Cayuse Your Own Adventure: Cost Share Edition

Now that February 6 has come and gone, most everyone has had experience with what we’re looking for at the brand-spankin’-new School of Medicine level of approval.  One of our major review points is cost share, and whether an index has been identified if it exists.  Not sure how to record that on the SP side of Evisions?  Don’t fret; you’re not alone.  Here is a step-by-step guide to recording your index for approval (click on images to see full mark-up):

 

1. Go to proposal budget:

 

2. Find “Cost Sharing” heading; choose “Yes”

 

3. When the cost sharing options box appears, choose “Voluntary”

 

4. Choose “Salary Cap.” Enter the amount of cost share. Refer to calculations in the comments line. Don’t forget to actually upload the cost share calculations document to “Proposal Attachments.” (Note: SoM is not requiring signatures for over-the-cap cost sharing at this time.)

5. Click the “Add Unit” link to assign your department to cost share and record the index. Use the search icon to find your department. Note: you can add more than one unit of account if you are splitting the amount between departments or accounts.

 

 

6. Choose “Add Unit” once the appropriate information has been entered.

 

7.  Congratulations! You’ve added your cost share record to your proposal.

 

 

(Don’t forget to insert the number into the budget line by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of your page, so you don’t get the nasty error message.)

Let us know if you have any problems; we can walk you through it 🙂

Personal profiles: not just for online dating

Save yourself – and those with whom you collaborate – some valuable time: update your personal profile in eRA Commons.  When you’re submitting an application through ASSIST, your senior/key personnel fields can autopopulate from your profile, as your Commons ID is linked. Keeping your personal profile updated ensures that the contact and personal information sent with any application has already been sanctioned by you.  So where do you go to ensure you are up-to-date?  First, log in to eRA Commons, and find the “Personal Profile” link in the blue menu bar:

pp1

 

This will take you to a menu that allows you to update all of your personal information.  Some of this populates to ASSIST, some of it does not:

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* note: “REVIEWER INFORMATION” is one place to find your Continuous Submission status 🙂 

 

Here are some key points to keep in mind as you consider your personal profile:

  • The “EMPLOYMENT” section populates your contact address, and NIH wants three years of history for PIs, and at least one entry for trainees and admins.  NIH states, “this information is vital to NIH and its SROs for determining any conflicts of interest with applications.”
  • Be sure your institutional affiliation is correct! Did you bring your Commons ID with you to Wayne State from a former institution?  You may have to change your affiliation. Go to the “Home” screen and check out your name and affiliation in the top right corner.  If the institution listed under your ID is static (no link), call SPA to have your affiliation switched. If your institution is incorrect and it is linked (blue underline), you may be able to change it yourself by clicking on it:

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As an aside, when filling out your ASSIST applications: two fields that will NOT autopopulate from your profile are “Division” and “Department.”  To be sure that you get proper credit for each:

 

Confused by what you need to include?  Never fear, RAS is here to help walk you through the steps!

On May 25, “D” is for “Different”

By now you are most certainly aware that Forms D will be required for all NIH applications on or after May 25. If you are using ASSIST, you will automatically be directed to the Forms D cloud set (in the past few weeks, you were given a choice on the initiation screen, but now we’re very close to the no-option date).  If you are still using the SF424 (why aren’t you using ASSIST?) be sure that any work you are doing is in the correct form set.  The Forms D application guides are revamped and available on NIH’s website.

 

We first warned you of this back in October, so now is a great time to re-familiarize yourselves with the required changes: Brace Yourselves, Forms D Are Coming.  For an exhaustive list of changes, NIH has provided a high-level list of FORMS-D pre-award form changes, as well as a landing page for all things Forms D.  And, as always, drop us a note if anything looks murky; we’re always happy to help find clarification!

