Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request, 51363-51375 [2014-20521]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices II. Method of Collection Electronic Form. III. Data Title: NASA Complaint of Discrimination Form OMB Number: 2700–XXXX Type of review: Existing collection in use without an OMB control number. Affected Public: Individuals Estimated Number of Respondents: 85 Estimated Annual Responses: 80 per year Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 60 hours Estimated Total Annual Cost: $500.00 IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of NASA, including whether the information collected has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of NASA’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology. Fran Teel, NASA PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–20487 Filed 8–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7510–13–P NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request National Science Foundation. Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the SUMMARY: GPG section and topic pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement Weather Policy. VerDate Mar<15>2010 following information collection requirement to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104– 13. This is the second notice for public comment; the first was published in the Federal Register at 79 FR 26778, and 54 comments were received. NSF is forwarding the proposed renewal submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with the publication of this second notice. The full submission may be found at: http:// www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing plans to request renewed clearance of this collection. The primary purpose of this revision is to implement 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). NSF has requested and received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval to implement the Uniform Guidance through NSF’s longstanding practice of implementing these requirements via use of a policy rather than regulation. In conjunction with the terms and conditions of the award, the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), and its predecessors, have served as NSF’s implementation vehicle for OMB Circular A–110 since its initial issuance in 1976. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological Commenter Jkt 232001 collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation, 725—17th Street NW., Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, and to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1265, Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send email to splimpto@nsf.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877– 8339, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (including federal holidays). Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling 703–292–7556. NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Summary of Comments on the National Science Foundation Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide and NSF’s Responses The draft NSF PAPPG was made available for review by the public on the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/ dias/policy/. In response to the Federal Register notice published May 9, 2014, at 79 FR 26778, NSF received 54 comments from 18 different institutions/individuals. Following are three tables showing the summaries of the comments received on the PAPPG sections, with NSF’s response. Comment Council on Governmental Relations. 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 51363 NSF response We encourage NSF to add additional clarification and modification to this section that reflect more accurately the challenges faced in natural and/or anthropogenic events. The ability of a potential applicant to request prior approval for natural or anthropogenic events can be severely affected by the very event that prevents timely submission. The section has been revised to delete ‘‘prior’’ from the approval requirement, given the unanticipated nature of natural or anthropogenic events. PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51364 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices GPG section and topic Commenter Comment Council on Governmental Relations. GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement Weather Policy. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.d.(ii) Use of URLs outside the Project Description. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement Weather Policy. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.f.(i)(e) Biographical Sketches: Collaborators & Other Affiliations. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.f.(ii) Biographical Sketches: Other Personnel. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. VerDate Mar<15>2010 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 NSF response We request that NSF modify this section to include a provision for: (1) Notification by the potential applicant as soon as possible but no later than five (5) days after the event and, based on that notification; (2) a determination and authorization, as appropriate, by the program officer for a late submission. NSF could alleviate the anxiety associated with unanticipated institutional closings by providing a standard exception for situations of short duration. Campuses can be closed for a variety of reasons including natural or anthropogenic events, which can require several days to return to normal operations. The recommendation above can help address that situation. Recently, however, campuses have been closed for a day for ‘‘man-made’’ events including sightings of armed assailants and other health and safety issues. We ask NSF to consider a standard exception of one day (next business day) for applicants whose campus is closed for an unanticipated event. The application could be submitted with documentation from the authorized institutional official or the official’s designee. Similarly, we suggest that NSF consider a standard provision for late submission in those cases where NSF is unable to operate because of natural, anthropogenic, and weather related or other events. Such a provision could set a specific number of days after the event for a new submission deadline. For example, in the case of closures because of inclement weather, the deadline could be set as the day following reopening of federal offices. Any deviations from this standard could be announced on the NSF Web site. Recommend that this policy provide additional flexibility for ‘‘after the fact approval’’, for circumstances such as unforeseen natural disasters that may not have allowed an investigator or institution to seek and obtain NSF approval prior to the deadline. Can the NSF policy on URLs in other documents be clarified? In the Project description, we understand that these are discouraged per GPG II.C.2.d.ii. At MIT, we have had a couple of funding divisions ask for proposal file updates to remove links from the references biographical sketches whereas other divisions do not require this. The GPG states that appropriate citations for references cited (II.C.2.e) or Biosketch ‘‘products’’ (II.C.2.f) may include URLs, so it’s unclear how to treat this as many PDF generating programs automatically treat URLs as links. Biosketch section (e) adds ‘‘the total number of collaborators and co-editors also must be identified’’. Should this change versus 14–1 be highlighted? The section has been updated to specifically address the closure of NSF. Additionally, the revised language developed by NSF provides greater flexibility than the language proposed by the commenter. NSF believes that such flexibility is important given the nature of the deviation request. This section suggests that information on the qualifications other personnel may be included, but it is unclear where this should be included. FastLane does not include a place to upload biosketches for non-senior personnel. Can the correct place to include non-senior bio information be specified? New language has been added to the Biographical Sketch(es) instructions which states: ‘‘Such information should be clearly identified as ‘Other Personnel’ biographical information and uploaded along with the Biosketches for Senior Personnel in the Biosketches section of the proposal.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Comment has been addressed by the inclusion of a new change which authorizes an after the fact approval. NSF believes the existing language on inclusion of URLs is clearly articulated and further action is neither necessary nor appropriate. This change will be highlighted in the Summary of Significant Changes. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices GPG section and topic Commenter Comment University of Wisconsin. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi) Other Direct Costs. Trish Lowney .............. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(a) Materials & Supplies, including Costs of Computing Devices. University of Alabama GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(c) Consultant Services. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(ii); AAG, Chapter V.B.1.b. Fringe Benefits. Trish Lowney .............. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 51365 NSF response Both of these sections describe the ability of the grantee to charge fringe benefits as direct costs, given that charges are made in accordance with usual accounting practices and/or with approval of the cognizant federal agency. Reference also is made to 2 CFR § 200.431, within which part (b)(3)(i) states that, ‘‘Payments for unused leave when an employee retires or terminates employment are allowable as indirect costs in the year of payment.’’ We want to confirm our understanding that NSF policy does not preclude costs of unused leave at retirement and termination from being directly charged to NSF awards. We recognize that NSF policy indicates that such payments may be subject to reasonableness determination. Additionally, we seek affirmation that 2 CFR § 200.431 is incorporated into NSF policy to acknowledge that such unused leave also may be allowable as indirect costs and is not a directive to institutions to charge such costs as indirect costs. ‘‘Examples include . . . And construction of equipment or systems not available off-the shelf.’’ Confusing: Doesn’t fabricated equipment (construction of equipment or systems not available off-the-shelf) that meets the institution’s capitalization threshold (e.g., $5,000) ought to be included in the equipment budget line (e.g., MRI development options awards)? The University appreciates the clarification that a computing device is a supply as long as it does not meet the lesser of institution’s capitalization level or $5,000. It would be helpful if the PAPPG also included in this section the following statement found at 200.453(c) in the Uniform Guidance: ‘‘In the specific case of computing devices, charging as direct costs is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated, to the performance of a Federal Award.’’ ‘‘. . . services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession. . . And who are not officers or employees of the proposing institution. . .’’ Clarify whether or not ‘‘persons’’ include organizations/entities that meet definition of contractor and should be managed by a contract for provision of consultant services. Clarify whether that the contracting vehicle to be used must comply with Appendix II of the UG. This issue will be addressed in the latest version of the Frequently Asked Questions that are being developed by the Office of Management and Budget. As such, it would not be appropriate for the issue to be resolved by NSF. PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Language has now been modified to help eliminate confusion regarding where equipment should be addressed in the budget. Language has been incorporated as requested. NSF has implemented consultant services consistent with 2 CFR 200.459 which states: ‘‘Costs of professional and consultant services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill, and who are not officers or employees of the non-Federal entity, are allowable, subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) when reasonable in relation to the services rendered and when not contingent upon recovery of the costs from the Federal government. In addition, legal and related services are limited under § 200.435 Defense and prosecution of criminal and civil proceedings, claims, appeals and patent infringements.’’ As such, it would not be appropriate to deviate from this language. Additional language has been added to the consultant services section to address compliance with Appendix II of the Uniform Guidance. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51366 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices GPG section and topic Commenter Comment Council on Governmental Relations. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e) Subawards, Foreign Subrecipients. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e) Subawards, Foreign Subrecipients. University of Minnesota. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e) Subawards, Budgets. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(d) Computer Services. University of Wisconsin. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 NSF response We appreciate that NSF has acknowledged that computing devices below an institution’s equipment threshold are allowable. However, per Chapter II.2C.g.(vi)(d), the reference to ‘‘computer equipment’’ may create confusion in the community by suggesting that computing devices are unallowable. Per this section: ‘‘As noted in Chapter II.C.2.g.(iii) above, general purpose (such as word processing, spreadsheets, communication) computer equipment should not be requested.’’ We request that you consider deleting this reference, since most such devices do not rise to the level of equipment. Or, alternatively, reinforcement that computing devices below an institution’s equipment threshold are allowable would be a helpful footnote to include and would be an important reminder to auditors of the differentiation between supplies and equipment. In GPG II.C.2.g.vi.e, the old policy that foreign subawardees are not eligible for indirect costs is mentioned. However, GPG II.C.2.g.viii references 2 CFR 200.414, which indicates a 10% de minimus rate is allowable for foreign grantees. Should this also apply to foreign subawardees? The phrase is inconsistent with the Uniform Guidance’s section 200.331, which allows for a 10% MTDC de minimus rate. The ability to apply the 10% MTDC de minimus rate is correctly spelled out on the following page (II–18) in the indirect cost section. It would be helpful to have the first reference corrected to avoid confusion. NSF recently clarified that each proposal’s budget justification is limited to three pages, including a collaborative proposal from a single organization that contains a subaward(s). However, if a subaward is requested post-award, a proposer may submit up to a three-page budget justification for each subaward. This creates an inconsistency regarding what is submitted to obtain a subaward approval. A subaward budget justification may contain critical information regarding proposed costs, and we recommend that all subawards be allowed to include a budget justification of up to three pages, regardless of whether they are submitted with a new proposal or as a post-award action. Additional language has been added to point users to the appropriate section of the budget preparation instructions for guidance on the acquisition of computing devices. PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Language in both the subaward and indirect cost sections of the Grant Proposal Guide has been revised to clarify application of a de minimus rate. Language in both the subaward and indirect cost sections of the Grant Proposal Guide has been revised to clarify application of a de minimus rate. This request has been incorporated and language has now been revised to read as follows: ‘‘Each proposal must contain a budget for each year of support requested, unless a particular program solicitation stipulates otherwise. The budget justification must be no more than three pages per proposal. . . For proposals that contain a subaward(s), each subaward must include a separate budget justification of no more than three pages.’’ E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices GPG section and topic Commenter Comment Council on Governmental Relations. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii) Indirect Cost. Trish Lowney .............. GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii). Indirect Cost. University of Minnesota. GPG, Chapter II.D.3.. Ideas Lab. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii) Indirect Cost. Council on Governmental Relations. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 51367 NSF response The first two sections referenced above state: ‘‘Foreign grantees that have never had a negotiated indirect cost rate are limited to an indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs. Foreign grantees that have a negotiated rate agreement with a U.S. federal agency may recover indirect costs at the current negotiated rate.’’ This seems to suggest that this rule would not be applicable to domestic grantees; we request that this section be clarified to state these rules apply to all grantees. The third reference above states: ‘‘Foreign subrecipients are not eligible for indirect cost recovery unless the subrecipient has a previously negotiated rate agreement with a U.S. Federal agency that has a practice of negotiating rates with foreign entities.’’ This seems to be inconsistent with the previously referenced sections and the Uniform Guidance; we request that this section be updated, accordingly. Foreign Grantees that have never had negotiated IDC are limited to 10% MTDC. Seems to conflicts with II–17/(e) Subawards: foreign subrecipients not eligible for IDC. Consistency needed or otherwise explain why handled differently D14. We would like to take this opportunity to thank NSF for its clear and unambiguous statement in its proposed implementation plan about the need for pass-through entities to honor their subrecipient’s negotiated F&A rate. NSF’s well-articulated position on this supports full cost recovery. It is not clear what the nature and extent of support from NSF will be for participants in Stage 3 of the Ideas Lab. If a participant is expected to travel and/or contribute substantial portions of their time—substantial enough to re-allocate their institutional responsibilities—we believe the institution should be a party to any agreement to participate. If, as indicated, the Stage 2 selection process uses the preliminary proposal format in Fastlane with the required submission through the Sponsored Program Office, our concerns about notification are alleviated. If there are costs associated with participation that will be provided by NSF, we assume that participant support would be allocated as a grant through the institution with the usual budgetary considerations related to participant support. Because of the collaborative nature of the Ideas Lab, we assume any Stage 4 invited full proposals will be submitted according to the Special Guidelines described at GPG Ch. II d. 5. This approach raises some questions concerning the submission process and we encourage NSF to clarify the submission process either in the Funding Opportunity Announcement or in the PAPPG. Will the participating institutions have the option to submit either a single proposal or simultaneous proposals from all participating organizations? Will renewal proposals require a preliminary proposal or submission of a full proposal within a regular funding cycle? Language in both the subaward and indirect cost sections of the Grant Proposal Guide has been revised to clarify application of a de minimus rate. PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Language in both the subaward and indirect cost sections of the Grant Proposal Guide has been revised to clarify application of a de minimus rate. Thank-you. No NSF response required. Language has now been added to specify the anticipated length of the Ideas Lab. The funding opportunity will clearly instruct the selected teams on how the full proposal should be prepared, and will address whether it should be submitted either as a single proposal or as simultaneous proposals from all participating organizations. Unless otherwise specified in the funding opportunity, renewal proposals will be submitted as standard research proposals following the guidance provided in the Grant Proposal Guide. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51368 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices Commenter Comment NSF response GPG, Chapter II.D.6. Proposals for Equipment. Trish Lowney .............. Council on Governmental Relations. GPG, Chapter II.D.8. Dual Use Research of Concern. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Notes that equipment to be purchased, modified or constructed must be described . . . Seems to conflict with II–16 other direct costs presented above? That is, constructed equipment—equipment if > capitalization threshold and in equipment budget line (with associated alteration and modification costs) and *not* in other direct costs? We appreciate that the provisions for meeting the US Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern and the proposed US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern have been described as contingent on the publication of the final US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. However, we understand that these are two separate but linked policies and that the agencies are expected to meet the requirements of the US Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. We agree with the observation at AAG Ch. VI B 5 b. that it is unlikely that NSF sponsored research will fall under these policy requirements. Nonetheless, it may be helpful to offer more direction at GPG Ch. II D. 9 to the grantee concerning the implementation of the policy for agencies. An indication of how NSF will engage in the development of plans with grantee organizations to mitigate the risks associated with DURC may be helpful. Such a statement or provision could outline the path for communications with NSF as in the AAG and the process for reporting by the PI/PD described in the agency policy. Dual Use Research of concern is at II.D.9, not II.D.8. Language has been revised in the Equipment Proposal preparation instructions in GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(iii) to address the issue. GPG, Chapter II.D.8. Dual Use Research of Concern. GPG, Chapter II.D.10. Proposals for Conferences. Boise State ................. Requiring an estimated total budget is inconsistent with NSF’s prohibition of voluntary committed cost share. The prohibition of voluntary committed cost share is also referenced in the AAG, page II–5, NSF 15_1 draft. GPG, Chapter II.D.10. Proposals for Conferences. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES GPG section and topic Stanford University ..... Chapter II.D.10 of NSF’s PAPPG be clarified to indicate that it only applies to direct costs, if indeed that is the intent. It currently says ‘‘NSF funds are not to be spent for meals and coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, but not limited to laboratories, departments and centers either as direct or indirect costs.’’ VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dual Use Research of Concern will now not be implemented in this version of the PAPPG and all DURC-related language has been removed. Dual Use Research of Concern will now not be implemented in this version of the PAPPG and all DURC-related language has been removed. Language has been revised to read as follows: ‘‘Proposal Budget: A budget for the conference that is prepared in accordance with GPG Chapter II.C.2g. The budget may include participant support for transportation (when appropriate), per diem costs, stipends, publication and other conferencerelated costs. Note: Participant support costs must be excluded from the indirect cost base; see GPG Chapter II.C.2g(v). For additional information on Program Income associated with conferences, see AAG Chapter III.D.4.’’ Language has been revised to read: ‘‘NSF funds are not to be spent for meals and coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, including, but not limited to, laboratories, departments and centers, as a direct cost.’’ E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices GPG section and topic Commenter 51369 Comment GPG, Chapter III.F. Use of the Term Proposer. Council on Governmental Relations. GPG, Chapter III.F. NSF Risk Management Framework. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. GPG, Exhibit III–1 NSF Proposal & Award Process Timeline. University of Wisconsin. GPG, Chapter IV.D.1.b. Reconsideration. Trish Lowney .............. NSF response We encourage NSF to standardize the language throughout this section with the terms used throughout the PAPPG. The use of the term ‘‘proposer’’ has created some confusion in the community particularly at grantee institutions with multiple investigators. We request that ‘‘proposer’’ be replaced with ‘‘grantee’’ because we understand that all new grantee institutions may be evaluated under the Risk Management Framework. It is unclear what defines ‘‘all new proposers’’ that will be subjected to additional preaward financial and administrative review. Recommend that NSF provide additional clarification whether this additional scrutiny will be limited to institutions that have never received NSF funding. If this is the intent, then the text should be modified to reflect this. The NSF Proposal and Award Process & Timeline does not capture the new process in which DGA or DACS may decide to decline an award after financial or administrative review. The graphic seems to indicate that declines occur only at the Division Director level, which is no longer accurate. Updating the graphic may prevent confusion regarding the declination process. If a proposal has been declined by the NSB, only an explanation will be available. Unclear; the Board’s role or involvement in the declination process seems not well defined. NSF does not concur with this recommendation. There are significant differences in terms of process, including with respect to requirements imposed on proposers versus awardees. The terms ‘‘proposer’’ and ‘‘grantee’’ are not interchangeable. The language regarding the conduct of preaward financial and administrative review has been modified to only include: ‘‘. . . all proposers recommended for award that have not received NSF funding in the last five years, with particular focus on proposers whose cumulative NSF funding would amount to $200,000 or more.’’ The Proposal and Award lifecycle graphic will be modified to incorporate declinations made by DGA or DACS. NSF does not believe that further information on NSB declinations, beyond that provided, is necessary. Award and Administration Guide (18 comments, including one duplication): Commenter Comment NSF response AAG, Chapter I.C.2.a. Research Terms & Conditions. Cal Tech .......................... University of Wisconsin ... The note on page I–2 of the GPG indicates that the Research Terms and Conditions ‘‘will be added to this list, if available, at the time of issuance.’’ From the point of view of the research community, having the Research Terms and Conditions reintroduced is extremely important and very beneficial. We urge NSF to use its influence to strengthen the case for the return of the Research Terms and Conditions and appreciate your efforts along those lines. We appreciate the confirmation that all awards subject to statutory cost sharing have been closed out. We also note that NSF has changed cost sharing requirements. Where NSF previously required reports only when a cost sharing commitment of $500,000 or more existed, grantees must now report on mandatory cost sharing on an annual and final basis. Although we assume that this change is being made in conformance with the Uniform Guidance, we acknowledge that this new level of reporting will create an increased administrative burden on grantees. The future of the Research Terms and Conditions is currently being considered by the NSTC/RBM. AAG, Chapter II.C.3.b. Cost Sharing. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NSF takes the imposition of new administrative requirements very seriously. Given the limited number of awards that have cost sharing requirements, and the importance of meeting the financial commitments made by the recipient, we believe it is important that organizations provide this information to NSF, irrespective of the dollar value of the cost sharing. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51370 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices Commenter Comment NSF response AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter III.E. Grant Closeout. Council on Governmental Relations. COGR respectfully asks NSF to request a deviation from OMB that the submission date for all financial, performance, and other reports and the liquidation date be set to a new standard of 120days after the end date of the period of performance. Specifically, we request that the submission date for all financial, performance, and other reports and the liquidation date be set to a new standard of 120-days after the end date of the period of performance. Per 2 CFR § 200.343 Closeouts, (g), Federal awarding agencies should complete all closeout actions no later than one year after the acceptance of all required final reports. This effectively sets the final closeout clock at 15 months (i.e., 90 days plus one year) after the end date of the award. Within that time period, COGR believes that all parties can work in a bi-lateral fashion to ensure an award is closed in the most timely, efficient, and accurate manner possible. Under this bi-lateral closeout model, both the federal agency and the grantee recognize each other’s system and resource constraints and will work together to provide sufficient flexibility toward achieving the final closeout objective. AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter III.E. Grant Closeout. University of California .... Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We echo COGR’s request that NSF request a deviation from OMB to establish a new 120-day standard to close out awards. We are committed to submitting timely and accurate final reports. However, additional administrative and compliance requirements, as well as increasing numbers of multi-disciplinary/multi-site projects make meeting the 90-day deadline in an accurate and complete fashion difficult. A new 120-day standard would, as COGR points out, allow both parties to finalize the closeout process with fewer corrections and revisions, including coordinating with lower tier partners. MIT requests that the NSF apply for a deviation from OMB allowing the closeout submission deadline to be changed from the current 90standard to a new 120-day standard, as also requested by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR). MIT has identified subawards as a major factor contributing to delays in award closeout, and the additional 30 days would significantly improve our compliance. We recognize that closeouts require more work and attention to detail than ever before, on the part of both the federal awarding agency and the nonfederal awardee organization. This additional work impacts all of us, and our primary goal with this request is to complete the closeout in the most timely, efficient, and accurate way possible. Per 2 CFR § 200.343 Closeouts (g), the Federal awarding agency should complete closeout within 15 months after the expiration date of an award (90 days + 1 year), and we believe that allowing awardee organizations an extra 30 days out of this window should not negatively impact NSF’s workflow. NSF implemented award financial closeout requirements as established by the Uniform Guidance paragraph 2 CFR § 200.343(b) which states that ‘‘a non-Federal entity must liquidate all obligations incurred under the Federal award not later than 90 calendar days after the end date of the period of performance as specified in the terms and conditions of the Federal award.’’ Additionally, NSF complies with the requirements established by the Uniform Guidance paragraph 200.343(e) which states ‘‘the Federal awarding agency or passthrough entity must make a settlement for any upward or downward adjustments to the Federal share of costs after closeout reports are received.’’ Adjustments to the Federal share of costs can be completed by awardee institutions through the Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) and submitted on line to NSF for 18 months after the award expiration date. Downward adjustments can be submitted until the appropriations funding the award cancel. ACM$ enables awardee institutions to submit adjustments with essentially no increased workload over that of a standard payment request. NSF believes the capabilities offered by ACM$ for adjustments to financially closed awards mitigate the effects of the implementation of the 90-day financial closeout. However, NSF is committed to the long standing partnership with its awardee institution population. As such, NSF will consider the feasibility of requesting a deviation from the Uniform Guidance requirements. However, such a deviation would be dependent upon the concurrence of other research oriented Federal agencies in order to establish a consistent requirement for the timing of award financial closeout actions. NSF believes a 120-day standard award closeout would be feasible, if agreement can be reached within the Federal agency research community. NSF believes a unilateral deviation from the Uniform Guidance for award financial closeout would not be consistent with the intent of the Uniform Guidance and could introduce the type of uncertainty within the grant administration community that the Uniform Guidance was intended to improve. See answer to the Council on Governmental Relations on the same issue above. AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter III.E. Grant Closeout. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:01 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 See answer to the Council on Governmental Relations on the same issue above. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices Commenter AAG, Chapter III.E. Financial Requirements and Payments. University of Minnesota ... AAG, Chapter II.E. Record Retention & Audit. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic University of Alabama ..... VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 Comment 51371 NSF response We applaud NSF for the great partnership created See answer to the Council on Governmental Relawith Universities through the implementation of tions on the same issue above. the ACMS system and the replacement of the FFR and Cash Request Function. The single system point of entry and acknowledgement and new understanding that the amount drawn equated to amount spent is a great step in moving to a streamlined and more efficient financial process. We encourage NSF to critically consider the closeout process as described in the COGR letter. While this is not a change in NSF policy, it is more The record retention language specified in Award & burdensome that the requirements of the Uniform Administration Guide Chapter II has been revised Guidance found in 200.333: ‘‘Financial records to read as follows: ‘‘1. Financial records, sup. . . and all other non-Federal entity records perporting documents, statistical records and all tinent to a Federal award must be retained for a other records pertinent to the NSF grant must be period of three years from the date of submission retained by the grantee for a period of three years of the final expenditure report or, for Federal from award financial closeout described in AAG awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, Chapter III.E.3, except as noted in 2 CFR from the date of the submission of the quarterly 200.333.’’ or annual financial report, respectively, as reported to the Federal awarding agency or passthrough entity . . . Federal awarding agencies and pass-through entities must not impose any other record retention requirements upon nonFederal entities.’’. Although it is becoming easier to track submission of project reports to NSF, and the University appreciated NSF’s progress in this area, it is still more complicated for recipients to identify and record the project report submission date and to ensure it is used for record retention purposes when it occurs after the date of the award financial closeout and is, in practice, an additional record retention requirement. PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51372 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices Commenter Comment NSF response AAG, Chapter II.E. Record Retention & Audit. University of Alabama ..... University of Minnesota ... 2 CFR 200.87—‘‘Research and Development (R&D) R&D means all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. ‘‘Research’’ is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. ‘‘Development’’ is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes. While NSF’s mission, ‘‘to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes’’ is advanced primarily through the support of science and engineering research, not all of the activities NSF funds meet the definition of Research and Development, as other types of activities, such as education, also promote the progress of science. The fact that NSF funds education programs and other activities that do not involve a systematic study of a subject or the use of research results in the production of materials, etc. is included throughout the PAPPG. For example, the definition of Assistance Award states that for NSF, they ‘‘involve the support or stimulation of scientific and engineering research, science and engineering education or other related activities.’’ While ‘‘NSF recognizes that some awards may have another classification for purposes of indirect costs,’’ the inconsistency in classification for various purposes creates problems in determining the appropriate indirect cost rate to charge (which can be particularly burdensome to faculty), in appropriately categorizing expenditures and space in indirect cost rate proposals and in other areas of administration and management of funds. The OMB Circular A–133 Compliance Supplement contains in Part 5, Clusters of Programs, specific instructions for auditing Research and Development Programs. The Compliance Requirements and Suggested Audit Procedures are not always the most appropriate for educational, service or other non-research programs/activities. The CFDA number of NSF awards is provided to the Grantee at the time of award on the Award Notice. The CFDA number provided by NSF is a CFDA that falls into a cluster category as outlined in the compliance supplement. If a CFDA number isn’t defined in a category the guidance is to report the CFDA by function. At a macro level, institutions plan and review their portfolios by mission (function); teaching, training, research, public service, etc. Institutionally, function is defined by how the activity (transaction) accomplishes the mission of the university. For example, awards with the primary function of training would not fall under the mission of research at our institution. Our financial statements summarize all our mission activity by function. Our SEFA is reconciled to the Financial Statements as required. Requiring the institution to arbitrarily report activity as part of the R&D Cluster when institutionally we have defined the activity as another function will cause additional reconciliation steps and ongoing ‘‘reporting discrepancies.’’. This issue was raised during the last comment period for the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide and is considered resolved. NSF does not intend to make further changes to the language provided. AAG, Chapter II.E. Record Retention & Audit. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 This issue was raised during the last comment period for the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide and is considered resolved. NSF does not intend to make further changes to the language provided. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices 51373 Commenter Comment NSF response AAG, Chapter III.D.4.b. Program Income. Stanford University .......... University of Wisconsin ... AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement. Council on Governmental Relations. AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement. University of California .... AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We respectfully ask that NSF request a deviation from OMB that income from license fees and royalties be excluded from the definition of program income (Part II, Chapter III.D.4.b). Statutory requirements under the Bayh-Dole Act (35 U.S.C. 202(c)(7)) supersede any described treatments of license fees and royalties per sections 200.80 and 200.307(f) in the Uniform Guidance. We believe OMB has confirmed the precedence of U.S. law or statute over the OMB Uniform Guidance. Therefore reporting to Federal agencies on Program Income should not include such license fees and royalties. Thank you for providing verification that NSF has the authority under the Federal Technology Transfer Act to vest title in an institution of higher education. This should allow institutions of higher education to continue handling title in a manner to which they are accustomed. COGR respectfully asks NSF to request a deviation from OMB that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), Nonprofit Research Organizations (NROs), and all research performers be exempted from Procurement Standards Sections 200.317 through 200.326. Procurement Standards under Circular A–110 should be reinstated for research performers. The PAPPG states that NSF grantees shall adhere to the requirements of 2 CFR 200.317–326, which prescribes standards for use by recipients in establishing procedures for procurement. COGR has documented that implementation of 2 CFR § 200.317–326 will: (1) Create increased cost and administrative burden via expensive processworkflow and IT system changes, (2) require a long lead time to implement, which cannot effectively be accomplished by December 26th, and (3) result in risk to program performance—for example, critical research tools and supplies that normally would be acquired in one day could take at least one week to acquire. By securing the deviation requested above, NSF can help ensure the continuity of current and effective procurement practices in place at IHEs and NROs, without any sacrifice to institutional accountability and stewardship of federal funds. We strongly request that NSF request a deviation from OMB exempting Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) from the procurement requirements outlined in the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.317–326). These new procurement documentation and sourcing standards will require UC to restructure longstanding procurement practices, redesign internal controls for procurement processes, reconfigure supporting E-procurement systems, and execute a wholesale change management strategy to re-educate faculty, staff, and students across 10 campuses and five medical centers. It will be costly and difficult, if not impossible, to implement such changes by the required date of December 26, 2014. MIT also supports COGR’s request that NSF apply for a deviation allowing Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), Nonprofit Research Organizations (NROs), and all research performers to be subject to the prior procurement standards of Circular A– 110. We absolutely recognize and agree with the need to make the best use of our scarce resources, but for IHEs, NROs, and research performers of all types, this change would be too sudden to implement by the end of the year. The requirements of the Procurement standards in 200.317 through 200.326 call for system solutions. Without a system for capturing the required documentation, the additional administrative effort on each transaction would significantly outweigh any cost savings. It is simply not feasible for IHEs and NROs to put new procurement documentation systems in place by the December 26th deadline. Additionally, the additional time this would require for each transaction would seriously impact the flexibility needed to effectively respond to the unpredictability of fundamental research. Language has been modified in AAG, Chapter III.D.4.c.(1) to address the issue as follows: ‘‘The grantee also shall have no obligation to NSF with respect to program income earned from license fees and royalties for copyrighted material, patents, patent applications, trademarks, and inventions produced under an award. However, Patent and Trademark Amendments (35 U.S.C. 18) shall apply to inventions made under an award.’’ AAG, Chapter IV.D. Property Management Standards. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Thank-you. No NSF response required. The issue of procurement standards contained in the new Uniform Guidance has been brought to the attention of the Office of Management and Budget. Any decisions regarding implementation rest with OMB, and, cannot be addressed independently by NSF. The issue of procurement standards contained in the new Uniform Guidance has been brought to the attention of the Office of Management and Budget. Any decisions regarding implementation rest with OMB, and, cannot be addressed independently by NSF. The issue of procurement standards contained in the new Uniform Guidance has been brought to the attention of the Office of Management and Budget. Any decisions regarding implementation rest with OMB, and, cannot be addressed independently by NSF. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 51374 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices Commenter Comment NSF response AAG, Chapter V.A.2.c. Publication and Printing Costs. University of Florida ......... University of Wisconsin ... AAG, Chapter V.B.1.b.; GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(ii) Fringe Benefits. University of Wisconsin ... AAG, Chapter V.D.1.(ii)(a) Fixed Rates for Life of the Award. Council on Governmental Relations. AAG, Chapter V.D.1.(ii)(a) Fixed Rates for Life of the Award. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Regarding the third paragraph ‘‘However, in accordance with 2 CFR 200.461, Publication and Printing costs, awardees may charge the NSF award before closeout for the costs of publication or sharing of research results, if the costs are not incurred during the period of performance of the award’’. Would the cost of travel (of course the purpose of which is to disseminate and share the results of the research) where the airfare, registration and other costs are paid for prior to the end of the project period but the travel does not occur until after the end of the project period be an allowable cost? We appreciate that NSF has clarified that ‘‘items identified in the approved budget constitutes NSF’s authorization . . . to incur these costs’’ provided they are consistent with applicable terms, conditions, and regulations. This language will help eliminate confusion when items are included in the approved budget, and costs are later presumed as needing prior approval. Both of these sections describe the ability of the grantee to charge fringe benefits as direct costs, given that charges are made in accordance with usual accounting practices and/or with approval of the cognizant federal agency. Reference also is made to 2 CFR 200.431, within which part (b)(3)(i) states that, ‘‘Payments for unused leave when an employee retires or terminates employment are allowable as indirect costs in the year of payment.’’ We want to confirm our understanding that NSF policy does not preclude costs of unused leave at retirement and termination from being directly charged to NSF awards. We recognize that NSF policy indicates that such payments may be subject to reasonableness determination. Additionally, we seek affirmation that 2 CFR 200.431 is incorporated into NSF policy to acknowledge that such unused leave also may be allowable as indirect costs and is not a directive to institutions to charge such costs as indirect costs. This section states: ‘‘Federal Awards may not be adjusted in future years as a result of changes in negotiated rates.’’ We understand that this text is included in the Uniform Guidance, but urge the NSF to work with OMB and other federal agencies to provide clarification that would allow nonprofit research organizations the opportunity to continue to have their total-cost for existing award commitments reconsidered where circumstances warrant. This option has been in place with agencies, such as the NIH, since 1997. It is important that this remain a viable option for non-profit organizations that would be affected by the language in this section of the PAPPG. We understand that this text is included in the OMB Omnibus Guidance, but strongly urge the NSF and all other Federal research funding organizations to work with OMB to provide clarification, such as in the NSF Policy document, that would continue to allow non-profit research organizations the opportunity to have their total-cost for existing award commitments reconsidered where circumstances warrant. This option has been in place with organizations such as the NIH since 1997 (see attached correspondence with AIRI), and must continue to be a viable option for nonprofit organizations that may be harmed by this newly mandated restriction. NSF believes that the coverage in the Uniform Guidance on this topic is clear and no further clarification on the part of NSF is necessary. AAG, Chapter V.A.3.a. Prior Written Approvals. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AAG Section and topic VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Thank-you. No action needed. This issue will be addressed in the latest version of the Frequently Asked Questions that are being developed by the Office of Management and Budget. As such, it would not be appropriate for the issue to be resolved by NSF. NSF will forward this comment to the Office of Management and Budget for further discussion with the Council on Financial Assistance Reform. NSF will forward this comment to the Office of Management and Budget for further discussion with the Council on Financial Assistance Reform. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 167 / Thursday, August 28, 2014 / Notices 51375 Other Comments: Topic and PAPPG section Commenter Comment NSF response NSF guidance for expiring/canceling award funds will not differ from the standard guidance applicable to all award funds as outlined in the NSF AAG Chapter V: Allowability of Costs. NSF will work toward further improving the awareness of awards with canceling funds held by our awardees. This will include additional communications with awardee institutions as well as other efforts to further highlight awards with canceling funds. A new NSF E58 Grants.gov Application Guide will be issued concurrently with the PAPPG. Expiring Funds ............ University of Minnesota. Not addressed in the Guide. The process around expiring funds is not addressed in the guide. While we are now notified that certain funds are expiring there isn’t guidance provided on options that a university can employ to manage the funds. Federal agencies differ in the amount of individual guidance provided and at times we are unsure if a methodology described for one agency should be used for another agency. Grants.gov Application Guide. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are items added by GPG 14–1 and 15–1 which are not addressed in the Grants.gov guide, and we’re not sure whether this means they are not required when submitting via Grants.gov. For example, the Collaboration type and Proposal type checkboxes on the FastLane cover page don’t appear to correspond to any information on the Grants.gov SF424. Title of Collection: ‘‘National Science Foundation Proposal/Award Information-Grant Proposal Guide’’. OMB Approval Number: 3145–0058. Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to extend with revision an information collection for three years. Proposed Project: The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 (Pub. L. 81–507) set forth NSF’s mission and purpose: pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ‘‘To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. * * *’’ The Act authorized and directed NSF to initiate and support: • Basic scientific research and research fundamental to the engineering process; • Programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential; • Science and engineering education programs at all levels and in all the various fields of science and engineering; • Programs that provide a source of information for policy formulation; and • Other activities to promote these ends. Over the years, NSF’s statutory authority has been modified in a number of significant ways. In 1968, authority to support applied research was added to the Organic Act. In 1980, The Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act gave NSF standing authority to support activities to improve the participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Another major change occurred in 1986, when engineering was accorded equal status with science in the Organic VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:14 Aug 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 Act. NSF has always dedicated itself to providing the leadership and vision needed to keep the words and ideas embedded in its mission statement fresh and up-to-date. Even in today’s rapidly changing environment, NSF’s core purpose resonates clearly in everything it does: Promoting achievement and progress in science and engineering and enhancing the potential for research and education to contribute to the Nation. While NSF’s vision of the future and the mechanisms it uses to carry out its charges have evolved significantly over the last four decades, its ultimate mission remains the same. Use of the Information: The regular submission of proposals to the Foundation is part of the collection of information and is used to help NSF fulfill this responsibility by initiating and supporting merit-selected research and education projects in all the scientific and engineering disciplines. NSF receives more than 51,000 proposals annually for new projects, and makes approximately 10,500 new awards. Support is made primarily through grants, contracts, and other agreements awarded to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, academic consortia, nonprofit institutions, and small businesses. The awards are based mainly on evaluations of proposal merit submitted to the Foundation. The Foundation has a continuing commitment to monitor the operations of its information collection to identify and address excessive reporting burdens as well as to identify any real or apparent inequities based on gender, race, ethnicity, or disability of the proposed principal investigator(s)/ PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 project director(s) or the co-principal investigator(s)/co-project director(s). Burden on the Public: The Foundation estimates that an average of 120 hours is expended for each proposal submitted. An estimated 51,600 proposals are expected during the course of one year for a total of 6,192,000 public burden hours annually. Dated: August 25, 2014. Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation. [FR Doc. 2014–20521 Filed 8–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. NRC–2014–0075] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Notice of the OMB review of information collection and solicitation of public comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently submitted to OMB for review the following proposal for the collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). The NRC hereby informs potential respondents that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and that a person is not required to respond SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 167 (Thursday, August 28, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51363-51375]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-20521]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION


Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request

AGENCY: National Science Foundation.

ACTION: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the 
following information collection requirement to OMB for review and 
clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. 
This is the second notice for public comment; the first was published 
in the Federal Register at 79 FR 26778, and 54 comments were received. 
NSF is forwarding the proposed renewal submission to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with the 
publication of this second notice. The full submission may be found at: 
http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.
    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing plans to 
request renewed clearance of this collection. The primary purpose of 
this revision is to implement 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative 
Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards 
(Uniform Guidance). NSF has requested and received from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) approval to implement the Uniform Guidance 
through NSF's longstanding practice of implementing these requirements 
via use of a policy rather than regulation. In conjunction with the 
terms and conditions of the award, the Proposal and Award Policies and 
Procedures Guide (PAPPG), and its predecessors, have served as NSF's 
implementation vehicle for OMB Circular A-110 since its initial 
issuance in 1976.
    Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the 
accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of 
the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 
to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for 
National Science Foundation, 725--17th Street NW., Room 10235, 
Washington, DC 20503, and to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance 
Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 
1265, Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send email to splimpto@nsf.gov. 
Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339, 
which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year 
(including federal holidays).
    Comments regarding these information collections are best assured 
of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this 
notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling 
703-292-7556.
    NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless 
the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to 
the collection of information that such persons are not required to 
respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid OMB control number.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Summary of Comments on the National Science Foundation Proposal and 
Award Policies and Procedures Guide and NSF's Responses

    The draft NSF PAPPG was made available for review by the public on 
the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/. In response to 
the Federal Register notice published May 9, 2014, at 79 FR 26778, NSF 
received 54 comments from 18 different institutions/individuals. 
Following are three tables showing the summaries of the comments 
received on the PAPPG sections, with NSF's response.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       GPG section and topic              Commenter                  Comment                  NSF response
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement       Council on             We encourage NSF to add     The section has been
 Weather Policy.                     Governmental           additional clarification    revised to delete
                                     Relations.             and modification to this    ``prior'' from the
                                                            section that reflect more   approval requirement,
                                                            accurately the challenges   given the unanticipated
                                                            faced in natural and/or     nature of natural or
                                                            anthropogenic events. The   anthropogenic events.
                                                            ability of a potential
                                                            applicant to request
                                                            prior approval for
                                                            natural or anthropogenic
                                                            events can be severely
                                                            affected by the very
                                                            event that prevents
                                                            timely submission.

[[Page 51364]]

 
GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement       Council on             We request that NSF modify  The section has been
 Weather Policy.                     Governmental           this section to include a   updated to specifically
                                     Relations.             provision for: (1)          address the closure of
                                                            Notification by the         NSF. Additionally, the
                                                            potential applicant as      revised language
                                                            soon as possible but no     developed by NSF
                                                            later than five (5) days    provides greater
                                                            after the event and,        flexibility than the
                                                            based on that               language proposed by the
                                                            notification; (2) a         commenter. NSF believes
                                                            determination and           that such flexibility is
                                                            authorization, as           important given the
                                                            appropriate, by the         nature of the deviation
                                                            program officer for a       request.
                                                            late submission. NSF
                                                            could alleviate the
                                                            anxiety associated with
                                                            unanticipated
                                                            institutional closings by
                                                            providing a standard
                                                            exception for situations
                                                            of short duration.
                                                            Campuses can be closed
                                                            for a variety of reasons
                                                            including natural or
                                                            anthropogenic events,
                                                            which can require several
                                                            days to return to normal
                                                            operations. The
                                                            recommendation above can
                                                            help address that
                                                            situation. Recently,
                                                            however, campuses have
                                                            been closed for a day for
                                                            ``man-made'' events
                                                            including sightings of
                                                            armed assailants and
                                                            other health and safety
                                                            issues. We ask NSF to
                                                            consider a standard
                                                            exception of one day
                                                            (next business day) for
                                                            applicants whose campus
                                                            is closed for an
                                                            unanticipated event. The
                                                            application could be
                                                            submitted with
                                                            documentation from the
                                                            authorized institutional
                                                            official or the
                                                            official's designee.
                                                           Similarly, we suggest that
                                                            NSF consider a standard
                                                            provision for late
                                                            submission in those cases
                                                            where NSF is unable to
                                                            operate because of
                                                            natural, anthropogenic,
                                                            and weather related or
                                                            other events. Such a
                                                            provision could set a
                                                            specific number of days
                                                            after the event for a new
                                                            submission deadline. For
                                                            example, in the case of
                                                            closures because of
                                                            inclement weather, the
                                                            deadline could be set as
                                                            the day following
                                                            reopening of federal
                                                            offices. Any deviations
                                                            from this standard could
                                                            be announced on the NSF
                                                            Web site.
GPG, Chapter I.F.2. Inclement       Cold Spring Harbor     Recommend that this policy  Comment has been
 Weather Policy.                     Laboratory.            provide additional          addressed by the
                                                            flexibility for ``after     inclusion of a new
                                                            the fact approval'', for    change which authorizes
                                                            circumstances such as       an after the fact
                                                            unforeseen natural          approval.
                                                            disasters that may not
                                                            have allowed an
                                                            investigator or
                                                            institution to seek and
                                                            obtain NSF approval prior
                                                            to the deadline.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.d.(ii) Use of   Massachusetts          Can the NSF policy on URLs  NSF believes the existing
 URLs outside the Project            Institute of           in other documents be       language on inclusion of
 Description.                        Technology.            clarified? In the Project   URLs is clearly
                                                            description, we             articulated and further
                                                            understand that these are   action is neither
                                                            discouraged per GPG         necessary nor
                                                            II.C.2.d.ii. At MIT, we     appropriate.
                                                            have had a couple of
                                                            funding divisions ask for
                                                            proposal file updates to
                                                            remove links from the
                                                            references biographical
                                                            sketches whereas other
                                                            divisions do not require
                                                            this. The GPG states that
                                                            appropriate citations for
                                                            references cited
                                                            (II.C.2.e) or Biosketch
                                                            ``products'' (II.C.2.f)
                                                            may include URLs, so it's
                                                            unclear how to treat this
                                                            as many PDF generating
                                                            programs automatically
                                                            treat URLs as links.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.f.(i)(e)        Massachusetts          Biosketch section (e) adds  This change will be
 Biographical Sketches:              Institute of           ``the total number of       highlighted in the
 Collaborators & Other               Technology.            collaborators and co-       Summary of Significant
 Affiliations.                                              editors also must be        Changes.
                                                            identified''. Should this
                                                            change versus 14-1 be
                                                            highlighted?
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.f.(ii)          Massachusetts          This section suggests that  New language has been
 Biographical Sketches: Other        Institute of           information on the          added to the
 Personnel.                          Technology.            qualifications other        Biographical Sketch(es)
                                                            personnel may be            instructions which
                                                            included, but it is         states: ``Such
                                                            unclear where this should   information should be
                                                            be included. FastLane       clearly identified as
                                                            does not include a place    `Other Personnel'
                                                            to upload biosketches for   biographical information
                                                            non-senior personnel. Can   and uploaded along with
                                                            the correct place to        the Biosketches for
                                                            include non-senior bio      Senior Personnel in the
                                                            information be specified?   Biosketches section of
                                                                                        the proposal.''

[[Page 51365]]

 
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(ii); AAG,    University of          Both of these sections      This issue will be
 Chapter V.B.1.b. Fringe Benefits.   Wisconsin.             describe the ability of     addressed in the latest
                                                            the grantee to charge       version of the
                                                            fringe benefits as direct   Frequently Asked
                                                            costs, given that charges   Questions that are being
                                                            are made in accordance      developed by the Office
                                                            with usual accounting       of Management and
                                                            practices and/or with       Budget. As such, it
                                                            approval of the cognizant   would not be appropriate
                                                            federal agency. Reference   for the issue to be
                                                            also is made to 2 CFR       resolved by NSF.
                                                            Sec.   200.431, within
                                                            which part (b)(3)(i)
                                                            states that, ``Payments
                                                            for unused leave when an
                                                            employee retires or
                                                            terminates employment are
                                                            allowable as indirect
                                                            costs in the year of
                                                            payment.'' We want to
                                                            confirm our understanding
                                                            that NSF policy does not
                                                            preclude costs of unused
                                                            leave at retirement and
                                                            termination from being
                                                            directly charged to NSF
                                                            awards. We recognize that
                                                            NSF policy indicates that
                                                            such payments may be
                                                            subject to reasonableness
                                                            determination.
                                                            Additionally, we seek
                                                            affirmation that 2 CFR
                                                            Sec.   200.431 is
                                                            incorporated into NSF
                                                            policy to acknowledge
                                                            that such unused leave
                                                            also may be allowable as
                                                            indirect costs and is not
                                                            a directive to
                                                            institutions to charge
                                                            such costs as indirect
                                                            costs.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi) Other    Trish Lowney.........  ``Examples include . . .    Language has now been
 Direct Costs.                                              And construction of         modified to help
                                                            equipment or systems not    eliminate confusion
                                                            available off-the           regarding where
                                                            shelf.''                    equipment should be
                                                           Confusing: Doesn't           addressed in the budget.
                                                            fabricated equipment
                                                            (construction of
                                                            equipment or systems not
                                                            available off-the-shelf)
                                                            that meets the
                                                            institution's
                                                            capitalization threshold
                                                            (e.g., $5,000) ought to
                                                            be included in the
                                                            equipment budget line
                                                            (e.g., MRI development
                                                            options awards)?.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(a)       University of Alabama  The University appreciates  Language has been
 Materials & Supplies, including                            the clarification that a    incorporated as
 Costs of Computing Devices.                                computing device is a       requested.
                                                            supply as long as it does
                                                            not meet the lesser of
                                                            institution's
                                                            capitalization level or
                                                            $5,000. It would be
                                                            helpful if the PAPPG also
                                                            included in this section
                                                            the following statement
                                                            found at 200.453(c) in
                                                            the Uniform Guidance:
                                                           ``In the specific case of
                                                            computing devices,
                                                            charging as direct costs
                                                            is allowable for devices
                                                            that are essential and
                                                            allocable, but not solely
                                                            dedicated, to the
                                                            performance of a Federal
                                                            Award.''.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(c)       Trish Lowney.........  ``. . . services rendered   NSF has implemented
 Consultant Services.                                       by persons who are          consultant services
                                                            members of a particular     consistent with 2 CFR
                                                            profession. . . And who     200.459 which states:
                                                            are not officers or         ``Costs of professional
                                                            employees of the            and consultant services
                                                            proposing institution. .    rendered by persons who
                                                            .''                         are members of a
                                                           Clarify whether or not       particular profession or
                                                            ``persons'' include         possess a special skill,
                                                            organizations/entities      and who are not officers
                                                            that meet definition of     or employees of the non-
                                                            contractor and should be    Federal entity, are
                                                            managed by a contract for   allowable, subject to
                                                            provision of consultant     paragraphs (b) and (c)
                                                            services..                  when reasonable in
                                                           Clarify whether that the     relation to the services
                                                            contracting vehicle to be   rendered and when not
                                                            used must comply with       contingent upon recovery
                                                            Appendix II of the UG..     of the costs from the
                                                                                        Federal government. In
                                                                                        addition, legal and
                                                                                        related services are
                                                                                        limited under Sec.
                                                                                        200.435 Defense and
                                                                                        prosecution of criminal
                                                                                        and civil proceedings,
                                                                                        claims, appeals and
                                                                                        patent infringements.''
                                                                                        As such, it would not be
                                                                                        appropriate to deviate
                                                                                        from this language.
                                                                                       Additional language has
                                                                                        been added to the
                                                                                        consultant services
                                                                                        section to address
                                                                                        compliance with Appendix
                                                                                        II of the Uniform
                                                                                        Guidance.

