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Nov 12 / RAS

You’re Just In Time for an NSF Pilot

For fiscal year 2016, the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation will be piloting a just-in-time (JIT) system.  The intent of the pilot is to allow NSF reviewers to focus on the science and to reduce PI workload by requiring only basic budget justifications; think along the lines of the impetus behind NIH modular budgets.   If a proposal is recommended for award, NSF staff will request full budgets and associated justifications at that time (hence the term).


Here’s where it gets a little sticky: during the initial proposal submission stage, NSF is requesting a blank FastLane budget (listing zero dollars). Since FastLane prepopulates fields for senior personnel, there is a work-around to erase those fields in Section A if senior personnel are on the project (here’s a hint: they probably are).   Here’s what NSF wants you to do:

  • Go the Budget;
  • Click Funds (or Add a Year, if appropriate, then click Funds);
  • Delete the Senior Personnel from Budget Section A (by clicking on ‘Add/Remove Senior Personnel’) and then click Save; and
  • Click to the Bottom of Page, click Calculate and Save and Go Back.


The budget justification will include resource details, but not dollar amounts (except for large equipment).  If they are being requested, information must be provided for:

  • Total number of person-months of Senior Personnel salary for the entire project (such as 3 months, 6 months, etc.);
  • Number of postdoctoral scholars, graduate or undergraduate students, administrative and clerical staff, and a brief overview of their respective roles in the project;
  • Equipment purchases, including estimated cost;
  • Number of domestic and foreign trips anticipated, their necessity for the project, as well as the number of travelers and the location of the trip, if available;
  • Number of project participants for whom travel, stipend, etc., support is requested;
  • Pertinent materials and supplies to be purchased, consultant services, etc.; and
  • Any subawards, to whom, and a brief description of the work to be performed.


As you can see, the new NSF JIT framework is a bit nuanced.  Make sure you read the pilot announcement to fully understand the JIT implementation if you are planning to submit a DMS NSF proposal in FY2016.  This is also worth a read if you plan to submit to any NSF division in the future 😉

Nov 4 / RAS

There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Review

…especially when it’s FREE!


Don’t forget that Office of Vice President of Research (OVPR) has funds put aside to pay for review or your proposal.  That’s right, YOU get to choose whom you would like to review your proposal, and OVPR has money for that.  You don’t have to cross your fingers and sweat it out; get an expert to review your science!  Here’s what OVPR has allotted for various types of review:

  • $300 for internal review (transferred directly into the reviewer’s indirect cost account)
  • $600 for an external review
  • $500 for mock study sections reviews (transferred directly into the indirect account of the college/department/division doing the mock)


All review fund requests are made using the eProp system. Hoping you (or your PI)  qualify for one of these reviews?  Check out the details on the Pre-Submission Review Program. Take a look at the editing seminar stipends too!  If you’re not sure where to take your proposal for review, drop us a note; we’ll help you get connected!

Oct 29 / RAS

Diversifying Your Portfolio: Additions to the NSF Conversation

For those of you unable to attend the Tips & Tools meeting last week, Kathryn Wrench’s presentations slides are available HERE.  If you were a part of the discussion, a couple of corrections were subsequently made to the information presented:


  • Resubmissions to NSF Programs: Resubmissions are considered new submissions by NSF, if substantially revised. If not substantially revised, the investigator risks return without review, or the Program Official may be kind enough to suggest that the proposal be withdrawn so that NSF does not need to take an adverse action. Some NSF Directorates explicitly prohibit resubmission within 1 year of the original submission, others do not. There is no formal standardized process for the entire organization. The NSF Proposal Review Process is accessible here. The Non-Award Decision actions are accessible here.
  • Salary Cap:  NSF removed their statutory salary cap around 1990. Keep in mind, however, that NSF has a general limit of 2 month’s pay for Senior Personnel. Although that rule is general, we go by it in budgeting unless the program would justify deviation with permission (there are some exceptions permitted to the 2 month limit). Apparently, the agencies that impose a cap are certain components of DHHS, including NIH $183,300, and DOD $952,308. The DOD and other cap provisions outside of DHHS apply to contracts only (more on that here).


If you have any questions about submitting an NSF proposal, Kathryn Wrench has indicated that she is happy to take your questions.  RAS is also here to help sort out the details!

Oct 21 / RAS

Brace Yourselves: Forms D Are Coming

It’s that time again: the form sets for federal submissions are a-changin’.  Be on the look out: Forms D take effect for all submissions on May 25, 2016 and after.  There are, however, many changes that take effect before Forms D are released; these go into effect on and after January 25, 2016.  A version of the following table was handed out at today’s Tips and Tools meeting (PDF here).  Here it is, if you missed it:


Biosketch Clarifications


  • A URL leading to a publication list is optional, but must lead to a .gov website
  • Publications (peer-reviewed or not) and research products may be cited in both the personal statements and contributions to science.
  • Graphics, figures and tables are not allowed.

Effective for January 25, 2016 Submissions

Research Strategy

NOT-OD-16-011 and NOT-OD-16-012


New rigor and transparency guidelines will be given to reviewers.  This will affect the way the research strategy is reviewed.
Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources



Vertebrate Animals



  • Veterinary care description no longer required.
  • New guidance on necessary criteria (procedures, justifications, pain/distress minimization; euthanasia).

–    Euthanasia descriptions/justifications only required if not consistent with AVMA.


