New NIH Forms Package (Forms-F)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a summary of changes for FORMS-F, an updated version of the NIH application package. FORMS-F will replace the current application package, FORMS-E, for proposals due on or after May 25, 2020. Please see this PDF document (link to NIH site) for a summary of all proposed changes.

For additional guidance, please visit our NIH Updates page.

Office of Sponsored Programs – COVID 19 Response

**Updated 3/25/2020**

As COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has transitioned to a virtual office environment and is continuing to provide full service and staffing to maintain our normal levels of faculty and staff support.  Please contact your OSP Research Administrator by email with any request that you may have for assistance with the submission of a proposal, the setup of an award, or any other questions that you may have.  The OSP Director will come to campus upon request on an as-needed basis, for essential business only. Please contact the OSP Director by email if an urgent matter arises and his presence is required for essential purposes on-campus.

As new information about the COVID-19 crisis is being received with increasing frequency, please check OSP’s home page for the most up-to-date information related to our office’s service provisions.  OSP remains ready and available to serve the campus community in the preparation, review, and submission of proposals to external funding agencies, as well as, setting up new funding awards as they are received.

During this time, the preferred contact mechanism for service requests to OSP is by email to the addresses below.  However, if phone is the only option please leave a voice message for the intended party and it will be retrieved and responded to accordingly.

OSP StaffEmailPhone
Stuart Taub, Directorstaub@syr.edu315-443-9356
Lisa Kaley-Heyn, Associate DirectorLvkaleyh@syr.edu315-443-9357
Amy Deppa, Research Administratorasdeppa@syr.edu315-443-9355
Amy Graves, Research Administratorajgraves@syr.edu315-443-9360
Ross Gullo, Research Administratorrgullo@syr.edu315-443-1121
Jennifer Ho Manion, Research Administratorchomanio@syr.edu315-443-8252
Caroline McMullin, Research Administratorcmcmulli@syr.edu315-443-9358
Heather DiBlasi, Subaward Administratorhmdiblas@syr.edu315-443-2510
Peter Humphreys, Grant & Contracts Assistantphumphre@syr.edu315-443-2807
OSP General Office Email Addressospoff@syr.edu

Sponsored Travel Guidance Regarding COVID-19

The Offices of Sponsored Programs and Sponsored Accounting are working to provide the most up to date information related to the current COVID-19 situation as it evolves, specifically as it relates to policies and regulations pertaining to the administration of sponsored awards.

We understand that this situation is fluid, and impacts on sponsored project related travel may be felt at varying levels of complexity.  While the federal guidance on these matters is developing, we are providing the most current information that we are aware of.  Our top two federal funding agencies, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health have both issued recent FAQ updates specifically addressing the COVID-19 outbreak, and how to address grant related travel interruptions or cancellations, here:

  1. National Science Foundation: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2020/nsf20053/nsf20053.jsp?org=NSF#q11
  1. National Institutes of Health: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-086.html

Consistent with guidance provided by the federal sponsoring agencies, we suggest the following steps related to upcoming travel plans utilizing sponsored funding.

  1. First and foremost, the University’s Travel Policy and the sponsoring agency’s most recent travel policy should be consulted, to provide the initial framework for cost allocation and allowability.
  1. If travel plans have not yet been made, we recommend temporarily postponing travel to a future date. If travel was a requirement of the sponsored project, your program manager should be alerted to the delay and their guidance sought in coordination with the OSP office.
  1. Travelers who have already purchased tickets or incurred expenses for travel on sponsored programs which are subsequently cancelled are encouraged to:
    1. Rebook unused airfare and cancel lodging reservations and conference fees whenever possible.
    2. Request a refund of all travel expenses incurred.
    3. Request a credit of all travel expenses incurred.
    4. Should options a. through c. above be unsuccessful, please contact the Offices of Sponsored Programs at ospoff@syr.edu or 315-443-2807, and Sponsored Accounting contacct@syr.edu or 315-443-2059, to further investigate the allowability of such expenses to sponsored projects, depending on the facts and circumstances of the event, and in conjunction with the University Travel Policy and the sponsoring agency’s most recent travel policy.

As further guidance becomes available from federal agencies or other relevant sources, we will continue to provide updates accordingly.

Third Party Engagement on Sponsored Programs – New Form

A new Third Party Engagement on Sponsored Programs form has been posted in the forms section of the Sponsored Programs website.  The purpose of this form is two-fold.  The first to assist in identifying the collaborative relationship and the second to comply with procurement policies requiring full and open competition.

When working with third party (external) collaborators on a sponsored project, determining the proper method of engagement (subrecipient/consultant/contractor/vendor) is determined by evaluating the type of work to be performed and the characteristics of the collaborating entity.   It is recommended that this determination be made at the proposal stage so that budgets can be prepared accurately.  Page 1 of the form will assist in this determination.

When a sponsored project with third party collaborators is awarded, a process is initiated to formalize the collaboration.  The process differs based on the subrecipient / consultant / contractor determination that is made.  However, justification related to the selection process is required for most third party relationships.  Requirements for Subrecipients and Consultants are included in Page 2 of the Third Party Engagement on Sponsored Programs form while requirements for Contractor/Vendors are managed by Purchasing.

The Office of Sponsored Programs ensures that Subrecipient and Consultant engagements are properly established and executed.  Therefore, both pages of the new Third Party Engagement on Sponsored Programs form must be submitted when requesting subawards or execution of consulting agreements on your awards.

Contact the Purchasing department for direction regarding requirements for Contractor / Vendors / Purchased Services relationships.

