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.
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/
- The NIH’s “Rules for Text Fields” also provides guidance regarding text data entry fields. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/format-and-write/rules-for-text-fields.htm#allow
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.
With a few exceptions (e.g., the National Institutes of Health and US Department of Energy) most federal agencies are closed as a result of the government shutdown.
Here are some latest updates for research faculty and support staff pertaining to the government shutdown:
- Faculty members may continue to spend their grant awards. SPA should be able to continue to bill agencies as per award requirement. Note however, supplements and renewals will not be received by the institution. New monies from the federal agencies will not be awarded
- Pending requests (e.g., approvals to re-budget, etc) should be placed on hold and discussed with your GCO in SPA.
- Existing grant reporting and original reporting deadlines are still in effect. Although there may be no one at the agency to review these reports or to answer questions, the PD/PI’s must adhere to their reporting schedule as stated in the grant award and submit on time
Notice of Awards:
- Those SOM/WSU faculty that received a Notice of Grant Award (NOA) should continue with their project and research. Note however, agency staff will not be available to assist or help with questions or unique issues.
- Faculty and staff serving on review panels for an agency that is shut down should not travel during this period and should consider cancelling their travel plans. Note, most agencies will not reimburse lost deposits of airfare, etc.
New Grant Submissions:
- Funding opportunities through Research.gov, NSF Fastlane and Grant.gov with posted deadlines remain in effect although submissions will not be processed until agency operations resume. Again, agency personnel may not be available to answer questions about grant submissions.
The Research Administrative Services (RAS) office (1271 Scott Hall) will be closed on December 24, 2018 through January 1, 2019; returning on January 2, 2019. Many agencies have similar closures, so check with your program officers if you have progress reports due or other submissions that may require input. Remember that electronic submission procedures mean that materials are automatically time-stamped, whether there is personnel in the office or not! Most agencies follow the NIH policy: when a postmark/submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day. If your award cycle has your progress report deadline set for January 1, for instance, you can wait to submit on January 2 as January 1 is recognized as a Federal holiday. But if your date is December 30, that deadline is hard and fast; even if there are no staffers in an agency office, that report will need to be in on December 30.
As long as you keep holiday schedules in mind when planning your resources and time commitments, December shouldn’t cramp your submission style. Be sure to check agency post-holiday deadlines so you can plan accordingly. NIH lists their standard due dates here, and the collection curated by the SOM Development Office (linked on our Current Research Opportunities page) also provides deadlines. We’re here if you have any questions (RAS@med.wayne.edu)!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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!
- 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.
Happy Halloween from RAS!
- Freeman M. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006 Jan; 60(1): 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465539/
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!