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NSF 07-140 June 2007

AAG Summary of Significant Changes

Overall Document

  • The NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM), which previously was a standalone document, has been incorporated as Part II of the new NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The GPM has been renamed the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG). Previous GPM references have been updated with references to the applicable AAG section. In addition, internal references and links have been updated as necessary, and minor editorial changes have been made throughout the document to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section.

Chapter I - NSF Awards

  • Section A, Acceptance of Assistance Agreements, is new guidance which indicates that drawdown of NSF funds is the usual mechanism used to indicate acceptance of an NSF award. Procedures are provided should an awardee decide not to accept an award.

  • Section D.3, Changes in Grant Periods, has been clarified to show that the effective date of an award cannot be changed once an award has been made.

  • Section E.3, Continuing Support (Continuing Grants), has been supplemented to clarify that generally grantees do not need to request formal approval for continuing grant increments. Increments will be funded at the level indicated in the award notice as long as satisfactory progress has been made, NSF has funds available, and the grantee has submitted an annual report and it has been approved by NSF. Continuing grant increments are released when the cognizant NSF Program Officer approves the annual report.

Chapter II - Grant Administration

  • Section D, Cost Sharing, has been substantially revised to reflect the National Science Board’s (NSB) decision to eliminate NSF program-specific cost sharing. In accordance with this NSB policy, there is no expectation by the Foundation that proposals submitted for funding will include cost sharing. In addition, there also has been a change to the previous statutory (1%) cost sharing requirement. In accordance with prior Congressional requirements, NSF required that each grantee share in the cost of research projects resulting from unsolicited proposals. The appropriations providing funds to NSF no longer contain this language and therefore, the statutory cost sharing requirement of 1% is eliminated.

  • Section E.5, Grant Closeout, has been clarified to explain the timing and basis on which NSF grants are financially and administratively closed.

Chapter IV - Grantee Standards

  • Section A, Conflict of Interest Policies, has been updated to provide more current reference guidance on conflict of interest policies issued by university associations and scientific societies.

Chapter V - Allowability of Costs

  • Section B.6.a, Consultant Services, has been revised to reflect that NSF appropriations no longer identify a specific limitation on payments to consultants. Payments for consultant services should be comparable to the normal fees charged and received by the consultant for comparable services.

  • Section B.8.a, Participant Support Costs, has been supplemented with guidance on classifying costs for projects conducted at local school districts where the participants being trained are employees.

  • Section C.5.i, Meetings and Conferences, has been updated to clarify that travel, meal, and hotel expenses of awardee employees who are not on travel status are unallowable.

  • Section D, Indirect Costs, has been clarified to show that, for colleges and universities subject to OMB Circular A-21, a special limitation concerning predetermined indirect cost rates applies. The Exceptions to Basic Policy section also has been clarified to state that foreign grantees may be able to recover indirect costs, if they have a previously negotiated rate agreement with a US Federal agency.

Chapter VI - Other Post Award Requirements and Considerations

  • Section D, Intellectual Property, has been revised to remove the Patent Rights, Copyrightable Material and Intellectual Property Rights clauses and instead provide web links where this information is located in full text. Also, the requirement to submit invention reports in paper to NSF has been updated to reflect that all reports should now be submitted electronically via the iEdison Invention Information Management System maintained by the National Institutes of Health.

  • Section L, National Security, has been updated to inform grantees that, if any research results involve potentially classifiable information that may warrant Government restrictions on the dissemination of the results, the PI should promptly notify the cognizant NSF Program Officer, or the person identified in the Agency Specific Requirements.

Chapter VII - Grant Administration Disputes and Misconduct

  • Section C.2.e, Research Misconduct, includes a link to online training in research ethics provided by the Office of Research Integrity. Also, this AAG chapter encompasses coverage from the final chapter of the GPM and has been renamed Grant Administration Disputes and Misconduct.