FDP: Agency Updates

Turns out that there is no wifi access in the main meeting room at the FDP meeting, so I’ll be taking notes and posting them as soon as I reach an access point. 

The first session provided updates from many Federal agencies, including NSF, NASA, USDA CSREES, AFOSR, ONR, Energy, and NIH. Read on for more…

Jean Feldman, NSF

America COMPETES Act 

• Lots of policies of interest to the research community

• Postdoctoral research fellows: Requires agencies to modify grant applications to include descriptions of mentoring activities that will be undertaken

• Repsonsible conduct of research: Requires grantees to provide training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs participating in the research project. A workshop will be held later this summer to discuss this requirement, and find out what works in ethics education. Based on these inputs, a proposal will be written and published in the Federal Register so NSF can get input from grantees about these plans.

• Reporting of research results: Requires that final reports and citations of published research be published on the NSF Web site. This is something that NSF’s already doing. There will be some changes to the final report to fulfill the intricacies of this requirement.

• Cost sharing: Cost sharing was eliminated by the Board but Congress has reinstated it. 


• Research.gov is now live, with the following modules available:

• Research spendng and results: The public can search for detailed award information, including publication citations and award abstracts. The module takes users from the original funding abstract all the way through the research citations. The final component — the research report — will be added on to this. Public access to research findings (as NLM does for NIH) is being discussed right now

• Policy library: A repository for Federal and agency-specific policies, guidelines, and procedures for use by agencies and awardees.

• Research headlines: Public can view highlighted research activities from NSF and CSREES.

• Research.gov partners are: NASA, USDA CSREES, and DOD Research.

• DOD is beginning with three pilot agencies, and will expand to the rest of DOD (including ONR and DARPA).

• NSF and NIH are discussing potential partnering activities.

• Future plans: InCommon Pilot (logging in to Research.gov using credentials provided by their institution), PI Profile Update, Federal Financial Report, Research Performance Progress Reports, Research Spending and Results Sub-award Search, Payments and Cash Requests, Program Officer Service

• Note that Research.gov is not trying to take over Grants.gov’s functionality. 

NSF Adobe Transition 

• NSF plans to transition to Adobe by December 2008

• Includes 3 types of changes; FFATA, SF-4242R+R update, and changes required by Adobe

• None of these packages have been finalized yet 

Jamiel Commodore, NASA

There are four solicitations currently available from NASA, in Grants.gov and NSPIRES.

NASA has partnered with Research.gov and will be working on that. 


All CSREES applications are now received through Grants.gov for FY2008.

Beginning December 2008, CSREES will post all opportunities in Adobe.

New terms and conditions will be implemented for two specific requirements (see slides); they will be used depending on funding increments.

Grants.gov System-to-System: 64 applications received in this way in FY08. Expecting a much larger volume; exploring policy and procedural implications now.

Award eNotification is happening now for those awards without modifications.

eSignatures are being developed in sync with eNotifications. 

Sharon Capra, AFOSR

Electronic grants are being phased in for new awards. AFOSR will no longer maintain hardcopy grant files.

There will be e‑mail notifications of grant documents. 

Frank O’Day, ONR

PKI is no longer required to receive ONR awards. (Lots of applause on this announcement!) Notifications are now sent to the e‑mail address on file with AwardWeb for your University. PKI is still required for AdminWeb and PayWeb.

The PayWeb interface to Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) is now in place and working well.

ONR will use PureEdge until OMB has recleared the SF424R+R forms and they are tested; around November or December 2008.

ONR intends to make Grants.gov mandatory for grant applications by the end of CY2008. 

Jackie Niscomb (sp?), Energy

A reminder that personally identifiable information should not be included in final reports that will be publicly available.

Energy is not going to a GMLoB system, but using a COTS product called PRISM Grants by Compusearch, Inc. Grantees will be required to use FedConnect, part of the system. This will require registration, which needs CCR information for institutions. Once the institution is registered, people can be added as your discretion. This system will allow electronic awards and other advanced functionality. There are some delays in deployment, caused by the financial interface. 

Joe Ellis, NIH

• Expansion of ClinicalTrials.gov will become mandatory, and NIH is currently managing that.

• Open xTrain pilot to FDP insttutions. This allows electronic processing of trainee paperwork. Institutions must be registered with eRA Commons. Program Directors, T32 Administrators, Business Officials, and Trainees all play active roles in the system.

• Implementation of Federal-wide research terms: Details will be posted on the NSF Web site, as usual.

• Transtion to Adobe forms: December 2008 is the target date, piloting a couple of FOAs in late summer. Also building in PHS398 changes, FFATA changes, etc. at the same time.

• 80% of applications come in through Grants.gov.

• Exploring a system to enable submission of complex applications through Grants.gov. Timeline is unclear, but is likely to be a Web-based solution.

• Enhancing peer review at NIH: RFIs were issued on this and a report was submitted to Dr. Zerhouni in February 2008. Some recommendations are quite controversial, such as shortening application length, and eliminating the concept of revisions.

• Financial conflict of interest (FCOI) activities: NIH has identified around 10 cases but have found that there is no COI in effect or the institution has policies in place to manage the potential conflict. Conducting a system-wide review of FCOI policies, procedures, and guidance. eRA Commons FCOI module/reporting tool for grantees is in development, and will be delivered around October 2008.