… all of the money. Up front.
If you’re lucky enough to have have a multi-year funded award, there are some idiosyncrasies to reporting requirements that may have you wondering how to proceed. A multi-year funded award (MYF) is considered by NIH to be one in which the project period and budget period are the same and are longer than one year, and the award is funded from a single appropriation (note: a no-cost extension of an existing grant does not constitute multi-year funding). NIH has traditionally used multi-year funding for programs such as:
- C06:Research Facilities Construction Grant
- DP2: NIH Director’s New Innovator Award
- DP3: Type 1 Diabetes Targeted Research Award
- R15: AREA
Progress Reports for MYF awards are due annually on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award. NIH will send an email notification to the PI two months before the anniversary of the award requesting that the MYF progress be submitted, so if you’re coming up on an anniversary and you have not received your notification, it’s a good idea to contact your NIH representative. These instructions may represent a change from previous instructions (e.g., in the Funding Opportunity Announcement); your notification instructions supersede any previous instructions.
The reporting period for a MYF progress report is the calendar year preceding the anniversary date of the award. For example, if an award is made on 12/01/2012, the MYF progress report is due on or before 12/01/2013, and should report on the activities performed under the award between 12/01/2012 and 11/30/2013. The subsequent year the MYF progress report would be due 12/01/2014, and should report on the activities performed under the award between 12/01/2013 and 11/30/2011.
Submitting Your Report
Once you have completed the instructions, convert the document to a PDF file format. The PDF must be uploaded through the eRA Commons. To locate the upload site, log in to the eRA Commons and navigate to the Status search page. Select the link “List of Applications/Grants” and locate the grant number. In the “Action” column you will find a link entitled “ MYPR.” Click the link to navigate to the “Upload Annual Progress Report for Multi-year Funded Award” screen. At the “Upload Annual Progress Report” screen, the PI may route the progress report to your GCO, who may submit the progress report to the NIH. The report must be submitted by you GCO.
Note that the eSNAP module is not used for used for submission of a MYF progress report.
Instructions for completing your report can found on the NIH site for PHS 2590 and should be followed unless your sub-agency (NIDDK, NICHD, etc) provides different instructions for the content of the report (e.g., for research facilities construction grant awards). Also note that updates were made in November 2013 to include information to support the Biomedical Workforce Initiatives announced in NOT-OD-13-097 and NOT-OD-13-093.
If you have any questions regarding your MYF reporting obligations or are hesitant on how to proceed, contact RAS anytime and we’ll help you navigate through.
Do you ever find yourself annoyed by the necessary pace of finding award information in Banner and Cognos? Perhaps it’s time to consider the usefulness of Researcher’s Dashboard (a.k.a. just plain ol’ Dashboard). When you use Dashboard, the awards within departments are initially sorted by the name of the PI.
Dashboard is a portal interface available to all PIs and administrators through the Pipeline system. One you’ve logged into Pipeline, you should see a tab four spaces from the left called “Research”:
Simply click on the tab, and you will find yourself presented with options for information regarding your department’s proposals, contracts and awards. To find anything you need for post-award management, choose the “Unit Awards” link on the left side of your screen:
This will take you to a screen which offers you choices of all of the departments to which you have access. In this case, Internal Medicine is the example:
Once you have clicked on your department name, you will be presented with a list of PIs with active awards in your department. Choose the PI on the grant for which you desire information, and a list of that PI’s awards will populate:
Choose the award you need from the populated list. You will then see a summary screen for your award information:
Any text appearing in blue is a link to drill down in the category for more resources or information. The links from this page will deliver the following information upon clicking:
- Expense Accounts: Takes you to a page that shows the budget expenditures by category (Salaries and Wages, General Expenditures, Travel and Entertainment, etc). These categories are all in blue as well and clicking on any of them will take you to any subcategories and allow you to see the detailed transaction activity in each category, including Doc Code information.
- Revenue Accounts: Will show you all payments activity, including Doc Code information.
- All Paid People: Shows salary and fringe information of all people that have been paid off of the grant since it’s inception. Drilling down into the amounts shows all payroll transactions and amounts, including Doc code information.
- Committed Effort: Yields each paid person’s percent effort as CURRENTLY being charged to the grant.
- Current Labor Distribution: Presents the percent effort of all persons being paid on the grant AND any associated accounts, including cost sharing.
- Imaged Documents: Shows all documents associated with the project that have been scanned and uploaded into the system. These may include GFAs, original budgets, notices of grant awards, award modifications, purchase orders, important email correspondence, etc. NOTE: if there is a mystery as to why certain transactions appear on your account, the Imaged Documents screen is a great place to start!
Speaking of cost sharing, if there is more than one account associated with the project, you will likely see a “Fund Summary” choice at the overview screen as well:
Fund Summary will show you Budget, Availability and Commitments of all sub- and associated accounts with your project – including cost sharing – and allows you to drill into each for the same transaction information as the categories above.
