Important Updates

Grants.gov Workspace: Lessons Learned and Helpful Tips

Posted 2/28/2018 | By Ann Shiras

On January 1, 2018, Grants.gov retired its legacy Adobe-based grant application packages and launched Workspace, its new web-based application development and submission system. Since implementing new policies and procedures in anticipation for this change, including our mandatory two-business-day internal deadline, the Office of Sponsored Programs has successfully submitted 17 proposals to four different federal agencies using the new Workspace system for Grants.gov submissions, and several more are in process.

Since January 1 we have identified some particular quirks with the Workspace system and learned valuable strategies for using Workspace more effectively. In this special issue of the OSP Newsletter we share this important information – the first section describes lessons learned for ALL Workspace applications, and the second section describes those specific to PHS applications. We will continue to share Workspace tips both in the OSP Newsletter and the OSP website as we move forward.

For more information about Workspace, we recommend using the resources available on the Grants.gov website. If you have specific questions, please contact Ann Shiras, Pre-Award Specialist and Workspace Lead, at ashiras@uwm.edu or 229-3077.

For All Workspace Applications

Mandatory Internal Deadline for Grants.gov Applications
Although most Grants.gov applications have been completed smoothly, OSP has experienced issues with specific forms, and our two-business-day internal deadline has made this transition considerably less stressful than previous submission system changes by providing us with sufficient time to review, research, and correct problems. The internal deadline remains necessary in order to provide OSP with sufficient time to work around problems and resubmit if necessary, with less risk of missing the sponsor deadline. We sincerely thank the UWM research community for adhering to the internal deadline and working with OSP to ensure your applications are submitted correctly and without errors.

Application Filing Name
Unless the Sponsor guidelines require otherwise, please use our Grants.gov naming convention for the Application Filing Name: PI Last Name_Agency Abbreviation_WISPER Record Number-Pre-Award Specialist Initials (e.g., Shiras_NIH_MIL107732-AS). This helps OSP Pre-Award staff to search for Workspaces and track the emails associated with your Grants.gov submission status. Note that the Application Filing Name is different from your Project Title. The Project Title is entered separately on the forms submitted to the Sponsor.

Creating A Workspace
You must enter an Application Filing Name to Create a Workspace. If you have not started a WISPER record, you can use the file convention PI Last Name and Agency Acronym (e.g., Shiras NSF), then update it later by selecting Edit Name. If you Copy a Workspace to start a new one, remember to change the Application Filing Name.

Starting A Workspace
To begin a new Workspace, first complete the SF424 or SF424 R&R form. The information entered in these forms populates information in the other forms in the Workspace. See the sample SF424 R&R form on the OSP website. Please add your Pre-Award Specialist as a Participant of your Workspace – this will enable us to review your proposal using our own Grants.gov login.

Downloading Workspace Forms
If you use the Download option to complete individual forms offline, you must use an Adobe Reader compatible with the forms.

Preparing Workspace Forms
There are several options for preparing most of the Workspace forms: Webform, Download, Upload, and Reuse. Use the Download option to view Attachments made to forms (see below for additional options for NIH proposals.) You will be prompted to answer questions about Locking or Unlocking forms as you work on them. When multiple team members are working on the forms in a Workspace, please consider when it is appropriate to Lock or Unlock the forms and coordinate this among the team members.

Reopen Option
For Workspace Owners there is a Reopen option available after an application is submitted to the sponsor. Please use Reopen only when submitting a Changed/Corrected Application. Once reopened, the Workspace status returns to Forms Passed and it cannot be changed back to Submitted/Agency Received. OSP is tracking Workspace activity closely, and we need Submitted Workspaces to maintain Submitted status in Grants.gov. This also reduces possible confusion when searching for Proposals in Progress during review. You can still Download and View the forms that are part of a Submitted proposal. Once the funding opportunity deadline has passed, the Reopen option is no longer available.

For PHS Applications Only

Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information Form
For PHS submissions (e.g., NIH), the answers to the Human Subjects questions on the Research and Related Other Project Information form drives the information requested on the new PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information form. Note that the Preview version of the Human Subjects/Clinical Trial form may not appear the same as the Download version during proposal preparation.

Issues with Subforms associated with the Human Subjects Form (Study Records) have been reported by UWM users and by the national community of university research administrators. NIH has two videos that walk you through the Human Subjects Form and the associated Subform: NIH Human Subjects Information Using Grants.gov Workspace (about three minutes) and PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form Walk-through (about 9.5 minutes). Please work with your Pre-Award Specialist if you encounter problems with this form. NIH also has some very helpful resources regarding Clinical Trial Requirements.

