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   COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions 

 

VPR Issues Memorandum to Deans and Department Chairs Re: Effort Reporting During COVID-19 Pandemic

This memorandum and the accompanying Guideline G3-020 are provided to clarify the rules regarding payments from grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 26, 2020

 

See COVID-19 Central @THEU for the status of all University of Utah operations.  

Last Update: 5/29/2020

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions that are not addressed in the following FAQ or resources, please email askosp@osp.utah.edu.

Q: What are the safety and compliance measures required for Level Orange (Limited Research Operations)?

A: On May 8th, Environmental Health and Safety issued a Memo outlining the measures that allow research to continue while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

EHS is requesting that PIs/labs complete a health and safety checklist to re-open. See: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/8b86b164c210411f97bbd76ae1a9b597 

There are likely college and department specific requirements and you will want to check with deans and unit directors. 

Q: If I have a proposal due and my institution closes, will the awarding agency still accept my application? 

NOTE: At this time, all OSP services are currently unaffected, including proposal review, submission, and post-award processing. 

A: Per NIH, "All grant applications submitted late for due dates between March 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020, will be accepted through May 1, 2020. This applies to all relevant funding opportunity announcements, including those that indicate no late applications will be accepted. Institutions need not request advance permission to submit late due to this declared emergency and a cover letter providing a justification is not required. Disclaimer: This notice pertains to applications reviewed by CSR and does not supersede the IC's discretion nor authorities to make these decisions on case by case basis as noted in the third bullet below.

For Funding Opportunity Announcements that expire prior to May 1, 2020, NIH will extend the expiration date for 90 days to accommodate the submission of late applications and Grants.gov will be adjusted to allow NIH to receive applications." 3/26/20

Per NSF: Flexibility with application deadlines. (2 CFR § 200.202)  "NSF has extended the deadline dates for specific funding opportunities. A listing of these extensions is available on the Foundation’s COVID-19 webpage. Deadline dates for funding opportunities that do not appear on the list remain unchanged. Recipients who are unable to meet stated deadlines should contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the issue. NSF will consider extensions on a case by case basis."  3/27/20 

Per Dept of Energy: "If the lead principal investigator (PI) or the applicant institution are subject to a quarantine or a closure, deadlines for submitting pre-applications, letters of intent, or applications may be extended by no more than fourteen (14) days from the applicable due date. Please contact the Program Manager identified in the FOA or DOE Laboratory Announcement under which the pre-application, letter-of-intent, or application is being submitted prior to the applicable due date." 3/16/20

Per Office of Justice: "Solicitations with original application due dates between March 16th and March 31st have been extended by 2 weeks. OJP will continue to monitor the situation and determine if additional adjustments to closing dates will be needed. Grants.gov and OJP’s Grants Management System remain open to continue to accept applications." 3/21/20

Per DOD: "The DOD recommends that program offices provide flexibility with upcoming proposal deadlines to the extent allowable by funding authorities and by the need to have enough time for merit review of submitted proposals.  Please contact the program officer and grants manager for the funding opportunity in question to seek an application deadline extension. Proposers are encouraged to monitor grants.gov to see if an extension has been posted." 3/24/20

Q: I am quarantined for a period of time. There is a proposal deadline during my quarantine period and some essential materials I need are in my office. Can I receive an extension to the deadline?

Per NIH, "All grant applications submitted late for due dates between March 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020, will be accepted through May 1, 2020. This applies to all relevant funding opportunity announcements, including those that indicate no late applications will be accepted. Institutions need not request advance permission to submit late due to this declared emergency and a cover letter providing a justification is not required. Disclaimer: This notice pertains to applications reviewed by CSR and does not supersede the IC's discretion nor authorities to make these decisions on case by case basis as noted in the third bullet below.

