TC OSP News
In-Person Research Has Resumed
The Research Compliance & Safety Committee (RCSC) is eager to support researchers who wish to regain momentum with their human subjects research data collection goals. However, due to COVID-19 precautions, any study that can be conducted online (remotely) should move forward with online procedures and forgo in-person engagement. This said, following guidance from New York State and Teachers College, the Institutional Review Board is reviewing proposals for in-person data collection on a case-by-case basis. Please review the Preparedness Research page for the latest information about in-person study precautions. For questions about modifying your research in response to COVID-19, please review our Ethics Amid Uncertainty FAQs. For questions about human subjects research, visit the TC Institutional Review Board's website including “How to Submit a New IRB Protocol” or email IRB@tc.edu. If you have questions about whether proposed safety/hygiene standards are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, contact OASID via email email@example.com.
COVID-19-specific Funding Opportunities
NEW: NIH has received more than $3.6 billion to date to fund important COVID-19 research on diagnostic tests, vaccines, and treatments. More than $940 million came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020, with supplemental funding coming from the U.S. Congress. https://covid19.nih.gov/funding
For COVID-19-specific funding opportunities, please visit our *COVID-19 Funding Opportunities* page or click the link on the sidebar.
Please see the Budgeting Guidelines tab on PPE information and proposal budgets.
The College has issued guidance concerning reimbursements for events and trips cancelled due to COVID-19. Basic instructions are:
- Seek reimbursement from vendor
- Have reimbursements made payable to the College when the College has paid vendor directly
- If you’re reimbursed directly by the vendor, return any funds you’ve been reimbursed by the College to the Controller
- Instructions for what to do in the event reimbursements are not made or credits are issued are located in the full policy announcement:
The Controller has asked the community to hold off on making future travel arrangements until College restrictions on TC-related travel have been lifted.
NIH has announced that Investigators may submit any proposal with a due date between March 9, 2020 and May 1, 2020 may be submitted until May 1, 2020 and still be considered on time. NIH cautions, however, that late submissions may be reviewed later than expected. Due date guidance has already changed once and is likely to do so multiple times throughout the crisis, so please watch this page for updates is subject to revision as the COVID-19 evolves.
Peer review sessions will take place as scheduled but will not convene in person.
For Investigators with active NIH Awards:
- NIH will continue paying salaries even on projects where work cannot continue until COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stipend/student support payments may continue
- NIH will allow non-refundable travel to be charged to a grant.
- Interim financial reports will be accepted late with no clear time limit stated, but will result in a delay in the release of funds for the next year.
- We have a year after the due date to submit final and programmatic reports
NIH’s Coronavirus Page includes a link to FAQs and more detailed policy statements
The video below covers most of this information and more.
In general, the COVID-19 guidance shows considerably LESS flexibility than NIH, at least so far.
- Salary payments may continue during the crisis but investigators are cautioned they are responsible ensuring funds are available to complete the scope of work. Investigators are also cautioned they may not assume supplemental funding will be available after the crisis ends. During this time, NSF is not expecting salary expenses to increase, so any additional unplanned time and effort charged to a grant should be documented and clearly tied to the project’s scope of work
- Non-reimbursable grant related travel may be charged to the award. Again, NSF warns investigators cannot assume the availability of supplemental funds.
- Costs associated with moving to remote/online operations are not allowable under NSF policy
- Final and interim financial and programmatic reporting due between March 1 and April 30 have an automatic 30 day extension.
- Only a handful of NSF programs have revised deadlines in response to the crisis. If the program you’re interested in isn’t on this list, your deadline is unchanged.
- Review panels will meet as scheduled via videoconference.
NSF’s Coronavirus Page also contains FAQs and recent policy guidance.
MANDATORY Changes to NSF forms:
Starting June 1, NSF will be requiring new formats for biographical sketches and current and pending support. Check with your SPA, Natasha Guadalupe, Eileen Hawley-Nigro, Kirsten Talgo, and allow some extra time to prepare these routine parts of the proposal—you will not be able to simply reuse/update older forms.
Biographical Sketch: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/biosketch.jsp
Current & Pending: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/cps.jsp
On March 31, 2020, Mark Schneider, Director of IES issued a letter addressing IES’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is low on specifics but affirms IES’s commitment to flexibility in reporting and submission deadlines. Any extensions need to be discussed with your program officer.
Dr. Schneider’s letter also includes links to IES-vetted distance learning materials in many subject areas and for all age groups.
The federal wide guidance issued by OMB early in March also applies to USED, which means that salary payments may continue even if all or part of the work is temporarily suspended. Non-reimbursable expenses related to event and travel cancelation may be charged to the grant.
- NEH will allow salary expenditures even if activities under the grant have been suspended
- Expenses associated with the cancellation of travel or events are allowable.
- NEH has indicated it will be flexible and consider all proposed changes to performance periods, budgets, scopes of work. Instructions for submitting requests can be found at the link below.
- All deadlines remain unchanged. NEH has NOT announced any due date changes for reporting requirements.
Department of Defense:
- DOD has issued general guidance for program officers to be flexible about due dates for applications and periodic reporting. Investigators are instructed to contact their program officer to request extensions on an as needed basis
- Salary expenses may continue to be charged to the grant, as can non-reimbursable travel and event expense.
- Note that this guidance only applies to DOD GRANTS. Flexibilities in DOD contracts, if any, are detailed in the terms and conditions. New terms and conditions, including changes to deliverable due dates, alternative service delivery, changes to scopes of work intended to address the COVID-19 crisis will need to be negotiated individually.
NYC and NYC DOE:
The Mayor’s Office of Contracts has affirmed its commitment to its contractors during this period of stay at home orders and school closures. DOE has allowed all TC’s professional development programs to move to an online format. Investigators who may be performing other kinds of work for or within the schools should reach out to their point of contact to discuss alternative service delivery models, etc.
Foundations Pledging COVID-19 Support/Relief: As of March 31, 440 Private Foundations have signed a pledge affirming additional flexibility during the crisis. This includes modifying active project based grants so they can be used for more general organizational support. Contact your program officer to confirm salary and other expenses may continue while work is suspended or reduced. This holds true for foundations who may not have signed on to the pledge.
Joyce Family Foundation: all staff will work remotely beginning Monday, March 16th. They do not anticipate any disruption in the grantmaking process.
Nellie Mae Education Foundation: all staff will work remotely beginning Monday, March 16th through at least March 31. Grant payments will be made with minimal disruption.
Ford Foundation: all staff are working remotely. Program Officers will be reaching out directly to work on plans to best support you.
William T Grant Foundation: The Grant Foundation affirms its commitment to its grantees and willingness to be flexible during the crisis. Current grant holders do not need express permission to alter methods, timetables, scopes of work or budget lines, though program officers are available to discuss them. Any changes should be detailed in your next project report. Letters of intent for the next round of funding remain May 6, since deadlines recur quarterly.
- Letters of intent are welcome even after the posted deadline date; they help the program staff line up reviewers.
- Given enough time, IES program officers will review and comment on draft proposals prior to the submission deadline. Reaching out to your program officer ahead of submission is always a good idea. Their job is to elicit as many potentially fundable proposals as possible, so they're a valuable resource during the proposal development stage.
- While IES's programs are still highly competitive, success rates are approaching 20% which are comparable to rates at the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and many National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs.
- IES proposals receive are scored on the quality of the proposal ONLY. Unlike other programs at US ED or certain programs at other federal agencies, factors such as type of institution, junior vs. senior primary investigator (PI), geographical distribution, etc. play no role in funding decisions. Multiple proposals from TC are therefore not competing with one another specifically.