Grantor Image and Preview Grantor Validation
Currently for NIH submissions only, the Grantor Image and Preview Grantor Validation options become available when all the forms have a status of Passed. These two options allow you to preview the assembled image that will appear in the NIH eRA Commons and the expected results from the Commons validation checks. This means no longer having to wait until after the submission to NIH for those activities! Our experience to date has been that both the Grantor Image and the Grantor Validations match what will result in eRA Commons, so please take advantage of both of these options before clicking Complete and Notify AOR.


Mandatory Internal Deadline for Grants.gov Workspace Applications

Posted 1/4/2018
Starting January 1, 2018, you will no longer be able to download PDF application packages for Grants.gov submissions. All new Grants.gov applications MUST be initiated through the new Workspace system. PDF packages will be discontinued on January 1.

Recent testing of Workspace by UWM Pre-Award staff and colleagues at other institutions have revealed some technical complexities, and extra time will be required to ensure submissions are submitted properly.

Therefore, OSP is implementing a mandatory internal deadline: Effective January 1, Grants.gov submissions must be completed and OSP notified no less than two business days (48 hours) prior to the sponsor deadline.

The internal deadline is necessary because there will likely be technical problems with the new Workspace system and thus additional time will be needed to resolve them.

A two business-day internal deadline provides OSP with sufficient time to work around problems and resubmit if necessary, with less risk of missing the sponsor deadline. Submissions received by OSP less than two business days prior to the sponsor deadline are at greater risk of missing the submission deadline if OSP does not have sufficient time to resolve technical issues.

To facilitate successful submission, all Grants.gov submissions must follow this process:

  1. Submissions must have all internal approvals completed in WISPER.
  2. Submissions must be marked as “Completed and Notify AOR” in Grants.gov by 4:30pm two business days before the sponsor’s submission deadline. For example, if your proposal is due Wednesday, it must be with OSP by 4:30pm on Monday.
  3. If your proposal is due on Monday, it must be with OSP by 4:30pm on Thursday.
  4. Submissions will be handled by Pre-Award Specialists on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to submissions received by OSP two business days before the sponsor deadline. For submissions received less than two business days before the sponsor deadline, OSP will determine the level of service that can be provided before applications are submitted.

    Even if you are just considering applying for a grant, please inform your Pre-Award Specialist so that they add it to their worklist and follow-up with you.

We appreciate your cooperation with this new policy as we transition to the new Workspace system. If you have any questions, please contact Tom Marcussen, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs at marcusse@uwm.edu or 229-4537.


Roles and Responsibilities in Developing and Managing Extramural Awards

Posted 4/12/17

One of the best practices in research administration involves the creation of Roles and Responsibilities matrices for the preparation, submission, acceptance, management, and close-out of sponsored projects. In line with UWM achieving R1 status last year, the Office of Sponsored Programs created a Roles and Responsibilities Matrix for the development and management of extramural awards.

Not only is the purpose of this matrix to better identify the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Research, but it also provides UWM departments and divisions the ability to identify how their own support systems and personnel assist the research enterprise within their area.

We are excited to release this document to the campus community. Please send questions or comments related to the Roles and Responsibilities Matrix to Tom Marcussen, Director (marcusse@uwm.edu). The Office of Sponsored Programs also plans to host a session for the campus community in Fall 2017 to discuss the document.


NSF Frequently Asked Questions for Public Access

Posted 4/12/17

In March, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) list for its Public Access Policy. As a reminder, NSF has two policies and procedures that govern public access for NSF-supported work:

  • Data: In 2011, NSF required applicants to include Data Management Plans for data created under award that resulted from the proposal. Data Management Plans were intended to identify how PIs would share the primary data from the project with other researchers. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate the sharing of such data.
  • Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles and juried conference papers, based wholly or partially on NSF support, must be deposited in the designated NSF repository. Either the final accepted version of the manuscript or the version of record may be submitted. NSF’s public access policy went into effect for articles resulting in awards made for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016.

Please be certain to share this information with those investigators in your division or department pursuing NSF funds or have been awarded NSF funds since January 25, 2016.

Questions? Please contact your Pre-Award Specialist.


Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products

Posted 4/12/17

OThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a Notice (NOT-OD-17-050) regarding the inclusion of preprints and other interim research products in grant applications and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs). NIH strongly encourages investigators to utilize preprints and other interim research products to speed the dissemination of NIH-funded work and enhance the rigor of projects.

“Interim research products” are considered complete, public research products that are not final. A common form is the preprint, which is a complete and public draft of a scientific document. Preprints are usually unreviewed manuscripts written in the style of a peer-reviewed journal article. Another common type of interim research product is a preregistered protocol, where a scientist publicly declares key elements of their research protocol in advance. A few notes on interim research products:

  • Awardees are not required to create interim research products;
  • Awardees are not required to cite interim research products in their grant applications;
  • Since preprints are not peer-reviewed, such products do not fall under the NIH Public Access Policy; and
  • This Notice does not apply to clinical trial registrations.

Citing Interim Research Products in Applications, Proposals, and Reports
Interim research products may be cited in any section of an application where research products are cited. To cite the product, applicants and awardees must include the Digital Object Identifier and the Object Type (e.g., preprint, protocol) in the citation. Also list any information about the document version (e.g., most recent date modified), and if relevant, the date the product was cited. For example:

Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1101/069187.

Claiming Interim Research Products as Products of NIH Awards
NIH intends to maximize the impact of interim research products that are developed with NIH funds. NIH expects awardees to ensure a high level of public access to NIH-supported interim products. To claim an interim research product as a product of an NIH award, the NIH expects the awardee to:

  • Make the product publicly available. To maximize the impact, NIH strongly encourages awardees to select a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license or dedicate their work to the public domain.
  • In the text of the document, acknowledge NIH funding in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Chapter 8.2.1, clearly state the work is not peer-reviewed, and declare any competing interests.

Effective Date
For applications submitted for the May 25, 2017 due date and thereafter, awardees may claim these products on their progress report publication list. These interim research products may also be included in RPPRs as of May 25, 2017 and may be linked to a PI’s award in their My Bibliography account.

Questions? Please contact your Pre-Award Specialist.


Reminder: NIH Policies Now in Effect

Posted 3/29/17

As a reminder, NIH has updated the following proposal and award policies:

Effective January 1, 2017:

Effective January 18, 2017:

Effective January 25, 2017:

Effective February 9, 2017:


Can I sign this?

Posted 3/29/17

Have you received a document from a principal investigator for a signature? Did you look at the document and ask whether you should sign? It happens all the time—sponsors send our principal investigators documents for signatures all the time, thinking that individual PIs or department-/division-level personnel have the authority to sign documents. At UWM, only certain individuals have the authority to sign on behalf of the institution—and for documents that involve funding for grants and contracts, most of the signatories are employed in the Office of Research.

Why is this important? Only Chancellor Mone has the authority to sign documents on behalf of the institution under state law. The Chancellor, under state law, has the authority to delegate signature authority to certain individuals on campus—hence the signature list. In so doing, UWM follows Wisconsin law in terms of signature authority.


NIH PubMed Central: Complying with NIH Public Access Policy

Posted 3/27/17

NIH makes the peer-reviewed articles it funds publicly available on PubMed Central (PMC). But did you know that the NIH Public Access Policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication? It can be easy to forget to submit papers to PMC, especially when juggling teaching and project management responsibilities. However, non-compliance with this requirement can affect your future awards: NIH may withhold new awards or delay continuing funds until the paper(s) have been submitted.

To help researchers submit their publications to PMC, the NIH website has a wealth of information available to make the process as easy as possible, including training materials, submission methods, a variety of FAQs, and instructions on how to add and maintain citations in My Bibliography and the National Center for Biotechnology Information. It also includes detailed instructions on using the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system.

Questions? Contact your Pre-Award Specialist.


NSF 2017 CAREER Proposals: The Education Plan

Posted 3/27/17

A common but significant misconception about the NSF CAREER Award is that it’s a research proposal with a complementary education plan. In fact, the CAREER Award is a five-year plan that discusses BOTH your research and educational goals and objectives in an integrated plan. Successful CAREER proposals include meaningful and innovative education and outreach activities that engage your students and the broader community (e.g., high school students and teachers), and the general public. Therefore, an equal amount of attention must be placed on your developing education plan as well as your research plan.

