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5.14.2019 USDA-NIFA Announcement: Changes to F&A / Indirect Cost Limitation
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced changes to the F&A / indirect cost limitation to be used in open and new requests for applications (RFA’s) as well as for new awards issued after December 20, 2018:

“Section 7125 of the 2018 Farm Bill modified Section 1462 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 resulting in a different indirect cost limitation for new competitive awards under many of NIFA’s program. As applicable, under the Section 7125 amendment, indirect costs are limited to 30 percent of the total Federal funds provided under the award and the limitation on indirect costs applies to both the initial grant award and to any subgrants, so that the total of all indirect costs charged against the total Federal funds awarded does not exceed the 30 percent limitation. NIFA has updated the indirect cost recovery table on the NIFA website to list the new indirect cost rate requirements by program.”  Additionally, USDA/NIFA has developed guidance for calculation of indirect costs under the new requirements.

"For applicable programs, this requirement is effective for new awards issued after Dec. 20, 2018, regardless of whether grants are Fiscal Year 2018 or 2019 funds. Where grants were awarded after Dec. 20, 2018, grantees will be contacted by the Awards Management Division regarding application of the new indirect cost provisions. For impacted RFAs that have closed, NIFA will work with entities recommended for funding, prior to award, to make any necessary changes to comply with the new provision. All impacted open RFAs have been modified to include the new provision. Future RFAs will include the new provision, as applicable.”

Please contact Sponsored Programs at for questions related to F&A/IDC calculations in proposal budgets or the potential impact on new USDA/NIFA awards.

5.6.2019 Notification of Award
Award notices should always be sent to Sponsored Programs Administration. Sometimes a sponsor will send the award notice directly to the principal investigator (PI) or the Department. In order for an award to be fully processed through to Grant & Contract Accounting for set-up, it must be forwarded to SPA. SPA will then review the award against the proposal details on file and work with the PI on any discrepancies. If you receive an award notice, you can send it electronically to or hard copies can be sent to SPA at Research 1. For more information, see SPA’s website on Award Acceptance.

4.29.2019 Updated Facilities & Administrative Cost Rate Agreement 
An updated and signed facilities and administrative cost rate negotiation agreement is now available on Sponsored Programs Administration’s Forms page. If you have any questions, please contact SPA at 231-8045 or

NIH Releases New Guidance on Salary Limitations
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued new guidance on salary limitations/caps for grant and cooperative agreements. The new salary limitation/cap is $192,300, which is up from the previous $189,600. Additional information concerning use of salary caps as well as budget examples can be found on SPA’s website under Budget Development and Budget Justification. Look for Budget Templates under “Brief Overview” and Salary Caps under the “Personnel category.”  

4.15.2019 On May 1, 2019, Adobe Reader Version 9 will no longer be compatible for use with Workspace PDF forms.  
This is a reminder to keep your (free) Adobe Acrobat Reader software up-to-date. For more information on compatible versions of Adobe Reader software for use with, please review our Adobe Software Compatibility page. There, you can verify the compatibility of your version of Adobe Reader for use with Workspace PDF forms.


4.8.2019 Proposal Tip - Looking for help to develop your NIH Biosketch?
The biosketch provides an opportunity for each senior/key person listed in an National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application to describe why they are well-suited for their role(s) in the project, and is an important component of the proposal review process. 

The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) recently published some information and resources for writing successful NIH Biosketches on the OER Blog, Extramural Nexus.

You can read the full entry and subscribe to future posts here.

4.1.2019 Proposal Tip - Authorized Institutional Official/Signatory
Under NDSU Policy Section 800, the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity is the designated university representative to sign all external proposal and award documents. The VP has delegated signature authority for proposals and awards to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA), with the Business Development office having signing authority for awards with private industry. In the event a signature from the Principal Investigator (PI) or other administrative signature is required, SPA or Business Development will facilitate the additional signatures. For more information, see NDSU Policy Section 800.

3.25.2019 Proposal Tip - NSF Enhanced Site
NSF has enhanced its proposal preparation and submission site through provides more features than FastLane and currently non-collaborative proposals can be submitted through this site. Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) encourages submission through due to the enhanced capabilities that it provides.  

Learn more >>               Contact SPA >>

3.18.2019 Proposal Tip - No Cost Extensions and Reporting Requirements
A "no cost extension" adds time to an award, but does not relieve the awardee of compliance or reporting requirements. 

During a no cost extension period, compliance requirements such as Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI), Institutional Review Board (IRB), and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) must still be met. 

In addition, some sponsors, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), still require technical reports prior to when the final report is prepared. Annual reports are still due every 12 months. When the award finally does expire, the final report and project outcomes report are both due generally within 120 days.

2.19.2019 Proposal Tip - ASSIST
ASSIST is a web-based system used to prepare and submit applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Public Health Service agencies. A useful feature within the system is the “Copy Application” function which allows a user to copy data from an existing application to a new application. 

Follow the steps below to copy an application in ASSIST: 

  • Open application you want to copy from
  • Click the “Copy Application” button on the left hand menu
  • Enter the funding opportunity notice for the new application 

Please contact with any questions.   

1.28.2019 Resumption of Operations at the NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is emerging from a 35-day funding lapse in appropriations and shutdown of the agency,  and has developed a webpage titled "Resumption of Operations at NSF"  to provide guidance regarding the initial resumption of operations. The webpage includes Important Notice No. 145, Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation, dated January 28, 2019, as well as supplemental guidance that addresses grant and cooperative agreement-related policy and systems issues. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. 

