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Funding Blast: April 2017 Issue

Resubmitted from: Office of Sponsored Programs

April 2017 Issue of Research Development & Grant Writing News

By Pat Pyke on Apr 19, 2017 08:40 am

Research Development & Grant Writing News

The 46-page April 2017 issue of this valuable newsletter is now available via the Albertsons Library:
(Bookmark this page for future reference.)

April 2017 Featured articles:

  • Heads Up: Changes to NSF CAREER Solicitation
  • What is the Future of Broader Impacts at NSF?
  • Competitive Proposals in a Skinny Budget
  • Finding Your Big Data Funding Home
  • Addressing Convergence in Your NSF Narrative
  • Funding Rates: Actual and Real

Regular features:

  • Topics of Interest URLs
  • Research Grant Writing Web Resources
  • Educational Grant Writing Web Resources
  • Agency Research News
  • Agency Reports, Workshops & Roadmaps
  • New Funding Opportunities
  • About Academic Research Funding Strategies

Research Development and Grant Writing Newsletter is available to faculty, staff, students and affiliates with log-in access to the Albertsons Library. For more information visit the newsletter information page on the OSP web site. This subscription is sponsored by the Division of Research and Economic Development with support from the Albertsons Library.

Threat to University Research

Threat to University Research

Trump administration says it can cut billions by scaling back reimbursement for overhead costs. University groups say that funding is essential to conducting research.

By: Andrew Kreighbaum

April 3, 2017
HHS secretary proposes cutting reimbursements that fund university-based research
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

When President Trump proposed a cut of nearly 20 percent in support for the National Institutes of Health, many wondered how the administration would even attempt to find such reductions. The answer emerged in the congressional testimony last week of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who argued the government could save billions without hurting research by cutting back on the overhead reimbursements to colleges and universities.

Higher education associations said cutting those reimbursements would have a very real impact on the science conducted on campuses. For some institutions, eliminating support for administrative costs could mean they would find it difficult to continue that research at all, the groups said.

The Trump administration in its so-called skinny budget last month proposed cutting the funding of the National Institutes of Health, the largest backer of university-based research, by nearly 20 percent. Even the most conservative members of the GOP caucus expressed concern after the document’s release about cutting support for the agency that funds important developments in cancer and epidemiology science.

But in testimony in front of a House appropriations subcommittee last week, Price argued that the administration could make those cuts to the agency’s budget without harming any research by eliminating support for administrative costs. Eighty percent of NIH’s funding is directed to universities and medical centers throughout the country in the form of research grants. Price said about 30 percent of that grant funding is spent on what he called indirect expenses.

“We ought to be looking at that,” he told lawmakers. “That’s an amount that would cover much more than the reduction being proposed.”

Price suggested there were greater efficiencies to be found at institutions involved in research that would allow the government to actually increase direct support for research.

Higher ed groups said facilities and administrative expenses involved in supporting campus-based science are very much part of the costs of doing that work and such payments have been part of the financial support of research for decades. Ending that support would mean universities would face billions in additional expenses for staffing, utilities, facilities and more.

The NIH spent about $6.4 billion on such costs last year, on top of $16.9 billion in direct support of research.

“They are intrinsically part of the costs of doing research,” said Jennifer Poulakidas, vice president for Congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. “Indirect cost payments that institutions receive when they do research for the federal government do not even fully cover all the costs associated with doing research. Universities are definitely paying for some of that work already.”

And Poulakidis said colleges and universities have become more and more efficient over recent decades in how they support research enterprises as they grapple with declining support at the state level. At the same time, they’ve seen regulations associated with research increase at the federal level.

“The costs have increased, the state support has gone down and our institutions have become much more efficient,” she said. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room here.”

Universities individually negotiate the rates for overhead payments — shorthand for the reimbursements from the government for administrative costs. Those rates can vary significantly from campus to campus. But Tobin Smith, vice president for policy at the Association of American Universities, said there are already caps for such payments in many places. Congress in the 1990s adopted a 26 percent cap on administrative costs exclusively for universities.