Creating a strong education plan can be time-consuming, so it’s important to start early. Here are some aspects of the education plan to help jump-start your thinking:

  • What are you passionate about? Consider activities you already involved in.
  • You do not need to be an educational researcher but must show initiatives based on best practices.
  • Address diversity (can include underserved rural areas or gender diversity).
  • Do not reinvent the wheel; leverage existing successful UWM programs and resources.
  • Assessment of the activities in the Education Plan is essential.

Need Help? Contact Proposal Development Services – we have a collection of internal and external materials, and we can connect you with campus resources and programs. Contact Michelle Schoenecker (schoene7@uwm.edu) or Kari-Whittenberger-Keith (kariwk@uwm.edu).


NIH Training on the Go: All About Grants Podcasts

Posted 3/27/17

Do you want to learn more about developing competitive National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals but don’t have the time to attend in-person training sessions?  Try NIH’s All About Grants podcast series. Designed for investigators, fellows, students, and research administrators, the Office of Extramural Research talks with NIH staff members about various aspects of the application and award process. These podcasts allow you to gain valuable information as your schedule allows.

Podcast topic categories:

  • Getting to Know NIH and the Grants Process
  • Preparing A Successful Grant Application
  • Advice for New and Early Career Scientists
  • Submitting Your Application
  • How NIH Grants Are Reviewed
  • Life as an NIH Grantee

Episodes range from 4 to 20 minutes in length, and a full transcript of each is provided on the NIH website. Episodes are available as MP3s for download, via iTunes, or via RSS feed. If you prefer videos over podcasts, check out the NIH YouTube channel that features a wide variety of topics, and the Webinars posted on the NIH website, as well.

Need assistance with developing NIH proposals? Contact Michelle Schoenecker (schoene7@uwm.edu) or Kari Whittenberger-Keith (kariwk@uwm.edu) in the UWM Proposal Development Services unit. We have a variety of NIH templates, checklists, and other guidance materials to help you develop competitive proposals.


Receive Notification of Changes to Your Grants.gov Packages

Posted 3/27/17

The next time you download a Grants.gov package, be sure to provide your email address so that you can be notified of any changes to the package before the closing date. Why is this important? Because in case the sponsor makes any changes to the package, such as adding/deleting forms, you will know right away instead of at the time of submission—when it might be too late to make any changes.

OSP highly recommends that you always elect to receive notifications about changes to your Grants.gov package. Given the length of time that elapses between the initial download of the package and submission by OSP, it is possible that significant changes to the package could occur (or the opportunity could be deleted by the federal agency).

To receive notifications, navigate to the respective grant opportunity in Grants.gov. Then, click on the “Package” tab and select the appropriate package for your submission. Before you can download it, you will be asked to either enter your e-mail to be notified of changes or to opt out notifications.

Questions? Contact your Pre-Award Specialist.


Limited Submission Opportunities

Posted 3/27/17

Many federal and non-federal sponsors are increasing their use of limited-submission programs, which limit the number of letters of intent, pre-proposals, and/or proposals that UWM may submit. Proposal Development Services posts grant opportunities on the UWM Research Listservs and identifies those with limited-submission requirements. To help prevent UWM from being disqualified for exceeding the number of submissions allowed, the UWM Office of Research requires researchers to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply; if we receive more notices than the number of submissions allowed, an internal competition will be held to select the proposal(s) that best aligns with the grant program goals and objectives and meets the sponsor’s review criteria.

Problems with Limited-Submission Programs
Sometimes researchers submit proposals to limited-submission programs without realizing it, mostly because the funding opportunity was not listed on the UWM Research Listservs or the requirement was not clearly stated in the program solicitation. We’re also seeing sponsors that rarely limit submissions use this mechanism with much greater frequency, particularly the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Justice, catching researchers and institutions off-guard.

Without carefully reviewing the program solicitation and informing the Office of Research of your intent to submit to a limited-submission program, proposal submissions run the risk of (1) disqualifying UWM from the grant competition, and (2) disqualifying UWM colleagues who have been selected to submit through the internal competition process. Thus, it is critical to review solicitations carefully.

How to Quickly Check Solicitations for Limited-Submission Requirements
Depending on the file type of the program solicitation (e.g., Word, PDF, HTML) use the Search function to quickly find the following words that are usually found within a limited-submission program solicitation:

  • Limit (e.g., “Limit on Number of Submissions”, “Institutions are limited to three submissions”)
  • Multiple (e.g., “Multiple submissions are not allowed”)
  • Not more than (e.g., “Not more than one proposal per institution”)
  • Only (e.g., “Only 1 proposal per institution”)
  • One (e.g., “One proposal per institution allowed”)

Questions? If you need help interpreting a program solicitation or if you have questions about a limited-submission program, please contact Michelle Schoenecker (schoene7@uwm.edu) or Kari Whittenberger-Keith (kariwk@uwm.edu).


