NIH Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY 2024

NOT-OD-24-057, released January 29, 2024

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 restricts the amount of direct salary to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive pay scale. The Office of Personnel Management recently released new salary levels for the Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 1, 2024, the salary limitation for Executive Level II is $221,900. 

For active awards, including awards that have been issued in FY 2024 (continuation and new) that were restricted to Executive Level II, if adequate funds are available, and if the salary cap increase is consistent with the institutional base salary, recipients may rebudget funds to accommodate the current Executive Level II salary level.


NSF PAPPG NSF 24-1 New Version

NSF has announced that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 24-1) has been issued. The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted or due on or after May 20, 2024.

You can review the by-chapter Summary of Changes provided in the PAPPG. NSF will present information about these changes in a webinar on March 12that 2 PM EST. Sign up on the Policy Office outreach website to be notified once registration opens. While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on May 20, 2024, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 23-1) continue to apply. 

Changes that affect proposal preparation

  • Biographical Sketch(es):  This section has been revised to remove the 3-page limitation for the biographical sketch. There is no page limitation for this section of the proposal.  The Synergistic Activities section has been removed from the biographical sketch. This information must now be submitted by individuals designated as senior/key persons as part of the senior/key personnel documents in Research.gov.
  • Mentoring Plan:  Proposals will require a mentoring plan for postdoctoral researchers or graduate students supported on the project. This page limitation for the Mentoring Plan remains one page.
  • New checkbox on the Cover Sheet to indicate if there are “Potential Impacts on Tribal Nations.”  NSF will not award projects that may impact Tribal Resources or Interests unless the project has prior written approval from officials designated by the relevant Tribal Nations(s).

Plagiarism Detection Software Available Via TAMU Division of Research

iThenticate is the leading provider of professional plagiarism detection and prevention technology used worldwide by scholarly publishers, funding agencies, and researchers to ensure the originality of written work before publication.

The Division of Research makes iThenticate available to TAMU researchers free of charge. Faculty are strongly encouraged to use the tool as a pre-submission check of papers, proposals, or any other document that will be made available to the broader research community.  Login is available at iThenticate – Division of Research (tamu.edu)


OMB Proposed Updates to the Uniform Guidance

FYI – On September 22, OMB posted a blog highlighting proposed updates to the Uniform Guidance (2CFR Parts 1, 25, 170, 175, 180, 182, 183 and 200) and an ‘unofficial’ draft of the revised text.  The official version will be in a forthcoming Federal Register publication.  Once these changes are posted to the Federal Register, a 60-day comment period will begin. OMB invites interested persons or organizations to submit comments.

Selected highlights of the proposed changes are as follows:

  • Increasing the Single Audit Act audit threshold from threshold $750,000 to $1 million
  • Increasing the threshold from $5,000 to $10,000 for determining items that are considered to be equipment
  • Revise the section 200.314 on supplies to raise the threshold from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Increasing the amount of subaward costs that can be counted within the MTDC base from $25,000 to $50,000
  • Increasing the de minimis indirect cost rate to 15 percent of MTDC
  • Removing the “simplified acquisition threshold” cap for fixed amount subawards currently in place
  • In section 200.407, OMB has removed ten items from the prior written approval requirements

Required Use of SciENcv to Prepare Biographical Sketches and Current and Pending Support – on or after October 31, 2023

A reminder, effective for proposals due on or after October 31, 2023, the National Science Foundation will require the use of SciENcv to prepare biographical sketches and current and pending support for senior personnel in applications submitted to NSF.  NSF encourages investigators to go ahead and start using SciENcv.  SRS hosted a presentation by the TAMU Libraries in May on how to create a biosketch and current and pending support using SciENcv.    A recording of this presentation is available via the SRS website at AnSRS4U – Sponsored Research Services (tamu.edu)


National Institutes of HealthApplication Instruction Updates – Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Costs

Effective for applications submitted for due dates on or after October 5, 2023, NIH will no longer require the use of the single DMS cost line item. NIH recognizes that DMS costs may be requested in many cost categories.

Therefore, in line with NIH standard budget instructions, DMS costs must be requested in the appropriate cost category, e.g., personnel, equipment, supplies, and other expenses, following the instructions for the R&R Budget Form or PHS 398 Modular Budget Form, as applicable.  While the single cost line item is no longer required, NIH will require applicants to specify estimated DMS cost details within the “Budget Justification” attachment of the R&R Budget Form or “Additional Narrative Justification” attachment of the PHS 398 Modular Budget Form, pursuant to the instructions.


