UPDATED: Reducing Impact of COVID-19 on ASU Research Activities

Post Last Updated 4/09/2020 – Most recent information is in the Just Posted! section

Knowledge Enterprise (KE) Research Operations is fully functional and operating at normal capacity.  This includes all units within Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration (ORSPA) and Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA), are open for business.  All ORSPA and ORIA staff are working remotely and able to assist via phone, email and Zoom

Note:  This site contains information, guidance and actions being taken in response to daily changes. It will continue being updated frequently as new information is received. 

Answer(s) not found in this FAQ, then submit a question via this  link

JUST POSTED! (Any updates from the last two business days)

IMPORTANT UPDATE! – Laboratory Ramp Down & Critical Research Activities (Section added 04/09/2020 at 1:00PM)

It is necessary to ramp down all but critical research activities, please visit this website https://research.asu.edu/covid-19 for information and guidance to ensure a smooth transition.

COVID-19 Funding Opportunities (Section added 04/09/2020 at 1:00PM)

Looking for a COVID-19 funding opportunity? Visit COVID-19 Related Funding Opportunities and Researcher Resources.  This page will provide high-level opportunities that are fit for university-wide dissemination and action. For COVID-19 specific funding opportunities, please utilize the Pivot Curated search and the Coronavirus Funding Monitor portal.

U.S Department of Interior – Fish and Wildlife Services (Section added 04/09/2020 at 1:00PM)

U.S Department of Interior has delayed the implementation of GrantSolutions. May 18, 2020 is now the anticipated go-live date for transition to the system.  Award processing will be discontinued for approximately 2 weeks prior to the May 18, 2020 go-live date.  

Upcoming key dates:

  • Blackout period: April 30 – May 15, 2020
  • Recipient training: May 13 – 14, 2020
  • Service Transition: May 14 – 15, 2020
  • Service Go-Live! Awards processing resumes:  May 18, 2020

References:

Facilities & Administrative Costs (Section added 04/09/2020 at 1:00PM)

Due to the need to work remotely, will the F&A rate change to off-campus for my project(s)?

The rate will not change, we will continue to charge the current on-campus rates. 

Guidance From the Office of Management & Budget (Section updated 4/09/2020 1:00 pm)

The RA community is encouraged to review and get familiar with the guidance issued by the OMB.

On March 9, 2020 OMB issued M-20-11 “to provide agencies with additional flexibilities for grants assisting the response to COVID-19. The scope of the M-20-11 was narrowly crafted to provide flexibility to grant recipients performing essential research and services necessary to carry out the emergency response related to COVID-19”.

On March 19, 2020 OMB issued M-20-17 which “provides similar administrative relief listed in M-20-11 to an expanded scope of recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

OMB pointed out key differences between the flexibilities permitted by M-20-11 and those allowed by M-20-17 as bulleted below:

  • M-20-11
    • Narrow scope
    • Intended only for application to grantees who receive award funding specifically to address the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Outlined flexibilities have no expiration date at this time
    • “Awarding agencies may allow necessary pre-award costs that are incurred (i) from January 20, 2020 through the Public Health Emergency Period and (ii) prior to the effective date of a Federal award.”
  • M-20-17
    • Broad scope
    • Flexibilities applicable to all Federal grantees
    • Outlined flexibilities expire after 90 days but may be extended
    • No additional flexibility allowed for pre-award costs
  • As RAs review currently posted OMB guidance, it is important to keep in mind that while NIH’s notice appears to allow an extended pre-award cost period back to 01/20/2020 for grantees affected by COVID-19, OMB’s guidance only allows extension of the pre-award cost period back to 01/20/2020 for grantees whose funding was awarded specifically to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Units are advised to download and review the “M-20-17 OMB:  Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by COVID-19 due to Loss of Operations Guide” available here.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND PAST UPDATES

Research Activities Recommendation

(Section Updated 03/31/2020 at 3:00PM) I have received notification from a sponsor/agency where they have indicated one of the following:

  • Award is either terminated in whole or part
  • Award activities must stop (e.g. issued a stop-work order)
  • Award activities must be suspended
  • Award scope and price is being adjusted

What steps should I take?

Send the email to your Research Administrator and PNT (ProposalandNegotiation@asu.edu)

Upon receipt of the email, your award terms and conditions will be reviewed by an ASU PNT Contracts Officer.   The ASU PNT Contracts Officer will connect with you and your Research Administrator on necessary steps to be taken and will also facilitate changes to any post-award sponsored functions.

(Section Updated 03/31/2020 at 3:00PM) Am I able to conduct physical experimentation at home?

ASU does not approve the use of private residence for experimental research purposes.  Such work at home raises a number of  health and safety, and potential building and fire code related concerns that are subject to routine health and safety inspections and mitigation measure at the university laboratories and cannot be verified in a residential setting. These potential hazards include but are not limited to occupancy rating of the building (e.g. residential vs. research), electrical hazard associated with the use of the equipment (e.g. personnel safety, overload of circuitry, etc.), presence of untrained individuals in the research area, etc., none of which have been assessed by university.