[[Page 51366]]

 
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(d)       Council on             We appreciate that NSF has  Additional language has
 Computer Services.                  Governmental           acknowledged that           been added to point
                                     Relations.             computing devices below     users to the appropriate
                                                            an institution's            section of the budget
                                                            equipment threshold are     preparation instructions
                                                            allowable. However, per     for guidance on the
                                                            Chapter II.2C.g.(vi)(d),    acquisition of computing
                                                            the reference to            devices.
                                                            ``computer equipment''
                                                            may create confusion in
                                                            the community by
                                                            suggesting that computing
                                                            devices are unallowable.
                                                            Per this section: ``As
                                                            noted in Chapter
                                                            II.C.2.g.(iii) above,
                                                            general purpose (such as
                                                            word processing,
                                                            spreadsheets,
                                                            communication) computer
                                                            equipment should not be
                                                            requested.'' We request
                                                            that you consider
                                                            deleting this reference,
                                                            since most such devices
                                                            do not rise to the level
                                                            of equipment. Or,
                                                            alternatively,
                                                            reinforcement that
                                                            computing devices below
                                                            an institution's
                                                            equipment threshold are
                                                            allowable would be a
                                                            helpful footnote to
                                                            include and would be an
                                                            important reminder to
                                                            auditors of the
                                                            differentiation between
                                                            supplies and equipment.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e)       Massachusetts          In GPG II.C.2.g.vi.e, the   Language in both the
 Subawards, Foreign Subrecipients.   Institute of           old policy that foreign     subaward and indirect
                                     Technology.            subawardees are not         cost sections of the
                                                            eligible for indirect       Grant Proposal Guide has
                                                            costs is mentioned.         been revised to clarify
                                                            However, GPG                application of a de
                                                            II.C.2.g.viii references    minimus rate.
                                                            2 CFR 200.414, which
                                                            indicates a 10% de
                                                            minimus rate is allowable
                                                            for foreign grantees.
                                                            Should this also apply to
                                                            foreign subawardees?
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e)       University of          The phrase is inconsistent  Language in both the
 Subawards, Foreign Subrecipients.   Minnesota.             with the Uniform            subaward and indirect
                                                            Guidance's section          cost sections of the
                                                            200.331, which allows for   Grant Proposal Guide has
                                                            a 10% MTDC de minimus       been revised to clarify
                                                            rate. The ability to        application of a de
                                                            apply the 10% MTDC de       minimus rate.
                                                            minimus rate is correctly
                                                            spelled out on the
                                                            following page (II-18) in
                                                            the indirect cost
                                                            section. It would be
                                                            helpful to have the first
                                                            reference corrected to
                                                            avoid confusion.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e)       University of          NSF recently clarified      This request has been
 Subawards, Budgets.                 Wisconsin.             that each proposal's        incorporated and
                                                            budget justification is     language has now been
                                                            limited to three pages,     revised to read as
                                                            including a collaborative   follows: ``Each proposal
                                                            proposal from a single      must contain a budget
                                                            organization that           for each year of support
                                                            contains a subaward(s).     requested, unless a
                                                            However, if a subaward is   particular program
                                                            requested post-award, a     solicitation stipulates
                                                            proposer may submit up to   otherwise. The budget
                                                            a three-page budget         justification must be no
                                                            justification for each      more than three pages
                                                            subaward. This creates an   per proposal. . . For
                                                            inconsistency regarding     proposals that contain a
                                                            what is submitted to        subaward(s), each
                                                            obtain a subaward           subaward must include a
                                                            approval. A subaward        separate budget
                                                            budget justification may    justification of no more
                                                            contain critical            than three pages.''
                                                            information regarding
                                                            proposed costs, and we
                                                            recommend that all
                                                            subawards be allowed to
                                                            include a budget
                                                            justification of up to
                                                            three pages, regardless
                                                            of whether they are
                                                            submitted with a new
                                                            proposal or as a post-
                                                            award action.

[[Page 51367]]

 
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii)        Council on             The first two sections      Language in both the
 Indirect Cost.                      Governmental           referenced above state:     subaward and indirect
                                     Relations.             ``Foreign grantees that     cost sections of the
                                                            have never had a            Grant Proposal Guide has
                                                            negotiated indirect cost    been revised to clarify
                                                            rate are limited to an      application of a de
                                                            indirect cost rate          minimus rate.
                                                            recovery of 10% of
                                                            modified total direct
                                                            costs. Foreign grantees
                                                            that have a negotiated
                                                            rate agreement with a
                                                            U.S. federal agency may
                                                            recover indirect costs at
                                                            the current negotiated
                                                            rate.'' This seems to
                                                            suggest that this rule
                                                            would not be applicable
                                                            to domestic grantees; we
                                                            request that this section
                                                            be clarified to state
                                                            these rules apply to all
                                                            grantees. The third
                                                            reference above states:
                                                            ``Foreign subrecipients
                                                            are not eligible for
                                                            indirect cost recovery
                                                            unless the subrecipient
                                                            has a previously
                                                            negotiated rate agreement
                                                            with a U.S. Federal
                                                            agency that has a
                                                            practice of negotiating
                                                            rates with foreign
                                                            entities.'' This seems to
                                                            be inconsistent with the
                                                            previously referenced
                                                            sections and the Uniform
                                                            Guidance; we request that
                                                            this section be updated,
                                                            accordingly.
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii)        Trish Lowney.........  Foreign Grantees that have  Language in both the
 Indirect Cost.                                             never had negotiated IDC    subaward and indirect
                                                            are limited to 10% MTDC.    cost sections of the
                                                           Seems to conflicts with II-  Grant Proposal Guide has
                                                            17/(e) Subawards: foreign   been revised to clarify
                                                            subrecipients not           application of a de
                                                            eligible for IDC..          minimus rate.
                                                           Consistency needed or
                                                            otherwise explain why
                                                            handled differently D14..
GPG, Chapter II.C.2.g.(viii).       University of          We would like to take this  Thank-you. No NSF
 Indirect Cost.                      Minnesota.             opportunity to thank NSF    response required.
                                                            for its clear and
                                                            unambiguous statement in
                                                            its proposed
                                                            implementation plan about
                                                            the need for pass-through
                                                            entities to honor their
                                                            subrecipient's negotiated
                                                            F&A rate. NSF's well-
                                                            articulated position on
                                                            this supports full cost
                                                            recovery.
GPG, Chapter II.D.3.. Ideas Lab...  Council on             It is not clear what the    Language has now been
                                     Governmental           nature and extent of        added to specify the
                                     Relations.             support from NSF will be    anticipated length of
                                                            for participants in Stage   the Ideas Lab.
                                                            3 of the Ideas Lab. If a   The funding opportunity
                                                            participant is expected     will clearly instruct
                                                            to travel and/or            the selected teams on
                                                            contribute substantial      how the full proposal
                                                            portions of their time--    should be prepared, and
                                                            substantial enough to re-   will address whether it
                                                            allocate their              should be submitted
                                                            institutional               either as a single
                                                            responsibilities--we        proposal or as
                                                            believe the institution     simultaneous proposals
                                                            should be a party to any    from all participating
                                                            agreement to participate.   organizations.
                                                            If, as indicated, the      Unless otherwise
                                                            Stage 2 selection process   specified in the funding
                                                            uses the preliminary        opportunity, renewal
                                                            proposal format in          proposals will be
                                                            Fastlane with the           submitted as standard
                                                            required submission         research proposals
                                                            through the Sponsored       following the guidance
                                                            Program Office, our         provided in the Grant
                                                            concerns about              Proposal Guide.
                                                            notification are
                                                            alleviated. If there are
                                                            costs associated with
                                                            participation that will
                                                            be provided by NSF, we
                                                            assume that participant
                                                            support would be
                                                            allocated as a grant
                                                            through the institution
                                                            with the usual budgetary
                                                            considerations related to
                                                            participant support.
                                                           Because of the
                                                            collaborative nature of
                                                            the Ideas Lab, we assume
                                                            any Stage 4 invited full
                                                            proposals will be
                                                            submitted according to
                                                            the Special Guidelines
                                                            described at GPG Ch. II
                                                            d. 5. This approach
                                                            raises some questions
                                                            concerning the submission
                                                            process and we encourage
                                                            NSF to clarify the
                                                            submission process either
                                                            in the Funding
                                                            Opportunity Announcement
                                                            or in the PAPPG..
                                                           Will the participating
                                                            institutions have the
                                                            option to submit either a
                                                            single proposal or
                                                            simultaneous proposals
                                                            from all participating
                                                            organizations?.
                                                           Will renewal proposals
                                                            require a preliminary
                                                            proposal or submission of
                                                            a full proposal within a
                                                            regular funding cycle?.

[[Page 51368]]

