Announcements

PIVOT: A new tool to identify funding opportunities

The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library (HSL) and Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) are pleased to introduce you to a new tool PIVOT, which allows instantaneous access to the funding opportunities that are right for you. 

Start using PIVOT at: https://pivot.cos.com/ and sign up for an account using your Columbia University email address. 

PIVOT strengths:

  • Editorially curated up-to-date funding opportunities span all disciplines and project types, from health and medicine to humanities, law and education, worth an estimated $49 billion.
  • A proprietary algorithm that compiles researcher profiles and matches them to current funding opportunities.

HSL and SPA will be collaborating in the coming months in various outreach and training events. In the meantime find video tutorials and other training materials, or if you have questions, please feel free to send them to us via HSL.

For further information about funding sources, including SPIN, visit Columbia Research website.

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Archived Announcements

Attention NIH Investigators and Administrators,

I wanted to highlight some resources that are available for addressing rigor and reproducibility in your grant applications. In a July Open Mike blog post, NIH highlighted several resources that are readily available. These resources, plus many more, have been compiled in an easy-to-navigate online repository as part of the Research and Data Integrity (ReaDI) Program here at Columbia. You may already be aware of the ReaDI Program and the resources that are available to Columbia researchers, but if you want to know more, the ReaDI Program is hosting an online webinar on September 28, to provide a more detailed look at everything the ReaDI Program has to offer. Spaces are limited and registration is required for this online event.

In addition to the ReaDI Program resources, Dr. Michelle Benson, Assistant Director for Research Integrity and Compliance, and I are available to give presentations on NIH’s Rigor and Reproducibility Policy for individuals new to the NIH proposal process or are looking for a refresher. Contact us to discuss your needs at mb3852@columbia.edu and sfs2110@columbia.edu. Thank you!

NIH announced last week that they are retiring the Inclusion Management System (IMS) and replacing it with a new Human Subjects System (HSS) as of June 9th, 2018. Per the NIH HSS website, “The HSS system is a shared system that enables grant recipients to electronically report and update their data on human subjects and clinical trials to NIH; and for NIH agency staff to monitor and manage the data.”

The information you provide in the new PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in proposals, and in the Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs), automatically populate in this new HSS system. Updates to human subjects and clinical trial-related information have to be done in HSS via the eRA Commons Status page as of June 9th, 2018.  IMS will no longer be available as of this date.  Examples of updates you may need to do in HSS include converting a delayed onset study to a full study record, providing interim data as per direct requests from NIH staff, informing NIH of ClinicalTrials.gov registration, or reporting participant sex/gender, race, and ethnicity information.

Training Materials:

Please see the official NIH announcement that explains more of the details of this transition: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-179.html.

Official NIH Notice: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-175.html

NIH released the stipend levels for fiscal year (FY) 2018 (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018) Kirschstein-NRSA awards for predoctoral, and postdoctoral trainees and fellows. The link above includes all of the details. You can use these new stipend and expense levels in your proposals and progress reports, effective immediately.

To note, the predoctoral stipend increased to $24,324 (FY18), up from $23,844 (FY17). However, the Training Related Expenses and Institutional Allowances for predoctoral trainees and fellows remain unchanged.

The zero level postdoctoral stipend increased to $48,432 (FY18), up from $47,484 (FY17). The Training Related Expenses and the Institutional Allowance for postdoctoral trainees and fellows have increased to $9,850 (FY18), up from $8,850 (FY17).

As a reminder: the maximum amount that NIH will award to support the compensation package for a graduate student research assistant remains at the zero level postdoctoral stipend, as described in NOT-OD-02-017.

The amount NIH will award tuition and fees remains unchanged.

And very important, “All FY 2018 awards previously issued using NOT-OD-17-084 and NOT-OD-17-003 will be revised to adjust funding to the FY 2018 levels.  Appointments to institutional training grants that have already been awarded in FY 2018 must be amended to reflect the FY 2018 stipend levels once the training grant award has been adjusted by the NIH.  Amended appointments must be submitted through xTrain in the eRA Commons.  Retroactive adjustments or supplementation of stipends or other budgetary categories with Kirschstein-NRSA funds for an award made prior to October 1, 2017 are not permitted.”

Please let me, or your SPA Project Officer know, if you have any questions.

