“Oh, What a Complicated Web We Weave” for Proposal Submissions

Be aware there has been several changes when it comes to the proposal submission processes. See below:

If you have any questions regarding which proposal submission to use, you can contact 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

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

RAISE THE CAP (salary that is…..)

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.

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.

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)…I Don’t Need Time, I Need a Deadline

A Research Performance Project Report (RPPR) is required at least annually as part of the NIH non-competing renewal (type 5) award process and it must be submitted via the eRA Commons.

NIH has recently published a new resource “RPPRs: Who Can Do What?” which provides a quick look at the Annual, Interim and Final RPPRs.  Only the PI or their delegate may initiate an RPPR in the eRA Commons. The RPPR must be received and approved by the Institute’s Program and grants management staff prior to funding for each subsequent budget period within a previously approved competing project period.

To find out which progress reports are due over the next 4 months, click on this NIH link to Pending Progress Reports  to obtain a list of progress reports for a selected grantee institution.  For Wayne State University, use 9110501.  Note any project that shows a “Yes” to SNAP is actually due on the 15th of the month instead of the 1st as shown in the query results. This query will not include progress reports for Multi-Year Funded (MYF) awards which are always due on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award and are uploaded as a PDF through the eRA Commons (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/myf.htm for instructions).

If you have questions or you’ve been told something different, you can reach out to RAS@med.wayne.edu.