At this time, Principal Investigators identify activities that can be performed remotely and can further our sponsored projects scope and aims, as well as UGAs mission

Proposal Deadlines

Will proposal submissions be impacted at this time? (Section added 3/19/2020 10:00 am)

ORSPA’s proposal submission process remains unchanged at this time. Units are advised that many proposal deadlines have changed in response to COVID-19. Many sponsors are not doing blanket extensions across all funding announcements and are extending deadlines differently by each opportunity. RAs are advised to continue to monitor Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) updates and advise PI(s) and the assigned Proposal GCO, as appropriate.  

(3/20/2020 8:20 am) – It is more important than ever to make sure your assigned Proposal GCO is given ample time to submit each proposal in order to navigate any potential internet interruptions related to telework.

Human Subjects Research (Section updated 4/01/2020 11:00 am)

As a reminder, effective 3/25/2020, projects involving face-to-face interactions with human subjects must be suspended until further notice. 

To guide researchers better during the Coronavirus pandemic, the ASU IRB has a tier-based guidance for human subjects research based on the level of risk to participants. Please identify the tier for your research study and apply the appropriate guidance –

Tier 1 – Funded/sponsored studies where there is no possibility to move from in person data collection to online data collection

**Please suspend data collection and notify research.integrity@asu.edu within 2 days of suspension**.

Tier 2 – Funded/sponsored studies where the participants are scheduled for a follow-up or participants are expecting a follow-up or an active intervention is involved

**Please suspend data collection and notify research.integrity@asu.edu within 2 days of suspension and submit a modification to the IRB through ERA portal**.

Tier 3Non-funded/sponsored studies where data collection impacted by Coronavirus pandemic due to school closures or site closures and there is no possibility to move from in-person to online modality of data collection at this time and the timeframe to resume data collection is currently unknown.

**Please suspend data collection and notify research.integrity@asu.edu within 2 days of suspension. Such studies require only a notification to the IRB through research.integrity@asu.edu with your IRB Study # and do not require submission of a modification to the IRB through ERA portal at this time.   An IRB Team Member will record your notification in ERA under your IRB Study # and reach out to you regarding any need for a modification on a case by case basis.**.

Tier 4 – Sponsored/funded/non-funded studies where in-person/face-to-face recruitment and data collection are yet to begin

**Please suspend data collection effective 3/25/2020 per ASU guidance until further notice. If you plan to modify data collection procedures, please submit a modification to the IRB and get approval**.

If you have NIH-funded clinical trials or human subjects affected by COVID-19, review NOT-OD-20-087 for further guidance.

The ORIA IRB staff continues to be available to support your human subjects research needs during these very challenging times.   Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at research.integrity@asu.edu.

Use of Laboratory Animals

For projects involving the use of laboratory animals, planned activities are continuing and access to research spaces are accessible to ASU personnel.  The Department of Animal Care and Technologies (DACT), the Office for Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) and ASU IACUC are fully operational.  If the need arises, this website will be updated.  

PPE (personal protective equipment) (Section added 3/27/2020 at 3:00 pm)

My lab has PPE stock beyond what is needed for immediate activities. Can I donate PPE to labs needing equipment?

If you have PPE (masks, gloves, face shields, glasses/goggles) not purchased with grants funds and are in a position to donate to other ASU labs. Document the PPE that is being donated, including costs and to which ASU lab.  Costs for future reimbursement/replacement of PPE will be managed at a later date – either through a re-allocation of costs or replacement from other funds.

If the PPE you have has been purchased with grants funds, contact the Sponsor Grants Officer for approval.

Salary Support (Section Added 3/27/2020 at 3:00 PM)

Can I continue charging of salaries and fringe to grants, regardless of work schedules?

Yes, continue charging salaries and fringe to your sponsored project.  Some agencies such as NSF, NIH and DOD have already issued statements in line with this guidance and it is anticipated other sponsors will release similar guidance.  In addition, it is important to consider that many sponsors do not expect to increase funding of projects due to COVID-19 and to maintain documentation of effort exerted in support of the grant remotely vs. effort taken without the ability to perform work on the grant.

Notification of COVID-19 Impacts to Sponsors (Section Added 3/27/2020 at 3:00 PM)

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, some Sponsors are requesting the PI and/or institution to report on potential risks facing the project as well as any mitigation measures.  If you are contacted and unsure on how to respond, contact Heather Clark, Executive Director – Research Operations; heather.christina.clark@asu.edu for assistance.

ASU Resources

Principal Investigators can find updated information here: https://research.asu.edu/covid-19. Please note that these updates are high-level. More detailed information impacts on operations will be disseminated through the Research Operations News.