That was part of the fallout from a scandal over how Stanford University used overhead payments on items like decorations for its then president’s house. Since then, the awarding of funding has been cleaned up and standardized by Congress and higher ed, Smith said. But reimbursement rates often don’t cover the entire amount of facilities and administrative costs.

“We often have to subsidize those costs with university money,” he said.

That means universities already have plenty of incentive to be as efficient as possible, Smith said.

“These costs are real. To say they aren’t is very wrongheaded and misrepresents the situation we will face at universities,” he said. “Frankly, some of our universities won’t be able to figure out a way to pay for those costs.”

(Note: This story originally misstated the title of Jennifer Poulakidas. It has been updated.)

NIH Seminar on Health Disparities- Research, funding and Student Programs

NIH Seminar on Health Disparities- Research, funding and Student Programs

Date:  Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Time:  1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Student Union Brink Room
(You may RSVP to attend any or all of the presentation below)

Representatives of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at University of Utah will present at this workshop.

This program is hosted by Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk, Director of Clinical Translational Research at Boise State, and the Division of Research and Economic Development.

SBIR Road Tour – Idaho

May 2, 2017 8:00AM to
May 2, 2017 4:30PM
Boise State University, Hatch Ballroom, 1700 University Dr., Boise, ID 83725

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) …
More at

Enhancing Our Grants and Application Information

It’s been about a year since we transformed our website and the NIH application guide to streamline information, and the time it takes you to locate it. Since the initial changes, we’ve continued to quietly evolve these pages based on your feedback. Our About Grants section is an orientation to NIH funding, grant programs, how the grants process works, and how to apply. We’ve made a number of improvements to this section, such as reimagining the grants process overview infographic, aligning the About Grants navigation to match the stages of the grants process overview, and improving the look and usability of our How to Apply page.  You will find new video tutorials on How to Apply that walk you through the grant application submission process in the next week or two.

Thank you very much to those who have taken the on-site survey and provided us with actionable feedback on that helps us get you to the information you need. Please keep the suggestions coming, whether through the site survey or by email.

Re-posted from National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, March 31, 2017

NIH Fiscal Operations and Interim Salary Cap Guidance

NIH continues to operate under a continuing resolution, meaning that we will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level), as we have in past years. See our March 17 Guide notice for details.

We have also issued interim guidance on salary limits for NIH grants and cooperative agreements. The direct salary limitation follows Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale, which was previously set at $185,100, and increased to $187,000 effective January 8, 2017. This means that for awards issued in previous years that were restricted to Executive Level II, including competing awards already issued in fiscal year 2017, grantees may rebudget to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level as long as:

  1. adequate funds are available in active awards; and
  2. the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary.

However, no additional funds will be provided to these grant awards.

Note that we provide the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral stipend levels and tuition/fees for FY 2017 in NOT-OD-17-003. Until further notice, the NRSA undergraduate and predoctoral stipends and tuition/fees will remain at the levels announced in NOT-OD-16-062.

Once the Department of Health and Human Services Appropriation for FY 2017 is enacted, additional guidance will be published in the NIH Guide.

Re-posted from National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, March 31st, 2017

Following Up On Interim Research Products

Resubmitted from: NIH Extramural Nexus

by: Mike Lauer

The role of preprints — complete and public draft manuscripts which have not gone through the formal peer review, editing, or journal publishing process – continues to be a hot topic in the biological and medical sciences. In January, three major biomedical research funders – HHMI, the MRC, and the Wellcome Trust, changed their policies to allow preprints to be cited in their progress reports and applications.

Thinking about preprints also raises questions about the broader class of interim research products, and the role they should play in NIH processes. Other interim products include products like preregistration of protocols or research methods, to publicly declare key elements of a research project in advance. While, under current policy, NIH does not restrict items cited in the research plan of an application, applicants cannot claim preprints in biosketches or progress reports.

So, in October, we issued a call for comments to get a fuller understanding of how the NIH-supported research community uses and thinks about interim research products. Today I’d like to follow up with what we’ve learned from your input, and the policy changes this feedback suggests.

We received 351 responses, the majority (79%) submitted by scientists/authors. Twenty-two professional societies representing groups of scientists also submitted responses. Of the 351 respondents who commented on how use of preprints & interim research products might impact the advancement of science, the majority were supportive, and some predicted or noted specific benefits, such as improving scientific rigor, increasing collaboration, and accelerating the dissemination of research findings. (See Fig. 1)

Bar chart: Scientific Impacts: How particular types of interim research products might impact the advancement of science. Data tables in Excel accessible at:

Figure 1

When asked about the peer review impact of citing interim products in NIH applications, the majority of respondents predict positive impacts. Some specific benefits noted include speeding the dissemination of science, helping junior investigators, and providing authors with the chance to incorporate feedback into their drafts and even form new collaborations.

NIH Review: Should they be included? Bar chart of responses on possible need and potential impaact of citing interim products on peer review of NIH applications. Data tables in Excel accessible at:

Figure 2

We also received some concerns about these materials not being peer-reviewed, and whether any potential benefit they may offer to the review process was offset by potential burden to reviewers and applicants. However, the overall response about review was favorable. Respondents felt reviewers should be able to tell the difference between a final and interim product and could draw their own conclusions about the validity of the information. Again, it’s worth noting that these findings inform a potential increase in the use of interim products in review; we already have no restrictions in what can be cited in the reference section of a research plan.

Based on this general feedback and many other thoughtful suggestions, we developed guidance on how NIH applicants will have the option, for applications submitted for due dates of May 25 and beyond, to cite interim research products in applications. As described in the NIH Guide Notice issued Friday (NOT-OD-17-050), citations of interim research products in biosketches should follow citation formats that include citation of the object type (e.g. preprint), a digital object identifier (DOI) in the citation, and information about the document version. This guidance is also incorporated into NIH application instructions, which were just updated last week. We also offer FAQs.

Example preprint citation:

Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12]. Available from:

The Guide Notice also outlines NIH’s expectations for what qualifies as a preprint, and suggests best practices to the many preprint repositories, including: open metadata; machine accessibility; transparent policies about plagiarism and other integrity issues; and an archival plan for content, versions and links to the published version.

For renewal applications submitted for the May 25, 2017 due date and thereafter, awardees can also claim these products on the progress report publication list (an attachment required specifically in renewal applications.) Awardees can also report these products on their research performance progress reports (RPPRs) as of May 25, 2017, and link them to their award in their My Bibliography account.

On behalf of NIH, I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to submit comments and share insightful and thoughtful viewpoints and experiences with us. There is a growing recognition that interim research products could speed the dissemination of science and enhance rigor

We see preprints and other interim products complementing the peer-reviewed literature. Our goal with this Guide notice is to offer clear guidance and suggested standards for those in the research community who are already using, or considering use of preprints and interim research products. Some scientific research communities may be more ready than others to use preprints –for example, there continue to be discussions and concerns specific to clinical research. We appreciate that different biomedical research disciplines are likely to adopt interim research products at varying paces; at the same time, with our new guidelines, we aim to make this option as viable as possible for all members of our community.

Limited Submission Notice: National Science Foundation ADVANCE

Resubmitted from: Office of Sponsored Programs page.

By lgeorgie on Feb 27, 2017 06:26 pm

Please reply to Linda Georgiev  by Friday, March 10, 2017 if you plan to submit an application to one of the below tracks. You will be notified if an internal review process is necessary.

Title: ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers

  • Adaptation track synopsis: supports the adaptation and implementation of evidence-based organizational change strategies, ideally from among those developed and implemented by ADVANCE projects
  • Institutional Transformation track synopsis: supports the development of innovative organizational change strategies to produce comprehensive change

The ADVANCE program contributes to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce because of the focus on equity for STEM academic faculty who are educating, training, and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

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Meet NIH & HHS in New Orleans for the NIH Regional Seminar, May 3-5!

Doctor Michael Lauer
Dr. Michael Lauer is NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research, serving as the principal scientific leader and advisor to the NIH Director on the NIH extramural research program.

