ARRA - Recovery Act


Frequently Asked Questions

National Institute of Health (NIH)

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Have a new question? Send it to arra@cornell.edu.


Q: Do I need to register with Grants.gov?

NIH: No. Users do not need to register to use Grants.gov. The only people that need to register are those authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the University (Grant and Contract Officers). These people are already registered with Grants.gov.

Q: Do I need to register with the NIH Commons?

NIH: Yes. Principal Investigators must be registered in the NIH Commons before a proposal is submitted via Grants.gov. In the Senior/Key Persons section of the application package, it asks for the PI's "credential/agency login" - this is the PI's NIH Commons user name. This information is required in order to successfully submit a proposal to the NIH. To register for the NIH Commons, visit http://www.osp.cornell.edu/NIH/.

Q: Do I need to provide Current and Pending support (a.k.a. other support) information in my Biosketch, or elsewhere in my application?

NIH: No. The NIH will ask for Current and Pending support as JIT information.

Q: Can the Investigator of a Subaward submit an application for an ARRA Administrative Supplement on his/her subaward?

NIH: No. The PI of the prime award must submit the request for an ARRA Administrative Supplement.

Q: Are foreign scientists working at domestic institutions eligible to be Principal Investigators, Key Personnel, and/or other personnel supported by an ARRA Award?

NIH: Yes, foreign nationals working in the US are eligible to work and be compensated with ARRA provided they are employed by a domestic institution and are in the country under valid visas. It is the grantee institution's responsibility to assure that an individual's visas will allow them to remain in this country long enough for them to be productive on the research project. Grantee organizations are expected to have consistently applied policies in place to address this area.

Q: Administrative supplement applications and competitive revision applications do not need to be submitted via Grants.gov, rather they are to be submitted via email to the IC grants management specialist. Can I submit these applications myself?

NIH: No. Administrative supplement applications and competitive revision applications must be signed and submitted by a Cornell Grant and Contract Officer.

Q: Can I hire a post-doc to work on a NIH ARRA funded project?

NIH: Yes.

Q: What is the minimum and maximum amount that one can pay a post-doc to work on a NIH grant?

NIH: The minimum amount must follow the Cornell University post-doc associates guidelines http://www.research.cornell.edu/VPR/Policies/images/pdfs/Postdocs_minima_09.12.06.pdf. The NIH does not have an established maximum amount, however the amount must be reasonable.

Q: My Program Officer told me that if I receive an NIH ARRA award we have to obligate the money by September 2010. What does this mean?

NIH: All ARRA funds must be obligated by NIH no later than September 30, 2010. In general this will mean ARRA project period end dates will be no later than September 29, 2011. However, all ARRA awards are subject to the standard terms of award as indicated in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, including the authority to extend the final budget period of a previously approved project period for up to 12 months without additional funds.

Q: Will there be any special award terms and conditions or additional reporting requirements placed on awards made with Recovery Act funds?

NSF: The Recovery Act mandates a significant level of transparency and accountability and so, in accordance with that, there will be additional requirements placed on awards made with Recovery Act funds.

Each NSF award that includes funds provided by the Recovery Act will contain specific conditions identifying the funding as coming from the Recovery Act, and reference the specific awardee reporting responsibilities mandated by Section 1512c. of the Recovery Act and the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, awardees will be required to separately track and monitor for Recovery funds as such funds cannot be commingled with non-Recovery Act funds.

Given the goals of the Recovery Act, awardees will be informed that they are expected to expend funds in a timely manner on allowable award costs and that NSF will be monitoring awards for expenditures. If, after 12 months, no allowable expenditures have taken place, NSF may consider reducing or terminating the award and reallocating the funds.

Q: Are there special priorities for awards that will be made via the Recovery Act?

NSF: Funding of new Principal Investigators and high-risk, high-return research will be top priorities. With the exception of the Academic Research Infrastructure Program, the Science Masters Program, and the Major Research Instrumentation Program, the majority of proposals eligible for Recovery Act funding include those that are already in-house and will be reviewed and/or awarded prior to September 30, 2009. NSF also will consider proposals declined on or after October 1, 2008. The process for reversal of the decline decision is outlined in this FAQ document.

Q: Will there be any eligibility restrictions on who may be supported using Recovery Act funds?