Declined NIH Proposals: Should I Resubmit?

Posted 12/19/16

NIH recently published a great article about deciding whether or not to resubmit a declined proposal. Because there are many factors that influence the decision to resubmit (e.g., reviewers’ comments, deadlines, collaborators), NIH is launching a survey to understand the patterns of resubmission, particularly for new investigators. If you receive the survey, please provide your valuable feedback.

If you are “on the fence” about resubmitting an NIH proposal, here are some key points from the article to consider:

  1. Make an appointment for a consultation with the assigned program officer (PO). POs have a wealth of experience that can inform the next steps for the research proposed in the application. They may be aware of other factors that can offer advantages, like new funding opportunities well suited to the science in the application. Most POs prefer to be contacted by email to schedule a time for a phone call, giving him/her time to review the summary statement.
  2. Do your homework. The NIH web site has extensive information about the funding priorities of the various NIH institutes and centers, and the NIH data book includes funding success rates associated with different types of grant applications. Also review the Applicant Next Steps web page to access more information about funding success, IC strategic plans, and funding policies.
  3. Don’t give up. For most investigators, achieving funding success usually comes from persistence and patience. The typical applicant who was successful in obtaining NIH funding in the past few years had submitted several applications prior to receiving funding. Resubmissions have a better chance of being funded compared with original applications. In 2015, the NIH-wide success rate for new R01 applications was 13.1%, but the success rate for resubmissions was 33.5%.

In addition to these tips, another key strategy is to contact Proposal Development Services – we can help you interpret the Summary Statement, develop a resubmission strategy, and find new funding opportunities that might be a better fit for your project. Our services are free of charge! Contact Michelle Schoenecker (schoene7@uwm.edu) or Kari Whittenberger-Keith (kariwk@uwm.edu) for assistance.


Two New SAAPs Approved

Posted 12/19/16

UWM governance groups have approved two new Selected Academic and Administrative Policies (SAAPs) regarding research and sponsored projects at UWM.

  1. SAAP 23: Use of Facilities – Policies and Procedures addresses the use of shared research facilities at UWM to ensure the effective use of shared research facilities and to allow for efficient and effective resolution of issues and conflicts that may arise between users.
  2. SAAP 74:UWM Policy on Sponsored Program Fixed Price Contract Close Out discusses the policy for the closeout of fixed-price contracts and residual balances greater than 25% of the total award amount or $10,000, whichever is greater.

Questions? Contact Rachel Schiffman, Associate Vice Provost for Research (schiffma@uwm.edu).


Use of Labor Hours in Proposal Budgets

By Jessica Stroud, Senior Contracts Administrator | Posted 12/5/16

In order to comply with Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.430, labor hours or hourly rates cannot be used to determine salary applied to an extramural project. However, there are certain instances in which a federal sponsor requires personnel costs to be broken down by labor hours. While this is undesirable as it does not conform to UWM’s official effort reporting record policy, a proposal can be submitted using hourly rates as long as the following statement is provided to the sponsor:

The estimated number of [hours and/or hourly rates OR days and/or daily rates] are provided for evaluation purposes as required in the funding opportunity announcement. Rates are not auditable in the UWM financial system of record. It is understood that the University will not be required to maintain a record of hours of effort under any resultant award nor required to invoice personnel effort by hours.

Labor hours should never be provided to a non-federal sponsor. Instead, industry sponsors should be provided a fully-burdened budget, also known as fully-loaded (see the “Industry” tab of the Budget Tool). Fully burdened means that both direct and indirect costs have been combined for each budget line item to reflect one total cost per line item, as opposed to including indirect costs as a separate budget line item in most “typical” sponsored project budgets.

Questions? Please contact your Pre-Award Specialist.


Lessons from the NSF Merit Review Process Report: Proposals Returned without Review

Posted 10/7/16

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report to the National Science Board regarding the agency’s Merit Review Process. Not only does the report contain a wealth of information about NSF proposal submission, review, and award processes, it also contains great pieces of general advice about grant-seeking and award management.