Policy-related questions regarding resumption of operations at NSF may be addressed to

1.22.2019 Budgeting Tip: Human Subject Incentive Payment vs. Participant Support Costs
When building your budget, remember there is a difference between a “human subject incentive payment” and a “participant support cost”. A human subject incentive is a nominal payment given to an individual as compensation for their involvement in a research study (e.g. $10/hour for completion of a survey). Participant support costs are payments to or on the behalf of individuals participating in a training project, conference or workshop and includes expenses such as stipends, travel, registration fees and subsistence. Participants are non-NDSU employees that are the recipients of a service or training rather than the provider of the service or training. 

Additional guidance can be found on the Sponsored Programs Administration Budget Development webpage.

Proposal Budget and Budget Justification Questions
Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) staff are available to assist with questions that may arise when preparing a proposal budget or a budget justification. Feel free to contact Cindy Eleson (231-5259) or Vicki Miller (231-8898), SPA Budget and Programs Officers, with any questions or to make a personal appointment to meet with them at the Sponsored Programs office located at 1735 Research Park Drive (Research 1 Building). We encourage you to check out the SPA website for additional assistance with your proposal preparation. We have a number of tools available including budget templates and guidance on assigning costs to the appropriate budget category. SPA staff are also available to present informational sessions for you and your colleagues on proposal and award modification topics. You can contact SPA at 231-8045, or via email at

12.17.2018 NIH Signature Form Reminder
With each submission to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Principal Investigator (PI) must complete a new NIH Signature Form. This form needs to be on file with the Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF).  Contact Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) with any questions or concerns.

12.3.2018 How to find your NSF User ID
If you have forgotten your National Science Foundation (NSF) User ID, you can use the Lookup ID tool on the NSF Fastlane website to find your User ID.

11.26.2018 Upcoming Change to NSF Biographical Sketch
The NSF Biographical Sketch requires inclusion of synergistic activities: professional and scholarly activities that focus on the integration and transfer of knowledge as well as its creation. An updated Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG 19-1) has been revised to specify that a synergistic activity list should include up to five distinct examples. Proposers should not include broad categories with many examples in each category. 

PAPPG 19-1 will be effective for proposals submitted or due on or after January 28, 2019. Until then, PAPPG 18-1 will be in effect.

NSF Biosketch Template (Microsoft Word Document)

Other updates and changes in NSF PAPPG 19-1

11.19.2018 Revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (19-1)
NSF has issued a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1). The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 28, 2019.

Significant changes include:

  • Addition of as an option for proposal preparation and submission, and proposal file updates;
  • Specification that conference proposals over $50,000 and all equipment proposals must include the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information in the proposal submission;
  • Revision of resubmission guidelines for NSF programs that accept proposals at any time;
  • Implementation of NSF’s policy on sexual harassment and other forms of harassment, or sexual assault;
  • Specification that proposers are required to have a policy or code-of-conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault, and that includes clear and accessible means of reporting violations of the policy or code-of-conduct. This policy or code-of-conduct must be disseminated to conference participants prior to attendance at the conference as well as made available at the conference itself;
  • Emphasis on the importance of training faculty in the responsible and ethical conduct of research;
  • Incorporation of existing patent policy into the PAPPG. This policy was previously implemented by regulation at 45 CFR 650;
  • Clarification to the Synergistic Activities section of the Biographical Sketch; 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.

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on November 27 at 2 PM EST. For additional information about the webinar, including how to register for it, visit the NSF webpage.
While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 28, 2019, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 18-1) continue to apply. 

11.13.2018 NSF Account Verification
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has updated its account management system and is requiring verification of user account information (primary email address and phone number). If your NSF account was created before March 23, 2018, you are required to verify your information. If you receive an email from requesting that you verify your account information, please take a brief moment to do so. Unless the system identifies a data issue with your account after updating, this should be a one-time process. Information on migrating existing NSF accounts to the new account management system can be found here. If you have any additional questions, please contact

10.22.2018 NSF Adds New Term and Condition on Harassment and Assault
Effective October 22, 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has implemented a new term and condition titled “Notification Requirements Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault”. This new term requires organizations that have funding from NSF to notify NSF of any of the following circumstances involving NSF funded PIs or co-PIs, even if such actions occurred outside the scope of the NSF award:

  • findings or determinations of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault;
  • administrative action taken by an organization relating to harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation; or
  • placement on administrative leave.  

Reporting to NSF will be done by NDSU’s Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), which is Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA). The AOR will report to NSF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

Starting October 22, 2018, new NSF awards and amendments to existing awards will include and be subject to the new requirement. This new term is also a requirement for any subawardees. The full term and condition can be found in the Federal Register Notice. The January 2019 version of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be updated to include this term. Additional information can be found by reading the FAQs. If you have any questions, please contact SPA ( 

10.15.2018 F&A Waiver for Non-Profit and Foundation Sponsored Activity
RCA announces a new pilot program that will change the application of facilities and administrative (F&A) costs that are currently assessed to certain sponsored research projects. While NDSU policy requires the inclusion of these indirect costs in all externally-sponsored projects, effective immediately RCA will be piloting a new approach in which F&A will not be required on new proposals to non-profit organizations or foundations for grants at or below $10,000.

Serving NDSU’s Land Grant mission can come in many forms. Our office will be piloting this new approach with the hope of stimulating broader participation in non-profit and foundation-supported research and creative activity. While the dollar amount of these grants may not be huge, the impact that they have on our community is. This work counts!

