4/4/20  | 3:00 pm  |  Updates from extramural sponsors, Office of Sponsored Programs

In accordance with our weekly COVID-19 sponsored programs to update, we would like to bring to your attention four (4) areas of focus this week:

  • NIH & Other Federal Agency administrative flexibility related to UT Health SA’s continued research operations
  • CPRIT’s COVID-19 updates
  • COVID-19 Funding Opportunities (New and Supplemental Funds Available)
  • COVID-19 Tracking for Non-Salary Related Expenses

NIH & Other Federal Agency administrative flexibility related to UT Health SA’s continued research operations

There has been some concern regarding the applicability of administrative flexibilities on federal awards, as UT Health San Antonio has not closed its research operations.  In addressing ways that research might be adversely affected by COVID-19, NIH cited an official university closure as an example.  However, this was just one example – NIH and other federal agencies understand that the impacts of COVID-19 are multi-faceted in nature and there are many other constraints on research that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other examples more relevant to us might include a lack of available reagents, restriction on animal purchases, delays to externally contracted experiments/services, lack of access to necessary PPE, loss of cell lines, unexpected expenses related to scaling down experiments, and much more.  If investigators’ projects are affected by COVID-19, the administrative flexibilities such as no-cost extensions and other approvals are available regardless of our university’s operational status.

CPRIT’s COVID-19 updates

Earlier this week, OSP sent out (via our listservs) information regarding CPRIT’s recent decisions with regard to current and future application cycles.  In summary, CPRIT has decided to suspend the first cycle of grant applications for fiscal year 2021 (FY 21.1) for Academic Research, Product Development Research and Prevention Program awards, and has closed the FY 21.1 Academic Research Program RFAs (originally slated for a June 3rd application deadline date).  CPRIT will continue to accept recruitment applications.

CPRIT is not withdrawing the second cycle of fiscal year 2020 applications (FY 20.2), and expects to announce awards in August or early fall for these previously submitted applications.

Lastly, CPRIT announced today in their updated COVID-19 FAQ’s that it will allow grantees to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active CPRIT awards, in the event that personnel are unable to work or must reduce their work level because of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Funding Opportunities (New and Supplemental Funds Available)

OSP continues monitoring and updating our list of available funding opportunities related to COVID-19, available at http://research.uthscsa.edu/osp/forms/covid19.xlsx.  Since last week, we have added four (4) new COVID-19 funding opportunities.

COVID Tracking for Non-Salary Related Expenses

Our Chief Financial Officer will soon be providing guidance regarding COVID-19 cost tracking for our institution, pertaining to all sources of funding (both grant and non-grant).  This guide will provide information related to properly marking/recording expenditures that are COVID-19 related.

As it relates to grant funding, we know that federal agencies are allowing use of grant funds for unforeseen costs related to other activities that, due to the COVID-19 response, are necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award.  Although such costs will be allowable on grant funds, please note that we will still be required to track and report these as COVID-19 related costs.  Therefore, it will be essential that these instructions are followed, for grants and non-grant funding alike, to appropriately record all COVID-19 costs.  Some examples of costs that might not ordinarily be charged on grants, but are necessitated by COVID-19 response requirements, include:

  • Sperm cryopreservation of mouse lines costs
  • Preservation of cell lines costs
  • Replacement of animals due to stoppage of work
  • Replacement of modular biology kits due to expiration

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant challenge that will continue to impact our research and sponsored program activity in the weeks ahead.  As such, OSP will continue to provide COVID-19 weekly updates to our sponsored programs community.

Article Categories: Office of Sponsored Programs, Research