Your Vacation Could Be a Real Turkey

The issue of unused leave at retirement or termination has been a real eyebrow-raiser at the institutional level when it comes to the new Uniform Guidance.  There was language added in the UG – which was NOT in the proposed guidance – regarding a cash basis of accounting, making unused leave payments allowable as an indirect cost. But salary and fringes have always been treated as direct costs; is this an inconsistency?  Does this mean that other funding mechanisms are not?  What are the implications if it is over the 26% cap?  How does this affect accrual-based institutions (like Wayne State)?


Some suggestions have been made that include negotiating with the cognizant agency (in our case, DHHS) to put this benefit into the fringe rate, to be charged to all sources of funding.  Is this legitimate?  What do you think?  Take a look at the video provided by NCURA, see if you recognize and of WSU’s policies in the discussion, and be on the lookout for changes as more clarity is provided on UG:


IRB-al Remedies

IRB Operations Manager Corey Zolondek recently released three new versions of institutional review board (IRB) forms to better reflect federal guidelines.  For exempt review, both the Medical Exempt Protocol Summary form and the Behavioral/Social/Education Exempt Protocol Summary form are new versions, with questions rewritten to better indicate whether the proposed research meets the federal requirements for an exemption. For the appendices, Appendix C: Children as Research Participants has also been updated to include a request for a risk assessment for control/placebo groups with children;  the form also more clearly presents federal requirements for research on wards.  The use of these forms will be mandatory beginning January 15, 2015.


Though they still have October 2013 form dates, minor changes have been made to the following forms as well and it is strongly recommended that these versions are used; many questions have been rewritten to help investigators avoid common issues:

Medical/Behavioral Protocol Summary Form (Expedited and Full Board)  | Expedited Medical/Behavioral Amendment Submission Form  |  Full Board Medical/Behavioral Amendment Submission Form  |  Appendix B: Internet Use in Research  |  Unexpected Problem Report Form


Credit Where Credit Is Due

This is just a quick reminder to ensure that you are identifying the “Division” on your SF424 proposal packages as “Schools of Medicine”.  This is the identifier category used when crediting the School of Medicine with award dollars, and any other unrecognized term will result in uncredited monies (thus dropping our rankings). “Schools of Medicine” is the recognized NIH “acceptable major component code.”


Stay tuned for more information in coming weeks about officially recognized department names!








Cloudy with a Chance of Overspending

November is quite a popular month for budget forecasting and cost projection among departments.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re doing your calculations:


  1. Remember, our fringe rates have changed!  Gone are the days of 26.6%; we now have four rates that are divided in very different ways than they have been in the past.  On sponsored projects, this is most often going to look like 21.4% for your faculty researchers and 33.0% for your non-faculty research personnel (research assistants, associates, etc.)  There are, however, many different ways the rates will be applied!  To make sure you are calculating your forecasts correctly, check the E-Class designation for each of your personnel and compare it to the current composite fringe benefit rates chart.  Remember, just because it was awarded when the previous rates were in effect does not mean that the calculations stay the same for the life of the project.
  2. You don’t have to factor in termination payouts.  If you have personnel on grants that you know will be retiring or leaving, there is a designated account for termination payouts so your project funds are not harshly impacted.  for more information on this payout structure, contact SPA.
  3. Consider asking your PIs to do an inventory of their cages if they are working with animals.  A per-cage charge may be inaccurately reflected in your projections if more or less cages are being used than originally anticipated at budget time.
  4. Tuition may not hit at the time of the grant.  Make sure you account for future costs – such as tuition that is budgeted but not yet spent – that may not be projectable based on current/past expenditures.


For tips on calculations quasi-forensic forecasting, contact RAS anytime… we’ve all been here too!