This change is effective immediately for all new projects that fit the scope above. While this waiver covers funding received directly from the non-profit or foundation, it may not be available for flow-thru projects. This is not a retroactive policy so currently pending proposals will not be modified to eliminate F&A from their budgets. Contact the SPA team directly with questions. For more information, visit the Budget Development page, read the FAQs, or view this list of eligible sponsors.

As this incentive is an experiment to increase community engagement, I would appreciate your feedback about how it impacts your externally sponsored research activities. In addition, if you have specific questions about how this waiver will affect your future research projects, please contact Val Kettner (

10.1.2018 NCURA Region IV Traveling Workshop
A one-day workshop providing concepts, strategies, and best practices for pre-award and post-award management of sponsored research is being hosted by the University of North Dakota (UND), on October 19th, from 8:00am-5:00pm  Experienced National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) speakers will provide the instruction on “Sponsored Programs Essentials”, which will be an introduction to the lifecycle of sponsored research administration.  Research administrators from central and departmental offices will benefit from the workshop.  Early-bird registration is $175, and includes lunch.  The Vice President of Research and Creative Activity (RCA) office will provide a limited number of partial “scholarships” for interested NDSU staff to attend.  The RCA office will cover $100 of the registration cost, and provide pooled transportation.  The partial scholarships are available on a first-come basis.  If you are interested in attending this conference, please email Val Kettner at, or call 1-9608, prior to October 10th so that we can take advantage of early bird registration.

9.24.2018 Budget Justifications
The National Science Foundation’s 2018 Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) included new guidance related to NSF’s 2 month requested salary limitation for senior personnel. Proposing organizations are now required to define and consistently apply the term “year” when requesting salary for senior personnel as well as include this definition in budget justifications. In order to comply with this requirement, NDSU has defined our organizational “year” as July 1st – June 30th. 

“As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year.”  “It is the organization’s responsibility to define and consistently apply the term “year”, and to specify this definition in the budget justification. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. This effort must be documented in accordance with 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E, including 2 CFR § 200.430(i). If anticipated, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.”   

Please see page II-17 of the PAPPG guide for additional information: 

For questions, please contact Sponsored Programs at  

Faye Klein Retirement
After 34 years of dedicated service to North Dakota higher education, Faye Klein has decided to retire. Faye began her career in 1984 in Enrollment Services at North Dakota State College of Science and moved to Fargo to work at NDSU in 1990. Faye has worked at NDSU for the past 28 years, serving in the College of Human Development and Education in Student Services, the Center for 4-H Youth Development, the College of Health Professions, and most recently in Research and Creative Activity. 

Many of you have worked with Faye throughout her career and I invite you to wish her well on her next chapter! Faye’s last day at NDSU will be Monday, October 1, 2018. Until then, she can be reached at 1-8045, via email at or in person in the Research 1 building. On behalf of the entire RCA team, we wish Faye a fond farewell, and thank her for her years of service and dedication to NDSU.   

9.17.2018 Workspace: New Features
Beginning in October, will be updated to improve the user experience. Release 16.3 maintenance will take place October 20-22, 2018, which will result in the system being unavailable during that time. Scheduled improvement features include:

  • enhanced security in the password reset process,
  • new “Related Opportunities” to make grant searches easier,
  • new “Related Submissions” for ease in identifying resubmitted applications, and
  • enhanced Application tracking.

For questions on the use of Workspace, please contact Sponsored Programs at

9.4.2018 NSF Orientation Video: "The Art and Science of Reviewing Proposals"
Jean Feldman, Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution & Award Support, for the National Science Foundation, has provided a “Dear Colleague” notice as follows: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is committed to ensuring a fair, competitive, and transparent merit review process. The reviews submitted by external peer reviewers are an important part of the decision-making process and a crucial source of feedback to Principal Investigators. NSF has developed a short reviewer orientation video that provides helpful tips for writing high quality reviews.  

NSF encourages all reviewers to watch the orientation video, “The Art and Science of Reviewing Proposals,” which can be accessed in FastLane through the Panelist Travel and Reimbursement page and the Proposal Review, Ad Hoc Reviewers page. You can also view the video directly at NSF – Tips for Reviewers
There is a link at the end of the video to additional resources, a list of helpful hints, and a short feedback survey. NSF values your feedback and will use the results of the survey to improve future reviewer orientation materials. 

NCURA Region IV Traveling Workshops - SAVE THE DATE, October 19, 2018!
The University of North Dakota (UND) is hosting a National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) traveling workshop, “Essentials of Sponsored Research”, on October 19, 2018. Registration will be $175 and includes lunch. This is a full day workshop focusing on an introduction to sponsored research administration. The workshop will include both pre- and post-award topics. It is primarily geared towards staff in central research and departmental offices. More information will be coming soon concerning shared travel opportunities and the possibility of partial registration support by Research & Creative Activity. 

8.28.2018 Director of National Institutes of Health Issues Letter On Threats to the Integrity of U.S. Biomedical Research
Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), issued a “Dear Colleague” letter dated August 20, 2018, concerning threats to the integrity of U.S. biomedical research from foreign entities efforts to influence NIH researchers and peer reviewers. The Letter identified three areas of concern: (1) diversion of intellectual property (IP), (2) sharing of confidential information, and (3) failure to disclose substantial resources from other organizations, including foreign governments. In an effort to mitigate these concerns, NIH is working with the biomedical research community and other government agencies. Their collective efforts will be supported by a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, looking to develop methods to: (1) improve the accuracy of reporting of all sources of research support, financial interests, and relevant affiliations, (2) mitigate the risk to IP security while continuing collaborations with foreign scientists and institutions, (3) identify additional steps to protect the integrity of peer review. 