 

Brace Yourselves: Forms D Are Coming

It’s that time again: the form sets for federal submissions are a-changin’.  Be on the look out: Forms D take effect for all submissions on May 25, 2016 and after.  There are, however, many changes that take effect before Forms D are released; these go into effect on and after January 25, 2016.  A version of the following table was handed out at today’s Tips and Tools meeting (PDF here).  Here it is, if you missed it:

 

ATTACHMENT   CHANGE
Biosketch Clarifications

NOT-OD-16-004

  • A URL leading to a publication list is optional, but must lead to a .gov website
  • Publications (peer-reviewed or not) and research products may be cited in both the personal statements and contributions to science.
  • Graphics, figures and tables are not allowed.
 

Effective for January 25, 2016 Submissions

Research Strategy

NOT-OD-16-011 and NOT-OD-16-012

 

New rigor and transparency guidelines will be given to reviewers.  This will affect the way the research strategy is reviewed.
Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

NOT-OD-16-004

 

This is an ENTIRELY NEW ATTACHMENT.
Vertebrate Animals

NOT-OD-16-006

 

  • Veterinary care description no longer required.
  • New guidance on necessary criteria (procedures, justifications, pain/distress minimization; euthanasia).

–    Euthanasia descriptions/justifications only required if not consistent with AVMA.

 

Inclusion of Children

NOT-OD-16-010

 

Age definition of “child” is now lowered from 21 to 18.
TRAINING: Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity

NOT-OD-16-004

 

The focus must be on recruitment.
TRAINING: Human Subjects

NOT-OD-16-004

 

 

  • Language must exist stating explicitly how Wayne State will ensure that trainees only participate in exempt human subjects research or non-exempt human subjects research that has IRB approval.
  • List of potential trainees and associated IRB information no longer required.
TRAINING: Vertebrate Animals

NOT-OD-16-004

 

 

  • Language must exist stating explicitly how Wayne State will ensure that trainees only participate in IACUC-approved vertebrate animal research.
  • List of potential trainees and associated IACUC information no longer required.
TRAINING: Progress Report

NOT-OD-16-004

 

No longer required to report on publications arising from work conducted by the trainee; this will now be requested for Just-in-Time.
 

Effective for May 25, 2016 Submissions – when FORMS D go into effect

TRAINING/FELLOWSHIP: Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

NOT-OD-16-004

 

THIS IS A NEW ATTACHMENT.  It will be required for all Research Plan, Career Development Supplemental, and Fellowship Supplemental sections.
TRAINING/FELLOWSHIP: Plan for the Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility

NOT-OD-16-004

 

THIS IS A NEW ATTACHMENT.
Vertebrate Animals

NOT-OD-16-007

 

New questions regarding euthanasia added.
Planned Enrollment/Cumulative Inclusion

NOT-OD-16-004

 

More study descriptors will be added. Additional details will be available prior to the release of the new forms.
Data Safety Monitoring Plan

NOT-OD-16-004

 

THIS IS A NEW ATTACHMENT. This will be included with all clinical trials.
TRAINING: Tables

NOT-OD-16-007

 

 

 

  • Only 8 tables will be required (instead of 12) to minimize individual-level reporting.
  • Tracking of trainee outcomes will be extended from 10 to 15 years.
  • A new NIH system (xTRACT) is now available in eRACommons to help with table preparation.
Assignment Request

NOT-OD-16-008

 

 

This is a new OPTIONAL form.  It is utilized to uniformly request preference in institute, study section, potential conflicts, and necessary expertise.  This replaces the need for some information commonly written in an introduction.
Font Guidelines

NOT-OD-16-004

 

  • Size: 11 points or larger; smaller is acceptable in figures as long as it is legible at 100%
  • Density: no more than 15 characters per linear inch, including characters and spaces
  • Spacing: no more than six lines per vertical inch
  • Color: must be black. Color text in figures is acceptable as long as it is legible.
  • Recommended fonts: Arial, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, Verdana

Fellowing the Leader

Here comes August, and you know what that means: NIH F Series application deadlines (F Series is due August 8; F31 Diversity is due on August 13).  Whether you’re a bit stuck or late to the party, templates are available to help you put together your submission.  Check out our NRSA form templates and the NIH general annotated SF424 (the initial checklist will guide you on what is mandatory.  If you have any questions, we’re here to help!