Dashboard can be a time-saving tool because all of your major information is in one place, and linked in a fairly intuitive manner. Keep in mind that awards don’t stay on Dashboard, however; SPA is responsible for archiving closed-out awards and makes them unavailable after 6 months (but they are looking into keeping them around longer!) If you need to review an award that has closed and you don’t see it in Dashboard, you will likely need to use the Banner/Cognos channels to find the information you need. If you need help finding information on a closed-out award, or if have any questions on how you may be able to use Dashboard more effectively, please come visit! If you think you should have access to Dashboard but you don’t see the “Research” tab in your Pipeline screen, be sure to contact your department’s business manager.
Let’s face it: budgeting for a proposal is an educated guess. You have a good grasp on the salary requirements of personnel, and a rough idea of supply and space requirements, but there comes a time in the life of most awards that a PI or grant manager realizes that money is just not being spent as originally anticipated; and, further, it can’t be spent as originally anticipated in order for the project to do what it was intended. After a grant or contract has been awarded, the PI may request the formal reallocation of funds from one spending category to another that better reflects the project requirements (“rebudgeting” or “budget revision.”) Rebudgeting requires the approval of SPA (and, in most cases, the funding agency), but never fear – your Grant and Contract Officer is able to help you with approval, and RAS can help with your rebudget.
Much rebudgeting affects F&A (indirect) cost. Some does not. Budget categories that do NOT generate F&A are:
- Capital equipment equal to or greater than $5000
- Subcontracts over the first $25,000
- NSF participant support
- Rental costs of an off-site facility
The transference of these items may increase or decrease your F&A, however. Remember the following when a rebudget includes non-F&A generating items:
- If the rebudget transfers money from a NON-F&A bearing budget item (such as equipment) to an F&A BEARING item (such as materials), the F&A dollar amount will increase in order to maintain the contracted F&A percentage. For example, suppose a grant has a capital equipment budget of $10,000 and an F&A rate of 52%. If only $8,000 was spent for equipment the PI would most likely want to spend the remaining $2,000 on other materials. This is acceptable; however the $2,000 balance in equipment will need to be rebudgeted between materials and F&A since the materials purchases will generate F&A (note: RAS can assist with these rebudgeting calculations). In this scenario, the $2,000 would be rebudgeted so that $1,316 would be added to materials and $684 added to F&A ($1,316 + $684 = $2,000)
- If the rebudget transfers money from an F&A BEARING budget item (such as materials) to a NON-F&A bearing budget item (such as equipment), the F&A dollar amount will decrease in order to maintain the contracted F&A percentage. Consider a grant that has a capital equipment budget of $10,000 and an F&A rate of 52%. If $12,000 was spent on equipment, a rebudget would be required to reduce the F&A dollar amount since the additional $2,000 spent on equipment does not generate F&A (remember, RAS can assist with the rebudgeting calculations!). In this case, the F&A budget would be reduced by $1,040 (52% of $2,000) that could be reallocated to the equipment budget.
And don’t forget, NIH (and many other funding sources) requires an explanation when there is a change in budget that affects key personnel effort by more than 25%, as well as reasoning and a plan for balances greater than 25% of the current year’s total budget (including any carry-forward). If you are unclear as to your award’s requirements for rebudgeting due to balances, carry-forwards or personnel, RAS is happy to help you sort it out.
Funding of any sort is absolutely something for which to be thankful, and you can consume your resources as needed provided you follow a few simple rules. If you find yourself needing a little less drumstick and a little more wing, RAS is here to walk you through the process whenever you need us. Happy Thanksgiving!
We know that funding is getting increasingly difficult to come by, so RAS herds and corrals everything that comes across our path (and those we actively search at as well) in attempt to make departmental life a little easier. In addition to the regular funding announcement emails sent out by the RAS director, available funding opportunities are also listed on the SOM Office of Research and Graduate Programs “Current Research Opportunities” page:
The “Agency Notices and Highlighted Funding Opportunities: This Month” listing is updated on a monthly basis as notification of new funding opportunities are received or discovered. Announcements are listed in order with the most current deadlines at the top. The funding opportunities that have no deadlines are at the bottom of the page. To obtain details on a specific funding opportunity, click on the Sponsor’s name or the Website/URL link.
If you have any questions about application requirements for funding opportunities – both internal and external – please let RAS know and we will walk through the process with you. Good luck!