NIH recipients are reminded of the requirements to disclose all forms of other support and financial interests, including support from a foreign government or other foreign entity. In March of 2018, NIH published Notice Number: NOT-OD-18-160 covering the Financial Conflict of Interest regulation, which is a term for all NIH awards. Investigators must disclose “all financial interests received from a foreign institution of higher education or the government of another country (which includes local, provincial, or equivalent governments of another country).” The NIH Grants Policy Statement includes information concerning the requirements that all sources of research support, financial interests, and relevant affiliations be included in all applications and progress reports.

See the full letter from Dr. Collins.

8.27.2018 Timely Submission of Technical Reports, Final Reports, and Other Deliverables
Most sponsors require submission of periodic reports and/or other deliverables at various times throughout the period of performance of a project. It is important for PI’s to review the award notice and any sponsor guidelines to ensure awareness of reporting requirements such as timing, format and submission method. NDSU has experienced sponsors taking various actions when reports or deliverables were not submitted timely, including sponsors that have:

  • delayed review of a PI’s proposal or have delayed review of other proposals submitted by NDSU until an overdue report was submitted;
  • delayed payments to NDSU or refused to pay outstanding invoices;
  • delayed release of incremental funding or even new awards, as well as delayed review of other award change requests;
  • reduced the anticipated award amount, and/or
  • terminated projects early.

In order to avoid these types of sponsor actions, please submit reports and other deliverables on or before the sponsors identified deadlines. Please contact Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) at or 1-8045 with any questions.


NDSU Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost (F&A) Rates
NDSU has a federally negotiated indirect cost (F&A) rate agreement available on the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) Forms page. The effective period of the current F&A agreement (7/1/2014 - 6/30/2018) identified predetermined rates to include in budgets for sponsored projects. Given that the effective period has passed, the previously predetermined rates are now formally provisional rates, and are still in effect. The Controller’s Office has made a request to our cognizant agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, to extend the current rates for an additional four years. Until notified, faculty and staff should continue to use the current rates when developing proposal budgets. If a sponsoring agency needs any supporting documentation concerning NDSU’s request for an extension to our rate agreement, SPA can provide a copy of the letter from the Controller. Contact SPA at or 1-8045.


8.20.2018 NIH RPPR Requires Commons User ID
NIH annual and final progress reports called RPPRs are completed and submitted in eRA Commons. The Participant section D of an RPPR should include each person who has worked at least one month per year on the project during the reporting period, regardless of the source of compensation. A Commons user ID is now required for all individuals with a postdoctoral, graduate or undergraduate role on a project.

Sponsored Programs Administration will create a Commons user ID for project personnel who do not have an existing ID. Requests for faculty, staff and student Commons IDs should include full name, email address and role on the project (i.e. postdoctoral scholar, undergrad student, faculty PI) and can be submitted via email to The eRA Commons system will send an email to the individual upon account creation. Each account requires activation with an initial login and answer to basic demographic information.

Additional information regarding NIH RPPR completion can be found in the NIH RPPR Instruction Guide.

8.13.2018 RCA Staff to Present at NDSU’s Annual Faculty Conference – August 17, 2018
Research and Creative Activity staff involved with sponsored programs administration and research integrity will be presenting during the concurrent sessions at the August 17th Annual Faculty Conference in the NDSU Memorial Union.  Topics and session times include:

9:30 - 10:20 a.m. | Developing Proposal Budgets and Budget Justifications
Presented by Cindy Eleson and Vicki Miller | Memorial Union Badlands Room
This session includes an introduction to proposal budgets, budget justifications and a breakdown of cost categories. 

10:30 – 11:20 a.m. | Getting Started:  Research and Grants at NDSU
Presented by Amy Scott and Jill Mackenzie | Memorial Union Badlands Room
This session is geared toward new faculty and will include an introduction to the processes one needs to know to get started with research and grants at NDSU.  Topics covered include the grant proposal process, proposal transmittal forms, and resources on the web.

1:00 - 1:50 p.m. | Hot Topics in Research Integrity and Faculty Research Support at NDSU
Presented by Kristy Shirley, Julie Sherwood, Josie Hayden, and Sharon May | Memorial Union Badlands Room
This session will include a basic overview of review processes for the IACUC (animal care and use), IBC (biosafety) and IRB (human subjects) committees, updates on recent and upcoming regulatory changes, information on export controls, and a discussion of requirements for disclosing and managing potential conflicts of interest.

For more information, visit the Faculty Conference Website

8.6.2018 Electronic Research Administration System Update
In 2015, NDSU embarked on an effort to bring the first web-based electronic research administration and compliance system to campus. After a rigorous RFP process, Novelution Corp. was selected in mid-2016.  Starting in 2002 as a custom web application software consultancy, Novelution has been designing, implementing, hosting, and supporting tailored enterprise electronic research administration software since 2006. At present, Novelution has fully shifted their company focus to only advancing research administration solutions. Members from the Sponsored Programs & Business Development units (under the VP for Research and Creative Activity) and members from Grant & Contract Accounting (under the VP for Finance and Administration) were identified as the initial Core Team. This Core Team has spent the last 2 years working with developers from Novelution on the sponsored research module, the first of 6 modules that will be deployed. The sponsored research module includes the ability to electronically complete and route proposals, budget preparation, electronic proposal approvals by departments and colleges, and submissions. The system will interface with PeopleSoft, and will create additional efficiencies for sharing data between Sponsored Programs and Grant & Contract Accounting. Additional modules that will be implemented (in order) are IRB, IACUC, IBC, COI and Effort Reporting. After months of development and continual iterative testing by the sponsored research Core Team, the next phase is to identify faculty and dept/college user groups to assist in additional iterative testing. An initial roll-out effort to campus is targeted to begin immediately after final user acceptance testing. 