For Funding Opportunity Announcements that expire prior to May 1, 2020, NIH will extend the expiration date for 90 days to accommodate the submission of late applications and Grants.gov will be adjusted to allow NIH to receive applications." 3/26/20

Per NSF: Flexibility with application deadlines. (2 CFR § 200.202)  "NSF has extended the deadline dates for specific funding opportunities. A listing of these extensions is available on the Foundation’s COVID-19 webpage. Deadline dates for funding opportunities that do not appear on the list remain unchanged. Recipients who are unable to meet stated deadlines should contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the issue. NSF will consider extensions on a case by case basis."  3/27/20  

Per Dept of Energy: "If the lead principal investigator (PI) or the applicant institution are subject to a quarantine or a closure, deadlines for submitting pre-applications, letters of intent, or applications may be extended by no more than fourteen (14) days from the applicable due date. Please contact the Program Manager identified in the FOA or DOE Laboratory Announcement under which the pre-application, letter-of-intent, or application is being submitted prior to the applicable due date." 3/16/20

Per Office of Justice: "Solicitations with original application due dates between March 16th and March 31st have been extended by 2 weeks. OJP will continue to monitor the situation and determine if additional adjustments to closing dates will be needed. Grants.gov and OJP’s Grants Management System remain open to continue to accept applications." 3/21/20

Per DOD: "The DOD recommends that program offices provide flexibility with upcoming proposal deadlines to the extent allowable by funding authorities and by the need to have enough time for merit review of submitted proposals.  Please contact the program officer and grants manager for the funding opportunity in question to seek an application deadline extension. Proposers are encouraged to monitor grants.gov to see if an extension has been posted." 3/24/20

Q: My university has asked staff to stay home for an undetermined period of time. How would I petition for an extension of an application deadline?

Per NIH, "All grant applications submitted late for due dates between March 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020, will be accepted through May 1, 2020. This applies to all relevant funding opportunity announcements, including those that indicate no late applications will be accepted. Institutions need not request advance permission to submit late due to this declared emergency and a cover letter providing a justification is not required. Disclaimer: This notice pertains to applications reviewed by CSR and does not supersede the IC's discretion nor authorities to make these decisions on case by case basis as noted in the third bullet below.

For Funding Opportunity Announcements that expire prior to May 1, 2020, NIH will extend the expiration date for 90 days to accommodate the submission of late applications and Grants.gov will be adjusted to allow NIH to receive applications." 3/26/20

Per NSF: Flexibility with application deadlines. (2 CFR § 200.202)  "NSF has extended the deadline dates for specific funding opportunities. A listing of these extensions is available on the Foundation’s COVID-19 webpage. Deadline dates for funding opportunities that do not appear on the list remain unchanged. Recipients who are unable to meet stated deadlines should contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the issue. NSF will consider extensions on a case by case basis."  3/27/20  

Per Dept of Energy: "Working from home - while it may introduce some complications - should not make it impossible to complete work or meet deadlines. If closure or remote access orders by your institution has occurred within a week of the deadline, please contact your Program Manager. " 3/16/20

Office of Justice: "Solicitations with original application due dates between March 16th and March 31st have been extended by 2 weeks. OJP will continue to monitor the situation and determine if additional adjustments to closing dates will be needed. Grants.gov and OJP’s Grants Management System remain open to continue to accept applications." 3/21/20

Per DOD: "The DOD recommends that program offices provide flexibility with upcoming proposal deadlines to the extent allowable by funding authorities and by the need to have enough time for merit review of submitted proposals.  Please contact the program officer and grants manager for the funding opportunity in question to seek an application deadline extension. Proposers are encouraged to monitor grants.gov to see if an extension has been posted." 3/24/20

Q: Are travel cancellation costs due to COVID-19 allowable as direct charges to sponsored projects?

A: Per NIH: NIH addresses this in their NOT-OD-20-086. Non-refundable travel and related fees may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives). 3/12/20

Per NSF: Allowability of Costs not Normally Chargeable to Awards. (2 CFR § 200.403, 2 CFR § 200.404, 2 CFR § 200.405)  Recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award, or the pausing and restarting of grant funded activities due to the public health emergency, are authorized to charge these costs to their award without regard to 2 CFR § 200.403, Factors affecting allowability of costs, 2 CFR § 200.404, Reasonable costs, and 2 CFR § 200.405, Allocable costs. Recipients may charge the full cost to the award when the event, travel, or other activities is conducted under the auspices of the grant. Recipients must not assume that supplemental funding will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the event or travel. If a shortfall is anticipated, recipients must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the situation. Recipients are required to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 – Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 - Retention requirement of records, to substantiate the charging of any cancellation or other fees related to interruption of operations or services.  3/23/20

Per Dept of Energy: "The Office of Science will not consider changes to planned travel caused by the cancellation of meetings, quarantines, closures, or other public health measures to be a change in the scope of an award requiring agency prior approval. Rebudgeting funds that does not create a change in scope does not require agency prior approval." 3/16/20

Per DOD: "The DOD will allow nonrefundable travel expenses incurred for travel canceled due to COVID-19 to be charged to active awards in agreement with OMB Memorandum M-20-17.  Grantees must follow applicable institution policy on allowable expenses for travel." 3/24/20

Q: How should credits from cancelled travel costs be handled on sponsored projects?