Inclusion of Children



Age definition of “child” is now lowered from 21 to 18.
TRAINING: Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity



The focus must be on recruitment.
TRAINING: Human Subjects




  • Language must exist stating explicitly how Wayne State will ensure that trainees only participate in exempt human subjects research or non-exempt human subjects research that has IRB approval.
  • List of potential trainees and associated IRB information no longer required.
TRAINING: Vertebrate Animals




  • Language must exist stating explicitly how Wayne State will ensure that trainees only participate in IACUC-approved vertebrate animal research.
  • List of potential trainees and associated IACUC information no longer required.
TRAINING: Progress Report



No longer required to report on publications arising from work conducted by the trainee; this will now be requested for Just-in-Time.

Effective for May 25, 2016 Submissions – when FORMS D go into effect

TRAINING/FELLOWSHIP: Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources



THIS IS A NEW ATTACHMENT.  It will be required for all Research Plan, Career Development Supplemental, and Fellowship Supplemental sections.
TRAINING/FELLOWSHIP: Plan for the Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility



Vertebrate Animals



New questions regarding euthanasia added.
Planned Enrollment/Cumulative Inclusion



More study descriptors will be added. Additional details will be available prior to the release of the new forms.
Data Safety Monitoring Plan



THIS IS A NEW ATTACHMENT. This will be included with all clinical trials.





  • Only 8 tables will be required (instead of 12) to minimize individual-level reporting.
  • Tracking of trainee outcomes will be extended from 10 to 15 years.
  • A new NIH system (xTRACT) is now available in eRACommons to help with table preparation.
Assignment Request




This is a new OPTIONAL form.  It is utilized to uniformly request preference in institute, study section, potential conflicts, and necessary expertise.  This replaces the need for some information commonly written in an introduction.
Font Guidelines



  • Size: 11 points or larger; smaller is acceptable in figures as long as it is legible at 100%
  • Density: no more than 15 characters per linear inch, including characters and spaces
  • Spacing: no more than six lines per vertical inch
  • Color: must be black. Color text in figures is acceptable as long as it is legible.
  • Recommended fonts: Arial, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, Verdana
Oct 14 / RAS

Like Peas and Carrots

In case you haven’t heard, DMC and Karmanos/McLaren have reached a collaboration agreement.   In short, the collaboration settles all previous litigation and provides for the integration of Karmanos into McLaren.  Karmanos Cancer Center will continue to operate out of DMC’s Harper-Hutzel hospitals, and McLaren, Karmanos and DMC intend to explore expansion at other DMC sites.


If you have research with any Karmanos component, be sure to check with their CTO to clarify how this may affect future renewals or submissions.  If you have any other DMC components, also be sure you are using the latest DMC fringe rates, available here!  If you’re not sure whether you’re affected, drop us a note and we’re happy to help you decipher your roles :)

Sep 23 / RAS

Great Google-y Moogly

Despite the fact that they’ve taken away our serifs and appear to be doing some amoebic corporate thing with Alphabet, Google has a friend in us as long as they keep Google Scholar alive.


If you haven’t used Google Scholar before, take a look.  It’s a great way to search for publications of all sorts, whether they be articles, books, court opinions, theses, etc.  Additionally, Google provides metrics based on citations to indicate the level of influence of the source.  You can keep your own library, and see who is citing your (or your PI’s) work.  Google will also help you locate free text of abstracts (for those pesky non-NIH projects), and set up alerts for any new research published on customized topics of interest.  Quick tip, though: be aware that Google Scholar searches both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed information.


If you are working with publications and haven’t tried Google Scholar, give it a whirl.  If you need help manipulating it’s features to find what you’re looking for, we can help!



Sep 16 / RAS

Do We Have An Accord?

New fringe rates take effect in two weeks’ time (October 1), and it’s worth a reminder that any projects awarded with budgets under the previous rates will be responsible for the application of the new rates.  This may mean some re-budgeting so now may be a good time to do a cost projection with the new rates.  Some projects will feel little to no impact; others (particularly those with a lot of non-faculty research persons) will have significantly higher personnel costs.  You may need to rebudget some of your funds; if this is the case, be sure to check the terms of your award to see whether you will need to request agency permission to do so.


If you find yourself with a significant budgetary hardship once you’ve projected your expenses on the new rates, reach out to your GCO for options that may be available to you through the university.

Sep 9 / RAS

Help Us Help You

Public Service Announcement!


With the October NIH deadlines less than a month away, our office already has a pretty hefty load.  We would very much appreciate an early heads-up (this week would be great!) if you think you may need any kind of support centered on a September 28/October 5/October 16 deadline (or any other in that range).  We’re here to help, and we want to be sure we can maximize our resources to offer everyone the best accommodation possible.


Thanks in advance from the entire RAS office :)

Sep 2 / RAS

You Don’t Own Me

Coming or going, the transfer of grant awards raises issues of mechanism and ownership (and territoriality!) for many PIs and administrators.  When considering grant transfers, it is important to keep in mind one central tenet: awards are made to institutions, not to PIs.  Even though the PI applies for the grant and does or directs the research, s/he is doing so on behalf of the institution.  Therefore, should a PI decide to change institutions, s/he must have the permission of the institution to take the grant award along (it is, of course, the prerogative of the institution to keep the project and assign new personnel to the research if it so chooses).  That’s where the relinquishing statement comes in.


A relinquishing statement is an official statement relinquishing interests and rights in a research grant; different agencies use different mechanisms for generating these statements.  For NIH, the process is initiated in eRA Commons by a signing official of the institution holding the award.  Other funding agencies who do not use eRA Commons have different mechanisms, so be sure to check for agency-specific guidelines.  NSF, for example, requires that the process be initiated by the PI through FastLane once an agreement has been reached by both the current and future grant holders, and requires the FTR (federal cash transactions report) at the time of the request. For detailed instructions on transferring grants from these two federal agencies, check out the NIH  transfer guide assembled by NIAMS, and section IIB2h of NSF’s PAPPG.


Our office has shepherded many a transfer, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions on transfer policy or procedure!