Modular construction is increasingly a go-to, efficient choice to create a building where there once was none; it eliminates waste, offers flexibility and speeds up timelines. For this reason, the NIH employs a modular requirement on a subset of their grant applications. Modular budgets are required on new, competing continuation, and revised (amended) applications, as well as for competing supplements that request up to a total of $250,000 direct costs (less consortium F&A) and are research project grants (R01), small grants (R03), Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grants (R15), exploratory/developmental research grants (R21), and the Clinical Trial Planning Grant program (R34) (some RFA/PAs also require modular budgets). There are two ways to create a modular budget here at Wayne State:
Sync with Detailed Budgets
- In COEUS, create a Detailed Budget, and with a Final COEUS detailed budget marked Modular on the Budget Summary screen, select Modular Budget on the Budget menu to sync the data for Direct Costs, Consortium F&A (subcontractors), and Indirect Costs data for the PHS form.
- Select the Sync with Detailed Budget link. When asked if you want to Sync the budget, select OK.
- Review the data defaulted in each of the Period tabs. Select Save button.
- Select the Budget Versions link from the left side navigation, and change the Budget Status to Complete; select Save.
If a Detailed Budget is not prepared in COEUS, manually enter required costs in the Modular Budget Screen (you must still check the Modular option on the Budget Summary screen):
- Check the Modular Budget check box on the Budget Summary Screen, then select Save
- From the left side navigation click the Modular Budget link. For Period 1, enter the Direct Cost less Consortium F&A amount in the provided field. Enter Consortium F&A costs (if any). Select the Add Indirect Cost link to create an entry line for the Indirect Cost data.
- Enter Indirect Cost Type: MTDC, or as appropriate (SPA keeps WSU’s updated Fringe Benefits and Indirect Cost Rates here)
- Enter IDC Rate (%) – this field is expressed as a percentage, so be sure to enter whole numbers
- Enter IDC Base (from your non-Coeus Detailed budget)
- Enter Funds Requested ($)
- Select the Save button
- Repeat entries as needed for all remaining periods by clicking the Period 2 tab, Period 3 tab, etc.
- Review the Cumulative screen to confirm totals
- Return to Budget Summary by selecting the Budget Summary link from the left side navigation
- Mark your budget final by checking the Final check box; change the Budget Status to complete, then select Save.
For more information from NIH on modular budgeting, check out their Modular Applications page. As always, RAS is here to help if you find yourself in a modular dilemma!
Sometimes, relationships that we have been in for a very long time start to change and before we know it, we find ourselves asking, “do I even know you anymore?” This can happen with friends, family, neighbors… and NIH submission forms. Yes, our beloved Forms B package has evolved to Forms C, and the new Forms C set has stopped taking out the trash, calling when it’s going to be out late, and allowing our little quirks to slide.
Here are some of the issues the RAS office has seen this week:
- Problem: The “PD/PI” classification generates an error kickback. Possible source: In the past, we have been allowed to choose “PD/PI” from the drop-down menu to classify personnel on the application, and then use a similar drop-down menu further into the application to classify the PD/PI again in a different section. In the new Forms C set, subsequent PD/PI classification is now done with a text box in which you type the classification instead of selecting it from a drop-down menu. The sticky wicket here is that the NIH error bot searches by string; therefore, you must type exactly “PD/PI” in the text line to precisely match the selection in the drop-down from the previous section’s classification. Selecting “PD/PI” and then later typing “Principal Investigator,” for instance, will result in your application being returned with an error.
- Problem: Your budget justification generates an error. Possible source: You used boxes or tables. In the past, boxes and tables were a great way to organize the information in your budget justification. The new bot in the NIH system, however, does not recognize this formatting and will return it as an error.
- Problem: You receive and error indicating that your attachments must be PDFs, but they are all PDFs. Possible source: You may have accidentally included editable fields in your PDF document; the NIH systems do not allow these. Be sure to “flatten” your PDF documents before upload
What Is The Difference Between an Error and a Warning? An “error” is any anomaly that will prevent the application from going forward to further consideration. Errors usually indicate significant inaccuracies, inconsistencies, omissions, or incorrect formatting that have been identified in the body of the application. “Warnings”, on the other hand, indicate discrepancies that are acceptable, but are considered worthy by the NIH of bringing to the applicant’s attention due to the high possibility that it is a mistake. It is the applicant’s choice whether to make a change based on the warning.
For more detailed information about errors and warnings generated by the NIH validation system, we have adapted this Errors and Warnings document for your use.
How Do I Correct Errors in my Application? NIH provides a detailed list of instructions for how to correct any errors your application may generate. Be sure to submit your application well before the deadline to allow time for error correction; an application with errors is considered not submitted and you will not be given extra time to make changes.
With a little time, patience and understanding, you, too, can fall in love with your NIH submission forms all over again!