Official ASU COVID-19 updates impacting students, faculty, and staff: https://eoss.asu.edu/health/announcements/coronavirus

Additional Resources

COGR Federal Agency Guidance (Section updated 04/02/2020 9:00am)

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is collecting institutional and agency responses COGR Federal Agency Guidance. Additional COGR resources are included below:

University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) (Section added 3/27/2020 3:00 PM)

UIDP is forming a New organization: COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is a private sector response to coordinate collection, aggregation, and analysis of COVID-19 data and best practices. Mayo Clinic, Leavitt Partners and several MIT faculty leaders were among the first to form this effort and asked MITRE to help coordinate the real-time data analytics effort.

Any ASU faculty interested in participating should email Clay Arnett in the Office of Industry Research & Collaborations for more information.

Sponsor Guidance

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (Section updated 4/02/2020 9:00 am)

The National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice No 146 to the Community Regarding COVID-19. NSF has implemented flexibilities authorized by OMB from specific administrative, financial management and audit requirements and has also issued revised guidance on NSF’s implementation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M-20-17). Revisions include:

  • Prior approval requirement waivers (# 8) has been revised to update the specific situations that require NSF prior approval.  Additional guidance also has been added for Major Facility Recipients;
  • Extension of financial and other reporting (# 10) has been supplemented with information on the processing of payments via NSF’s Award Cash Management Service; and
  • Extension of closeout (# 12) has new guidance extending award closeout from 120 days to 180 days.

Any questions about the policies described in the NSF Guidance should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. Questions specific to a particular award should be directed to the cognizant NSF Program Officer. NSF is working to update existing FAQs and other resources to reflect NSF’s new guidance and will keep you informed on our website at: nsf.gov/coronavirus.

The RA Community is also encouraged to review the following resources and notices:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for NSF Panelists – March 17, 2020

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

Due to the HHS declared public health emergency for COVID-19, NIH has issued a notice (NOT-OD-20-086) outlining short-term administrative flexibilities to assist grantees with managing administrative, financial management and audit requirements without compromising their accountability requirements.

Units are advised to download and review the NIH COVID-19 Flexibilities Guide available here. A selection of these flexibilities is included below:

TOPICFLEXIBILITY ALLOWEDSYNOPSISACTION***
Conference Registration FeesNon-refundable registration fees for conferences, symposiums or seminars that have been cancelled due to COVID19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives).Non-refundable costs of cancelled conference registration fees allowable.Charge non-refundable costs of cancelled conference registration fees to award.
TravelNon-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. See NIH GPS 7.9.1 for detailed information on the allowability of travel expenses.Non-refundable costs of cancelled travel allowable.Charge non-refundable costs of cancelled travel to award.
SalariesNIH understands that many researchers may be unable to work as a result of or related to the effects of COVID-19. If a recipient organization’s policy allows for the charging of salaries and benefits during periods when no work is performed due to the effect of COVID-19, regardless of the funding source, including Federal and non-Federal, then such charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable.
Reminder: NIH awarding Institutes/Centers (ICs) may request documentation to confirm the requirements of institutional policies.
Salaries during periods of inactivity allowable charges to award if non-sponsored accounts allow similar charges.
Recurring salaries and leave pay disbursed by ASU remain allowable charges even if work is interrupted.
No changes in payroll mapping required for salaries paid by ASU during periods of inactivity.

***These flexibilities are available IF the award is related to or affected by COVID-19. When asserting need and taking action to access requirement flexibility, thoroughly document qualifying circumstances and justification for need.

Section Added 03/31/2020 at 3:00PM) Can recipients donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies acquired with NIH grant funds to local hospitals and health care facilities in support of COVID-19 efforts?

Yes, recipients may donate PPE and other lab supplies in support of efforts related to COVID-19. Recipients may re-budget grant funds to repurchase supplies at a later date, use large unobligated balances, or submit an administrative supplement request to the funding IC for consideration.

Note that NIH will review such requests to determine whether the initial costs were made to directly support the project or were indirect costs. NIH can only provide additional funds to support supplies that are directly charged to the project(s). Recipients may negotiate rate agreements with HHS Cost Allocation Services to account for increased indirect costs specific to the effects of COVID-19.

U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (Section added 3/20/2020 1:30 pm)

USAMRAA’s COVID-19 FAQs

U.S. Department of Defense (Section added 3/25/2020 11:00 am)

Frequently Asked Questions for DOD Research Proposers and Awardees Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (Section added 3/19/2020 10:30 am)

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) (Section added 3/27/2020 3:00 PM)

Recommends close communication with your DOE Contracting Officer (CO) and project if you believe that your coronavirus response strategy might disrupt project timelines or deliverables.


Office of ScienceAccommodating Interruptions from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Section added 3/20/2020 1:30 pm)

NIFA Deadline Extensions Due to COVID-19

Additional NIFA information (Section added 3/27/2020 3:00 pm)

Please know that NIFA is committed to adhering to OMB’s memorandum while simultaneously working with recipient organizations to provide the right solutions as deemed appropriate and to the extent permitted by law.

Questions regarding the applicability of the memorandum’s administrative relief provisions should be directed to NIFA’s Awards Management Division at awards@usda.gov. For more information, see (OMB’s M-20-17).