7.16.2018 Electronic Proposal Submission Reminders 
National Science Foundation: Beginning April 30, 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released additional functionality that allow users the ability to either prepare and submit full, research, non-collaborative proposals in or through Fastlane. Benefits of preparing and submitting proposals through include a modernized intuitive environment, additional real-time compliance checking, and online help tips.

Grants.Gov: Beginning January 1, 2018, phased out the downloadable PDF application packages used for federal proposal submissions and transitioned to an online system called Workspace. PIs and any other personnel that assist with application completion will need to register in as an "organizational applicant" using the following link: consider registering early for any upcoming funding opportunities.

Please contact SPA at with any questions.

4.9.2018 Block Grants and Specific Block Grant Applications At times, the federal government dispenses programmatic funding in the form of block grants to the states. The states are then given the discretion as to how implement the program and the affiliated funding through this “block” of funding or block grant. The following link defines block grants and references how to apply for Specialty Crop Block Grants, Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grants and Social Services Block Grant Program

3.23.2018 USDA Record Disposal Freeze North Dakota State University has been notified by the United States Department of Agriculture that all non-federal partners and grant recipients are currently subject to a records disposal freeze. This means that all paper and electronic records generated from and/or pertaining to grant proposals, awards, contracts, and agreements with identified USDA awards must be preserved (even if that record is slated for disposal per NDSU’s Retention schedule).  The reason for this freeze relates to a Freedom of Information Act request of the USDA, which may or may not require USDA to request records from grant recipients.

Federal statutes define a record to include books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials made or received in connection with the transaction of business associated with the agency.  Items not included are library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and processed documents.

Do not delete or destroy paper or electronic records associated with USDA projects funded from the following agencies:

  • ARS – Agricultural Research Agency
  • APHIS – Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
  • AMS – Agricultural Marketing Service
  • ERS – Economic Research Service
  • NASS – National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • OCE – Office of Chief Economist
  • OPMP – Office of Pest Management Policy
  • OSEC – Office of the Secretary

Once the freeze has been lifted, Sponsored Programs will sent out a notification to the NDSU campus.

3.19.2018 New Hire in Sponsored Programs Administration Vicki Miller joined Sponsored Programs Administration on March 12 as a second Budget & Program Officer. In this role, she will provide assistance with proposal budget review and approval, electronic proposal submissions and non-financial post-award items.

Vicki has a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from NDSU and has worked for NDSU for over 19 years in a variety of positions. Most recently Vicki was with the Extension Center for Community Vitality in Bismarck. Vicki’s email is and her phone number is 231-8898.

3.6.2018 NSF Transition from FastLane to Preview Period Begins An important message about NSF from Jean Feldman, Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution and Award Support, Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management -

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that beginning on April 30, 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in The initial release of this new capability will run in parallel with existing FastLane proposal preparation and submission capabilities, so proposers can choose to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in or in FastLane starting on April 30, 2018. Proposal Preparation Site Preview
Starting Monday, February 26, 2018, NSF is previewing the new proposal preparation functionality to the research community to collect preliminary feedback and to provide the community an opportunity to acclimate to the new technology. The preview can be accessed by selecting the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” tab on the top navigation bar after signing in to and then choosing “Prepare Proposal.” This preview will continue until 8:00 p.m. EDT on April 27, 2018, and will allow any research community user with a FastLane or account to sample the following proposal preparation features prior to the initial release on April 30, 2018:

  • Initiate full, research non-collaborative proposals (other proposal types are planned for future releases);
  • Add Principal Investigators (PIs), Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, and Other Authorized Users;
  • Upload required proposal documents;
  • Create budgets;
  • Check compliance; and
  • Enable Sponsored Project Officer (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) access for review.

Please be aware of the following important items as you test the new functionality during the preview period:

  • All test data entered on the proposal preparation site from February 26, 2018, until the preview concludes at 8:00 p.m. EDT on April 27, 2018, will be deleted at the end of the preview period.
  • NSF will not be able to recover any proposal test data entered during the preview period and deleted by NSF after the preview period concludes.
  • Information entered on the proposal preparation site during the preview period will not be submitted to NSF.
  • Test data can be entered on the proposal preparation site but actual proposals cannot be submitted to NSF via during the preview period.
  • Additional information will be available on a “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page accessible on the homepage.

Feedback on the New Proposal Preparation and Submission Site
Your feedback on the new proposal preparation functionality during the preview period (February 26, 2018 through April 27, 2018) and on the full proposal preparation and submission functionality after the initial release on April 30, 2018, is vital to NSF. The survey link will soon be available on the “About Proposal Preparation & Submission Site” page. Feedback from the community and NSF staff will be used to implement enhancements and expand functionality incrementally, with the goal of eventually transitioning all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to

NSF’s goals for the new proposal preparation and submission functionality are to:

  • Modernize the applications supporting the proposal submission and merit review processes and improve the user experience via the development of a new application;
  • Reduce the administrative burden to the research community and NSF staff associated with preparation, submission, and management of proposals;
  • Increase efficiencies in proposal preparation, submission, and management;
  • Improve data quality and capture proposal content in a way that supports data analytics; and
  • Improve availability, security, and flexibility of proposal preparation and submission IT systems.

