agreement (dated May 14, 2014)  in its entirety has been posted by SPA, and can be viewed here.  In addition to the commonly used rates posted here, you can also find the new rates for off-campus research, instruction, and other activities.  Fringe benefit rates are also provided for employee classes other than faculty and administration.  If you have any questions about calculating F&A costs for your upcoming submissions, drop us a note!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…! The new NIH Biosketch format.

Mark your calendars, the new format is expected to go into effect in early FY2015 (for projects expected to start in FY2016).  Here are some of the changes that you will see:

  • Length: A five page length will apply to the entire biosketch.  
  • Publications: Instead of listing publications, researchers will include a link to complete list of publications in SciENcv or My NCBI.
  • Significance: Description of up to five significant contributions to science, the associated influence of  each, and any subsequent effects on health or technology.
  • Role: Researchers are allowed to describe their specific role in listed significant discoveries, annotated their description with up to four publications.

Several entities (including Sally Rockey) suggest that you begin to familiarize yourself with SciENcv now, so you will be familiar with format by the time the new biosketches are required in approximately six months’ time. The first round of tests is already complete (NIH implemented this requirement on two RFAs already), and the second “fine-tuning” phase – involving more applications – will begin this month.  For more information, see the notice from NIH (NOT-OD-14-09) and/or the latest peer review notes from the Center for Scientific Review.  If you would like some assistance in setting up your SciENcv profile, or you have any questions about the new format, feel free to contact RAS anytime!