This is to provide an update on the status of the release of the FY18 Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) funding opportunities and program pre-announcements.  You can subscribe to be alerted on the release of specific CDMRP funding opportunities by selecting your area of interest at https://ebrap.org/eBRAP/programSubscription/Subscribe.htm.

As of today, the only FY18 extramural opportunities available are the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), which is currently accepting applications for six award mechanisms throughout May 2018.

You can view the latest pre-announcements at CDMRP’s Upcoming Funding Opportunities, which allows investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission before the opportunities are officially released. Recently, the following pre-announcements were released:

Autism Research Program

  • Clinical Trial Award
  • Clinical Translational Research Award
  • Idea Development Award

Neurofibromatosis Research Program

  • Clinical Trial Award
  • Early Investigator Research Award (New for FY18)
  • Exploration - Hypothesis Development Award
  • Investigator-Initiated Research Award
  • New Investigator Award

 

Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program

  • Idea Award with Special Focus
  • Career Development Award
  • Translational Team Science Award
  • Impact Award

Prostate Cancer Research Program

  • Idea Development Award
  • Impact Award
  • Health Disparity Research Award
  • Health Disparity Scholar Award
  • Early Investigator Research Award
  • Physician Research Award

 

I’ll be sure to update you as official announcements are released at http://cdmrp.army.mil/funding/prgdefault.

NIH issued guidance on the use of a new NIH salary cap, to increase from $187,000 to $189,600.  See https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-137.html.  The effective date of this increase is January 7th, 2018.

NIH has not received the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriation and is operating under a continuing resolution through March 23rd, 2018 (see NOT-OD-18-136 also a very important notice).  However, NIH issued this guidance until a budget is passed.

In summary, this is how the $189,600 salary cap can be applied:

  • NIH proposal budgets may be submitted using the new cap.
  • Active NIH awards may rebudget to the new cap if restricted to Executive Level II, and adequate funds are available, and the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary.  The new cap should be prorated for the applicable months:
    • Cap is $187,000 through 1/6/18.
    • Cap is $189,600 from 1/7/18 – present.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your SPA Project Officer.  We will keep you posted on any developments.

Last week, an announcement came out from NIH & AHRQ that stated “beginning in early FY 2020, NIH and AHRQ intend to require the use of the xTRACT system in the eRA Commons to prepare the required data tables for certain types of training grant applications.”

You can read the full announcement here: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-133.html

Here is the important part:

“Beginning with RPPRs due on or after October 1, 2019 and applications submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2020, NIH and AHRQ anticipate that they will mandate that required training data tables submitted with T32, TL1, T90/R90, and T15 applications and progress reports be created via the xTRACT system.  System validations in Grants.gov and the RPPR module will check to ensure that tables were created via xTRACT, and applications and RPPRs that are not in compliance will be rejected.”

Here at Columbia, we’ve been encouraging the use of xTRACT since its inception since October 2015, and we participated as volunteers in its early development. We do have training materials, videos, and we’ve done webinars as well.  All of these items can be found on our website at https://research.columbia.edu/content/nih-institutional-training-grants. Look at BOTH the ‘Training, Presentations, Videos’ section and ‘Data Tables and xTRACT. We will continue to provide training opportunities in the future.

If you have not touched xTRACT yet, using it for an upcoming RPPR would be a good way to get familiar with it.  NIH & AHRQ will provide more guidance as we get closer to their required use, and I will be sure to update you.

The NIH single IRB (sIRB) policy applies to the domestic sites of new and competing renewal applications/proposals with due dates of January 25, 2018 and beyond for NIH-funded multi-site studies where each site will conduct the same protocol involving non-exempt human subjects research, whether supported through grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or the NIH Intramural Research Program.

If you are preparing an NIH application due on or soon after January 25th, 2018, you should contact the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) immediately at irboffice@columbia.edu if your application proposes to:

  • Conduct non-exempt human subjects research; AND
  • The same research protocol will be conducted at multiple domestic sites.

If Columbia University is being proposed as one of the participating sites in an application to be submitted this month or soon after by another applicant organization, you must also contact the HRPO immediately. Moving forward, it is recommended that you contact the HRPO as soon as a decision is made to participate in a multi-site study to which the NIH sIRB Policy applies.