Review Integrity and Bias Awareness Training will be Required for NIH Reviewers Effective May 2024 Council Round

The NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) has developed two reviewer training modules.  Effective for the May 2024 Council round (peer review meetings in early 2024), completion of the “Review Integrity” and “Bias Awareness and Mitigation” modules will be required by all reviewers prior to participating in NIH review meetings governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (which represents >90% of NIH’s yearly review meetings). Each training course will take approximately 30 minutes and will need to be completed once every 3 years.


New Videos Available at AnSRS4U Express

AnSRS4U Express are short 5-to-7-minute videos on various research topics.   These videos are designed to give you the necessary information in a brief time frame.   Some recent topics that have been added to the TAMU Sponsored Research Services (SRS) webpage are as follows:  

  • Acknowledgement of Federal Funding
  • Is it a Gift or a Grant
  • Incoming Principal Investigator / Sponsored Project Transfers
  • Principal Investigator Departures / Project Transfers
  • Cost Transfers

These are located on the SRS website under the Resources tab at AnSRS4U Express – Sponsored Research Services (tamu.edu)


NASA Requires Inclusion Plan for Selected Proposals

Inclusion Plan Pilot Study – A growing number of program elements in ROSES require an Inclusion Plan. Those that do so will indicate this clearly. In general, two pages are allocated for this plan but see individual program elements for the required proposal location and page limits for Inclusion Plans.

Inclusion is defined here as the full participation, belonging, and contribution of groups and individuals within an organization or endeavor. Note that inclusion is distinct and different from diversity. Inclusion requires that all individuals can participate fully, regardless of the diversity dimension, do their best work and advance, and feel welcomed, valued, connected, engaged, and supported to reach their full potential. The Inclusion Plan should focus on inclusion, not diversity or accessibility.

The Inclusion Plan shall clearly state goals for creating and sustaining a positive and inclusive working environment and describe activities to achieve these goals including

  • Identify barriers to creating a positive and inclusive working environment that are specific to the team carrying out the proposed investigation.
  • Address ways in which the investigation team will work to attenuate or reduce these barriers.
  • Describe roles, responsibilities, and work effort for all team members who will be participating in Inclusion Plan activities.
  • Show a timeline for completing or carrying out proposed activities.
  • Contain assessment mechanisms for evaluating progress towards achieving the proposed Inclusion Plan activities or goals.

Any funding requested for Inclusion Plan-related activities shall be explicitly identified and justified in the Inclusion Plan section and clearly identified in the proposal’s main budget. These will be assessed for reasonableness.  The Inclusion Plan will be assessed for adequacy, appropriateness, and completeness separately from the standard evaluation of the proposal.


NSF New Requirement for a Safe and Inclusive Work Environment

Effective January 30, 2023, with the implementation of the NSF 23-1 PAPPG, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has a new requirement which states that there must be a plan for a safe and inclusive work environment created and distributed to each participant, in advance of departure for an off-campus research activity. Off-campus or off-site research is defined by NSF for this requirement as “data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork or research activities on vessels and aircraft.”

At the time of proposal submission for each proposal that proposes to conduct research off-campus or off site, the Authorized Organizational Representative must complete a certification that the organization has a plan in place for that proposal.   Thus, prior to the submission of the proposal, Sponsored Research Services (SRS) will require the PI to certify that a plan has been created.  

Several solicitations from the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geological Sciences (GEO) will soon require the submission of a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan that will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process.

As a reminder, this 2-page supplementary document must address the following four sections:

  1. a brief description of the field setting and unique challenges for the team;  
  2. the steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment, including processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g., codes of conduct, trainings, mentor/mentee mechanisms and field support that might include regular check-ins, and/or developmental events;   
  3. communication processes within the off-site team and to the organization(s) that minimize singular points within the communication pathway (e.g., there should not be a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone); and   
  4. the organizational mechanisms that will be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment if they arise. 

Template


Cayuse Learning Session Announcement

Cayuse Proposals is a tool that is designed for administrators and/or researchers to use for the preparation of proposals. Some researchers have requested training in order to access the system, upload documents, and in some instances, assist with preparation of their proposals. In response to these requests informational sessions for researchers will be offered.  As always, SRS Proposal Administrators will continue to provide full proposal preparation services. 

Please view the prerecorded session here.