NSF: The NSF Director has made a commitment to follow established Foundation policies and procedures for submission, merit review and award of proposals funded under the Recovery Act. Therefore, unless modified by a specific program solicitation, the eligibility policies contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide Chapter I.E. "Who May Submit Proposals" apply and the Foundation will continue to make funding decisions based on the intellectual merit and broader impacts of submitted proposals. Some exceptions to this general guidance are provided in the White House memo of 3/20/09 (posted on this site) which states that Recovery Act funds may not be used for several entities. The entities most relevant to NSF appear to be aquariums and zoos.

Q: Will awardees have to separately account for Recovery Act funds?

NSF: Each NSF award that includes funds provided by the Recovery Act will contain specific conditions identifying the funding as coming from the Recovery Act, and reference the specific awardee reporting responsibilities mandated by Section 1512 of the Recovery Act. In addition, awardees will be required to separately account for Recovery funds as such funds cannot be commingled with non-Recovery Act funds.

Given the goals of the Recovery Act, awardees will be informed that they are expected to expend funds in a timely manner on allowable award costs and that NSF will be monitoring awards for expenditures. If, after 12 months, no allowable expenditures have taken place, NSF may consider reducing or terminating the award and reallocating the funds.

Q: Does NSF expect an increase in proposal submissions from the research and education community and in requests to the community to review proposals in response to the Recovery Act?

NSF: The Recovery Act supplements NSF fiscal year 2009 funding by $3.0 billion. NSF currently has many highly rated proposals that it has not been able to fund. For this reason, NSF is planning to use the majority of the $2 billion available in Research and Related Activities for proposals that are already in house and will be reviewed and/or awarded prior to September 30, 2009. In most cases, review arrangements (including establishment of panels, where appropriate) have already been made. Thus, the Foundation does not anticipate a substantial increase in proposal submissions or requests to review proposals beyond what has already been put in place for FY 2009. NSF does not expect to have any of this Recovery Act funding available in Research and Related Activities for expenditure on FY 2010 awards.

Q: What method should awardees use to demonstrate that they have created or retained jobs as a result of Recovery Act funding received from NSF?

NSF: Awardees will be required to provide, on a quarterly basis, an estimate of the number of jobs created, and, the number of jobs retained, as a result of the support of Recovery Act projects. At a minimum, this estimate shall include any new positions created and any existing filled positions that were retained to support or carry out Recovery Act projects or activities managed directly by the awardee, and if known, by sub-recipients. Further guidance for reporting this estimate of jobs created and retained will be provided to institutions.

Q: What advice can NSF provide to proposers that did not submit earlier this fiscal year and who therefore do not have a proposal already in-house at NSF that may be considered for Recovery Act funding?

NSF: NSF is planning to use the majority of the $2 billion in Research and Related Activities provided by the Recovery Act for proposals that are already in-house. There are upcoming deadlines, however, to which proposers can still submit for NSF FY 2009 funding.

In addition, NSF plans to post solicitations this spring for the Academic Research Infrastructure program (funded at $200 million), the Science Masters program (funded at $15 million) and the Major Research Instrumentation Program (funded at $300 million). Proposers are invited to review the requirements in these solicitations when they are posted, and, if they meet the criteria, to apply to the program(s).

Q: Will NSF approve requests to increase the budgets on proposals that are currently in-house or were declined and are now being considered for Recovery Act funding?

NSF: The NSF Director has made a commitment to follow established Foundation policies and procedures for submission, merit review and award of proposals funded under the Recovery Act. The policies concerning revisions to proposals made during the review process are found in Chapter III.D of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide.

Q: Are there any special considerations for proposals with an international component?

NSF: The NSF Director has made a commitment to follow established Foundation policies and procedures for submission, merit review and award of proposals funded under the Recovery Act. Therefore, the policies contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide apply.

Q: Are there limits or guidelines on the timeframe for expending funds once an award is made?

NSF: Given the goals of the Recovery Act, awardees will be informed that they are expected to expend funds in a timely manner on allowable award costs and that NSF will be monitoring awards for expenditures. If, after 12 months, no allowable expenditures have taken place, NSF may consider reducing or terminating the award and reallocating the funds.

Q: Will there be any restrictions on no-cost extensions for awards made with Recovery Act funds?

NSF: The NSF Director has made a commitment to follow established Foundation policies and procedures for submission, merit review and award of proposals funded under the Recovery Act. As such, standard NSF policies and procedures will be utilized in the processing and approval of no-cost extensions.