A: If a traveler has charged (e.g., through a travel advance) an airline ticket or other travel costs to a sponsored project, and then that trip is later cancelled, the credit must accrue to the sponsored project.

Q: (Hypothetical) I am a PI on a very large project, holding a conference with hundreds of collaborators from around the world. I have already incurred thousands of dollars of expenses for renting space and hotels. I am working with the venue to get a credit but there will be a sizeable cancellation fee. Can I charge this fee to my award? And can I pay the travel fees and any associated costs for the hundreds who were planning on attending?

A: Federal agencies share institutional concerns about the safety of researchers. If the PI (organizer) believes it would be unsafe to hold the conference, the organizer should confer with his or her program officer and grants management specialist to decide whether to cancel the meeting, postpone the meeting, or convert the meeting to an on-line format. This request for input is consistent with 2 CFR 200.407, which says in part: "the non-Federal entity may seek the prior written approval of... the Federal awarding agency in advance of the incurrence of special or unusual costs." If the request is made orally, written documentation of the decision, such as an email from the agency to the PI's, should follow. Many federal program officers cannot independently make this type of decision and their grants office concurrence is required. PI's should follow the requirements for their specific agency. 

Organizers may wish to make a firm decision about keeping or cancelling a meeting early enough to enable their participants to take advantage of discounts offered by airlines or hotels related to COVID-19 changes or early cancellation (particularly for hotels). In addition, a decision by the organizer to cancel the conference may assist some participants in convincing their institution to pay their cancellation costs.

If approved by the agency, once cancelled, the non-refundable costs for the venue would be an allowable charge to the project, assuming the project was funding those costs in the first pllace. In general, the costs for participants should follow the funding streams intended to pay for their attendance; if the conference grant was reimbursing all or part of the participation costs for all attendees, it may be appropriate to also charge some or all of their cancellation fees. If participants were covering their own attendance costs (from sponsored or non-sponsored sources), then the cancellation costs should follow the source fuding their participation. 

Per NSF: Allowability of Costs not Normally Chargeable to Awards. (2 CFR § 200.403, 2 CFR § 200.404, 2 CFR § 200.405) Recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award, or the pausing and restarting of grant funded activities due to the public health emergency, are authorized to charge these costs to their award without regard to 2 CFR § 200.403, Factors affecting allowability of costs, 2 CFR § 200.404, Reasonable costs, and 2 CFR § 200.405, Allocable costs. Recipients may charge the full cost to the award when the event, travel, or other activities is conducted under the auspices of the grant. Recipients must not assume that supplemental funding will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the event or travel. If a shortfall is anticipated, recipients must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the situation. Recipients are required to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 – Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 - Retention requirement of records, to substantiate the charging of any cancellation or other fees related to interruption of operations or services. 3/23/20

Per Office of Justice: "Allowability of costs not normally chargeable to awards:  OJP will allow recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award (e.g., the costs of providing telework equipment to employees who are working on the award), or the pausing and restarting of grant-funded activities due to the public health emergency, to charge these costs to their award.

OJP will allow recipients to charge full cost of cancellation when the event, travel, or other activities are conducted under the auspices of the grant. In cases where charging of cancellation or other costs results in insufficient funds to eventually carry out the event or travel, please contact your grant manager to discuss possible alternatives or changes to the scope of the project, if feasible." 3/21/20

Q: What should I consider when booking future sponsored travel? What can I do to minimize cancellation costs, if I need to cancel due to the COVID-19 precautions?