An official process that details the requirements for addressing the NIH sIRB Policy is being finalized, to be released shortly. In the meantime, PIs and/or departments can reach out to irboffice@columbia.edu to inform the HRPO about these applications. Upon receipt of your email, HRPO will send you an online form to be completed, and you will be provided with next steps.

In addition, we are offering several options to learn more about the sIRB process. An information session will be held on Wednesday, January 17th from 3:30 – 5:00 pm, which will include an overview of all the NIH Human Subjects and Clinical Trial policies affecting proposals due on or after January 25th, 2018. This session will include Columbia University’s implementation of the sIRB policy. It is open to all faculty and administrators. No RSVP required, and you can add this event to your calendar here.

On January 18th, our quarterly Research Administration Forums will also include sIRB on the agenda. More information about the Forums can be found here.

On January 25, 2018, the Monthly IRB-Investigator Meeting will also include information on requirements for and processes relating to the NIH Single IRB Policy.

Note: Protocols that address the same research questions, involve the same methodologies, and evaluate the same outcomes are considered to be the “same research protocol.” Additionally, sites that are accruing research participants for studies that are identical except for variations due to local context consideration would be considered to be conducting the “same research protocol.”

If you have any questions, please contact irboffice@columbia.edu.

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Stephanie F. Scott, Director of Policy & Research Development, SPA and

Alan Teller, Director of Operations, HRPO

The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a revised Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that will take effect for proposals submitted on, or due on or after, January 29th, 2018.  A listing of significant changes from the PAPPG 2017 version can be found here.

I highly recommend watching the NSF webinar, which took place on December 8, 2017. It provides an explanation of the significant changes, making it very easy to understand them. It also provides a preview of NSF’s Proposal Submission Modernization initiative. NSF has been working toward moving proposal submissions from FastLane to Research.gov. FastLane is not going away any time soon, and you should still continue to use it. However, NSF has been taking steps to utilize Research.gov for proposal submissions.

You can view the webinar here: https://nsfgrantsconferences.com/pappg-update-webinar/

See a preview of NSF’s new proposal submission system here: https://youtu.be/tbU5agcTe1o.

I also want to bring to your attention NSF’s quarterly Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter, which contains many clarifications with regards to proposal submissions and grant management: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/newsletter.jsp.

I’ll be reviewing some of these items for grants managers during this week’s Research Administration Forums. Always feel free to ask any questions to your assigned SPA Project Officer.

Want to learn about the new NIH PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form, now required in FORMS-E? We'll be conducting informal webinars to help you become familiar with the form in preparation for NIH applications due on or after January 25th, 2018.

These sessions are open to both faculty and grants administrators wanting to learn more about the form. It doesn’t matter if you use ASSIST or PD in InfoEd to participate in these calls.

Here are the dates. You can register with your UNI and password within each link, and you’ll receive confirmation via email with the ZOOM webinar link and call-in information:

Once we hit the new year, there will be more training opportunities. When we have those dates set we will let you know!

NIH will make the Project Outcomes Section of all Interim and Final RPPRs submitted on or after October 1, 2017 available to the general public via the NIH RePORTER. See notice NOT-OD-18-103.

You should also read Mike Lauer’s Blog, Why Project Outcomes Matter in your Interim and Final RPPR, which provides helpful tips on writing this section for the general public.

Per the notice, this allows recipients of NIH funds “to provide the general public with a concise summary of the cumulative outcomes or findings of the project (analogous to the Project Summary/Abstract section of the competing application) at the end of each competitive segment.”

Extremely important to note:

“The NIH will only publish project outcomes that have been reviewed and approved by NIH staff to ensure the narrative is written for the general public in clear and comprehensible language, without including any proprietary, confidential information or trade secrets. If the description of the project outcomes are found to be unacceptable, recipients will be required upon NIH request to submit revised project outcomes statements using the Additional Material functionality in place for the Final and Interim RPPR (i.e., Final Report Additional Materials (FRAM) for Final RPPR). The Additional Material functionality for both the Final and Interim RPPR have been enhanced in order to capture revised project outcomes in a web form format that will support NIHs ability to make this information publically available. Please note that the web form data entry field pertains only to the entry of Project Outcomes text. Any other additional materials requested, if applicable, should be uploaded as a file attachment. In order to assist recipients, NIH has posted sample descriptions for project outcomes that may assist recipients in submitting acceptable project outcomes. See the Sample Project Outcomes description available at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/rppr/sample_project_outcomes_RPPR.htm.”