For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Policy-related questions should be directed to

2.26.2018 NDSU Developmental Leave (Sabbatical) – Grant and Contract Oversight When completing an NDSU Developmental Leave proposal, it is important to ensure there is an oversight plan for all active grants and contracts under the faculty/staff’s direction. If the Developmental Leave is approved, please consult Sponsored Programs Administration as soon as possible, as prior sponsor approval may be required if a principal investigator (PI) is “disengaged” from a project for more than three months. Disengagement can be described as complete withdrawal, relinquishment of active direction, complete absence of involvement of research, or other relinquishment of active direction of the project.

Please contact SPA at with any questions. 

2.26.2018 National Science Foundation - Non-Compliant Proposals When NSF receives proposals, their first task is to check them for compliance with the requirements of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide. It is important to review the PAPPG prior to NSF proposal submission. In the event NSF determines a proposal to be non-compliant, NSF may a) return proposals without review or b) allow proposal file updates through FastLane to correct items of non-compliance.

Non-compliant areas NSF has identified in recent NDSU proposal submissions include:

  • Proposal Pagination: FastLane does not automatically paginate a proposal. Each section of the proposal that is uploaded as a file must be individually paginated prior to being uploaded to the electronic system. 
  • Proposal Formatting and Readability:  The PAPPG guidelines establish the minimum type size and margin requirements; however, PIs are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal. Small type size makes it difficult for reviewers to read the proposal; consequently, the use of small type not in compliance with the guidelines may be grounds for NSF to return the proposal without review.
  • Collaborative Agreements:  As specified in the PAPPG, letters of collaboration should be limited to stating the intent to collaborate and should not contain endorsements or evaluation of the proposed project. The NSF’s recommended format for these letters can be found under the fourth point of the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the PAPPG.
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations:  The collaborators and other affiliations information is now a separate, single copy document. The NSF requires the use of this template.
  • Biographical Sketches:  Biographical sketches should be formatted consistent with PAPPG formatting rules.
  • Current and Pending Support:  Current and pending support documents should be formatted consistent with PAPPG formatting rules. It should include the proposal you are currently submitting as “pending.”
  • Broader Impacts:  As specified in the Grant Proposal Guide and in the NSF Application Guide, the project description "must contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed activities."

1.29.2018 Changes to FastLane and Effective January 29, 2018 NSF is implementing changes in FastLane and to support policy updates.

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1). These changes will also run updated Budget Justification page limit automated compliance checks in FastLane. Here are the changes:

Standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations Template Implementation:

  • The revised PAPPG (NSF 18-1) incorporates the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase in FastLane since April 2017.
  • FastLane system instructions will be updated in accordance with the new policy.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the COA template are available at

 Budget Justification Page Limitation Increase:

  • The Budget Justification page limitation will increase from three pages to five pages.
  • To align with the new policy, FastLane will run an automated compliance check for the Budget Justification page limitation across several proposal types and will generate an error or warning when the submission validation compliance check is not met.
  • Compliance checks are run during “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” and “Submit Proposal.” The complete list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 29, 2018, is available at

 New “Substitute Negotiator” Associated Document for Change of Principal Investigator (PI) Requests:

  • A new “Substitute Negotiator” Associated Document will be available in FastLane’s Notifications and Requests module when a “Change of PI” request is made (e.g., to be utilized in cases where a former employee or Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) is being reappointed as a PI or Co-PI to an award they were previously involved with).

New “Other Request” Type:

  • A new “Other Request” type will be added to’s Notifications and Requests module. This request will be reviewed and approved by the NSF Program Officer.

New Award Abstract Text:

  • In connection with NSF’s transparency and accountability efforts for award abstracts, the Foundation will add the following final paragraph to all award abstracts for awards with start dates of March 1 or later: “This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.”

Note about Proposal File Updates (PFU):
The automated compliance checks also apply when a PFU is performed on a proposal. The compliance checks will be run on all sections of the proposal, regardless of which section was updated during the PFU. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

1.17.2018 PAMS for January 18 Postponed The Proposal and Award Management Session for Thursday, January 18, 2018 has been postponed.  Watch for the rescheduled date to be coming soon.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

1.8.2018 Location Change for Proposal and Awards Management Sessions The location has changed for the remaining PAMS to EML room 170.  The next session will be held on Thursday, January 18 from 11:00-11:45 a.m. The topic area for this meeting is Electronic Research Administration and Compliance (ERAC).  NDSU is working with Novelution Corp. on a software solution for electronic research administration and compliance which will permit faculty and researchers to build their proposals in the system and electronically route proposals for necessary approvals/signatures.

12.11.2017 Grant & Contract Accounts Receivable Procedures (Note: notice of these procedures was previously provided to Deans, Heads and Chairs on 11/30/17.) Delinquent grant/contract receivables become a risk to the PI’s department. Transfers to the department local fund are required for un-reimbursable/unallowable expenses.  There are various reasons a receivable can become delinquent (progress reports not submitted on time, work not satisfactorily completed, etc.).  The following Grant & Contract Accounting procedures will keep the department chairs/managers and Deans/Directors apprised of risk from delinquent receivables.