A: In an effort to minimize cancellation costs, we recommend you:

  • Book travel through the University's preferred vendors
  • Purchase refundable airfare
  • Consider lodging that doesn’t require a lodging deposit and has a flexible cancellation policy
  • When planning or attending conferences consider all costs that may be associated with the cancellation 
  • Remain updated on the COVID-19 by visiting OSP's COVID-19 site for updated information

Q: A student flew out early to visit friends for a couple days prior to a conference. The conference was being charged to a grant. However, while visiting, the student learned the conference was cancelled. Is the return flight reimbursable?

A: The flight is reimbursable with non-sponsored funding. This cost should not be charged to sponsored awards.

Q: If employees must work from home will they still be able to get paid by grants? Specifically, if they usually are supervised, or punch in and out, etc., could we be called to task for suspending such oversight while allowing the work to continue?

A: If the University directs employees to work remotely and if employees are able to perform their duties in that environment, then their salary can continue to be charged to the award. For staff who normally punch in/punch out or are subject to direct supervision, alternative methods of work verification may need to be requested by a supervisor. Consult with your HR manager for specifics. 

Per NSF: Allowability of salaries and other project activities. (2 CFR § 200.403, 2 CFR § 200.404, 2 CFR § 200.405)  Recipients are authorized to continue to charge salaries, stipends, and benefits to currently active NSF awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, Federal and non-Federal. The recipient also is authorized to charge other costs to NSF awards that are necessary to resume activities supported by the award, consistent with applicable Federal cost principles and the benefit to the project. Recipients must not assume that supplemental funding will be available should the charging of such costs or other fees result in a shortage of funds to eventually carry out the project. If a shortfall is anticipated, recipients must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer to discuss the situation. NSF will evaluate the grantee’s ability to resume the project activity in the future and the appropriateness of future funding, as done under normal circumstances—based on subsequent project reports and other communications with the recipient. Recipients are required to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 – Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 - Retention requirement of records to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations or services. 3/23/20

Per Office of Justice: "Allowability of salaries and other project costs: OJP will allow recipients to continue to charge salaries and benefits to their awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries and benefits under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances from all funding sources (Federal and non-Federal).  As outlined in 2 C.F.R. § 200.431 (a) and (b), benefits may include the costs of leave (“regular compensation paid to employees during periods of authorized absences from the job, such as for annual leave, family-related leave, sick leave … administrative leave, and other similar benefits”), as long as they are provided under written leave policies.

OJP encourages recipients to review and update (if necessary) their written leave policies to address “unexpected or extraordinary circumstances.” Recipients are required to maintain copies of the leave policies and cost documentation (as required by 2 C.F.R. § 200.302, 2 C.F.R. § 200.333, and 2 C.F.R. § 431(b)(1)) to substantiate the charging of salaries and benefits during interruption of operations or services." 3/21/20
 
Per DOD: "Based on OMB Memorandum M-20-17 and the uniform guidance (2 CFR 200.403, 2 CFR 200.404, 2 CFR 200.405), the DOD will allow recipients to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently-active awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, federal and non-federal.  DOD components may allow other costs to be charged to federal awards necessary to continue work on a project even if in a period where primary research activities are limited or curtailed.  To the maximum extent practicable, recipients will be expected to invoke or institute any and all reasonable mitigation actions and practices to lessen the cost to the government during the crisis period.  Such actions may be part of an existing program created by the recipient or may be created to respond to this crisis.  Appropriate records and cost documentation must continue to be updated and maintained as required by 2 CFR 200.302 - Financial management and 2 CFR 200.333 - Retention requirement of records." 3/24/20

Q: Will agencies consider longer no-cost time extensions if needed to finish a project after disruption?

A: Researchers should document the actual impact of COVID-19 on the progress of their grants to provide substantiation for any future no-cost time extension request. It is not known at this time if agencies will consider longer-than-normal no-cost extension, or multiple no-cost time extensions, in this situation. For most Federal research grants, OSP has the authority to grant a first no-cost time extension up to 12 months in duration.

