Grant Management Community News: October 2016

Grant Management News





FOCUS ON:  Faculty/Staff Effort Management for Clinical Research Studies

A new policy has been implemented to clarify effort performed on clinical research studies. It provides information on: how to appropriately charge faculty and staff clinical research; methods to estimate effort, monitoring effort; determining the appropriate level of budgeted effort based on different factors; how to handle voluntary uncommitted cost-sharing; minimum effort requirements; and management and oversight.

Faculty/Staff Effort Management for Clinical Research Studies

UGC 3.0 – Computing Devices

The Uniform Guidance treats computers as supplies and allows computing devices to be directly charged to a federally sponsored project even if they are not solely dedicated to that project. However, there must be a clear relationship between the need for the computing device and the project (allocability). Although a Rebudgeting/CAS Form is no longer required for such charges, the cost should be included in the proposal budget and documentation is expected to be maintained by the department to justify the charge in case of an audit. For computing devices that benefit more than one project, reasonable judgment should be exercised when allocating the cost across those benefitting projects. It is important to note that Duke University has determined that cell phones are not included in the definition of a computing device, and are therefore subject to additional review. The UG defines a computing device as “machines used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically, including accessories (or “peripherals”) for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information. ”

View the full Uniform Guidance Communication 3.0 – Computing Devices (pdf)

2016 Symposium for Research Administrators – Registration Opens Monday, October 17, 2016

This year’s Symposium will be held on November 15, 2016 at the Durham Convention Center. This year’s theme, Reaching New Heights in Research Administration, reminds us of the importance of the partnership between research administrators and the Duke research community in reaching new heights of discovery and achievement.    The Symposium will offer a variety of sessions to attend in the morning and afternoon, as well as an update on new technologies and/or reports during Tech Talk. Posters will again be on display to showcase some of the amazing work being done to improve research administration across Duke.  An announcement will be made via e-mail on Monday, October 17, 2016 when registration opens for this year’s Symposium for Research Administrators.

New Research Administration Mobile Apps

As part of ongoing efforts to improve administrative support for the research community, Administrative Systems Management has announced two new mobile applications on DukeMobile which are aimed to support both faculty and grant managers.   These two applications are:

  • Grants Balance – this app shows the current balance available on your grants and contracts at both the summary and detail levels as well as other key information on your projects.
  • Current Cost Distribution – this app shows the current cost distribution of the people who work on your grants and contracts – you can view this by fund code or by employee

Both of the apps are accessible by Grant Managers as well as PI’s.   You can access these applications by downloading the DukeMobile app from the Apple or Android app store, if you haven’t already done so.   Click on the Research Admin icon on DukeMobile and select the app you want to use.

In addition to accessing this information from DukeMobile, you can also see the same data on MyResearchHome – Grants Balances are already there and Cost Distributions will be coming soon.

Request to Withdraw Application Now Electronic

eRA Commons now allows a withdrawal request to be submitted electronically for  submitted and processed NIH applications. This action will withdraw an application from consideration for funding. The PI should initiate the withdrawal request in eRA Commons, which then sends a notification e-mail to the signing official in either ORA or ORS requesting their review and approval. The status of the application can be viewed in eRA Commons and will be changed to “Withdrawn” if approved by Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR).

Notice Number:  NOT-OD-16-143

NSF Data Analytics Still Used and a Focus on Burn Rates

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been utilizing the audit methodology of data analytics, which involves the audited institution providing a data download of the entire general ledger for the audit period. Even after dismissed findings in recent year, the NSF OIG still plans to continue to use this method. NSF has stated that they will focus on burn rates and will look for overspending and underspending. Auditors will look for the rate of spending to be aligned with the length of time of the award. For example, if the award is half over, about half of its funds should be spent. It is expected to see larger purchases at the start of the award, but beyond that, NSF OIG expects the spend rate to remain fairly flat. NSF will also be looking for travel charged to projects for personnel not directly paid from project funds, and for spending at end of project on such items as equipment that will not contribute to the project in a substantial manner at project end.

Closeout Project Update

The quarterly refresh of the Closeout Tasklist for each business unit will be sent out during the last week of October 2016. The Estimated Balance Calculator was refreshed with master data at the beginning of October 2016 and updated on the Closeout Project Resources website.

Cookies & Closeouts! will continue to be offered through the end of the year:

  • Tuesday, October 11th, 1-5pm
  • Tuesday, November 8th, 1-5pm
  • Tuesday, December 13th, 1-5pm

Please contact your Closeout Implementation Team with any questions:

False Claims Settlement a Reminder to Apply Appropriate F&A Rate

Columbia University recently settled a False Claims Act (FCA) suit brought against them due to inappropriately applying and charging the institution’s F&A rate. Columbia has to pay $9.5 million as part of the settlement, acknowledging and accepting responsibility for charging the higher on-campus F&A rate on NIH projects that were conducted off-campus. This stresses the importance of including the appropriate rate in the budget for each project and ensuring upon award that the correct rate is applied to the awarded budget. Duke University’s F&A rate agreement provides details regarding the different rates that apply to federally funded projects on-campus versus off-campus.

Duke’s F&A Rate Agreement


Faculty Advisory  Discuss the topic with your PI


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