Good Morning, How May We ASSIST You?

Last week, ASSIST became a submission option for R01s and U01s.  This means that ASSIST is now available for R01, U01, R03, all multi-project grant programs, and Individual Career Development Award (K, excluding KM1 and K12) applications.  Right now, you may choose to use ASSIST for its features (we like how you can validate for errors and warnings BEFORE submission), or you may continue to use the downloadable SF424 forms.  Keep in mind, however, that SF424 wasn’t always required either 😉  In order to use ASSIST, you must use or obtain an eRACommons ID.

 

We’ve used ASSIST a few times here at RAS and we thought we’d share a few things we’ve found:

  • Because ASSIST is cloud-based and directly populated to NIH, you can see errors and warnings before submission.
  • More than one person can be signed in and working on an ASSIST application, just not on the same component.
  • Only a person with recognized signing authority by NIH (according to their eRACommons credentials) can actually submit. You’ll need to add your GCO as a contributor.
  • All components of your application will need to be marked “Final” before you can mark your application as “Ready to Submit.” Conversely, if a component is not marked “Work in Progress,” you cannot edit.  As annoying as this will be when you are making last-minute changes, it does prevent accidental submission of unrefined applications.

 

Take a look around the system and see what you find.  ASSIST is nothing to fear: if you can do an SF424, you can use ASSIST.  In fact, we bet that you’ll like the administrative data carry-over population and pre-submission validation features.  We’ve stumbled through enough now that we’ve hit many of the hiccups; if you run into one, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you navigate.  Also check out the NIH ASSIST page,  where you can access FAQs, common errors and training resources on the left-side menu.

You DO Need Permission to Make Your Own Decision

While it is your prerogative to choose your index when cost sharing is a necessity, you need verification from several sources that your chosen account will support your intention.  Whether your salary is over the cap or sharing is mandated by your announcement, your cost share form (available here, if you need it) needs to pass through a few hands during the preaward phase before it is valid. If you are in the School of Medicine, here are the approvals you need before it goes to SPA:

 

  1. Your department chair.  This is the signature that goes on the “Unit Head” line.  This ensures that your department is aware of the intent to cost share, should the funds get awarded, and is committed to your plan to do so.
  2. Fiscal Affairs. Though no line is present for the Fiscal Affairs signature, it has been made clear that they need to see and approve your cost share plan at both the pre- and post- stage.  This generally goes through the Grants & Contracts Officer in Fiscal Affairs (see their contacts page to make sure you are sending it to the right person).
  3. Vice Dean for Research.  One your cost share form has been returned to you from Fiscal Affairs, you’ll need to send it to the Vice Dean of Research through the Director of Research Administrative Services (that’s us!).  Once the intent to cost share has been recorded here, you’ll get it back with a signature (again, no line on the form for this but it IS necessary) and you can then upload into your eProp.

 

Please keep in mind that if/when your proposal is awarded, you will need approval from Fiscal Affairs a second time; they need to verify that the funds you intended to use for your cost share are still available.  We know this can be a confusing and lengthy process, so please feel free to contact us if you have any problems discerning where to go or projecting accurate figures for your form.  We’re always happy to help!