What is one lesson from the report? NSF, like most funding agencies, pre-screens applications for compliance with basic requirements. In fiscal year 2015, NSF returned 3.6% (1,843) of all proposals without review for non-compliance with basic requirements. This included proposals that did not fit with agency/program goals and objectives, missed deadlines, did not comply with proposal format requirements, or did not follow preparation and submission instructions. In addition, a 2015 study found that, on average, PIs spent 116 hours developing each NIH or NSF proposal. Combined with the number of NSF proposals returned without review, this equates to 213.788 hours of lost PI productivity associated with non-compliance NSF proposals in 2015.

The issue with non-compliance proposals is not unique to NSF–almost every funding agency uses compliance with proposal preparation and submission instructions as a mechanism to pre-screen applications, because it’s an easy way to eliminate proposals from review. How can PIs avoid the return of a proposal without review?

  1. Carefully read the proposal preparation instructions. Applications should conform to all font, spacing, and margin requirements as stated in the solicitation.
  2. Be sure the project is a good fit for the sponsor and program. More than one-third of NSF proposals returned without review were not a good fit for the agency or were not responsive to the program solicitation. If you are not certain about fit, reach out to the program officer–they are great allies and are willing to tell you if your proposal belongs elsewhere.
  3. Take the reviewer’s feedback into account. When developing your submission, carefully review and incorporate the information into your submission. While you may not agree with each reviewer’s comments, incorporating a different perspective into the writing process may help you better explain your project to the reviewers.
  4. Submit your proposal early! Nearly 10% of NSF proposals returned without review were the result of a missed deadline. Not only is getting your proposal in early recommended to avoid a missed deadline, it also gives OSP a chance to ensure that all required sections of the proposal are complete and the proposal aligns with the preparation and submission instructions (which accounts for another 47% of NSF proposals returned without review).

Beware: Predatory Academic Publishing and Conferences

Posted 7/29/16

UWM faculty preparing to disseminate the results of their research, either through publishing or presenting at conferences, should be aware of a growing international trend of predatory practices among some online open-access publishers and conference organizers.

The increasing interest in open-access publishing, funded largely through publication fees or article processing charges to authors or their institutions, has created many opportunities for researchers to share their peer-reviewed work with free access in online journals. Unfortunately, it has also given rise to an exploitative publishing business model that involves charging fees to authors without providing the services associated with legitimate academic journals, such as editorial and publishing services, and in particular, appropriately conducted peer review. Disreputable publishers actively solicit manuscripts for the purpose of generating revenue; to give the impression of academic authenticity, such publishers are known to invite established scholars to be named as editorial board members.

Predatory conferences also exploit researchers’ need to share and present their research. These are enterprises that organize low-quality academic meetings for profit, attracting paying participants with famous keynote speakers or presenting themselves under the guise of similarly named reputable conferences.

There are several valuable resources for determining the integrity of publications and conferences. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association website provides extensive information about open-access publishing standards and the publishers that adhere to them. University of Colorado Denver librarian and researcher Jeffrey Beall, who coined the term “predatory publishing,” maintains a list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers.” The list is available on his website, Scholarly Open Access, which provides “critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing” as well as information about predatory conferences.

The UWM Libraries also have resources to assist faculty with identifying and responding to offers from predatory publishers and other topics relating to open-access publishing. For assistance, please contact Kristin Woodward, Online Programs and Instructional Design Coordinator, at kristinw@uwm.edu.


NSF Overdue Reports

Posted 7/29/16

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now delaying award actions if an identified PI or Co-PI has an overdue annual or final project report on any NSF award, even if the projects are unrelated. Please remind your NSF PIs and Co-PIs to keep current on all NSF project reports and that their actions may have an impact on their colleagues’ NSF awards—awards and non-competing continuations will be delayed.


NIH Commons IDs for Project Personnel

Posted 7/29/16

Just a friendly reminder… The National Institutes of Health now requires post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduate students supported on NIH grants to have an eRA Commons ID and to provide certain demographic data, including date of birth, gender, race and ethnicity, disabilities, and citizenship status (individuals may select ‘Do Not Wish to Provide’ for these questions). Please remind NIH-support principal investigators and project personnel that they must complete their Commons profiles. Failure to obtain a Commons account and complete the profile may result in delays in processing progress reports.

To facilitate new Commons accounts, OSP has a new eRA Commons Registration Form available from the Forms and Downloads section of our website. Please download, complete, and send to the Pre-Award Specialist assigned to your division or department. (We also have a National Science Foundation FastLane Registration Form available, too.)