Per NSF: No-cost extensions on expiring awards. (2 CFR § 200.308) "Recipients must follow standard policies and procedures specified in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter VI.D.3, and applicable award conditions regarding submission of grantee and NSF-approved no-cost extensions." 3/23/20

Per Office of Justice: "Award extensions:  In accordance with the Part 200 Uniform Requirements (2 C.F.R. Part 200, as adopted by DOJ) and consistent with the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, most OJP awards may be eligible for one no-cost extension of up to 12 months.  If the grant has previously received a no-cost extension and an additional extension will be requested due to the extenuating circumstances occurring in connection with the public health emergency, refer to the DOJ Grants Financial Guide for additional information and consult with your grant manager as needed.   Requests for no-cost extensions will be processed via a Grant Adjustment Notice (GAN). Please contact your grant manager as soon as practicable to submit your request.

Please note that awards funded by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) (or any other OJP bureau/program office) under the provisions of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, are available during the federal fiscal year of the award, plus the following three fiscal years. OVC and other OJP bureaus/program offices have no discretion to permit extensions of any award’s period of performance beyond the statutory period." 3/21/20
 
Per DOD: "It is DOD policy that no-cost extensions must be supported in all possible cases.  However, please be aware that funding expiration statutes may prohibit extensions.  Please contact the DOD grants manager for award-specific guidance." 3/24/20

Q: I can't get to my research site and my research will be severely impacted. Will the sponsor provide incremental funding and/or additional time so that I can successfully complete the aims of the award?

A: We expect Federal agencies will recognize the difficulties inherent in this situation and work with institutions to facilitate the conduct of the project. As a reminder, recipients are required to: 1) inform their program officer and grants officer if the need arises for additional federal funds to complete the project (200.308.(c)(1)(viii)) and; 2) that notification is required as soon as "problems, delays, or adverse conditions which will materially impact the ability to meet the objective of the Federal award" (200.328.(d)(1)) is known. In the latter case, the notification must include a statement of the action taken or contemplated and any assistance needed to resolve the situation. It is possible that there will not be an answer yet on what is needed to resolve the situation; in that case, recipients should simply indicate that they will report back when more is known. If you have this situation, contact OSP to find out how to report to the agency. OSP will countersign such notifications/requests, if needed.

Q: Normally we wouldn’t be able to pay an employee from a grant if they aren’t providing effort towards the project.  Is this going to be allowed given the unique circumstances, or would need to use state funds to pay these employees during any shutdown?  Has the federal government provided your office with any guidance on how people currently providing effort on grants will be paid? 

A: Per the Memorandum issued by the VPR on March 26, 2020,  "This memorandum and the attached Guideline G3-020 are provided to clarify the rules regarding payments from grants during the Covid-19 pandemic. As you know, federal rules generally prohibit any part of an employee’s salary or benefits to be charged to a grant except for those portions of the salary/benefits directly attributable to the employee’s work on the grant. Federal law, however, recognizes an exception to this general rule under unexpected and extraordinary circumstances. In times of emergency, when the university and its employees are unable to perform work on a grant due to the emergency, employees assigned to a grant may continue to be paid from the grant.

Because the current Covid-19 pandemic is requiring University employees to remain at home, many researchers do not have access to their research materials and are unable to perform much, if any, work on their grants. This is clearly the type or emergency situation contemplated by the federal regulations. Therefore, you should continue to use designated grant funding to pay the salaries and benefits of your research employees until they are able to return to their labs and continue their sponsored research.

Expenses for employees that are on paid leave (administrative, sick, vacation) qualify as appropriate direct costs under the University’s F&A Rate Agreement with the Federal Government. Those expenses should remain on the projects and the University does not have a central pool to absorb those costs.

When possible and appropriate, an employee’s effort should be redirected to other sponsored projects that may be performed from a virtual environment. To the extent that such opportunities are not available or are exhausted, employees should continue to have their salaries and benefits funded from designated grants. The University does not have a central pool to absorb these costs. Please work with your PI’s and research staff, as well as your Human Resources contact, to manage and mitigate impact to employees where possible.

To benefit from the federal exception, sponsorship funding from non-federal sources must also continue during the emergency. As with federal grants, you should redirect an employee’s work to sponsored projects that may be performed from a virtual environment. To the extent that such opportunities are not available or are exhausted, employees should continue to have their salaries and benefits funded from designated grants. Please work directly with your sponsor representatives to clarify this practice during the current pandemic. Please also work with your PI’s and research staff, as well as your Human Resources contact, to manage and mitigate impact to employees where possible.

Project cost overruns are not covered by central University funds but will be covered in order by:

  • A PI’s discretionary funds
  • Departmental/Division funds
  • College/School funds

Faculty should not expect sponsors to provide additional project funds or extensions at this time. Supplemental funding and no-cost extensions will be at the discretion of each sponsor and made on a case-by-case basis.

PIs should contact agency program managers and other sponsor representative as soon as possible, in writing and by phone, to notify them of specific challenges and likely cost impacts. Written responses from applicable sponsors that grant permission and approval for changes (and approval for any other costs not normally chargeable to awards) should be requested and obtained by PIs, as soon as possible. The Office of Sponsored Projects can facilitate those communications as needed. Please contact your OSP representative for assistance. 

Please also see the Tool Kit provided by HR to assist leaders who are having to make salary and personnel decisions. 


Per NIH: NIH is allowing salary to continue to be charged to the award when no contribution can be made to the project (see NOT-OD-20-086). "If a recipient organization’s policy allows for the charging of salaries and benefits during periods when no work is performed due to the effect of COVID-19, regardless of the funding source, including Federal and non-Federal, then such charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable. NIH awarding Institutes/Centers (ICs) may request documentation to confirm the requirements of institutional policies."  

Q: How will the temporary hiring freeze affect sponsored project funded positions? 

A: 5000 and 5999 funds are exempt from the hiring freeze and you don't need a waiver to hire. Otherwise, if you are in the process of hiring, please coordinate closely with Human Resources and visit their website which provides guidance on what funding and positions are affected.  

The COVID-19, Violence Against Women, and Opioid Addiction grants are 2500 funds. You do need a waiver from the VPR to hire new personnel. For all other funding sources, the VPR is not the cognizant VP. Please consult your dean or unit director for instructions.

The University financial resource planning guidelines may also be helpful. 

Q: Is there a way to document and report the impacts of COVID-19 on sponsored projects?

A: Yes. Those managing projects being negatively affected by the current pandemic are encouraged to document and report the impacts.  Submissions go directly to OSP. 

To help you track current and anticipated financial disruption and expenditures on 5000 fund grants and contracts, the  following tools are now available:

  • For future anticipated costs, the University PI Budget Planning Tool, complete with pre-populated data, can help researchers project out future COVID-19 related project expense. See the PI Budget Planning Tool User Guide for details. 
  • Financial & Business Services has also created a spreadsheet to help document current COVID-19 Costs During Soft Shutdown
OSP is encouraging use of these tools to track and predict COVID related expenses, as gauging financial impact for each grant gives researchers the information to better respond to federal agencies’ specific questions. These tools can also support researchers in requesting project extensions and supplement funding.

Q: Research studies with a lab component already purchase gloves. Who would pay for other supplies (masks, wipes, etc.) if needed? 

A: Personal protection equipment needed to perform the grant can be a direct charge. Supplies needed for cleaning should be considered an indirect cost. 

Q: If staff would need to work from home, we are considering cell phones for use when contacting human subjects. Depending on the research study, it could be several phones needed. Some folks are uncomfortable with using their own home/cell phones when calling human subjects/research study participants. 

A: Inexpensive cell phones used solely for the purposes of the grant would likely be a defensible charge to the grant in these circumstances, particularly for studies involving a large number of subjects. The PI/department should, however, request prior written approval of the funding agency for this unusual cost. Requests for prior approval should be submitted using that agency's normal channels. Program Officer approval itself is not normally sufficient to constitute approval. If approved, the PI/department authorizing the charges would need to oversee the purchases and use of the phones to ensure that they were used exclusively for the project; if used for multiple projects, cost allocations must reflect relative useage. Documentation should be retained in the department's grant file. As a less burdensome and costly alternative, the department may want to consider alternative technologies that allow users to shield their personal number when using their own cell phone for business purposes. For example see Google Voice: 

How it works: https://www.lifewire.com/how-google-voice-works-3426682

Link to the app: https://voice.google.com/u/0/about

Please note: Google Voice should not be used in situations that involve HIPAA-protected information exchanges.

Q: If I have lab animals that need to be cared for and am concerned that staff may not be available to care for the animals or have the access they need to facilities if my institution closes

A: The University is required to have animal care emergency plans in place as a condition to a federal award involving animal research. Consult IACUC for questions about caring for animals. 

Last Updated: 5/29/20