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/
- The NIH’s “Rules for Text Fields” also provides guidance regarding text data entry fields. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/format-and-write/rules-for-text-fields.htm#allow
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.
With a few exceptions (e.g., the National Institutes of Health and US Department of Energy) most federal agencies are closed as a result of the government shutdown.
Here are some latest updates for research faculty and support staff pertaining to the government shutdown:
- Faculty members may continue to spend their grant awards. SPA should be able to continue to bill agencies as per award requirement. Note however, supplements and renewals will not be received by the institution. New monies from the federal agencies will not be awarded
- Pending requests (e.g., approvals to re-budget, etc) should be placed on hold and discussed with your GCO in SPA.
- Existing grant reporting and original reporting deadlines are still in effect. Although there may be no one at the agency to review these reports or to answer questions, the PD/PI’s must adhere to their reporting schedule as stated in the grant award and submit on time
Notice of Awards:
- Those SOM/WSU faculty that received a Notice of Grant Award (NOA) should continue with their project and research. Note however, agency staff will not be available to assist or help with questions or unique issues.
- Faculty and staff serving on review panels for an agency that is shut down should not travel during this period and should consider cancelling their travel plans. Note, most agencies will not reimburse lost deposits of airfare, etc.
New Grant Submissions:
- Funding opportunities through Research.gov, NSF Fastlane and Grant.gov with posted deadlines remain in effect although submissions will not be processed until agency operations resume. Again, agency personnel may not be available to answer questions about grant submissions.
The Research Administrative Services (RAS) office (1271 Scott Hall) will be closed on December 24, 2018 through January 1, 2019; returning on January 2, 2019. Many agencies have similar closures, so check with your program officers if you have progress reports due or other submissions that may require input. Remember that electronic submission procedures mean that materials are automatically time-stamped, whether there is personnel in the office or not! Most agencies follow the NIH policy: when a postmark/submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day. If your award cycle has your progress report deadline set for January 1, for instance, you can wait to submit on January 2 as January 1 is recognized as a Federal holiday. But if your date is December 30, that deadline is hard and fast; even if there are no staffers in an agency office, that report will need to be in on December 30.
As long as you keep holiday schedules in mind when planning your resources and time commitments, December shouldn’t cramp your submission style. Be sure to check agency post-holiday deadlines so you can plan accordingly. NIH lists their standard due dates here, and the collection curated by the SOM Development Office (linked on our Current Research Opportunities page) also provides deadlines. We’re here if you have any questions (RAS@med.wayne.edu)!
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.
To bring you up to speed, the use of OnCore is School of Medicine policy on all studies with human subjects. It’s canon. We need to see that you’ve accounted for this in your submissions. The use of OnCore is mandated to help track human subjects populations here at Wayne State and, until recently, OnCore fees were to be budgeted into all studies with human subjects. While a good portion of budgets still need to reflect this, the mandate has been altered slightly.
Going forward, investigators applying for funding from non-corporate (i.e., federal and foundation) sources no longer need to include OnCore fees in their budget. They DO, however, need to ensure that their protocol and human subjects populations are registered in the OnCore database at time of award. Please note that proposals and contracts with corporate entities (i.e. pharmaceuticals, biomarkers, and devices) that exceed $50,000 in total direct costs WILL still need to include OnCore fees in their budgets. For all funded studies (corporate and non-corporate) that wish to use OnCore as their Clinical Research Management tool, respective OnCore fees will apply.
This should bring some relief to federal and foundational proposal budgets that are often subject to caps. To reiterate, however: your human subjects populations must still be registered with OnCore (this includes non-clinical trial populations). Please be sure to contact the Clinical Research Services Center (CRSC) for assistance in registering your population, or for questions regarding study management capabilities.
May your June submissions be fruitful!
School of Medicine-level review in the proposal queue has been around for a while now, but long cycles of funding can prevent even the most well-funded among us from subjection to our scrutiny. And, as in all protocols sponsor-related, new compliance elements are being added all the time. Here’s a quick-reference guide on what we’re looking for, and why:
- The full proposal. We have to see what is going to the agency, even if internal budgets are provided. This way, we can say “yes, we knew that this is what Dr. X communicated to the sponsor, and we can support that with necessary School of Medicine resources.” If you are using the system-to-system submission feature through Evisions, your full proposal is already included! If your proposal needs to be submitted by other means (such a sponsor website), use the “Print to PDF” or similar feature to save a copy of the proposal, and upload the PDF to the “Attachments” section of the Evisions record.
