Please check your budgets! The Office of Personnel
Management has recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale.
Effective January 6, 2019, the
salary limitation for Executive Level II is $192,300.
If you are awarded with a budget that did not include the
new cap, you’re welcome to rebudget using the new cap within the limitations of
the award, but no new funds will be given by the agency. If you’re in the
process of working on proposals for any upcoming deadlines, now is a great time
to revise those budgets and any associated cost sharing.
As always, drop us a note at RAS@med.wayne.edu with any questions, and take
a look at the notice for more details.
There is encouragement from federal sponsors and Wayne State University’s (WSU) Office of Vice President for Research to conduct more team science research. With this movement towards team science, we’re seeing more proposals with other Schools/Colleges/Institutes such as CLAS and Engineering to name a few. Reminder, when building budgets and rosters, the personnel section should include every WSU person working on the project. This allows the participating departments to see what faculty/staff are committed to projects outside of their primary departments. Submitting within 3 – 7 days of the deadline will allow ample time for E-Visions departmental approvals, before moving on to Sponsored Programs as the final approver.
To bring you up to speed, the use of OnCore is School of Medicine policy on all studies with human subjects. It’s canon. We need to see that you’ve accounted for this in your submissions. The use of OnCore is mandated to help track human subjects populations here at Wayne State and, until recently, OnCore fees were to be budgeted into all studies with human subjects. While a good portion of budgets still need to reflect this, the mandate has been altered slightly.
Going forward, investigators applying for funding from non-corporate (i.e., federal and foundation) sources no longer need to include OnCore fees in their budget. They DO, however, need to ensure that their protocol and human subjects populations are registered in the OnCore database at time of award. Please note that proposals and contracts with corporate entities (i.e. pharmaceuticals, biomarkers, and devices) that exceed $50,000 in total direct costs WILL still need to include OnCore fees in their budgets. For all funded studies (corporate and non-corporate) that wish to use OnCore as their Clinical Research Management tool, respective OnCore fees will apply.
This should bring some relief to federal and foundational proposal budgets that are often subject to caps. To reiterate, however: your human subjects populations must still be registered with OnCore (this includes non-clinical trial populations). Please be sure to contact the Clinical Research Services Center (CRSC) for assistance in registering your population, or for questions regarding study management capabilities.
May your June submissions be fruitful!
Check your budgets, folks! The Office of Personnel Management has released increased executive level compensations caps effective January 7, 2018.
- Your new salary cap: $189,600.
If you are awarded with a budget that did not included the new cap, you’re welcome to rebudget using the new cap within the limitations of the award, but no new funds will be given by the agency. If you’re submitting for the March 16 NIH deadline (hello out there, R03/R21 resubmissions and renewals!) now is a great time to revise those budgets and any associated cost sharing.
As always, drop us a note at RAS@med.wayne.edu with any questions, and take a look at the notice for more details.
If you came here looking for ways to get your hands on some delicious mini-burgers, this post is not for you.
If, however, you’re looking for a way to simplify unallowable cost determination under the Super Circular, rejoice! Cost-allocation software company CostTree is giving away handy pocket sliders to aid you in your cost determination quests (and if you’re not into print materials, they have a digital version, too).
To get yours, head on over to the CostTree request site and input your vitals. It’s helpful, it’s nice-looking, and it’s free for the low, low cost of being added to a mailing list. Happy allocating!
In a department, administrators and PIs have a lot of room to negotiate with other institutions when it comes to budgets involving awards and subcontracts. Personnel effort? That’s a classic. Materials and supplies? Probably your first stop. Indirect cost percentage? Slow your roll, holmes.
If the project is federally-sponsored, chances are slim that you’ll be successful in your quest F&A reduction below our negotiated 54%*. There are times when a lower F&A rate is acceptable without waiver/permission; for instance, the funding opportunity announcement caps the rate at lower than our negotiated rate, or the award is being transferred from another entity with direct cost equivalency. Anything else requires a waiver with approval from the Vice Dean and SPA. You cannot negotiate a reduced F&A on your own.
Here at Wayne State, the waiver request process begins with an IDC Waiver form. The Research Administrator and the PI should initiate the request, and it must be approved by the PI, the department chair, and the Vice Dean for Research before being sent for approval to SPA. The Vice Dean for Research will consider requests for Indirect (F&A) cost waivers in very limited circumstances, so be sure your justification is sound. Here are some examples that may be considered on a case-by-case basis:
- Capped awards
- Seed grants which may attract larger awards
- Only available source of funds in an area
- Strategic partnerships
- Awards which include equipment or building funds
If you’re just trying to make a proposal look more competitive, or the PI/department failed to submit the proposal via approved institutional channels (e.g., through the Vice Dean or SPA) prior to submission to the sponsor, you’re out of luck. Wayne State’s acceptance of an award with an unapproved F&A reduction does not constitute acceptance of the rate. If you are awarded with a reduced F&A that was not properly approved, you must renegotiate at the time of award, otherwise the department will be responsible for cost-sharing the portion of the F&A not paid by the sponsor.
Questions? You know where to find us!
* 54% is our federally-negotiated rate at the time of this post.
Cost sharing is the art of dedicating effort to a project and getting someone else to pay for it (usually the University). It’s nuanced. It’s subtle. It can drive you crazy.
A true cost share is one in which the effort dedicated is not entirely paid for by the project, usually to alleviate a budget. In order to save you some time, please know that it is very, very rare that these types of cost shares are getting approved nowadays if general funds is involved, here at the med school. Over-the-cap cost share, of course, is picked up as a matter of policy; these are those situations in which grant personnel make a higher salary than the agency cap ($187,000 as of this post, for most federal agencies) and Wayne State needs to pick up the difference. If you’re looking for how to do those calculations, check out our post from February 26, 2014 (note that the salary cap has been raised since then).
In order to help your cost share experience go as smoothly as possible, here are some general questions and answers to help you figure out your next move:
- Is this cost share request solely for over-the-cap charges?
- If your answer is yes, you do not need chair and dean signatures in the pre-award phase, only just-in-time. You do, however, need to make the calculations and note the amount and index in Evisions/SP. We have a brief tutorial on that, too.
- If your answer is no, you need a fully-executed cost share form.
- Who needs to sign the cost share form in order to be considered “fully executed?” The cost share for must be signed by the chair of the department of the cost share request, School of Medicine Fiscal Affairs, and the School of Medicine Vice Dean for Research, in that order.
- There are instances where a business official may sign in the place of the department chair. In order for a business official to proxy for a chair, the Office of the Vice Dean for Research must have a memo on file granting this proxy. This memo must have an end date (so it remains reviewable and renewable in turnover phases), and must specifically mention cost share signatory authority. These memos can be filed with our office.
- What percentage goes in the “Effort %” box on the form? The title of this box is misleading; this is actually a space for the percentage of the investigator’s salary that will be cost shared. You can clarify the percent effort dedicated to the grant in the comments box. For instance: if an investigator has a salary of $250,000 per year and will dedicated 10% effort to a project, the percentage of her salary to be cost shared is: [($250,000-$187,000)/$250,000]*10%, or about 2.5%. That is the number that will go in the box on the form.
To help illustrate these principles, we’ve provided a few examples of redacted, approved cost share forms from our friends in Fiscal Affairs. We also have our handy over-the-cap calculator to help save you same time. As always, please feel free to contact us for guidance. Happy calculating!