SciENcv: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

The new NIH biosketch format will be in effect come May 25, but many PIs and administrators* are choosing to make the switch now to avoid crunch-time headaches.  We’ve mentioned SciENcv before, and don’t panic if new systems set your heart a-flutter: it’s not required.  We do, however, think you should consider the many benefits of using the SciENcv tool:

 

  1. Eliminates the need to repeatedly enter biosketch information.  The first time you enter your information into the system will likely be the most time you will have to have to spend with SciENcv. That said, did you know that you can automatically import your information from your eRACommons profile (or ORCID, if you have one) directly into SciENcv?  It’s true!  And it is editable! This will likely save a lot of time, and may even be faster than cutting and pasting text from your old .doc versions of your biosketch into a new template (see below).
  2. Reduces the administrative burden associated with federal grant submission and reporting requirements. Your biosketch information will always be right where you left it: in the cloud, in your MyNCBI account.  Because SciENcv generates and maintains multiple biosketches from your information (including those for NSF and other federal science agencies), you’ll be able to simply tweak any sections you have saved to align more closely with new applications, click a button, and voila! Your biosketch is generated in proper format, tailored to your specifications.  You can even keep multiple profile versions to correspond with different projects or research interests, and generate different biosketches from each one at a later time.  Additionally, SciENcv allows you to pull your publications directly from your MyNCBI.  Your pubs list is generated for you, and you can decide which ones you want to appear in your list.
  3. Provides access to a researcher-claimed data repository with information on expertise, employment, education, and professional accomplishments. Collaborations, anyone?  You can choose whether or which profiles/biosketches are made public to the research community. You will also be provided a unique link to use to direct people to your profile, for your use.
  4. Allows researchers to describe their scientific contributions in their own language. The new biosketch format includes a description of up to five of your most significant contributions to science; in other words, this is where you get to show off a little.  You don’t have to leave your impact open to reviewer interpretation anymore; tell ’em what you’ve done!  You also get to use publications in this section to support your affirmations of grandeur; just keep each description to half of a page.

 

Interested in the power of SciENcv but not sure where to start?  Read all about it, check out the YouTube tutorial provided by NIH, or sign yourself up for a free account (either through your eRACommons account or at the SciENcv portal page) and test it out.  For a little more one-on-one assistance, Dr. Katherine Akers in the Shiffman Medical Library is happy to come to your department for a presentation or individual assistance.  Already started and hit a snag?  RAS is always happy to help get you moving again!  If you would prefer not to use SciENcv, you can access an editable Word copy of the May25-required biosketch format, provided by the NIH HERE.

 

*Note: PIs can designate administrators, research assistants, etc. to have access to their biosketches (and publications) through SciENcv, if said PI does not normally assume responsibility for currency his/herself.

Raising a Glass to Raising the Cap

Consider this post a virtual toast to the NIH for agreeing to cover more of your salary! In case you missed it last week, the NIH salary cap has been raised from $181,500 to $183,300.  This means that all proposals going out after January 11, 2015 should use the $183,300 cap, and all internal cost sharing should be calculated using this number as well.  Remember, NIH competing grant awards with salary levels below the new cap(s) that are issued on or after the January 11, 2015 effective date, are allowed to reflect adjustments to the current and all future years; that is, you may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level and contractors may charge at the higher level. Keep in mind, however, that your award amount will not increase and total estimated cost of the contract will not be modified.  For more information on applicability of the salary cap, see NOT-OD-15-049.

 

As always, if your investigator is over the salary cap, his or her department must absorb the difference.  Cost sharing must be requested and documented before the application is submitted, and the cost share form can be found here.  Here’s a calculation refresher for a PI with 10% effort and a $200,000 base salary:

[Non-Allowable Salary in a Year] = ( [Investigator Institutional Base] x [Investigator Project Effort] ) – ( [NIH Salary Cap] x [Investigator Project Effort] )

[Non-Allowable Salary in a Year] = ($200,000 x 10%) – ($183,300 x 10%)

= $1,670

And of course, don’t forget the fringes:

[Salary Cost Shared] x [Applicable Fringe Rate] = [Fringes Cost Shared]

[$1,670] x [26.6%]

= $444.22

 

For further details on the magic of cost sharing, take a look at our previous post entitled “Pop a Cap in Your Salary“; you may also find this over-the-cap calculator helpful.  If you need help with your calculations or figuring out which rates apply, drop us a line.  Cheers!