Kevin C. Cooke, Ph.D.

Director, Research Policy

Ny’lyjah Cain
Senior Associate, STEM Education & Research Policy

CoR News (April 27, 2017)


CoR NEWSApril 27, 2017

To: APLU Council on ResearchFrom: APLU CoR Staff

  • CoR in the News

Federal research funds are a wise investment,” an op-ed written by CoR Executive Committee member Sarah Nusser (VPR at Iowa State University) was published in Sunday’s The Gazette, Eastern Iowa’s leading daily newspaper. Congratulations, Sarah!

A short and sweet defense of science,” an op-ed written by past CoR Executive Committee member James Weyhenmeyer (VPR at Georgia State University) was published in Friday’s The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Congratulations, James!

  • Registration Reminder for CoR Summer Meeting

We are headed to Reno! The APLU Council on Research (CoR) will meet from July 9-12, 2017 at The Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, NV. Meeting highlights include a pre-meeting workshop for new and future Senior Research Officers (SRO) and a visit to the UNR Engineering Earthquake Lab. CoR sessions offer the chance to learn from and share ideas with invited speakers and colleagues from across North America. Session topics in 2017 will include matching innovation and capital for growth; technology transfer; large proposal development; breaking down silos between research centers and academic units; bringing the humanities and the sciences together; value proposition; open data and public access; controlled unclassified information; and the New Administration. We once again encourage each participating SRO to invite one Associate Vice Chancellor/President for Research, or future SRO, both to attend the meeting and participate in the pre-meeting “New and Future SRO” workshop – designed to build skills and address topics specific to this audience.

Registration information is available here, and the hotel reservation information is here. Be sure to book your hotel room by June 16 to lock in our discounted group rate. See you this summer!

  • Registration Now Open for Upcoming NIH Office of Science Policy Workshop – NIH Guidelines: Honoring the Past, Charting the Future

In honor of the recent 40th anniversary of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) as well as the emergence of new technologies in the life sciences, it is an opportune time to examine the current biosafety oversight framework, and discuss the future direction of biosafety oversight. In the decades since scientists gathered at Asilomar, there has been considerable evolution in molecular biology, our understanding of risk and safety, and biosafety oversight. While recombinant DNA has become ubiquitous, new emerging technologies – ranging from new genome editing tools to novel RNA applications – are presenting interesting challenges to our current biosafety framework.

With this in mind, the NIH Office of Science Policy will be hosting an upcoming workshop that will ask, if the Asilomar Conference were held today, what would the NIH Guidelines look like? Where would they fit within the current policy and regulatory landscape? What would be the role of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC)? This workshop will be held on July 18 -19, 2017, in Rockville, MD. For additional details and to register please visit the workshop website. Questions about the workshop may be sent to NIHGuidelines@od.nih.gov, we hope you can join us for what is sure to be an exciting and informative event!

  • Opportunity to Provide Feedback on New NSF Pilot Requiring the Use of a Template for Identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations

On April 24, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated a new pilot requiring the use of a template for identifying Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) information for Principal Investigators (PIs), co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on proposals submitted in FastLane. The NSF Proposal and Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) requires PIs, co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on NSF proposals to individually upload COA information as a Single Copy Document (see PAPPG Chapter II.C.1e). NSF uses this information during the merit review process to help manage reviewer selection. To expedite identification of potential reviewers, having a standard, searchable format for this information is essential. The new pilot will standardize COA information across the Foundation and will ensure that the information is submitted in a searchable format. Results from the pilot will be assessed and will determine how to proceed with this section of the proposal in the future.

Effective April 24, 2017, NSF will require the submission of a template to identify collaborators and other affiliations. Please note that the template:

  • Has been developed to be fillable. However, the content and format requirements must not be altered by submitters.
  • Must be saved in .xlsx or .xls formats and directly uploaded into FastLane as a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document.
  • Will be converted by FastLane from an .xlsx or .xls file to a PDF file.
  • Has been tested in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and LibreOffice.
  • Will enable preservation of searchable text that otherwise would be lost. Must be uploaded in .xlsx or .xls formats only. Uploading a COA Single Copy Document in any other format may delay the timely processing and review of proposals.
  • Will be directly linked in FastLane. The template and associated instructions may also be accessed directly at: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/coa.jsp.

In addition to the merit review process benefits, the COA template will reduce administrative burden and improve efficiencies by providing submitters with a compliant and reusable format to maintain this information for use in subsequent proposal submissions to NSF. Please be advised that the new COA pilot beginning on April 24 will only be for FastLane proposal submissions. Grants.gov proposal submissions will continue to follow the instructions in NSF Grants.gov Application Guide Chapter VI.2.4.

The new spreadsheet template is part of a pilot activity, and NSF wants your feedback on the use of the template to submit COA information in FastLane. NSF will be collecting your template feedback via Research.gov until COB July 14, 2017. This timeline will allow NSF to incorporate any changes to the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information requirement into the next PAPPG, which is scheduled to go into effect in January 2018. To submit COA template feedback:

  • Go to the Research.gov Feedback page;
  • Choose “Collaborators & Other Affiliations (COA)” under the Site Area dropdown menu;
  • Include your feedback in the Comments or Suggestions field; and
  • Click Submit when you are ready to send your feedback to NSF.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or fastlane@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions regarding the content of the COA template, should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.

  • Help Promote 2017 Innovation Imperative Progress Report

Earlier this week, the organizers of the Innovation: An American Imperative call to action released a progress report regarding congressional and executive action to support science and research. You may recall that the Innovation Imperative garnered the signatures of several industry leaders and the endorsement of more than 500 businesses, organizations, and universities, including many APLU universities, urging Congress to enact policies and make investments to help ensure the United States remains the global innovation leader.

The Innovation Imperative statement provided seven areas of focus for federal action:

  • Renewing the federal commitment to scientific discovery by ending sequestration level spending caps and providing steady and sustained funding growth;
  • Permanently strengthening the R&D tax credit;
  • Reforming U.S. visa policies;
  • Improving STEM education;
  • Streamlining or eliminating costly and inefficient regulations;
  • Reaffirming merit-based peer review; and
  • Stimulating improvements in advanced manufacturing.

While there have been some advancements on a few issues since the call to action was first issued in June 2015, the progress report indicates there is still plenty of work to do. This report, which comes in the early stages of the new administration and Congress, provides the latest status for each of the focus areas. CoR Members are encouraged to draw attention to these important policy needs by working with your government and public affairs offices to promote the Innovation Imperative progress report.

Attached for your information and use is a press release about the progress report, as well as a schedule for social media activity, including suggested posts and some shareable graphics about the progress report.