Research Policy Analysis and Coordination
April 1, 2020
- Updated Guidance from NSF: NSF Implementation of OMB Memorandum M-20-17, entitled, “Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations” dated March 19, 2020 (Revised April 1, 2020)
- Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier Named Acting National Science Foundation Director - NSF News Release
- Opinion: Where is the research money for COVID-19? Stimulus package fails to offer sufficient funding for scientists to fight the virus" - East Bay Times
March 31, 2020
- NASA's Science Mission Directorate issued FAQs on Grants and Research during the COVID-19 Epidemic today.
- NIFA-20-005 NIFA Coronavirus FAQs were issued today.
- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued Information Memorandum: IM-ACF-OA-2020-01: ACF grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19.
- The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has published a COVID-19 resources page: "CDFA recognizes that due to COVID-19, grant requirements such as outreach events, field days, etc. will be delayed or otherwise affected. CDFA will work with grantees to the extent possible to adjust the Scope of Work and timelines. For example, some of our grant programs, such as our dairy digester grants, are allowing flexibility to satisfy community engagement/outreach obligations by hosting online events instead of physical events. Please reach out directly to your grant contact for more specific information."
- Six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley announced extended their shelter in place orders through May 3, 2020, the Mercury News reported. Alameda County, which along with the other Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley shared the same language in their orders, provided a summary of some of the stricter restrictions in the new order.
- Matt Hourihan from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) published a dashboard to visualize emergency COVID-19 appropriations made to research agencies.
- Members of Congress sent a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget on March 27, 2020, asking that federal agencies be required "to provide temporary relief to the American research community with respect to proposal deadlines, no-cost extensions, allowability of salaries, non-competing continuation requests, extensions of closeout deadlines, and prior approval requirements would significantly help institutions maintain regular operations. Additionally, if agencies were instructed to implement such relief on institution-wide bases instead of grant-by-grant, administrative burdens during this time of difficult transitions would be greatly reduced."
- The economics of COVID-19: "Can you put a price on COVID-19 options? Experts weigh lives versus economics" - Science
- "Drop Everything.' What California Scientists Are Doing To Fight The Pandemic And Keep Other Research Going" - LAist
March 30, 2020
- "UC Berkeley scientists spin up a robotic COVID-19 testing lab" - Berkeley News.
March 27, 2020
- President Trump signed the CARES Act, "a massive $2 trillion emergency spending bill into law, promising to deliver a tidal wave of cash to individual Americans, businesses and health care facilities all reeling from the coronavirus pandemic," The Washington Post.
- The CARES Act brings relief to institutions of higher education impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and makes investments in research. The American Institute of Physics reports that "the legislation provides another round of additional funding for NIH and also loops in other science agencies to support the federal response."
- The President of the American Council of Education (ACE) Ted Mitchell said "While this legislation is an improvement from where the Senate started, the amount of money it provides to students and higher education institutions remains woefully inadequate."
- In a statement, University of California President Janet Napolitano said "The CARES Act provides much-needed fiscal relief and funding to our health centers treating COVID-19 patients so that they will be able to purchase additional masks, gloves and other equipment desperately needed to protect the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals on the frontlines of this fight."
- The full text of the CARES Act can be found here.
- UC's Vice President for Research and Innovation Theresa A. Maldonado issued a letter to the UC Research Community on Friday.
- The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has issued "Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) No Cost Extensions (NCEs)."
- Mike Lauer, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, posted a new video on YouTube about flexibilities with NIH funding. The NIH continues to update its Covid-19 FAQ.
- Check out the Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.
March 26, 2020
- "What we’ve learned about the coronavirus — and what we still need to know" from STAT.
- The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has launched a Coronavirus/COVID-19 resource page.
March 25, 2020
- On Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously passed a $2-trillion economic stimulus package, the Los Angeles Times reported. It goes to the U.S. House on Friday.
- Science reported that the bill "also includes at least $1.25 billion for federal research agencies to support scientists trying to better understand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition, it extends a financial hand to universities that have shut down because of the pandemic, some of which could go to support research that has been disrupted."
- The scientific and medical communities sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday urging him to "lift the restrictions on federally funded research using human fetal tissue immediately" so that "all biomedical research tools should be made immediately available to develop new treatments, vaccines, and cures to save lives and reduce suffering in the response to COVID-19."
- STAT asks "When can we let up? Health experts craft strategies to safely relax coronavirus lockdowns."
- The New York Times asks "When Coronavirus Closes Your Lab, Can Science Go On?"
- CalMatters reports on "Coronavirus in California by the numbers."
"California governor says virus likely to curb state spending," from the Associated Press.
- The leaders of the University of California, the California State University, the California Community Colleges sent a letter to Congress "with requests that are vital to the continued wellbeing of our students and the continued operation of our institutions through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic."
- On March 24, UC's Interim Chief Financial Officer issued a memo about "charging grants and contracts costs to Federal sponsored awards during COVID-19."
March 24, 2020
- The Department of Defense (DOD) has issued “Frequently Asked Questions for DOD Research Proposers and Awardees Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”
March 23, 2020
- Today, the National Science Foundation issued Important Notice No 146 to the Community Regarding COVID-19. NSF has also issued additional guidance on NSF’s implementation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-20-17.