As a result of Monthly Accounts Receivable (A/R) Aging Reports, the following procedures will be applied as/when necessary:

  1. At 60 days – if waiting on a progress report, a Grant & Contract Accounting (GCA) Officer will email the PI and Department Chair, and cc the Director of GCA and Associate VP for SPA (include Executive Director, Corporate & Foundation Research Relations if sponsor is a private company and the award is not federal flow-through)
  2. At 90 days – GCA Officer will send a notification to the sponsor and cc the PI, Department Chair, Director of GCA and Associate VP for SPA (include Executive Director, Corporate & Foundation Research Relations, as necessary) 
  3. At 120 days – GCA Director will contact the sponsor and work with the PI and Department Chair to considering putting a hold on the project – will cc: GCA Officer, Associate VP for SPA, Controller, and College Dean (include Exec Dir, Corporate & Foundation Research Relations, as necessary) 
  4. At 150 days – project will be placed on hold until payments are current.  For sponsors who reach the point of 150 days delinquent on any invoice, careful consideration should be given (1) to terms and conditions of future agreements (ex. making future awards Advance Pay, where sponsors pay in full at the time of the award execution and before work begins) or (2) whether or not it is a prudent business practice to continue to enter into agreements with that sponsor.

There are many factors to consider before taking any action, including:

  • changes to the contract that made the receivable look older than it is (PeopleSoft Limitations) 
  • system glitches 
  • is the sponsor waiting on a progress report from NDSU 
  • if work wasn’t completed satisfactorily 
  • pending award changes that impact payment

If you have any questions concerning these procedures, please contact Grant & Contract Accounting (1-8357).

11.20.2017 Updated Information – Advanced Spending Updates have been made to the Sponsored Programs Administration page for Pre-Award Administration regarding Advanced Spending (formerly known as Pre-Award Spending). Sponsored Programs will review all advanced spending requests and forward approved requests to Grant and Contract Accounting. Approval is contingent on meeting advanced spending criteria as well as satisfactory completion of applicable compliance requirements (IACUC, IRB, IBC, FCOI and COI).  

11.20.2017 Proposal and Award Management Session
The eighth in a series of Proposal & Award Management Sessions was held on November 16, 2017.  Handouts from the session is available on the SPA website under Training

11.6.2017 Issuance of a Revised Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 18-1)
From Jean Feldman, Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution & Award Support at NSF:  a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 18-1) has been issued.   

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. 

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on December 8 at 2 PM EST.  Sign up to be notified when registration is available on the outreach notifications website, by selecting “All NSF Grants and Policy Outreach Events & Notifications.”  

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.

10.24.2017 Updated Proposal and Award Management Sessions Schedule
They are as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 - Cost Sharing, Effort Reporting, Recharge Centers, Service Centers
  • Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 - Workspace
  • Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 - Electronic Research Administration & Compliance (ERAC)
  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 - TBD
  • Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 - Research Integrity & Compliance - IRB, IACUC, IBC, RCR, COI, Export Controls

The topics are tentative and all sessions are from 11:00-11:45 a.m. in the Quentin Burdick Building, room 422.

10.2.2017 Proposal and Award Management Session #7
The next session in the Proposal and Award Management Series will be held on Thursday, October 19, from 11:00-11:45 a.m. in the Quentin Burdick Building (QBB), room 422.  The topic area for this meeting is Research Development Services and Tools.  This session will cover resources available for finding funding opportunities and assisting with the development of grant proposals.

10.2.2017 Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF) Printing Issues
Sponsored Programs Administration has recently received some Proposal Transmittal Forms (PTFs) where certain fields are not appearing on the printed form. The problem areas we have noted are: Project Title, Purpose Type, and NDSU Information Technology Considerations. At this time it is unknown why this is occurring, but we ask that PTF’s be double-checked after printing and before submission to our office, to ensure that all fields are included. For any fields that are missing, we ask that you please pencil-in those areas with the correct information. If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Eleson (231-5259 or

9.25.2017 Additional Proposal and Award Management Sessions Scheduled
They are as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 - TBD
  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 - Cost Sharing
  • Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 - Workspace
  • Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 - ERAC
  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 - Effort Reporting/Recharge Centers/Service Centers
  • Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 - Research Integrity & Compliance - IRB, IACUC, IBC, RCR, COI, Export Controls

The topics are tentative and all sessions are from 11:00-11:45 a.m. in the Quentin Burdick Building, room 422.

9.14.2017 Proposal and Award Management Session
The sixth in a series of Proposal & Award Management Sessions was held on September 14, 2017.  Handouts from the session is available on the SPA website under Training. 

9.5.2017 Grants.Gov Transitions to “Grants.Gov Workspace” for Proposals Submitted After 12/31/2017
Grants.Gov is phasing out the downloadable PDF application packages used for federal proposal submissions and is transitioning to a new online application and submission system called Grants.Gov Workspace.  All proposals submitted through Grants.Gov after 12/31/2017 must be completed and submitted through Grants.Gov Workspace as the PDF application packages will no longer be available for download. 

Grants.Gov Workspace primary benefits/changes include: 

  • PIs and any other personnel that assist with application completion, will need to register in Grants.Gov as an “organizational applicant” using the following link:
  • Applications are completed in an online system which allows multiple people to work on a proposal at one time.
  • Subawardees can be added to a Grants.Gov Workspace application to assist with application completion.
  • Forms within Workspace can be re-used, saving data entry time.
  • Workspace improves error-checking and allows PIs to identify and correct errors before submission.