Changes to the Subrecipient Monitoring Process

Effective July 1, 2019, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will no longer accept subrecipient invoices forwarded from parties other than the authorized financial representative of the subrecipient entity.  This change is being made to preserve an “arm’s length” relationship between Syracuse University and every subrecipient.  Moving in this direction will also increase efficiencies and transparency.

Invoices are to be submitted directly to the Subaward Administrator at subawardadmin@syr.edu.

Subrecipient invoices must:

  • Be generated by the subrecipient entity’s financial system of record;
  • Be formatted using the method consistent with the independent entity’s invoicing practices;
  • Reflect charges that are approved and allowable under the terms of the subaward agreement;
  • Itemize charges in a manner that is constant with the approved budget contained in the subaward agreement;
  • Include only expenditures that are supported by detailed backup (i.e. receipts, payroll…). This backup must be made available on request.

The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for managing contractual and financial aspects of all collaborations involving subrecipients.  In order to improve efficiencies and minimize confusion, OSP will work directly with the personnel from each entity to insure that the relationship is properly communicated from the beginning of the project period.

OSP understands that failure to adequately monitor the compliance of subrecipients could result in damage to Syracuse University’s reputation, and has the potential to jeopardize current and future funding.  It is the responsibility of The Office of Sponsored Programs on behalf of Syracuse University, as the pass-through entity, to ensure the good stewardship of sponsored funding.

Further information can be found at Working with Subrecipients

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on Sponsored Programs

Dear Colleagues,

As the duration of the partial federal government shutdown approaches its fifth week, we are providing this update regarding how these interruptions in the government may impact the way in which we receive federal funding. While we remain hopeful that the shutdown will not impact our federal funding for much longer, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) continues to provide support and assistance as you apply for and manage your sponsored projects, and are here to help with any questions you may have.

  • Proposal Submissions:  First and foremost, we expect that Grants.gov, Research.gov, NSF Fastlane, and NIH Assist (and all other federal application systems) will be fully functional and maintained so that grant applications to federal agencies can continue to be submitted during the shutdown. OSP staff are using these systems daily for proposal submission, and as of today, they continue to be functioning normally. If this should change we will send out additional advisory information. Proposal deadlines should be observed according to their originally posted due dates. That said, proposals submitted during the shutdown will not likely be reviewed by affected federal agencies until after the shutdown is over.
  • New Awards:  If you have received an advance announcement of an impending award, please note that issuance of new grant awards will likely be delayed until after the shutdown is over. If you are experiencing any issues related to the timing of a new or continuing grant award, please contact OSP for assistance.
  • Routine Administration of Grants and Contracts:  According to some information we have received, re-budgeting, no cost extensions, and award continuations will be delayed in their processing, but we advise submitting these requests into the agency queue’s in real-time, with the understanding that they will be reviewed when the government reopens. Please be sure to forward any award-related correspondence that you may receive directly to Stuart Taub, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, staub@syr.edu.
  • Performance of Work for funded Grants and Contracts:  Awardees may continue performance under their issued awards during this temporary shutdown, provided that the funds were previously obligated (e.g.- award notice was received), and the period of performance of the grant has not expired.
  • Reports: Technical reports, financial reports, and other reports as required by the sponsor should still be submitted on or before the due date in order to remain compliant with the terms of the award.
  • Availability of Funds for Drawdown (accounting function only):  For most federal awards, it is expected that the Office of Sponsored Accounting will not be able to draw down or invoice for expenditures until the shutdown ends. This does not affect the expenditure of awarded project funds; and we encourage the continued expenditure of sponsored project funds according to plan.

While NIH and the Department of Education are still funded during this partial government shutdown, others such as NSF, NASA, NOAA, USDA, NIST, and NEH are not. Agency Contingency Plans and FAQs for temporary lapses in federal appropriations can be found on the OMB website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/agency-contingency-plans/

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the effect of the government shutdown on sponsored programs.

Best,

Stuart

Important Changes to the NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA)/R15 Program

As announced in guide notice NOT-OD-19-015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has changed its approach to how it uses the R15 activity code.  The current AREA Parent Announcement, PA-18-504, expires after January 7, 2019.

Research enhancement opportunities will now be split between two distinct programs:

  1. Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) will be reserved for grants to undergraduate-focused institutions that do not receive substantial funding from NIH; and
  2. Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) that will support graduate schools of arts and sciences and health professional schools that grant baccalaureate or advanced degrees.

As background, the goals of the R15 program are to support meritorious research, expose students to research, and strengthen the research environment of an institution.

It is important to note that each funding opportunity announcement includes detailed program-specific eligibility information that supersedes any general information listed here.

Eligibility for the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program for undergraduate-focused institutions requires that:

  • The applicant institution must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences.
  • At the time of application submission, all the non-health professional components of the institution together have not received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 federal fiscal years.*
  • A signed letter is required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will coordinate with the Office of the Provost to obtain the signed letter.

Organization eligibility for the Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) program for graduate schools and health professional schools require that:

  • The applicant organization must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health professions or advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
  • At the time of application submission, the applicant institution (all components) may not have received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 federal fiscal years.*
  • A signed letter is required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will coordinate with the Office of the Provost to obtain the signed letter.

*For both AREA and REAP program eligibility, please note that all activity codes are included in the eligibility calculations except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.

Syracuse University currently meets the eligibility requirements for both the AREA and REAP programs, however specific program announcements/solicitations from NIH institutes/centers may have additional requirements/limitations so it is important to ensure that you read these documents carefully. Questions regarding eligibility may also be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs.

NIH RPPRs and the Project Outcomes Section

NIH will make the Project Outcomes Section of all Interim and Final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) submitted on or after October 1, 2017 available to the general public via the NIH RePORTER. Please see notice NOT-OD-18-103 for the full details.