- The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) issued guidance providing "following short term relief for various administrative, financial management, and audit requirements under 2 CFR Part 200.
March 20, 2020
- The Council of Governmental Relations (COGR) issued updated FAQs today.
March 19, 2020
- California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order today that orders 40 million Californians to remain at home. According to the State of California's COVID-19 response page, "Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance."
- Using data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, this site charts COVID-19 cases, recoveries, and deaths.
- Science reports that "Four organizations representing the nation’s major research institutions and medical schools today wrote to Congressional leaders, urging them to increase research spending at federal science agencies by some 15%, or $13 billion, in order to prevent students and researchers in all scientific disciplines from going broke, to help closed laboratories re-start once the pandemic eases, and to cover other unanticipated costs to the academic research enterprise." The letter, sent by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the American Committee on Education to Congressional leaders outlined a "four-point strategy that will allow our members to continue to lead in the battle against COVID-19 and ensure that our other research on behalf of the American people will not suffer during these unprecedented times."
- Non-profits and foundations have begun notifying grantees about their fiscal policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. RPAC will track and post these policies.
- The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued M-20-17 Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations. "This memorandum 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. Many of the operational impacts and costs are unknowable at this point, as they will depend on the spread of the coronavirus and response dictated by public health needs. This memorandum provides short term relief for administrative, financial management, and audit requirements under 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, without compromising Federal financial assistance accountability requirements. As program managers are considering administrative relief, they should be prudent in their stewardship of Federal resources which includes giving consideration to potential offsets-e.g. reduction in training and travel. In addition, the flexibilities provided within this memorandum, agencies are reminded of their existing flexibility to issue exceptions on a case-by-case basis in accordance with 2 CFR § 200.102, Exceptions. M20-11 shall continue to apply, and Appendix A describes the exceptions granted under this memorandum to recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity. These exceptions are time limited and will be reassessed by 0MB within 90 days of this Memo.”
- The United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) has issued these COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued revised PA-20-135:Emergency Competitive Revision to Existing NIH Awards (Emergency Supplement - Clinical Trial Optional) to include the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The PA makes funds "based on a presidentially declared disaster under the Stafford Act, a public health emergency declared by the Secretary, HHS, or other local, regional or national disaster."
March 18, 2020
- President Trump today signed into law a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package aimed at helping Americans impacted by the coronavirus. Read a title-by-title summary of the bill.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has begun clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging OMB to expand the applicability of its memo, M-20-11, to "all federally funded research awards" in order to expand in order to "provide significant relief for institutions that are grappling with a landscape that changes daily (sometimes hourly) in which they must make decisions and provide guidance to their research teams."
- On March 17, OMB issued memo M-20-16: Federal Agency Operational Alignment to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. This memo guides federal agencies to "immediately adjust operations and services to minimize face-to-face interactions, especially at those offices or sites where people may be gathering in close proximity or where highly vulnerable populations obtain services."
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued "FDA Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during the COVID-19 Pandemic."
- On March 12, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a letter that encourages the research community "to consider scientific questions that underpin COVID-19 response and that the research community may answer using DOE user facilities, computational resources, and enabling infrastructure."
- The Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI) will be holding a free "Virtual Live Panel Discussion: My Home is My Castle...and My Cubicle?" on Tuesday, March 24 at 10:00 am PDT. You can register for this webinar here.
- A recording of the Research!America webinar featuring NIH's Drs. Lawrence Tabak and Michael Lauer discussing the agency's response to COVID-19 is available. You need to register to access the recording.
- From Science: "My lab group met to chart our response to COVID-19. Here’s what we learned"
March 17, 2020
- UC campuses are in various stages of ramping down research operations or planning for closures as local public health departments begin issuing shelter-in-place orders.
- The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is extending deadlines for multiple programs.
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) application submission deadlines will be adjusted, as follows:
March 19 April 2 March 26 April 9 April 2 April 9 April 9 April 16
- NIFA has also extended the submission deadline for the 2021 Plan of Work for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA) capacity funded projects and programs from April 1 to May 1.
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) application submission deadlines will be adjusted, as follows:
- Science is reporting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Department of Energy (DOE) labs.
DOE "has begun to restrict access and ramp down activities at its national laboratories in response to the coronaries crisis. However, no unified protocol has emerged that applies to all labs, which every year serve more than 30,000 visiting researchers. It seems likely that some of DOE’s major research facilities will solider on—as they may prove helpful in the fight against the new virus."
March 16, 2020
- On March 16, 2020, UC President Janet Napolitano issued an Executive Order that outlines expanded paid administrative leave to address the extraordinary demands placed on UC employees due to impacts related to COVID-19 on themselves and their family members. More information can be found on UCnet. This Executive Order modifies March 9, 2020 guidance on regarding paid leave and remote work provisions.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued "guidance to provide a policy to help accelerate the availability of novel coronaries (COVID-19) diagnostic tests developed by laboratories and commercial manufacturers during the public health emergency."
- WCG will host a webinar titled "Clinical Trials in the Era of COVID-19: Changes You Need to Make Now" on Wednesday, March 18 at 11 am PT. You can register here.
- NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) will host a webinar on Tuesday, March 19 at 10 am PT on "Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care." Learn more about the webinar and how to register here.