 
GPG, Chapter II.D.6. Proposals for  Trish Lowney.........  Notes that equipment to be  Language has been revised
 Equipment.                                                 purchased, modified or      in the Equipment
                                                            constructed must be         Proposal preparation
                                                            described . . .             instructions in GPG,
                                                           Seems to conflict with II-   Chapter II.C.2.g.(iii)
                                                            16 other direct costs       to address the issue.
                                                            presented above? That is,
                                                            constructed equipment--
                                                            equipment if >
                                                            capitalization threshold
                                                            and in equipment budget
                                                            line (with associated
                                                            alteration and
                                                            modification costs) and
                                                            *not* in other direct
                                                            costs?.
GPG, Chapter II.D.8. Dual Use       Council on             We appreciate that the      Dual Use Research of
 Research of Concern.                Governmental           provisions for meeting      Concern will now not be
                                     Relations.             the US Government Policy    implemented in this
                                                            for Oversight of Life       version of the PAPPG and
                                                            Sciences Dual Use           all DURC-related
                                                            Research of Concern and     language has been
                                                            the proposed US             removed.
                                                            Government Policy for
                                                            Institutional Oversight
                                                            of Life Sciences Dual Use
                                                            Research of Concern have
                                                            been described as
                                                            contingent on the
                                                            publication of the final
                                                            US Government Policy for
                                                            Institutional Oversight
                                                            of Life Sciences Dual Use
                                                            Research of Concern.
                                                           However, we understand
                                                            that these are two
                                                            separate but linked
                                                            policies and that the
                                                            agencies are expected to
                                                            meet the requirements of
                                                            the US Government Policy
                                                            for Oversight of Life
                                                            Sciences Dual Use
                                                            Research of Concern. We
                                                            agree with the
                                                            observation at AAG Ch. VI
                                                            B 5 b. that it is
                                                            unlikely that NSF
                                                            sponsored research will
                                                            fall under these policy
                                                            requirements.
                                                            Nonetheless, it may be
                                                            helpful to offer more
                                                            direction at GPG Ch. II
                                                            D. 9 to the grantee
                                                            concerning the
                                                            implementation of the
                                                            policy for agencies. An
                                                            indication of how NSF
                                                            will engage in the
                                                            development of plans with
                                                            grantee organizations to
                                                            mitigate the risks
                                                            associated with DURC may
                                                            be helpful. Such a
                                                            statement or provision
                                                            could outline the path
                                                            for communications with
                                                            NSF as in the AAG and the
                                                            process for reporting by
                                                            the PI/PD described in
                                                            the agency policy..
GPG, Chapter II.D.8. Dual Use       Massachusetts          Dual Use Research of        Dual Use Research of
 Research of Concern.                Institute of           concern is at II.D.9, not   Concern will now not be
                                     Technology.            II.D.8.                     implemented in this
                                                                                        version of the PAPPG and
                                                                                        all DURC-related
                                                                                        language has been
                                                                                        removed.
GPG, Chapter II.D.10. Proposals     Boise State..........  Requiring an estimated      Language has been revised
 for Conferences.                                           total budget is             to read as follows:
                                                            inconsistent with NSF's     ``Proposal Budget: A
                                                            prohibition of voluntary    budget for the
                                                            committed cost share.       conference that is
                                                           The prohibition of           prepared in accordance
                                                            voluntary committed cost    with GPG Chapter
                                                            share is also referenced    II.C.2g. The budget may
                                                            in the AAG, page II-5,      include participant
                                                            NSF 151 draft..             support for
                                                                                        transportation (when
                                                                                        appropriate), per diem
                                                                                        costs, stipends,
                                                                                        publication and other
                                                                                        conference-related
                                                                                        costs. Note: Participant
                                                                                        support costs must be
                                                                                        excluded from the
                                                                                        indirect cost base; see
                                                                                        GPG Chapter II.C.2g(v).
                                                                                        For additional
                                                                                        information on Program
                                                                                        Income associated with
                                                                                        conferences, see AAG
                                                                                        Chapter III.D.4.''
GPG, Chapter II.D.10. Proposals     Stanford University..  Chapter II.D.10 of NSF's    Language has been revised
 for Conferences.                                           PAPPG be clarified to       to read: ``NSF funds are
                                                            indicate that it only       not to be spent for
                                                            applies to direct costs,    meals and coffee breaks
                                                            if indeed that is the       for intramural meetings
                                                            intent. It currently says   of an organization or
                                                            ``NSF funds are not to be   any of its components,
                                                            spent for meals and         including, but not
                                                            coffee breaks for           limited to,
                                                            intramural meetings of an   laboratories,
                                                            organization or any of      departments and centers,
                                                            its components, but not     as a direct cost.''
                                                            limited to laboratories,
                                                            departments and centers
                                                            either as direct or
                                                            indirect costs.''

[[Page 51369]]

 
GPG, Chapter III.F. Use of the      Council on             We encourage NSF to         NSF does not concur with
 Term Proposer.                      Governmental           standardize the language    this recommendation.
                                     Relations.             throughout this section     There are significant
                                                            with the terms used         differences in terms of
                                                            throughout the PAPPG. The   process, including with
                                                            use of the term             respect to requirements
                                                            ``proposer'' has created    imposed on proposers
                                                            some confusion in the       versus awardees. The
                                                            community particularly at   terms ``proposer'' and
                                                            grantee institutions with   ``grantee'' are not
                                                            multiple investigators.     interchangeable.
                                                            We request that
                                                            ``proposer'' be replaced
                                                            with ``grantee'' because
                                                            we understand that all
                                                            new grantee institutions
                                                            may be evaluated under
                                                            the Risk Management
                                                            Framework.
GPG, Chapter III.F. NSF Risk        Cold Spring Harbor     It is unclear what defines  The language regarding
 Management Framework.               Laboratory.            ``all new proposers''       the conduct of pre-award
                                                            that will be subjected to   financial and
                                                            additional pre-award        administrative review
                                                            financial and               has been modified to
                                                            administrative review.      only include: ``. . .
                                                            Recommend that NSF          all proposers
                                                            provide additional          recommended for award
                                                            clarification whether       that have not received
                                                            this additional scrutiny    NSF funding in the last
                                                            will be limited to          five years, with
                                                            institutions that have      particular focus on
                                                            never received NSF          proposers whose
                                                            funding. If this is the     cumulative NSF funding
                                                            intent, then the text       would amount to $200,000
                                                            should be modified to       or more.''
                                                            reflect this.
GPG, Exhibit III-1 NSF Proposal &   University of          The NSF Proposal and Award  The Proposal and Award
 Award Process Timeline.             Wisconsin.             Process & Timeline does     lifecycle graphic will
                                                            not capture the new         be modified to
                                                            process in which DGA or     incorporate declinations
                                                            DACS may decide to          made by DGA or DACS.
                                                            decline an award after
                                                            financial or
                                                            administrative review.
                                                            The graphic seems to
                                                            indicate that declines
                                                            occur only at the
                                                            Division Director level,
                                                            which is no longer
                                                            accurate. Updating the
                                                            graphic may prevent
                                                            confusion regarding the
                                                            declination process.
GPG, Chapter IV.D.1.b.              Trish Lowney.........  If a proposal has been      NSF does not believe that
 Reconsideration.                                           declined by the NSB, only   further information on
                                                            an explanation will be      NSB declinations, beyond
                                                            available.                  that provided, is
                                                           Unclear; the Board's role    necessary.
                                                            or involvement in the
                                                            declination process seems
                                                            not well defined.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Award and Administration Guide (18 comments, including one 
duplication):

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       AAG Section and topic              Commenter                  Comment                  NSF response
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AAG, Chapter I.C.2.a. Research      Cal Tech.............  The note on page I-2 of     The future of the
 Terms & Conditions.                                        the GPG indicates that      Research Terms and
                                                            the Research Terms and      Conditions is currently
                                                            Conditions ``will be        being considered by the
                                                            added to this list, if      NSTC/RBM.
                                                            available, at the time of
                                                            issuance.'' From the
                                                            point of view of the
                                                            research community,
                                                            having the Research Terms
                                                            and Conditions
                                                            reintroduced is extremely
                                                            important and very
                                                            beneficial. We urge NSF
                                                            to use its influence to
                                                            strengthen the case for
                                                            the return of the
                                                            Research Terms and
                                                            Conditions and appreciate
                                                            your efforts along those
                                                            lines.
AAG, Chapter II.C.3.b. Cost         University of          We appreciate the           NSF takes the imposition
 Sharing.                            Wisconsin.             confirmation that all       of new administrative
                                                            awards subject to           requirements very
                                                            statutory cost sharing      seriously. Given the
                                                            have been closed out. We    limited number of awards
                                                            also note that NSF has      that have cost sharing
                                                            changed cost sharing        requirements, and the
                                                            requirements. Where NSF     importance of meeting
                                                            previously required         the financial
                                                            reports only when a cost    commitments made by the
                                                            sharing commitment of       recipient, we believe it
                                                            $500,000 or more existed,   is important that
                                                            grantees must now report    organizations provide
                                                            on mandatory cost sharing   this information to NSF,
                                                            on an annual and final      irrespective of the
                                                            basis. Although we assume   dollar value of the cost
                                                            that this change is being   sharing.
                                                            made in conformance with
                                                            the Uniform Guidance, we
                                                            acknowledge that this new
                                                            level of reporting will
                                                            create an increased
                                                            administrative burden on
                                                            grantees.

[[Page 51370]]

 
AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter  Council on             COGR respectfully asks NSF  NSF implemented award
 III.E. Grant Closeout.              Governmental           to request a deviation      financial closeout
                                     Relations.             from OMB that the           requirements as
                                                            submission date for all     established by the
                                                            financial, performance,     Uniform Guidance
                                                            and other reports and the   paragraph 2 CFR Sec.
                                                            liquidation date be set     200.343(b) which states
                                                            to a new standard of 120-   that ``a non-Federal
                                                            days after the end date     entity must liquidate
                                                            of the period of            all obligations incurred
                                                            performance.                under the Federal award
                                                           Specifically, we request     not later than 90
                                                            that the submission date    calendar days after the
                                                            for all financial,          end date of the period
                                                            performance, and other      of performance as
                                                            reports and the             specified in the terms
                                                            liquidation date be set     and conditions of the
                                                            to a new standard of 120-   Federal award.''
                                                            days after the end date     Additionally, NSF
                                                            of the period of            complies with the
                                                            performance. Per 2 CFR      requirements established
                                                            Sec.   200.343 Closeouts,   by the Uniform Guidance
                                                            (g), Federal awarding       paragraph 200.343(e)
                                                            agencies should complete    which states ``the
                                                            all closeout actions no     Federal awarding agency
                                                            later than one year after   or pass-through entity
                                                            the acceptance of all       must make a settlement
                                                            required final reports.     for any upward or
                                                            This effectively sets the   downward adjustments to
                                                            final closeout clock at     the Federal share of
                                                            15 months (i.e., 90 days    costs after closeout
                                                            plus one year) after the    reports are received.''
                                                            end date of the award.      Adjustments to the
                                                            Within that time period,    Federal share of costs
                                                            COGR believes that all      can be completed by
                                                            parties can work in a bi-   awardee institutions
                                                            lateral fashion to ensure   through the Award Cash
                                                            an award is closed in the   Management Service
                                                            most timely, efficient,     (ACM$) and submitted on
                                                            and accurate manner         line to NSF for 18
                                                            possible. Under this bi-    months after the award
                                                            lateral closeout model,     expiration date.
                                                            both the federal agency     Downward adjustments can
                                                            and the grantee recognize   be submitted until the
                                                            each other's system and     appropriations funding
                                                            resource constraints and    the award cancel. ACM$
                                                            will work together to       enables awardee
                                                            provide sufficient          institutions to submit
                                                            flexibility toward          adjustments with
                                                            achieving the final         essentially no increased
                                                            closeout objective.         workload over that of a
                                                                                        standard payment
                                                                                        request. NSF believes
                                                                                        the capabilities offered
                                                                                        by ACM$ for adjustments
                                                                                        to financially closed
                                                                                        awards mitigate the
                                                                                        effects of the
                                                                                        implementation of the 90-
                                                                                        day financial closeout.
                                                                                        However, NSF is
                                                                                        committed to the long
                                                                                        standing partnership
                                                                                        with its awardee
                                                                                        institution population.
                                                                                        As such, NSF will
                                                                                        consider the feasibility
                                                                                        of requesting a
                                                                                        deviation from the
                                                                                        Uniform Guidance
                                                                                        requirements. However,
                                                                                        such a deviation would
                                                                                        be dependent upon the
                                                                                        concurrence of other
                                                                                        research oriented
                                                                                        Federal agencies in
                                                                                        order to establish a
                                                                                        consistent requirement
                                                                                        for the timing of award
                                                                                        financial closeout
                                                                                        actions. NSF believes a
                                                                                        120-day standard award
                                                                                        closeout would be
                                                                                        feasible, if agreement
                                                                                        can be reached within
                                                                                        the Federal agency
                                                                                        research community. NSF
                                                                                        believes a unilateral
                                                                                        deviation from the
                                                                                        Uniform Guidance for
                                                                                        award financial closeout
                                                                                        would not be consistent
                                                                                        with the intent of the
                                                                                        Uniform Guidance and
                                                                                        could introduce the type
                                                                                        of uncertainty within
                                                                                        the grant administration
                                                                                        community that the
                                                                                        Uniform Guidance was
                                                                                        intended to improve.
AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter  University of          We echo COGR's request      See answer to the Council
 III.E. Grant Closeout.              California.            that NSF request a          on Governmental
                                                            deviation from OMB to       Relations on the same
                                                            establish a new 120-day     issue above.
                                                            standard to close out
                                                            awards. We are committed
                                                            to submitting timely and
                                                            accurate final reports.
                                                            However, additional
                                                            administrative and
                                                            compliance requirements,
                                                            as well as increasing
                                                            numbers of multi-
                                                            disciplinary/multi-site
                                                            projects make meeting the
                                                            90-day deadline in an
                                                            accurate and complete
                                                            fashion difficult. A new
                                                            120-day standard would,
                                                            as COGR points out, allow
                                                            both parties to finalize
                                                            the closeout process with
                                                            fewer corrections and
                                                            revisions, including
                                                            coordinating with lower
                                                            tier partners.
AAG, Chapter II.D.5.; AAG, Chapter  Massachusetts          MIT requests that the NSF   See answer to the Council
 III.E. Grant Closeout.              Institute of           apply for a deviation       on Governmental
                                     Technology.            from OMB allowing the       Relations on the same
                                                            closeout submission         issue above.
                                                            deadline to be changed
                                                            from the current 90-
                                                            standard to a new 120-day
                                                            standard, as also
                                                            requested by the Council
                                                            on Governmental Relations
                                                            (COGR). MIT has
                                                            identified subawards as a
                                                            major factor contributing
                                                            to delays in award
                                                            closeout, and the
                                                            additional 30 days would
                                                            significantly improve our
                                                            compliance.
                                                           We recognize that
                                                            closeouts require more
                                                            work and attention to
                                                            detail than ever before,
                                                            on the part of both the
                                                            federal awarding agency
                                                            and the non-federal
                                                            awardee organization.
                                                            This additional work
                                                            impacts all of us, and
                                                            our primary goal with
                                                            this request is to
                                                            complete the closeout in
                                                            the most timely,
                                                            efficient, and accurate
                                                            way possible. Per 2 CFR
                                                            Sec.   200.343 Closeouts
                                                            (g), the Federal awarding
                                                            agency should complete
                                                            closeout within 15 months
                                                            after the expiration date
                                                            of an award (90 days + 1
                                                            year), and we believe
                                                            that allowing awardee
                                                            organizations an extra 30
                                                            days out of this window
                                                            should not negatively
                                                            impact NSF's workflow.

[[Page 51371]]

 
AAG, Chapter III.E. Financial       University of          We applaud NSF for the      See answer to the Council
 Requirements and Payments.          Minnesota.             great partnership created   on Governmental
                                                            with Universities through   Relations on the same
                                                            the implementation of the   issue above.
                                                            ACMS system and the
                                                            replacement of the FFR
                                                            and Cash Request
                                                            Function. The single
                                                            system point of entry and
                                                            acknowledgement and new
                                                            understanding that the
                                                            amount drawn equated to
                                                            amount spent is a great
                                                            step in moving to a
                                                            streamlined and more
                                                            efficient financial
                                                            process. We encourage NSF
                                                            to critically consider
                                                            the closeout process as
                                                            described in the COGR
                                                            letter.
AAG, Chapter II.E. Record           University of Alabama  While this is not a change  The record retention
 Retention & Audit.                                         in NSF policy, it is more   language specified in
                                                            burdensome that the         Award & Administration
                                                            requirements of the         Guide Chapter II has
                                                            Uniform Guidance found in   been revised to read as
                                                            200.333: ``Financial        follows: ``1. Financial
                                                            records . . . and all       records, supporting
                                                            other non-Federal entity    documents, statistical
                                                            records pertinent to a      records and all other
                                                            Federal award must be       records pertinent to the
                                                            retained for a period of    NSF grant must be
                                                            three years from the date   retained by the grantee
                                                            of submission of the        for a period of three
                                                            final expenditure report    years from award
                                                            or, for Federal awards      financial closeout
                                                            that are renewed            described in AAG Chapter
                                                            quarterly or annually,      III.E.3, except as noted
                                                            from the date of the        in 2 CFR 200.333.''
                                                            submission of the
                                                            quarterly or annual
                                                            financial report,
                                                            respectively, as reported
                                                            to the Federal awarding
                                                            agency or pass-through
                                                            entity . . . Federal
                                                            awarding agencies and
                                                            pass-through entities
                                                            must not impose any other
                                                            record retention
                                                            requirements upon non-
                                                            Federal entities.''.
                                                           Although it is becoming
                                                            easier to track
                                                            submission of project
                                                            reports to NSF, and the
                                                            University appreciated
                                                            NSF's progress in this
                                                            area, it is still more
                                                            complicated for
                                                            recipients to identify
                                                            and record the project
                                                            report submission date
                                                            and to ensure it is used
                                                            for record retention
                                                            purposes when it occurs
                                                            after the date of the
                                                            award financial closeout
                                                            and is, in practice, an
                                                            additional record
                                                            retention requirement.

[[Page 51372]]

 
AAG, Chapter II.E. Record           University of Alabama  2 CFR 200.87--``Research    This issue was raised
 Retention & Audit.                                         and Development (R&D) R&D   during the last comment
                                                            means all research          period for the NSF
                                                            activities, both basic      Proposal and Award
                                                            and applied, and all        Policies and Procedures
                                                            development activities      Guide and is considered
                                                            that are performed by non-  resolved. NSF does not
                                                            Federal entities. The       intend to make further
                                                            term research also          changes to the language
                                                            includes activities         provided.
                                                            involving the training of
                                                            individuals in research
                                                            techniques where such
                                                            activities utilize the
                                                            same facilities as other
                                                            research and development
                                                            activities and where such
                                                            activities are not
                                                            included in the
                                                            instruction function.
                                                            ``Research'' is defined
                                                            as a systematic study
                                                            directed toward fuller
                                                            scientific knowledge or
                                                            understanding of the
                                                            subject studied.
                                                            ``Development'' is the
                                                            systematic use of
                                                            knowledge and
                                                            understanding gained from
                                                            research directed toward
                                                            the production of useful
                                                            materials, devices,
                                                            systems, or methods,
                                                            including design and
                                                            development of prototypes
                                                            and processes. While
                                                            NSF's mission, ``to
                                                            promote the progress of
                                                            science; to advance the
                                                            national health,
                                                            prosperity, and welfare;
                                                            to secure the national
                                                            defense; and for other
                                                            purposes'' is advanced
                                                            primarily through the
                                                            support of science and
                                                            engineering research, not
                                                            all of the activities NSF
                                                            funds meet the definition
                                                            of Research and
                                                            Development, as other
                                                            types of activities, such
                                                            as education, also
                                                            promote the progress of
                                                            science. The fact that
                                                            NSF funds education
                                                            programs and other
                                                            activities that do not
                                                            involve a systematic
                                                            study of a subject or the
                                                            use of research results
                                                            in the production of
                                                            materials, etc. is
                                                            included throughout the
                                                            PAPPG. For example, the
                                                            definition of Assistance
                                                            Award states that for
                                                            NSF, they ``involve the
                                                            support or stimulation of
                                                            scientific and
                                                            engineering research,
                                                            science and engineering
                                                            education or other
                                                            related activities.''
                                                            While ``NSF recognizes
                                                            that some awards may have
                                                            another classification
                                                            for purposes of indirect
                                                            costs,'' the
                                                            inconsistency in
                                                            classification for
                                                            various purposes creates
                                                            problems in determining
                                                            the appropriate indirect
                                                            cost rate to charge
                                                            (which can be
                                                            particularly burdensome
                                                            to faculty), in
                                                            appropriately
                                                            categorizing expenditures
                                                            and space in indirect
                                                            cost rate proposals and
                                                            in other areas of
                                                            administration and
                                                            management of funds. The
                                                            OMB Circular A-133
                                                            Compliance Supplement
                                                            contains in Part 5,
                                                            Clusters of Programs,
                                                            specific instructions for
                                                            auditing Research and
                                                            Development Programs. The
                                                            Compliance Requirements
                                                            and Suggested Audit
                                                            Procedures are not always
                                                            the most appropriate for
                                                            educational, service or
                                                            other non-research
                                                            programs/activities.
AAG, Chapter II.E. Record           University of          The CFDA number of NSF      This issue was raised
 Retention & Audit.                  Minnesota.             awards is provided to the   during the last comment
                                                            Grantee at the time of      period for the NSF
                                                            award on the Award          Proposal and Award
                                                            Notice. The CFDA number     Policies and Procedures
                                                            provided by NSF is a CFDA   Guide and is considered
                                                            that falls into a cluster   resolved. NSF does not
                                                            category as outlined in     intend to make further
                                                            the compliance              changes to the language
                                                            supplement. If a CFDA       provided.
                                                            number isn't defined in a
                                                            category the guidance is
                                                            to report the CFDA by
                                                            function. At a macro
                                                            level, institutions plan
                                                            and review their
                                                            portfolios by mission
                                                            (function); teaching,
                                                            training, research,
                                                            public service, etc.
                                                            Institutionally, function
                                                            is defined by how the
                                                            activity (transaction)
                                                            accomplishes the mission
                                                            of the university. For
                                                            example, awards with the
                                                            primary function of
                                                            training would not fall
                                                            under the mission of
                                                            research at our
                                                            institution. Our
                                                            financial statements
                                                            summarize all our mission
                                                            activity by function. Our
                                                            SEFA is reconciled to the
                                                            Financial Statements as
                                                            required. Requiring the
                                                            institution to
                                                            arbitrarily report
                                                            activity as part of the
                                                            R&D Cluster when
                                                            institutionally we have
                                                            defined the activity as
                                                            another function will
                                                            cause additional
                                                            reconciliation steps and
                                                            ongoing ``reporting
                                                            discrepancies.''.

[[Page 51373]]

 
AAG, Chapter III.D.4.b. Program     Stanford University..  We respectfully ask that    Language has been
 Income.                                                    NSF request a deviation     modified in AAG, Chapter
                                                            from OMB that income from   III.D.4.c.(1) to address
                                                            license fees and            the issue as follows:
                                                            royalties be excluded       ``The grantee also shall
                                                            from the definition of      have no obligation to
                                                            program income (Part II,    NSF with respect to
                                                            Chapter III.D.4.b).         program income earned
                                                            Statutory requirements      from license fees and
                                                            under the Bayh-Dole Act     royalties for
                                                            (35 U.S.C. 202(c)(7))       copyrighted material,
                                                            supersede any described     patents, patent
                                                            treatments of license       applications,
                                                            fees and royalties per      trademarks, and
                                                            sections 200.80 and         inventions produced
                                                            200.307(f) in the Uniform   under an award. However,
                                                            Guidance. We believe OMB    Patent and Trademark
                                                            has confirmed the           Amendments (35 U.S.C.
                                                            precedence of U.S. law or   18) shall apply to
                                                            statute over the OMB        inventions made under an
                                                            Uniform Guidance.           award.''
                                                            Therefore reporting to
                                                            Federal agencies on
                                                            Program Income should not
                                                            include such license fees
                                                            and royalties.
AAG, Chapter IV.D. Property         University of          Thank you for providing     Thank-you. No NSF
 Management Standards.               Wisconsin.             verification that NSF has   response required.
                                                            the authority under the
                                                            Federal Technology
                                                            Transfer Act to vest
                                                            title in an institution
                                                            of higher education. This
                                                            should allow institutions
                                                            of higher education to
                                                            continue handling title
                                                            in a manner to which they
                                                            are accustomed.
AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement....  Council on             COGR respectfully asks NSF  The issue of procurement
                                     Governmental           to request a deviation      standards contained in
                                     Relations.             from OMB that               the new Uniform Guidance
                                                            Institutions of Higher      has been brought to the
                                                            Education (IHEs),           attention of the Office
                                                            Nonprofit Research          of Management and
                                                            Organizations (NROs), and   Budget. Any decisions
                                                            all research performers     regarding implementation
                                                            be exempted from            rest with OMB, and,
                                                            Procurement Standards       cannot be addressed
                                                            Sections 200.317 through    independently by NSF.
                                                            200.326. Procurement
                                                            Standards under Circular
                                                            A-110 should be
                                                            reinstated for research
                                                            performers.
                                                           The PAPPG states that NSF
                                                            grantees shall adhere to
                                                            the requirements of 2 CFR
                                                            200.317-326, which
                                                            prescribes standards for
                                                            use by recipients in
                                                            establishing procedures
                                                            for procurement. COGR has
                                                            documented that
                                                            implementation of 2 CFR
                                                            Sec.   200.317-326 will:
                                                            (1) Create increased cost
                                                            and administrative burden
                                                            via expensive process-
                                                            workflow and IT system
                                                            changes, (2) require a
                                                            long lead time to
                                                            implement, which cannot
                                                            effectively be
                                                            accomplished by December
                                                            26th, and (3) result in
                                                            risk to program
                                                            performance--for example,
                                                            critical research tools
                                                            and supplies that
                                                            normally would be
                                                            acquired in one day could
                                                            take at least one week to
                                                            acquire. By securing the
                                                            deviation requested
                                                            above, NSF can help
                                                            ensure the continuity of
                                                            current and effective
                                                            procurement practices in
                                                            place at IHEs and NROs,
                                                            without any sacrifice to
                                                            institutional
                                                            accountability and
                                                            stewardship of federal
                                                            funds.
AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement....  University of          We strongly request that    The issue of procurement
                                     California.            NSF request a deviation     standards contained in
                                                            from OMB exempting          the new Uniform Guidance
                                                            Institutions of Higher      has been brought to the
                                                            Education (IHEs) from the   attention of the Office
                                                            procurement requirements    of Management and
                                                            outlined in the Uniform     Budget. Any decisions
                                                            Guidance (2 CFR 200.317-    regarding implementation
                                                            326). These new             rest with OMB, and,
                                                            procurement documentation   cannot be addressed
                                                            and sourcing standards      independently by NSF.
                                                            will require UC to
                                                            restructure longstanding
                                                            procurement practices,
                                                            redesign internal
                                                            controls for procurement
                                                            processes, reconfigure
                                                            supporting E-procurement
                                                            systems, and execute a
                                                            wholesale change
                                                            management strategy to re-
                                                            educate faculty, staff,
                                                            and students across 10
                                                            campuses and five medical
                                                            centers. It will be
                                                            costly and difficult, if
                                                            not impossible, to
                                                            implement such changes by
                                                            the required date of
                                                            December 26, 2014.
AAG, Chapter IV.E. Procurement....  Massachusetts          MIT also supports COGR's    The issue of procurement
                                     Institute of           request that NSF apply      standards contained in
                                     Technology.            for a deviation allowing    the new Uniform Guidance
                                                            Institutions of Higher      has been brought to the
                                                            Education (IHEs),           attention of the Office
                                                            Nonprofit Research          of Management and
                                                            Organizations (NROs), and   Budget. Any decisions
                                                            all research performers     regarding implementation
                                                            to be subject to the        rest with OMB, and,
                                                            prior procurement           cannot be addressed
                                                            standards of Circular A-    independently by NSF.
                                                            110. We absolutely
                                                            recognize and agree with
                                                            the need to make the best
                                                            use of our scarce
                                                            resources, but for IHEs,
                                                            NROs, and research
                                                            performers of all types,
                                                            this change would be too
                                                            sudden to implement by
                                                            the end of the year.
                                                           The requirements of the
                                                            Procurement standards in
                                                            200.317 through 200.326
                                                            call for system
                                                            solutions. Without a
                                                            system for capturing the
                                                            required documentation,
                                                            the additional
                                                            administrative effort on
                                                            each transaction would
                                                            significantly outweigh
                                                            any cost savings. It is
                                                            simply not feasible for
                                                            IHEs and NROs to put new
                                                            procurement documentation
                                                            systems in place by the
                                                            December 26th deadline.
                                                            Additionally, the
                                                            additional time this
                                                            would require for each
                                                            transaction would
                                                            seriously impact the
                                                            flexibility needed to
                                                            effectively respond to
                                                            the unpredictability of
                                                            fundamental research.