What Compliance Tasks are Required… and When?

Posted 5/24/16

Specific compliance tasks, informed by federal regulation, state law, and UW System and UWM policy, are required at certain points during the proposal submission, award, continuation, and no-cost extension phases of a project. Additionally, the May 20th deadline has come and passed for researchers to complete their effort, training, and disclosure tasks in order to receive OSP services. To help researchers to comply with these requirements, the following process describes the tasks due at each OSP transaction:

At Proposal Submission:

At Award Stage:

  • All effort tasks must be complete for all PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators and other personnel included in the Notice of Grant Award (NoGA).
  • All PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators, and NoGA personnel must have completed Effort Training.
  • An OAR must be on file for the last disclosure cycle (due annually by April 30) for the PI, Co-PI, Co-Investigators, other individuals designated as senior/key persons, and for any other personnel included in the Notice of Grant Award (NoGA).
  • For awards from PHS agencies (and those that ascribe to their FCOI regulations), an SFID must be on file within the last 12 months for all PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators, other individuals designed as senior/key persons, and NoGA personnel.
  • For awards from PHS agencies (and those that ascribe to their FCOI regulations), all PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators, other individuals designed as senior/key persons, and NoGA personnel must have completed FCOI Training within the last four years.

During Non-Competing Continuations and No-Cost Extensions:

  • An OAR must be on file for the last disclosure cycle (due annually by April 30) for the PI, Co-PI, Co-Investigators, other individuals designated as senior/key persons, and for any other personnel included in the NoGA.
  • For awards from PHS agencies (and those that ascribe to their FCOI regulations), an SFID must be on file within the last 12 months for all PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators, other individuals designed as senior/key persons, and NoGA personnel.
  • For awards from PHS agencies (and those that ascribe to their FCOI regulations), all PIs, Co-PIs, Co-Investigators, other individuals designed as senior/key persons, and NoGA personnel must have completed FCOI Training within the last four years.

It is important to note that the OSP transactional points listed above may be delayed if project personnel have not completed all compliance-related tasks.

How can delays be minimized? By contacting OSP early and often! Our staff have access to tools that can quickly verify if project personnel have completed all compliance-related tasks. If you are working with a researcher on a submission, notify your Pre-Award Specialist early about the planned proposal. We can verify that all project personnel have completed their compliance tasks so as to not delay proposal submission. The same holds true for new awards, non-competing continuations, and no-cost extensions: if you have planned actions on an award, contact our staff early and often to verify that all compliance-related tasks are complete.


New Cost Sharing Frequently Asked Question Page Now Available

Posted 5/24/16

Cost-sharing (i.e., cost-share or matching funds) for grant proposals can be confusing, especially identifying sources for cost-sharing and accounting for it at the proposal stage. Sponsors may require cost-sharing on a grant program for a number of reasons, such as demonstration of institutional buy-in or to limit the number of proposal submissions.

The federal government has established many regulations about the use, documentation, and accounting of cost-share in grant proposals, and OSP has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions received from Principal Investigators and campus administrators about when and how to include cost-sharing in a proposal.


The NSF “Collaborative Research:” Option: Reduce the Administrative Burden on Collaborative NSF Proposals and Awards

By Ann Shiras, Senior Grant Specialist | Posted 5/24/16

If you are planning a submission to the National Science Foundation (NSF) which involves colleague(s) at other institution(s), please consider the “Collaborative Research:” alternative that NSF offers in FastLane. There are a few NSF programs which specifically exclude this option, so please verify that this option is permitted for a particular program solicitation before proceeding.

How does a “Collaborative Research:” submission work? The Lead Institution starts the proposal in FastLane, the non-lead institutions start their own proposals in FastLane, assign a PIN number to their proposal, and provide their proposal and PIN numbers to the Lead Institution to enter using the “Link Collaborative Proposals” option in FastLane.

The Lead Institution is responsible for uploading the Cover Sheet for the Lead Institution, the Project Summary, the Project Description, the Budget and Budget Justification for the Lead Institution’s costs only, the Lead Institution’s PI and Co-PI Biosketches, Current and Pending Support information, and the Facilities/Resources document for the Lead Institution. The Lead also uploads the References, the Data Sharing Plan, and the Post-Doc Mentoring Plan (even if the post-doc is at a colleague’s institution) for the overall project.

