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SPA News

New NSF Account Management System Effective March 26, 2018 (3.14.18)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is making major changes to the way the research community registers for NSF accounts and maintains account and user profile information in FastLane and Effective March 26, 2018, NSF is introducing a new centralized and streamlined account registration process in for the research community that will provide each new user with a single profile and unique identifier (i.e., NSF ID) for signing in to FastLane and for proposal and award activities.  

Transition of Coeus reports to Business Object to Oracle BI (Message from Janiece Harrison, Director, Sponsored Programs Administration) (03.12.2018)  

Coeus reports are currently available to users in BI Launchpad as Business Objects reports.  During the next several weeks, access to Business Objects reports will be discontinued and your reports will be available using Oracle Business Intelligence.  We have been working for several months to transition Coeus reports to the new platform and I am writing to share with you the planned implementation schedule:

During the weeks of March 19, 2018-March 30, 2018 we would like to open the reports to a limited group of users for testing.  I’ll be reaching out to you shortly to ask for your participation.  At the time we open the reports for initial testing, we’ll provide some written materials on how to access the reports and run them.  In addition, we’ll have a session on Tuesday, March 20 @ 1:00 PM in Suite 800 Baker Building to answer your questions.  We can arrange additional sessions as needed.

On April 2, 2018 remaining users will be able to access the system.  You will be provided with written materials.  We will also plan to schedule walk-in hours for assistance throughout April.

Additionally, on April 2, 2018, access to Business Objects will be suspended. Newsletter | March 2018     (03.06.2018)

NIH eSubmission Items of Interest - February 14, 2018    (02.14.2018) - excerpt from  eRA Information email

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Heart of Truffles - $75.00… A dozen roses in a red vase - $82.99… Answers to nagging human subjects and clinical trials questions – PRICELESS!

We’ve been accepting applications using FORMS-E forms for a few weeks now. It will take us all a bit of time to adjust to a new normal, but we’ll get there. The items below address the most common inquiries my Grants Information team has been fielding regarding human subjects, clinical trials and FORMS-E. Warning – this is a long one...there was just too much to say to be pithy.  

Be a Lumper Not a Splitter

In many cases a single study record is all you need.

It is not uncommon for a single study record to cover multiple hypotheses, specific aims or processes. If you think multiple study records may be appropriate, look at the data fields collected in a study record and think about how much information would be virtually identical in each record. If you are proposing multiple, distinct protocols (for example, you know that multiple report submissions will be needed down the line), then it may make sense to provide multiple study records at time of application. But, when in doubt be a lumper not a splitter to the extent it makes sense for your research.

Bottom line: We will not turn away your application for the sole reason that we thought you should have split your information into multiple study records. As long as we have the information needed for review, we can adjust the structure of the information later, if needed.

For the complete notification, click here.

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Clarification about NIH proposals and forms E - PLEASE READ (Message from Janiece Harrison, Director, Sponsored Programs Administration)  (01.17.2018)

As we start to review proposals to NIH for the February 5, 2018 deadline we’ve realized a few things might not be clear from the FAQ we sent last month:

Even if you answer NO to human subjects in the questionnaire, the HSCT Form (Human Subjects Clinical Trail) will be completed and be a mandatory attachment.  That’s because it records the NO answer to human subjects.

If you answer NO to human subjects but YES to “does the proposal include human subjects and/or data” you’ll complete a narrative the attaches to the HSCT form.  The answers to the questions in the attachment should be provided.  It documents that you are doing “non-human subject research.”  This kind of proposal can be submitted in Coeus and doesn’t require ASSIST.

Finally, we are asking the IRB if they have some standard language about the Synthetic Derivative in BioVU we can use.

Thanks for your patience as we make sure we have a clear understanding about the use of Forms E.  Please let me know if you think there are still issues we need to clarify.

NIH eForms attachment

Updates for VU Research Administrators from SPA Director re: changes in 2018 (recap)

2018 Application Submission Changes - Frequently Asked Questions (12.15.2017)

2018 Submission Changes - Frequently Asked Questions (12.15.2017)

2018 Rolodex Changes  (12.01.2017)

New Form to Replace LOI for sub recipients--effective January 1, 2018  (11.22.2017)

Further Refining Case Studies and FAQs about the NIH Definition of a Clinical Trial in Response to Your Questions   (01.05.2018)  Posted on January 4, 2018 by Mike Lauer

In August and September we released case studies and FAQs to help those of you doing human subjects research to determine whether your research study meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Correctly making this determination is important to ensure you are following the initiatives we have been implementing to improve the transparency of clinical trials, including the need to pick clinical trial-specific funding opportunity announcements for due dates of January 25, 2018 and beyond.  Continue reading →

NSF Proposal Budget Justification Page Limitation to Increase January 29, 2018 (01.05.2018)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1) was issued on October 30, 2017, and will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. One of the significant PAPPG updates is the increase in the Budget Justification page limitation from three pages to five pages. NSF’s interface for proposals submitted through Application Submission Web Services (ASWS) and runs an automated compliance check for the Budget Justification page limitation for submitted proposals and generates an error or warning when the submission validation compliance check is not met. To align with the new policy, the Budget Justification page limitation automated proposal compliance check is being increased from three to five pages.

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

To learn about all the changes to the PAPPG, be sure to view the latest webinar.

  NSF GRANTS.GOV APPLICATION GUIDE update                 (12.18.17)

We are pleased to announce that a revised version of the  NSF Application Guide has been issued.  The NSF Application Guide has been updated to align with changes to NSF’s Proposal&AwardPolicies&Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1).   Information about FastLane system registration has been removed and replaced with guidance for registering in  Editorial changes have also been made to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section or to ensure consistency with data contained in NSF systems or other NSF policy documents.

The new NSF Application Guide will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018.  

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to   For technical questions relating to, please contact directly at 1-800-518-4726 or

  NIH Updated Workspace Information (12.13.17)

All Your Workspace Questions Answered    

NIH have published a recording of our recent town hall-style webinar, as well as a rundown of questions that were asked and answered during the event.

We have also refreshed our Introduction to video series, which includes training on searching for grants, assigning user roles, and applying with Workspace.

Begin preparing today for your next federal grant application. 


PAPPG newsletter nov/dec 2017