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.

A New NIH Acronym To Know: BESH

NIH recently introduced a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) designation for prospective basic science studies involving human participants, to be called Basic Experimental Studies with Humans (BESH). FOAs can now have any of the following clinical trial (CT) classifications:

  • CT Not Allowed
  • CT Optional
  • Mechanistic CT Only
  • BESH Required
  • CT Required

When you’re ready to submit your next application, you must select a FOA that accepts the type of research you wish to propose. Learn more from the NIAID Funding News here: A New NIH Acronym To Know: BESH

 

FUNDER NEWS – Revised Version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guides (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1)

A revised version of the National Science Foundation Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 19-1) has been issued.

The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 28, 2019.  Significant changes include:

  • Addition of Research.gov as an option for proposal preparation and submission, and proposal file updates;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for unaffiliated individuals;
  • 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; 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 changes to the new PAPPG will be held on November 27 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 28, 2019, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 18-1) continue to apply.  We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the NSF DIAS/Policy Office at policy@nsf.gov.

News – NSF Statement on Artificial Intelligence for American Industry

May 10, 2018

On May 10, 2018, the White House convened academic researchers, industry experts and federal leaders at an event on Artificial Intelligence for American Industry. National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova participated in the event and issued the following statement.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every segment of American industry. It is making agriculture more precise and efficient, giving us new medical diagnostics that save lives, and creating the promise of autonomous transportation and advanced manufacturing. NSF is proud to stand with the White House and the rest of the federal science and technology enterprise to ensure that our nation’s values are reflected in the development of critical technologies such as AI. NSF’s investments to nurture AI over the last several decades have laid the foundation upon which today’s breakthroughs are being built.

As we look even further into the future, NSF is supporting fundamental research to bring AI technologies to maturity, thereby enhancing the lives of all Americans. These AI advances span how computer systems represent knowledge, learn, process spoken and written language, and solve problems; and demonstrate how they ultimately appreciate intent, meaning and understanding more like humans. Today, NSF invests over $100 million annually to support AI research.

In addition to funding researchers who are exploring the frontiers of AI, we are also making investments that will lead to a more data-capable, 21st-century workforce with the skills to harness all the potential benefits that AI can offer. As part of these investments, we are supporting approaches that will expand our understanding of continuing education and adult retraining to address how AI reshapes and provides new opportunities for American workers.

The effects of AI will be profound. To stay competitive, all companies will, to some extent, have to become AI companies. We are striving to create AI that works for them, and for all Americans.

-NSF-

Funders News – USAF and NSF announce partnership in science and engineering research

News Release 18-033

USAF and NSF announce partnership in science and engineering research

Agreement will create pathways for collaboration in areas of common interest

May 9, 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova signed a Letter of Intent May 9, 2018, creating a new partnership for collaboration on scientific and engineering research to bolster national security.

The Letter of Intent initiates a strategic partnership focused on research in four areas of common interest: space operations and geosciences, advanced material sciences, information and data sciences, and workforce and processes.

“We are looking forward to deepening our ties with the National Science Foundation,” Wilson said. “We will simultaneously benefit from the research done together with a focus on the areas most vital to the future of the U.S. Air Force and the security of our Nation.”

The partnership is designed to create a pathway between the basic research supported by NSF and the technologies needed to support the Air Force of tomorrow. Common areas of interest will drive cooperation at every level of research, including basic research, applied research and advanced technology development.

“Ensuring national security through innovation in science and engineering was part of the National Science Foundation’s founding mission nearly seven decades ago, and it remains one of our highest priorities today,” Córdova said. “We look forward to partnering with the Air Force on this collaborative venture and using our combined resources to innovate for the benefit of the nation.”

This partnership reflects White House priorities including strong national security and efficient government operations.

“Rebuilding America’s defense capabilities has been a top priority of the Trump Administration since inauguration. A big part of that is translating fundamental discoveries into breakthroughs that make the country safer and drive the U.S. economy,” said Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the President for technology policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “This partnership between two of America’s R&D powerhouses — the Air Force and the National Science Foundation — will ensure that taxpayer funding of basic research is made more efficient, accelerates the development of advanced technologies for both civilian and military use, and fosters job creation and economic growth into the future.”

The letter states that “The Air Force will benefit from greater access to NSF’s considerably larger basic research program and community of researchers. The NSF will benefit with a direct pathway for the technical maturation of many of its research efforts and products, with increased relevance afforded by its direct support of the Nation’s defense posture.”

In anticipation of the signing, the two organizations have already had initial discussions on topics ranging from the convergence of artificial intelligence, data and materials, to placements for fellows from NSF’s Graduate Research Intern Program.

The letter is available online.