The collaborators upload their own Cover Sheet, Budget, Budget Justification, Biosketches, Current/Pending Support, and Facilities/Resources sections. The collaborators’ institutions submit their portion of the proposal directly via FastLane. All Project Titles on Cover Sheets must match, and must begin with “Collaborative Research:.” All Cover Sheets in the “Collaborative Status” section should check the box indicating this is “A collaborative proposal from multiple organizations.”

What is the benefit in using the “Collaborative Research:” option? At the Proposal stage, no single institution needs to collect Institutional Commitment Letters, Scope of Work documents, Budgets, or Budget Justifications because the institution-specific documents are loaded and submitted by each institution separately.

Are there other benefits to the “Collaborative Research:” option if the project is funded? When the project is selected for funding, awards are issued by NSF separately to each institution. The Lead PI does not need to review and approve subaward documents, nor sign for monthly/quarterly invoices. Each institution draws down their award amounts separately.

Additional information regarding “Collaborative Research:” proposals is available in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide. Given the increased complexities in federal proposal submissions and award management, please take advantage of any agency mechanism that can reduce the level of administrative effort required to manage proposal submissions and awards.


What’s the Difference between NSF and NIH Proposals?

Posted 5/24/16

Our Proposal Development Services team often gets asked, “What’s the difference between a proposal to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health?” Truth be told, PIs tend to focus on one particular agency versus the other and may not recognize that there are very big differences between the two agencies (even though their research may align with funding opportunities from both).

In an effort to provide PIs with better guidance on the differences between the two agencies, OSP has added two new downloads to our Forms and Downloads webpage:

These are general overviews and do not substitute a thorough review of the NSF Program Solicitation or NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement for detailed instructions on developing a proposal.


Division WISPER Approvals

Posted 5/24/16

WISPER is a convenient, efficient mechanism for departments and divisions to review and approve extramural proposals and awards. WISPER allows divisions to approve both a proposal and a subsequent award at the proposal stage.

OSP strongly encourages divisions to refrain from approving an award at the proposal stage. Why? For several reasons, but most notably:

  • The project scope may change between the proposal stage and final award stage;
  • The project budget may differ;
  • The amount of match funding from a department or division may differ;
  • The project start and end date may change, impacting other department or division functions (course scheduling, student advising, other service/research commitments, etc.); and/or
  • Project personnel may differ.

By waiting until an award is issued to provide the final approval, the division has a better opportunity to review all relevant award materials and confirm final approval. Please note that waiting to provide division approval of award in WISPER will not delay or impact the proposal submission process.

If you have any questions related to WISPER division approvals, please contact Tom Marcussen, Director (marcusse@uwm.edu).

Award Notifications

Posted 10/28/15

Did you receive notice of award for a submission? Did a program officer send an e-mail indicating that your proposal will likely be selected for funding? If so, please contact your Pre-Award Specialist as soon as possible. We can help identify tasks that may need completion to avoid project delays.

For example, if your project involves research with animals, OSP will need approval documentation from UWM’s Animal Care Program. Our goal is to minimize project delays and allow us to setup your project account quickly. Questions? Contact Tom Marcussen at marcusse@uwm.edu.


Procedures for Submitting UW System Grant Proposals

Posted 12/15/14

Applications to UW System grant programs often have administrative requirements, such as institutional signatures, that require campus coordination. To help streamline the submission process for UWS applications and better coordinate campus efforts, the UWM Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has developed the following procedure. This gives Principal Investigators additional time to finalize the proposal rather than coordinating administrative review and signatures. It also allows WISPER to handle the review and approval process rather than using disparate processes across campus.

  1. For each UWS grant opportunity, OSP will publish internal deadlines for Principal Investigators (PIs) to submit their applications to OSP and for their review and approval by the PI’s department and Division/School/College via WISPER. PIs should work closely with their assigned Pre-Award Specialist regarding and proposal/budget reviews and WISPER routing.
  2. Applications must be submitted to OSP by the internal deadline to ensure review and submission to UWS ; late proposals will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  3. OSP will review the application materials and ensure the Division/School/College has approved the submission.
  4. OSP will coordinate the signature of the appropriate institutional official(s) per the grant solicitation.
  5. OSP will either return the signed cover page to the PI OR submit the completed application directly to UWS . The manner of submission will depend on the grant application instructions or whether the grant opportunity is identified as a strategic priority by campus officials.
  6. The process for managing awards from UWS grant programs will not change; Divisions/Schools/Colleges will be responsible for managing the funds and project.