For more information on RPPRs and the Project Outcomes section, see their FAQs. As always, contact your SPA Project Officer with any questions.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has started the process of posting Parent Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) with the new FORMS-E packages. This process will continue throughout November. Note that the new Parent FOAs with FORMS-E released at this time have been labeled as either “Clinical Trial Required” or “Clinical Trial Not Allowed.”

Please ensure you proceed as follows:

  1. Determine if your project meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial.
  2. Select the appropriate FOA.
    1. See NIH’s Plan for Clinical Trial Specific Parent R01 and Parent R21 FOAs.
    2. See Clinical Trials: Special Considerations for Career Development, Fellowship, Training, and Research Education Programs.
  3. Ensure you are using FORMS-E for NIH Proposals due on or after January 25, 2018.

Due to the complexity of the FORMS-E, we strongly suggest that you submit your proposals early and encourage submission five business days prior to the NIH deadline.

Additionally, please communicate your plans to submit NIH proposals to your administrator and your SPA Project Officer as soon as possible.

We will continue to provide updates throughout this critical transition. If you have any questions or need additional information please contact your SPA Project Officer.

The following notice came directly from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and is quoted below.

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 18-1) has been issued.

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on December 8 at 2 PM EST. Registration is now available at: https://nsfgrantsconferences.com/pappg-update-webinar/

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Significant changes include:

  • Addition of a new eligibility subcategory on international branch campuses of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for foreign organizations;
  • Implementation of the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase since April;
  • Increase in the Budget Justification page limitation from three pages to five pages;
  • Restructuring of coverage on grantee notifications to and requests for approval from NSF, including referral to the Prior Approval Matrix available on the NSF website; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.

You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 29, 2018, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 17-1) continue to apply. We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office at (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail policy@nsf.gov.

Regards,

The National Science Foundation

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released several announcements concerning policy changes impacting studies involving human subjects, in particular those studies meeting the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Some of these changes have been announced previously. The information we’re receiving on these policies is evolving and dynamic.

This communication serves to provide you with the available resources that exist at this time, with emphasis on the definition of a clinical trial, and to identify items for you to consider throughout the sponsored projects lifecycle. Our offices will continue to monitor NIH’s updates, and we’ll communicate them to you.

NIH has several resources to familiarize you with all the policy changes.

NIH Resources

 

Items For You To Consider, or to Take Action Upon, Throughout the Sponsored Projects Lifecycle

Proposal Development Stage:

  • Correctly identify whether your study meets NIH’s definition of a clinical trial during proposal development. Use the decision tree and FAQs included in this link to help you determine if your study meets the criteria. Talk with an NIH Program Official if unsure.
  • All clinical trial applications must be submitted to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that allows clinical trials, effective with due dates on or after January 25, 2018. The FOA must explicitly state that it will accept clinical trials. NIH will no longer accept clinical trial applications through existing parent announcements. Applicants should check the online version of the FOA within 8 weeks of the due date to ensure it is still appropriate for their application.
    • Verify by reading Section II. Award Information in the FOA.
    • New FOAs will verify this in the title.
  • We suggest talking to the Program Official listed as a contact on the designated FOA to ensure your project meets the definition of a clinical trial. Get confirmation in writing via email. Reference the name of the individual who confirmed eligibility in the proposal cover letter.
  • Read the FOA very carefully for additional criteria to be included in clinical trial proposals.
  • Consider the NIH Single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) Policy. Applicants will be expected to include a plan for the use of a sIRB in the grant applications and contract proposals they submit to the NIH for due dates on or after January 25, 2018. More information to come concerning Columbia’s implementation of this Policy.
  • Become familiar with the new PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form, required with the new FORMS-E grant application packages due on or after January 25th, 2018.

If Proposal is Awarded:

Several offices under the purview of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR) plan to provide you with more detailed guidance on upcoming changes, in particular related to Columbia’s implementation of the sIRB policy. In the interim, the following chart provides the main points of contacts for each area of these policy changes: