Finding the Right Announcement

May 6, 2020

This notice is a reminder to the NIH and AHRQ applicants and recipient community that applicants must use FORMS-F application packages for the due dates on or after May 25,2020. For those submitting application packages for due dates on or before May 24, 2020 you need to still use FORMS-E.

Please be aware the FORMS-F for the “most commonly accessed” Parent Announcements are now available. See below:

For a listing of All Parent Announcements (For Unsolicited or Investigator-Initiated Applications), you can click on this website: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/parent_announcements.htm.

Please make sure you are using the most current application. In other words, pay attention to the announcement’s expiration date.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the SOM Research Administrative Services (RAS) office at RAS@med.wayne.edu.

NIH Fiscal Operations and Interim Salary Cap Guidance

NIH continues to operate under a continuing resolution through November 21, 2019, meaning that NIH will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level), as they have in past years. See NIH Guide Oct 4, 2019 for details.

They have also issued interim guidance (NOT-OD-19-099) on salary limits for NIH grants and cooperative agreements. The direct salary limitation follows Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale, which is currently $192,300. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award predoctoral and postdoctoral stipend levels and tuition/fee are described in NOT-OD-19-036.

If you need guidance on applying the NIH salary cap in your proposals, here is the website: http://somresearch.med.wayne.edu/pre-award-prep  under “Budget” then select “Accounting for the Salary Cap”. If you have any questions, feel free to email RAS@med.wayne.edu

What’s the JIT of Other Support?

Who has the responsibility for verifying and ensuring “other support disclosures” in applications to the sponsor is accurate?  If you answered-the institution applying for and receiving the funds, you are correct. 

“Other support” is not to be confused with the “research support” section within the bio-sketch.  Refer to this link https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/othersupport.htm for guidance as to what info the PI is required to provide in an Other Support as well as samples.  Administrators should work in tandem with the PI to ensure all of the active and pending funding sources are accurately referenced as Sponsors use the “Other Support” to make sure there is no budgetary, scientific or commitment overlap.  Note there can be serious ramifications for inaccurately reporting other support information, especially when the sponsor is federal, since it involves the use of U.S. taxpayer funds.   The severity and length of time for noncompliance determines the type of sanctions received, such as termination of the award.  The link for the NIH Extramural Nexus has been included for further reading on the subject (https://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2019/07/11/clarifying-long-standing-nih-policies-on-disclosing-other-support/)

Is this the Right FOA for Me?

NIH advertises available funding for grant support through funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). One can search for an announcement specific to their area of interest/expertise or apply to one of the generic NIH parent announcements.  FOAs can be accessed via the federal-wide portal – Grants.Gov or via the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

Please be sure to read the FOA very carefully as there may be additional instructions that refer you to select a specific “companion funding opportunity” within the Parent Announcement.  For example, applications that include clinical trials must be submitted in response to an announcement that allows clinical trials; the same applies to applications that do not allow clinical trials. 

You want to avoid a situation where you’re close to completing the application only to find out the “error” that keeps arising is the result of downloading the wrong application.  If you want to know more about “Understanding the Funding Opportunities”, NIH has a website that provides you with some great tips to be aware of.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the SOM Research Administrative Services (RAS) Office via RAS@med.wayne.edu

Collaborations Across Campus

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.

Don’t’ Let These Characters Stop The Show

Discussing usage of the mathematical inequality symbols; <, >, ≥, ≤ , within NIH application text fields.

  •  In early 2015 NIH released a notice informing the  grant seeking community  of the support for the full  Unicode Character Set, in the free-text form fields.  http://unicode.org/charts/

According to the above notice and guidelines the mathematical inequality symbols are included within the acceptable/supported Unicode Character Set. However, it has come to our attention that usage of these particular symbols may delay if not prevent the successful submission of an NIH application.  While the use of these symbols will not result in error notices within the University’s Cayuse system, the problem is encountered when the application is routed from Grants.gov to eRA Commons.    

So, when entering text where these symbols may be used it is suggested that their meaning be written in longhand, i.e.

                              < ( Less than), (Less than or equal to), etc.

What Do You Want From Me? A Field Guide to SoM-Level Review

School of Medicine-level review in the proposal queue has been around for a while now, but long cycles of funding can prevent even the most well-funded among us from subjection to our scrutiny.  And, as in all protocols sponsor-related, new compliance elements are being added all the time.  Here’s a quick-reference guide on what we’re looking for, and why:

 

  1. The full proposal. We have to see what is going to the agency, even if internal budgets are provided.  This way, we can say “yes, we knew that this is what Dr. X communicated to the sponsor, and we can support that with necessary School of Medicine resources.”  If you are using the system-to-system submission feature through Evisions, your full proposal is already included!  If your proposal needs to be submitted by other means (such a sponsor website), use the “Print to PDF” or similar feature to save a copy of the proposal, and upload the PDF to the “Attachments” section of the Evisions record.
  • For subcontracts: if WSU is the subcontractor, we don’t need the prime proposal, but we do need the letter of intent to subcontract, and the supporting documents that are being submitted to the prime recipient institution.

 

  1. Your internal budget. If you are doing a detailed budget on a system-to-system submission, you’re probably covered.  If, however, you are submitting a budget overview or a modular proposal, we need to verify that the funds requested are commensurate with planned funding.  This also helps us check for cost share.

 

  1. Cost share commitment forms. Speaking of cost share, any cost share commitment forms must be uploaded to the “Attachments” section of the Evisions record.  If there is a cash match commitment in the proposal, there must be evidence of the agreement of the match source uploaded.  In addition to the uploaded forms, choose “YES” on the Evisions “Proposal Budget” page as the answer to “Cost Sharing.”  This will reveal the ability to enter cost share information, such as department and index, so that the cost sharing department can verify their commitment to the cost share.
  • For over-the-cap:  In pre-award, we do not require a fully-executed cost share commitment form for the amounts over-the-cap (no Dean signature, no Fiscal Affairs signature) but we do require a department signature for awareness documentation.  Please also provide the index that will fund the cost share.  Note: over-the-cap cost share is considered “Voluntary.”

 

  1. OnCore accountability, or waiver: If you have human subjects, you have to either include OnCore fees in your budget, show how you will be cost sharing the fees, or upload a waiver to “Proposal Attachments.” Waivers are obtained from the Clinical Research Service Center, whether your project is clinical or not.  Unfamiliar with the policy?  Check out the handbook!

 

  1. Correct coding. Evisions coding is super important!  The data that is input at this phase is the basis for a whole host of reporting that affects such things as department rankings and investigator credit.  To be sure that you are getting full and accurate credit for the submission, be sure the “General Information” is input correctly; take a look at our coding table for guidance, or ask us if you’re not sure.
  • Investigator credit: This is done on the “Personnel Roster” page of the Evisions record.  If your investigator has a retreat to more than one department, s/he will have to be listed twice (or as many times as s/he has appointments) and the credit split proportionally between departments.  Confused?  Give us a shout.

 

Most of what we need to see is what your GCO also needs, with a few additions and for different reasons.  We’re not here to duplicate SPA review; we’re here to ensure the School of Medicine can support your project in a compliant way.  Remember: it’s extremely important to route your proposal before submission!  This way, every source of manpower and resources on your project is aware and on board.  The result?  Fewer headaches at award time, and more credit where credit is due.