FAS Research Administration Services

RAS Friday Summary February 12, 2010

Click the links below to go directly to a topic or announcement:

Announcements: FAS and OSP Personnel Updates, Research Computing Needs in Proposals, NSF Proposal Snags, ARRA Specialist Search

Responsible Conduct of Research Proposal Language

Research Data Security

Overhead Rate Calculation Update

Introduction of Leslie Kirwan, FAS Dean of Administration and Finance

Hot Topic of the Month: Standard Operating Procedures for Proposal Signatures

FASSPAR Upgrade Demonstration












1. FAS and OSP Personnel Updates: New (or newly-placed) personnel at the RAS Friday included:
Laverne Martinez
(Sponsored Programs Coordinator at OSP)
Anne Trubia (Director of Administration in Physics Dept.)
Rich Ragin (at Arboretum but now also Interim Director of Financial Operations & Research Administration at CCB)
Wendy Berland (Departmental Administrator for Science Education at Harvard College Observatory).

2. Research Computing Needs in Proposals (Alan Long): James Cuff, Director of High Performance Research Computing (HPRC) in FAS IT, said that pre-award research administrators should keep an eye out for faculty asking for high-performance computer hardware and salaries for systems administrators, because his unit may be able to fulfill some of these needs with existing resources. Also, James can write a letter of support if HPRC doesn't already have the needed equipment.

3. NSF Proposal Snags (Helia Morris):

  • For the February 5th deadline, three proposals did not get through because they were late to OSP and therefore OSP was not able to submit them through grants.gov by the sponsor deadline (one DARPA, two NIH). Just a reminder about the 3-day policy and to keep sponsors' deadlines in mind. To protect the integrity of the application process, OSP may have to reject proposals if they arrive very late to OSP and there are a large number of proposals going out, especially with brand new sponsors, sponsors with whom OSP has had trouble negotiating in the past, or grants containing special terms and conditions. We will look at the policies of the other Harvard schools to determine what sanctions are imposed on PIs who submit late proposals and the impact that these measures have had.
  • Make sure to follow guidelines regarding NSF biosketch formats and make sure biosketches are up-to-date and formatted correctly.
  •  The America Competes Act requires that all grant applications that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. Mentoring activities may include career counseling, training in preparing grant applications, guidance on ways to improve teaching skills, etc. More information is available in the NSF Grant Policy Guide at:
    According to the policy, proposals that do not contain the required mentoring will be returned without review. If you have a postdoc in your budget and the line item is greater then zero and the mentoring program is not included, the proposal will be rejected automatically in FASTLANE.

4. ARRA Specialist Search (David Norcross): David Norcross has one position available for an ARRA specialist. Just over the past three months, there has been a 9% increase in the number of FAS ARRA awards and a 13% increase in the obligated dollars for these awards.

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Responsible Conduct of Research Proposal Language: What has changed with NIH and NSF? - Ken Carson

Contact Ken Carson for help with RCR proposal language.

NIH: NIH now requires institutional record-keeping to document the ways in which the institution is adhering to the new RCR requirements. These requirements are now much more detailed, both in terms of content and how RCR is taught.  NIH now wants formal programs covering peer review, authorship, mentoring, research misconduct, etc., and wants RCR offered periodically at each stage of a researcher's career: undergraduate through faculty levels.
NSF: Training of graduate students and undergrads is now required.
We need to satisfy both NIH and NSF demands. The goal is to create an ongoing program that's University-wide. Two groups are looking at the new requirements: a University-wide group (which includes Pat Fitzgerald, Karen Woodward Massey, Cathy Gorodentsev, Mark Barnes, and Ken Carson) and another group consisting of people from Catalyst (Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, a large program based at Harvard Medical School that includes FAS and the teaching hospitals). To meet the NIH requirements, departments will have to insist that Principal Investigators and other faculty get more involved (Dr. Korn will meet with the Divisional Deans to discuss).

Please click here for more information from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website.

Link here for RCR info on the NIH website and the NSF website. NSF has also posted some FAQs about Responsible Conduct of Research, available here.

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Research Data Security - Dean Gallant/Scott Bradner

Dean introduced Scott Bradner (University Technology Security Officer), who discussed data security, including the following University-wide security policies: HEISP (Harvard Enterprise Information Security Policy) regarding high-risk confidential information as well as Harvard-confidential information, and HRISP (Harvard Research Information Security Policy), which defines levels of sensitivity of and protection requirements for research information. He also discussed the recommended use of Accellion for email attachment encryption. Download the handout here. More information about data security is available in the February 2010 eNews - link to the eNews here.

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Overhead Rate Calculation Update - Alan Long

The deadline for submission of the University's overhead rate proposals to the federal government has been extended until the end of March. Harvard School of Public Health has negotiated with the feds already, so Deb Carmel is helping the Medical School and the University Area with their rate calculations. The Cost Analysis Group will be meeting with their negotiation consultant, Gary Talesnik, at the end of this month.

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Introduction of Leslie Kirwan (FAS Dean of Administration and Finance)

Pat Fitzgerald introduced Leslie Kirwan to the group. Leslie reiterated that she and Dean Smith are very supportive of our efforts in research administration. To read more about Dean Kirwan, please see the Harvard Gazette article from September 2009 here.

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Hot Topic of the Month: Standard Operating Procedures for Proposal Signatures - Alan Long

Alan's "hot topic" for February is a reminder about the standard operating procedures for signing proposals. There are guidelines under "Policies" on the RAS website - link to them here. There are three kinds of signatures required on the Dean's Approval Form:

  • PI's signature
  • Department signature (this can be delegated by the Chair of the department, but the Chair is still responsible)
  • Signature on behalf of the FAS Dean (this is usually someone at RAS, although there are exceptions for some departments, where the Lab Director may sign for the Dean. However, if the Lab Director is not available, the Lab Director's signature cannot be delegated, and the Dean's Approval Form must go to RAS for signature). Download the "Standard Operating Procedure for Signatures on Sponsored Proposals" by clicking here.

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Rainbow Report and Budgeting in FASSPAR - Sheila Doyle

Recent changes to FASSPAR were discussed and demonstrated, including:

  • Rainbow Report capability, highlighting grant accounts projected to be overspent at the ends of their current funded periods, now included on FASSPAR Report 0
  • "Anticipated" as well as "Obligated" amounts and end dates now shown on Report 0
  • Budget Entry screen modified to calculate overhead on subcontracts correctly.

More changes to FASSPAR are being implemented. Stay tuned for another update next month.

To view the changes to FASSPAR, log in here.

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