OGC News - April 2020
Financial Services ConnectionApr 1, 2020
This page is updated daily, providing the University Research Community with information about funding opportunities related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please contact Lynette Michael with questions or to notify of additional COVID-19-related funding sources.
Contracting Best Processes
In efforts to better serve our customers, the Contracting Services team is asking our customers to incorporate the following best practices into their processes:
Fee for Service Agreements:
When submitting Fee-for-Service agreements for review to the OGC.firstname.lastname@example.org inbox, please include in the Subject Line of the e-mail: the type of agreement, sponsor’s name, date, and PI Name (i.e. the subject line should read, “Services Agreement-Capital One-Sept 2019-PI Jones”).
Also, please similarly name the contract itself with the following: type of agreement, sponsor’s name, date, and PI Name (i.e. the contract filename should correspondingly be named “Services Agreement-Capital One-Sept 2019-PI Jones”).
All DocuSign requests:
Before the Contracts Team in OGC can accept any DocuSign version, the agreement must be first be submitted in a Word version with the routing. Once OGC has reviewed, negotiated, and approved the agreement, the final version can be submitted via DocuSign for signature. Please note in the InfoEd routing that the final version will be signed via DocuSign. Additionally, please communicate with the sponsor to include the PI and Department Name in the notes section of the DocuSign notification so the final agreement can easily be matched with the reviewed and approved draft agreement.
Donation / Sponsorship Request Form
Compliance has created a new form to request Donations and Sponsorships. As of April 1, 2020, Compliance requires all donation and sponsorship requests to be completed using the new Formstack request form: Donation and Sponsorship Request Form.
The form can also be found on the compliance website under Campus Procedures: Donations-Sponsorships Website. Please refer to Administrative Policy Statement #4027: Donations for details on when it is, and is not, appropriate to spend university funds or use university resources for donations/sponsorships. As a reminder, Donations and Sponsorships must be reviewed and approved by Compliance BEFORE committing the University to an agreement and BEFORE any payment can be made.
We hope you find this form an improvement to the donation/sponsorship request process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Compliance at email@example.com.
The Office of Grants and Contracts (OGC) continues to monitor sponsor websites to identify updated guidance as it relates to grants management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated guidance can also be found on the OGC website.
Federal Grant Awards
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has provided guidance to encourage federal agencies to adopt certain flexibilities during this emergency to lessen administrative burden for grant recipients. Each federal agency, however, has the discretion to determine which flexibilities to adopt.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) maintains a website that provides updated guidance for applicants and recipients. NIH is providing the following flexibilities:
- Late Applications. All grant applications submitted late for due dates between March 9, 2020 and May 1, 2020 will b accepted through May 1, 2020.
- Pre-Award Costs. NIH is allowing pre-award costs to be incurred from January 20, 2020 through the public health emergency period and prior to the date of a federal award for all applicants and recipients that have been affected by COVID-19.
- Research Progress Performance Reports (RPPR). NIH will accept late RPPRs because of COVID-19. NIH requests that the assigned grants management and/or program official be notified in advance if the RPPR will be late. Late submissions, however, will delay the release of future funds until NIH receives and accepts the RPPR.
- Prior Approval Requirement Waivers. NIH is granting certain prior approval waivers for non-SNAP awards. Under the flexibilities, non-SNAP grant projects may carry forward unobligated balances and may have a no-cost extension for up to 12 months without prior approval.
- Salaries. NIH is allowing salaries and benefits to be charged to awards for individuals unable to work as a result of the effects of COVID-19. Our University’s policy is that salaries and benefits will be charged to all funding sources as allocated via the HCM system before the COVID-19 disruption. This means we are in compliance with NIH’s requirements and therefore salaries and benefits can be charged for this period of time that involves periods of decreased research activity.
- Stipends. Stipend payments to fellows and trainees who may be unable to work as a result of COVID-19 may continue. The NIH grants management official should be notified of this action.
- Travel. Non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable.
- Closeout. NIH will allow recipients that are affected by COVID-19 to delay submission of any final financial, performance, and other reports required by the terms and conditions of award for the closeout of expired projects, provided that proper notice about the reporting delay is given by the recipient to the agency. This delay may not exceed one year.
Please note that NIH, and other federal sponsors, will still require agency prior approval for any scope changes. Additionally, time and effort prior approvals remain applicable for senior and key personnel. The NIH Grants Policy Statement discusses time and effort prior approval requirements in Section 184.108.40.206.
NIH has indicated that supplemental funding may be available for projects impacted by COVID-19. If you feel a NIH project may need additional funding, you are encouraged to reach out to the NIH grants management official to discuss this potential opportunity. NIH will likely ask for a detailed justification addressing why additional funds are necessary for the project.
Administrative units should adequately document any administrative or cost-related decisions related to COVID-19 for future audit and agency reviews.
Some federal agencies have issued guidance for COVID-19. A comprehensive list of agency guidance is located on the Coronavirus Acquisition-Related Information and Resources website on Acquisition.gov.
Guidance from non-federal sponsors has varied. In general, non-federal sponsors have directly emailed recipients to provide guidance. If you have a question regarding a non-federal award, you are encouraged to reach out directly to the sponsor for guidance.
The following list provides additional resources for managing federal and non-federal awards.
- COGR maintains a website that provides updated federal guidance along with general FAQs.
- Purdue University has developed a matrix indicating the flexibilities adopted by federal agencies.
- Harvard University provides a list of guidance from non-federal sponsors.
NSF recently recorded a webinar about the requirement to use an NSF-approved format for both the biographical sketch and current & pending support documents as part of proposals submitted to NSF. The policy, outlined in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), goes into effect for proposals submitted or due, on or after June 1, 2020. The two NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae, and an NSF Fillable PDF.
Webinar topics include:
- the policy guidance for preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support sections of the proposal;
- a walk-through of the user experience in accessing these formats in NSF systems;
- detailed guidance from NIH on using SciENcv for preparing both documents; and
- answers to a number of frequently asked questions.
For additional information, see the NSF pages for the biographical sketch and current and pending support. We would like your feedback on these formats prior to the June 1st requirement. Please provide your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.