Just as no trick goes unpunished and no treat is without corollary, no amount of money or material enters our fair University without strings attached. So how does one determine which course of action to take when receiving a resource? The first step is to figure out what it is, exactly, you are receiving! These guidelines below may help:
Gifts, to paraphrase Executive Order 04-5, are contributions received for use in furtherance of the WSU’s mission that are not in exchange for some service, product or property rendered by WSU (the donor may, however, place restrictions on the contribution and still classify as a gift). A full text definition of a gift as given by Executive Order 04-5 is available here, and is upheld in APPM 1.7.6 – 1.4.
Who Needs To Know About Your Gift: Communicate with the Office of the Provost and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs; any gifts solicited either verbally or in writing from corporations, foundations or individuals must receive prior approval from these two entities. Once received, a gift check (which must be made out to Wayne State University) should then be brought to the Dean of Students Office.
Executive Order 04-5 similarly defines a “grant” as “a contribution received by the University for either restricted or unrestricted use in furtherance of the institution’s mission that typically comes from a corporation, foundation or other organization, not an individual.” The similar definitions leave all sorts of gray areas, but the trick here is to determine which subdivision the grant falls into:
- NON-SPECIFIC Grants are those received by the university that do NOT result from a specific grant proposal. This type of grant that many institutions may opt to designate as a gift for internal accounting purposes.
- Who Needs To Know About Your Non-Specific Grant: Just like gifts, the Office of the Provost and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs need to know of the solicitation ahead of time, and the Dean of Students Office must receive the check.
- SPECIFIC Grants are those received by the university that DO result from a specific grant proposal submitted by the university (or department therein). There is a defined contribution of university resources or services as a condition of the grant, and an accounting of the use of funds and results is almost always a requirement (any and all research grants meet this requirement).
- Who Needs To Know About Your Specific Grant: Wayne State University’s Sponsored Program Administration office must be the entity through which you submit for any specific grants.
But wait… what about CONTRACTS?
Contracts are also defined within Executive Order 04-5, as well as APPM 1.7.6 as “an agreement between the University and another entity to provide an economic benefit for compensation. The agreement is binding and creates a quid pro quo relationship between the University and the entity.” While university policy is to determine the intent of awarding party when determining contract or grant classification, it is helpful to consider the nature of the intended result of the contract: is there a promise to absolutely deliver a product/service in exchange for consideration (i.e. money)? If so, it’s probably a contract. If, on the other hand, resources are being granted on the basis of reasonable hopes a task can be accomplished (i.e. a hypothesis-based project), it’s likely a grant.
Who Needs To Know About Your Contract: The Office of the Vice President for Research must review any contract before it is signed; additionally, it is recommended that the division of Technology Commercialization be the first contact if the contract involves the School of Medicine, due to the likely scientific nature and plausible discovery associated therewith. SPA’s Contract division will be responsible for the administration of executed contracts, but will also assist in negotiation procedures before finalization.
The treats of funding aren’t without their tricks to processing, but come and knock on RAS’s door if you need a little help in your determination. Happy Halloween!
(*UPDATE* This “Gift or Grant” matrix may help you in determining whether you are dealing with a gift or grant.)
JIT is an acronym for “Just-In-Time” and refers to the time frame during an application period in which applicants send information to the NIH only if an award is likely. The JIT process is meant to decrease the administrative burden for the 80 percent or so of applications that will not receive funding, and also provides NIH with the most current information “just-in-time” for the award. JIT information includes up-to-date information in categories such as Other Support, IACUC, IRB, and Human Subjects Education Documentation. When “JIT” is posted in the “Action” column of an NIH eRA Commons account, it signifies that the application has completed the peer review process and has received a rank for which funding may be possible.
When To Respond to a JIT Request
A “JIT” link next to a grant number on the eRA Commons is not a request for JIT information. The appearance of this link signifies that an application has completed the peer review process and has received a rank for which funding may be possible. Wait to submit the JIT response until a specific JIT request from NIH grants management has been received by the PI or SPA. The JIT request may include a specific due date; the response should be prepared and submitted to SPA a minimum of five full business days prior to the NIH due date. You should allow SPA additional time for review if the response due date falls on a major NIH deadline. And of course, RAS is always here to help!
Effort reporting is the proverbial thorn in the side of all persons working on federally funded grants. Most grant personnel categorize effort reporting as mysterious, annoying and distracting from the conduct of vital research.
Effort reporting, however, is directly vital to the execution of all grant-funded research: it is the way institutions prove to federal auditors that employees did, indeed, work on a specific federally funded project during the specific time requested in the application, and at the correlating level of effort. The funding agencies need to know that dedicated monies are being spent according to the terms of the notice of grant award/contract and as defined (and required!) by the U.S. Office of Management and Budgets (OMB). Remember, salary and fringes are allowable costs within the OMB – as long as the paid individual is working on the grant’s objectives and if appropriate “time and effort” records are maintained.
Having trouble certifying yourself or an employee? Here are some instructions developed by the research support staff in CLAS on how to use the system: