What is the impact on proposal deadlines and award actions/subawards?
We expect that the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will be able to continue to partner with you to submit proposals, negotiate and accept awards, and issue subcontracts/subawards, even when ORSP staff are working remotely. Note that program managers/officers are also slowed by the situation – if you are going to request a no-cost extension, we advise you to do this as soon as possible as we have received reports of at least 30 day windows needed for these actions.
What guidance is available from the federal agencies?
Detailed guidance from NIH is available here: https://grants.nih.gov/policy/natural-disasters/corona-virus.htm.
NSF guidance is available here: https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/coronavirus/
The U.S. Department of Energy COVID-related accommodations are described here: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2020/03/f72/doe-sc-accommodating-interruptions-to-applicants-awardees-due-to-covid-19.pdf.
If a conference has been canceled but I have nonrefundable travel or hotel costs, can these be charged to grant?
Federal partners are working together on a number of travel proposal and award-related issues pertaining to COVID-19. Please see NOT-OD-086 (above) for NIH guidance. Federal agencies will provide guidance as information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to follow all relevant policies and procedures.
Will I be able to extend my project period if the planned activities are disrupted/delayed/suspended by circumstances related to COVID-19?
Awards are typically eligible for a no-cost extension if work on the initial aims remains at the end of the project period and there are funds available. If you foresee a need for a no-cost extension, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also include this information in any upcoming reports and discuss the need ahead of time with the program officer for your award. ORSP can provide further guidance on your specific situation.
Can I pay project personnel with grant funds during COVID-19?
PIs are encouraged to think about how project staff can continue working on the grant remotely. This may involve analyzing data, preparing reports, writing manuscripts, reviewing literature for future papers, planning future experiments, etc. If there is no work available, per a temporary Marquette policy employees can still potentially be paid through April 17, regardless of whether they are working or not as long as they are available for work. Federal grant funders, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, have indicated that as long as the university has such a policy, they will allow these charges to the grant award. In the case of other funders, the university will cover any essential research cost not reimbursed by the funding agency. If an employee is being paid, but not actively working on a grant, please be sure to use the COVID-19 code in EmpCenter which currently defaults to the department. Charges can be retrocosted/moved as needed after the fact.
The temporary policy is in place until April 17, 2020. After April 17, 2020, project staff will either need to conduct work on the grant, which can be charged to the grant, be funded through another internal mechanism such as incentive funds to work on non-grant-related research activities (other research projects that can be worked on remotely or assisting with the development of new proposal ideas would be appropriate examples), or considered for furlough. Please consult with your business manager to determine furlough eligibility and discuss alternative funding as appropriate. Note that there will be constraints that need to be reviewed with ORSP if you are considering furlough for anyone designated as key personnel.
Graduate students should, in most cases, be able to continue work on grant projects. ORSP, the Office of Research and Innovation, and the Graduate School will assist PIs on a case-by-case basis if this is not possible.