[[Page 51374]]

 
AAG, Chapter V.A.2.c. Publication   University of Florida  Regarding the third         NSF believes that the
 and Printing Costs.                                        paragraph ``However, in     coverage in the Uniform
                                                            accordance with 2 CFR       Guidance on this topic
                                                            200.461, Publication and    is clear and no further
                                                            Printing costs, awardees    clarification on the
                                                            may charge the NSF award    part of NSF is
                                                            before closeout for the     necessary.
                                                            costs of publication or
                                                            sharing of research
                                                            results, if the costs are
                                                            not incurred during the
                                                            period of performance of
                                                            the award''.
                                                           Would the cost of travel
                                                            (of course the purpose of
                                                            which is to disseminate
                                                            and share the results of
                                                            the research) where the
                                                            airfare, registration and
                                                            other costs are paid for
                                                            prior to the end of the
                                                            project period but the
                                                            travel does not occur
                                                            until after the end of
                                                            the project period be an
                                                            allowable cost?.
AAG, Chapter V.A.3.a. Prior         University of          We appreciate that NSF has  Thank-you. No action
 Written Approvals.                  Wisconsin.             clarified that ``items      needed.
                                                            identified in the
                                                            approved budget
                                                            constitutes NSF's
                                                            authorization . . . to
                                                            incur these costs''
                                                            provided they are
                                                            consistent with
                                                            applicable terms,
                                                            conditions, and
                                                            regulations. This
                                                            language will help
                                                            eliminate confusion when
                                                            items are included in the
                                                            approved budget, and
                                                            costs are later presumed
                                                            as needing prior approval.
AAG, Chapter V.B.1.b.; GPG,         University of          Both of these sections      This issue will be
 Chapter II.C.2.g.(ii) Fringe        Wisconsin.             describe the ability of     addressed in the latest
 Benefits.                                                  the grantee to charge       version of the
                                                            fringe benefits as direct   Frequently Asked
                                                            costs, given that charges   Questions that are being
                                                            are made in accordance      developed by the Office
                                                            with usual accounting       of Management and
                                                            practices and/or with       Budget. As such, it
                                                            approval of the cognizant   would not be appropriate
                                                            federal agency. Reference   for the issue to be
                                                            also is made to 2 CFR       resolved by NSF.
                                                            200.431, within which
                                                            part (b)(3)(i) states
                                                            that, ``Payments for
                                                            unused leave when an
                                                            employee retires or
                                                            terminates employment are
                                                            allowable as indirect
                                                            costs in the year of
                                                            payment.'' We want to
                                                            confirm our understanding
                                                            that NSF policy does not
                                                            preclude costs of unused
                                                            leave at retirement and
                                                            termination from being
                                                            directly charged to NSF
                                                            awards. We recognize that
                                                            NSF policy indicates that
                                                            such payments may be
                                                            subject to reasonableness
                                                            determination.
                                                            Additionally, we seek
                                                            affirmation that 2 CFR
                                                            200.431 is incorporated
                                                            into NSF policy to
                                                            acknowledge that such
                                                            unused leave also may be
                                                            allowable as indirect
                                                            costs and is not a
                                                            directive to institutions
                                                            to charge such costs as
                                                            indirect costs.
AAG, Chapter V.D.1.(ii)(a) Fixed    Council on             This section states:        NSF will forward this
 Rates for Life of the Award.        Governmental           ``Federal Awards may not    comment to the Office of
                                     Relations.             be adjusted in future       Management and Budget
                                                            years as a result of        for further discussion
                                                            changes in negotiated       with the Council on
                                                            rates.'' We understand      Financial Assistance
                                                            that this text is           Reform.
                                                            included in the Uniform
                                                            Guidance, but urge the
                                                            NSF to work with OMB and
                                                            other federal agencies to
                                                            provide clarification
                                                            that would allow non-
                                                            profit research
                                                            organizations the
                                                            opportunity to continue
                                                            to have their total-cost
                                                            for existing award
                                                            commitments reconsidered
                                                            where circumstances
                                                            warrant. This option has
                                                            been in place with
                                                            agencies, such as the
                                                            NIH, since 1997. It is
                                                            important that this
                                                            remain a viable option
                                                            for non-profit
                                                            organizations that would
                                                            be affected by the
                                                            language in this section
                                                            of the PAPPG.
AAG, Chapter V.D.1.(ii)(a) Fixed    Cold Spring Harbor     We understand that this     NSF will forward this
 Rates for Life of the Award.        Laboratory.            text is included in the     comment to the Office of
                                                            OMB Omnibus Guidance, but   Management and Budget
                                                            strongly urge the NSF and   for further discussion
                                                            all other Federal           with the Council on
                                                            research funding            Financial Assistance
                                                            organizations to work       Reform.
                                                            with OMB to provide
                                                            clarification, such as in
                                                            the NSF Policy document,
                                                            that would continue to
                                                            allow non-profit research
                                                            organizations the
                                                            opportunity to have their
                                                            total-cost for existing
                                                            award commitments
                                                            reconsidered where
                                                            circumstances warrant.
                                                            This option has been in
                                                            place with organizations
                                                            such as the NIH since
                                                            1997 (see attached
                                                            correspondence with
                                                            AIRI), and must continue
                                                            to be a viable option for
                                                            non-profit organizations
                                                            that may be harmed by
                                                            this newly mandated
                                                            restriction.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 51375]]

    Other Comments:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Topic and PAPPG section             Commenter                  Comment                  NSF response
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Expiring Funds....................  University of          Not addressed in the        NSF guidance for expiring/
                                     Minnesota.             Guide. The process around   canceling award funds
                                                            expiring funds is not       will not differ from the
                                                            addressed in the guide.     standard guidance
                                                            While we are now notified   applicable to all award
                                                            that certain funds are      funds as outlined in the
                                                            expiring there isn't        NSF AAG Chapter V:
                                                            guidance provided on        Allowability of Costs.
                                                            options that a university   NSF will work toward
                                                            can employ to manage the    further improving the
                                                            funds. Federal agencies     awareness of awards with
                                                            differ in the amount of     canceling funds held by
                                                            individual guidance         our awardees. This will
                                                            provided and at times we    include additional
                                                            are unsure if a             communications with
                                                            methodology described for   awardee institutions as
                                                            one agency should be used   well as other efforts to
                                                            for another agency.         further highlight awards
                                                                                        with canceling funds.
Grants.gov Application Guide......  Massachusetts          There are items added by    A new NSF E58 Grants.gov
                                     Institute of           GPG 14-1 and 15-1 which     Application Guide will
                                     Technology.            are not addressed in the    be issued concurrently
                                                            Grants.gov guide, and       with the PAPPG.
                                                            we're not sure whether
                                                            this means they are not
                                                            required when submitting
                                                            via Grants.gov. For
                                                            example, the
                                                            Collaboration type and
                                                            Proposal type checkboxes
                                                            on the FastLane cover
                                                            page don't appear to
                                                            correspond to any
                                                            information on the
                                                            Grants.gov SF424.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Title of Collection: ``National Science Foundation Proposal/Award 
Information-Grant Proposal Guide''.
    OMB Approval Number: 3145-0058.
    Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to extend with revision an 
information collection for three years.
    Proposed Project: The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 (Pub. 
L. 81-507) set forth NSF's mission and purpose:

    ``To promote the progress of science; to advance the national 
health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. * * 
*''

    The Act authorized and directed NSF to initiate and support:
     Basic scientific research and research fundamental to the 
engineering process;
     Programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research 
potential;
     Science and engineering education programs at all levels 
and in all the various fields of science and engineering;
     Programs that provide a source of information for policy 
formulation; and
     Other activities to promote these ends.
    Over the years, NSF's statutory authority has been modified in a 
number of significant ways. In 1968, authority to support applied 
research was added to the Organic Act. In 1980, The Science and 
Engineering Equal Opportunities Act gave NSF standing authority to 
support activities to improve the participation of women and minorities 
in science and engineering.
    Another major change occurred in 1986, when engineering was 
accorded equal status with science in the Organic Act. NSF has always 
dedicated itself to providing the leadership and vision needed to keep 
the words and ideas embedded in its mission statement fresh and up-to-
date. Even in today's rapidly changing environment, NSF's core purpose 
resonates clearly in everything it does: Promoting achievement and 
progress in science and engineering and enhancing the potential for 
research and education to contribute to the Nation. While NSF's vision 
of the future and the mechanisms it uses to carry out its charges have 
evolved significantly over the last four decades, its ultimate mission 
remains the same.
    Use of the Information: The regular submission of proposals to the 
Foundation is part of the collection of information and is used to help 
NSF fulfill this responsibility by initiating and supporting merit-
selected research and education projects in all the scientific and 
engineering disciplines. NSF receives more than 51,000 proposals 
annually for new projects, and makes approximately 10,500 new awards.
    Support is made primarily through grants, contracts, and other 
agreements awarded to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, academic 
consortia, nonprofit institutions, and small businesses. The awards are 
based mainly on evaluations of proposal merit submitted to the 
Foundation.
    The Foundation has a continuing commitment to monitor the 
operations of its information collection to identify and address 
excessive reporting burdens as well as to identify any real or apparent 
inequities based on gender, race, ethnicity, or disability of the 
proposed principal investigator(s)/project director(s) or the co-
principal investigator(s)/co-project director(s).
    Burden on the Public: The Foundation estimates that an average of 
120 hours is expended for each proposal submitted. An estimated 51,600 
proposals are expected during the course of one year for a total of 
6,192,000 public burden hours annually.

    Dated: August 25, 2014.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. 2014-20521 Filed 8-27-14; 8:45 am]
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