Over the next few months, Sponsored Programs will provide additional guidance to the campus community related to Grants.Gov Workspace.  Please contact Sponsored Programs at or 231-8045 if you have questions.

There are also resources available through, including a YouTube channel with Workspace training and tutorial videos:, as well as a Workspace blog:

8.28.2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) – Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template use required!
On April 24, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated a new pilot requiring the use of a spreadsheet template for identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations information for Principal Investigators (PIs), co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on proposals submitted in FastLane.  The NSF Proposal and Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) requires PIs, co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on NSF proposals to individually upload Collaborators and Other Affiliations information as a Single Copy Document (see PAPPG Chapter II.C.1.e).

NSF uses this information during the merit review process to help manage reviewer selection. To expedite identification of potential reviewers, having a standard, searchable format for this information is essential. The new pilot standardizes Collaborators and Other Affiliations information across the Foundation and will ensure that the information is submitted in a searchable format. Results from the pilot will be assessed and will determine how to proceed with this section of the proposal in the future. The new template and associated instructions can be accessed at:  (See also the April 17 and 24, 2017 RCA Update for additional details.)

8.25.2017 Proposal and Award Management Session
The fifth in a series of Proposal & Award Management Sessions was held on August 17, 2017.  A handout from the session is available on the SPA website under Training. 

7.24.2017 Award Disposition
When a faculty member or researcher is the PI on a sponsored award and they notify their Department that they are leaving NDSU, appropriate steps need to be taken in terms of award disposition well before the PI’s departure. There is a Disposition of Grants form on SPA’s website that needs to be completed. It is important that this form be completed as soon as possible after notification that a PI will be leaving, as the responsibility for continuation, management and/or transfer/relinquishment of the award rests on NDSU as the named recipient. Often awards need to remain at NDSU due to sponsor limitations, or the timing of the PI leaving NDSU. If, for instance, a PI leaves NDSU in the final 12 months of a project, it may be more practical to leave the award at NDSU and issue a subaward to the former PI at their new institution. This eliminates the long delays that are often experienced when NDSU has to relinquish an award and the sponsor has to reissue it to a new institution. It is often less burdensome on a sponsor to simply approve a replacement PI at NDSU and to approve a subaward to the new institution. Also, it is possible to have a different outcome for multiple awards to the same PI. That is, one award may be transferred in its entirety, one may be transferred but have a subaward back to NDSU, one may stay at NDSU under a replacement PI with a subaward to the former PI, and one may simply stay in full under a replacement PI. Please contact SPA at with any questions, or to discuss specifics of award disposition. 

7.24.2017 Equipment and Property Management Standards
NDSU Policy Manual Section 819 contains information on managing equipment and property purchased with external sponsored awards and internal institutional funds. In addition, if you have equipment or property that is purchased on a federal award, you may need to review the Federal Property Management Procedure Guide.

Equipment purchased on an external award is included as part of NDSU inventory. After the end of an award, or when this equipment is no longer needed by the Department, it is classified as surplus inventory and should be disposed of in accordance with the NDSU policy on surplus inventory (see NDSU Policy Manual Section 406). Departments should follow the NDSU surplus inventory process in terms of disposition. Policy 406 should be used in conjunction with the Federal Property Management Procedure Guide as necessary.

If a sponsored award is relinquished by NDSU and moved to another institution, equipment purchased by that grant may be able to be transferred to the new institution with the award. Please contact the assigned Grants Officer for assistance in equipment disposition on relinquished awards.

7.24.2017 Lab Notebooks
Since awards are made to the institution, NDSU needs to ensure that all project related property is retained by the institution. This includes lab notebooks. When an award is terminated or expires, or any project personnel leave the project or NDSU, the originals of lab notebooks would need to remain at NDSU. Often a copy of the notebook can be made to enable the departing project personnel to take it with them in order to continue project-related work at their new institution, if appropriate. Another consideration in determining the appropriateness of taking copies of lab notebooks would be the funding source. Most often, if you are transferring an external grant to another institution, then the originals stay here and the copies can go. However, if the grant is one that cannot be transferred, such as EPSCoR funding, then it may not be permissible for a copy to go, as the work stays here. (We typically cannot transfer EPSCoR funds outside the jurisdiction.) Awards are made to the institution, not to the individual PI, so the institution needs to maintain the records. Also, NDSU may need to be able to demonstrate compliance with certain award terms, including effort, which would be hampered without access to the project information and notebooks.

There are many reasons why the notebooks need to stay here, including records retention requirements for NDSU as well as any external funding agency, and project administration and close-out concerns. NDSU has had inquiries from sponsors after the completion or early termination of a project and without access to the notebooks a department may struggle to provide a sponsor with answers and/or information. Also, the notebooks are important in terms of intellectual property, and there have been instances where projects were started at another institution but then moved here with a PI, but the IP remained with the previous institution as that is where it was developed or first conceived. Conversely, with project personnel moving to another institution there could be something that is later determined to have been invented entirely at NDSU, or perhaps jointly at NDSU and the new institution. The notebooks would be an important part of that determination. Please contact SPA at with any questions. 

7.21.2017 Proposal and Award Management Session
The fourth in a series of Proposal & Award Management Sessions was held on July 20, 2017.  Slides and the handout from the session are available on the SPA website under Training. NOTE: the location of the next session on August 17, 2017 has been changed from the QBB to Research 1, conference room 148/154.


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