- For subcontracts: if WSU is the subcontractor, we don’t need the prime proposal, but we do need the letter of intent to subcontract, and the supporting documents that are being submitted to the prime recipient institution.
- Your internal budget. If you are doing a detailed budget on a system-to-system submission, you’re probably covered. If, however, you are submitting a budget overview or a modular proposal, we need to verify that the funds requested are commensurate with planned funding. This also helps us check for cost share.
- Cost share commitment forms. Speaking of cost share, any cost share commitment forms must be uploaded to the “Attachments” section of the Evisions record. If there is a cash match commitment in the proposal, there must be evidence of the agreement of the match source uploaded. In addition to the uploaded forms, choose “YES” on the Evisions “Proposal Budget” page as the answer to “Cost Sharing.” This will reveal the ability to enter cost share information, such as department and index, so that the cost sharing department can verify their commitment to the cost share.
- For over-the-cap: In pre-award, we do not require a fully-executed cost share commitment form for the amounts over-the-cap (no Dean signature, no Fiscal Affairs signature) but we do require a department signature for awareness documentation. Please also provide the index that will fund the cost share. Note: over-the-cap cost share is considered “Voluntary.”
- OnCore accountability, or waiver: If you have human subjects, you have to either include OnCore fees in your budget, show how you will be cost sharing the fees, or upload a waiver to “Proposal Attachments.” Waivers are obtained from the Clinical Research Service Center, whether your project is clinical or not. Unfamiliar with the policy? Check out the handbook!
- Correct coding. Evisions coding is super important! The data that is input at this phase is the basis for a whole host of reporting that affects such things as department rankings and investigator credit. To be sure that you are getting full and accurate credit for the submission, be sure the “General Information” is input correctly; take a look at our coding table for guidance, or ask us if you’re not sure.
- Investigator credit: This is done on the “Personnel Roster” page of the Evisions record. If your investigator has a retreat to more than one department, s/he will have to be listed twice (or as many times as s/he has appointments) and the credit split proportionally between departments. Confused? Give us a shout.
Most of what we need to see is what your GCO also needs, with a few additions and for different reasons. We’re not here to duplicate SPA review; we’re here to ensure the School of Medicine can support your project in a compliant way. Remember: it’s extremely important to route your proposal before submission! This way, every source of manpower and resources on your project is aware and on board. The result? Fewer headaches at award time, and more credit where credit is due.
Check your budgets, folks! The Office of Personnel Management has released increased executive level compensations caps effective January 7, 2018.
- Your new salary cap: $189,600.
If you are awarded with a budget that did not included 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 submitting for the March 16 NIH deadline (hello out there, R03/R21 resubmissions and renewals!) now is a great time to revise those budgets and any associated cost sharing.
Happy Halloween from RAS!
- Freeman M. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006 Jan; 60(1): 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465539/
As the October deadline for new R03s rapidly approaches, heed this friendly reminder to ensure that the institute/center to which you are applying does, in fact, accept the Parent R03 application. Over the nine months or so, many institutes have decided not to participate in the R03 program. Some have decided to chuck it altogether, and some have sidelined it in favor of their own, specific announcements. Here are the institutes that DO still participate in PA-16-162:
Here are the institutes that DO NOT participate in PA-16-162, but do have their own, specific FOAs:
For more information, pop on over to the NIH R03 page. If you’ve already started an application for the Parent R03 (PA-16-162) in Cayuse but your institute has its own announcement, take a moment to review the instructions on how to copy or transform a proposal to the correct announcement. If you’re stuck and you’re not sure how to proceed, give us a shout; we’re here to help.
We’re all clear that Forms-D are being retired in favor of the new, improved Forms-E, right? Right. Forms-E must be used for due dates on or after January 25, 2018. We’re all on the same page here. This is old news.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! As of December 31, 2017, downloadable Forms packages will no longer be available. You read that correctly: downloadable application packages are no longer a thing (don’t say we didn’t warn you). Your only options for submission after December 31, 2017 are: system-to-system submissions (our Evisions, for example), ASSIST (your life will be easier if you just do Evisions, but OK), or Workspace (just… don’t).
Do yourself a favor: if you haven’t transitioned Evisions yet, do it now and get used to it for your upcoming (likely October) deadlines. If you need help, we at RAS are happy to walk you through your application (and Tim Foley in SPA offers training on Evisions as well, if you don’t have a specific application yet).