Office of Sponsored Programs Winter Newsletter

In this Newsletter:

  1. NSF programmatic changes for applications submitted after January 14, 2013
  2. RPRR replacing NIH eSNAP
  3. Research Related Consulting Policy
  4. Grant deadlines—need for advanced submissions
  5. NIH Public Access Policy


1. NSF Programmatic Changes
NSF has issued a new Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 13-1). http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf13001.  The major change for PIs to be aware of is that the Project Summary now requires that the PI insert information into three text boxes including:

  1. an overview;
  2. a statement on intellectual merit of the proposed activity;
  3. a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity.

    The Forms section for proposals now must use the new formats.  For FAQs, please see: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/papp/papp13_1/pappgfastlane_faqs.jsp

    Other changes include:

    • New Certifications including the Evidence of Institutional Support, Tax Liabilities, and Felony Convictions
    • If no person-months request, PI should NOT be named on the budget.  Rather it should be mentioned in the Facilities, Equipment section where you must DESCRIBE institutional support which includes PI participation


    2. RPRR Replacing eSNAP
    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has mandated that federal agencies implement a federal-wide Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for submission of required annual or other interim performance reporting on research grant and cooperative agreement awards to standardize recipient reporting on federally-funded research projects.  The NIH has taken the lead on implementing this process and has released the guidelines for completing a progress report via RPRR (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/).  It is expected that in the spring of 2013 the NIH will eliminate the eSNAP module in the eRA Commons and all SNAP awards will be required to use the RPPR to submit progress reports.

    There are several important changes (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/rppr_vs_esnap.htm).  There are separate screens for the individual reporting components, if a budget is to be submitted, it must be completed using the SF424 forms, and there are some additional questions regarding foreign research components and personnel effort reporting.

    Most importantly, the difference is once you begin a progress report using RPRR you must complete the progress report using RPRR.  There can be no mid-point shift to eSNAP.  Therefore, please advise your Department Administrator AND your OSP Research Administrator before you begin preparation as to whether you will be using eSNAP or RPRR and we can best assist you through the process.


    3. Research Related Consulting Policy
    On December 11, 2012, John Imbergamo and Gillian Emmons released the New Independent Contractor Qualification & Engagement Process (i.e. the new consulting policy) including the Research Related Consulting Agreement (RRCA).  The new guidelines, forms, and instructions can be found both on Comptroller Resources, as well as on the Sourcing & Procurement page.


    4. Grant Deadlines—Advanced submission helps everyone
    In response to PIs needs to have the maximum amount of time to perfect the scientific components of a grant application, the University’s five-day submission rule was adjusted in 2011 so that administrative forms and the budget will continue to be due five days before the deadline, but the technical proposal may be submitted later.

    However, we would like to provide some guidance as to why OSP typically requests the five business-day window for the completed application.  Examples of deadline issues include:

    1)    The e-submission sites (i.e. grants.gov) often state on their websites it may take up to two business days to process an application.  In most cases it only takes 10-20 minutes and usually not longer than an hour, but it can be problematic at the last minute when errors may not surface until after the deadline has passed.

    2)    Any corrections needed to resolve any errors takes time to make either in OSP, the Department, or both.  For electronic submissions, correction of errors or addressing warnings after the due date is not considered a valid reason for a late submission. Additionally, corrupted electronic application forms are not considered a “System Issue.”

    3)    The e-submission sites give themselves some amount of processing time to respond to Help Tickets: i.e. eRA Commons allows itself 2 business days to respond to any electronic Help Tickets submitted relating to application submission problems, and will not consider an unresolved Help Ticket submitted with less than 2 business days as a free pass to extend your submission.  A phone call to the eRA Helpdesk may be slightly more fruitful, but on the due date, two or more hours spent on hold is not unheard of.

    With the above scenarios in mind, OSP recommends submitting the complete final proposal to OSP at least two full business days before the deadline.  Please note, OSP cannot commit to successful transmission and acceptance if submitted less than two full business days due to the high volume of proposals and time typically required to resolve all issues.  Please continue to communicate your intentions to apply for funding as soon as possible so OSP can plan for appropriate staffing and resources.


    5. Important Information Regarding NIH Public Access Policy
    The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.  It requires researchers to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.  The Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.

    As of Spring, 2013, NIH will begin to hold processing of non-competing continuation awards if publications arising from grant awards are not in compliance with the public access policy.  Once publications are in compliance, awards will go forward.

    The Alumni Medical Library can offer assistance in getting articles in compliance; please contact A’llyn Ettien, Head of Technical Services at aettien3@bu.edu, 617-638-4236 or the Reference Desk at refquest@bu.edu, 617-638-4228.  Their website devoted to the NIH Public Access Policy can be accessed here.