Do you remember walking into the person’s office down the hall from you when you needed to ask a question, instead of “popping” them an email, instant message, or text? There’s no disputing that the digital age definitely has its advantages – making information sharing faster, cheaper, and more convenient, and allowing us to communicate locally and abroad in seconds. But in this fast paced world of instant communication – the internet, email, and all of our social media choices – sometimes we forget how valuable face-to-face interactions can be.

That is exactly one of the reasons I love the NIH Regional Seminars on Grant Funding and Program Administration. The seminars give me the opportunity to join over 60 of my fellow NIH and HHS faculty in sharing our knowledge and perspectives to attendees who are eager to learn how to navigate NIH, know the latest NIH initiatives, and understand how NIH and HHS policies affect their role in working on NIH grants. The seminars cover the basics that can help you understand how to find funding, write a grant application, manage a grant award, and comply with policies. But they also offer sessions that are a more advanced, including subjects you would see here on my blog. Some of those hot topic discussions include upcoming changes in how we will be supporting and providing oversight of clinical trials, as well as diversity in the biomedical research workforce. There are career planning sessions where we highlight topics related to getting your first NIH award and administrative topics such as how to manage international collaborations.

Perhaps even more valuable than formal presentations, in my mind, are the opportunities these events provide you and our faculty to interact….to meet, learn, and share from one another. Throughout the seminars, we offer opportunities to meet individually with our faculty to make connections, ask questions, and share perspectives.

Details on the NIH Regional Seminar in New Orleans, Louisiana (May 3-5) can be found on our website, and registration is open now. If the spring seminar location or dates aren’t ideal for you, then please consider our second seminar of 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland (October 25-27).

I look forward to seeing and meeting face-to-face with some of you there!

2017 NIH Regional Seminar – New Orleans this May! Save Now & Share the News!

Ready to jazz up your NIH knowledge or know someone who could use such an opportunity?

Well, get ready to join over 60 NIH & HHS experts at the 2017 NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration, taking place May 3-5, 2017 in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana.  If you are already a seasoned administrator or researcher, then share the news with your colleagues! Early Registration Rates end March 3, so act now!

Join Us at the Seminar

The NIH Regional Seminar is the ideal place to gain a better understanding of the NIH Grants Process and Policies.  Get the latest news and updates on Clinical Trials, Diversity in Extramural Research, Rigor & Reproducibility, electronic Research Administration, Contracts, a Mock Study Section Meeting, Intellectual Property, NIH Programs, Grants Compliance, Humans and Animals in Research, and so much more.  (Check out even more samples on the New Orleans website “Welcome” page.)

In addition to the two-day seminar, this year we have seven pre-seminar workshops! These opportunities include a full day workshop from the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) and OER, as well as half day workshops provided by the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA), electronic Research Administration (eRA), and the Division of Extramural Inventions & Technology Resources (DEITR).

For full details on these workshops and the full agenda for the seminar, please visit our website at

If the dates don’t work for you in New Orleans, the final 2017 NIH Regional Seminar will be held in Baltimore, MD Baltimore, MD, October 25-27.  Registration for Baltimore opens soon.

Share Information with your Colleagues

We also encourage you to share the event with your network. Here are some suggestions:

  • Post on social media (sample tweets below)


o   Jazz up your knowledge of the NIH grants process at the #NIH Regional Seminar-New Orleans. @NIHgrants

o   Join us/me for the #NIHsem on May 3-5 in New Orleans! @NIHgrants


o   Join us/me for the #NIHsem on Oct. 25-27 in Baltimore! @NIHgrants


o   Don’t miss out on a 2017 NIH Regional Seminar to learn the latest NIH grants polices! #NIHSem @NIHgrants

o   2017 NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding & Grants Administration – #NIHSem @NIHgrants


Download and print the attached New Orleans event flyer for your colleagues.

Register now! Rates increase after March 3, so lock in your spot at $300. All this is taking place in the midst of the New Orleans Jazz Festival!  That means rooms are also filling fast at the seminar hotel, the New Orleans Marriott, so make your reservation today!

We hope to see you and/or your colleagues at one of the 2017 NIH Regional Seminars!