Additional resources

Some more resources to help with the grant process.

By acting as part of a review board, you can gain insight into the workings of a particular grant program, broaden your professional network, and improve your skills as a grant writer.

By acting serving on a grant review panel, some possible benefits might include:

  • providing a service to your discipline
  • gaining first hand knowledge of the review process
  • learning about common problems with proposals
  • gaining strategies for writing strong proposals
  • meeting colleagues and program officers
  • staying up to date with research trends in your field

If you are interested, this PDF is a good place to start if you’re looking to become a grant reviewer. It contains some basic information that can help prepare you for the process.

These articles help explain the process of becoming and acting as a grant reviewer:

How to Become a Grant Reviewer by Karen M. Markin in The Chronicle of Higher Education June 2, 2008

NSF Grant Reviewer Tells All – by Pamela L. Member in Science Careers April 11, 2003

Agencies/Review Panels

National Science Foundation
Why You Should Volunteer to Serve As An NSF Reviewer

National Institutes of Health
Why Become an NIH Reviewer
Reviewer Orientation

National Endowment for the Humanities
PRISM Peer Review System

Institute for Museum and Library Sciences
Becoming a Reviewer

Peer Reviewers

Uniform Guidance: What You Need to Know

Part of ORPS’ responsibility is to keep faculty and staff at New College abreast of policies and guidelines set forth by federal, state and local government funding agencies. This section aims to highlight important changes in the federal grant guidelines called the “Uniform Guidance” (UG). The UG, written by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), went into effect on Dec. 26, 2014. Following is a summary of how the new guidance will affect faculty and research administrators.

1. The new UG applies to awards granted after on or after Dec. 26, 2014.

  • Implications: For renewal or multi-annual grants some agencies may require two different sets of regulations: prior to UG and post UG.

2. Under the UG, federal agencies must accept a university’s negotiated indirect cost rate. There can be exceptions with federal agency head approval.

3. Federal agencies must post funding opportunities at least 60 days prior to a deadline.

4. Voluntary committed cost share is no longer expected. In their Request for Application (RFA) Agencies must either require cost share or not. Language such as “cost share isn’t required but is preferred” is no longer allowed. (CFR 200.306 Cost sharing or matching)

  • Implications: Do not add cost share in your proposal unless it is required by the agency.

5. The UG requires procurement methods with dollar thresholds (CFR 200.320 Methods of procurement).

  • Purchases under $3,000 are considered “micro-purchases” and do not require competitive quotes.
  • Implications:
  • Purchases over $3,000 now require at least two competitive quotes from vendors.
  • The only exception is when you have a documented need for sole source procurement.
  • Purchases between $3,000 and $150,000 require quotes from an “adequate” number of qualified sources.
  • Purchases over $150,000 require sealed bids or competitive proposals.

6. Clerical and administrative salaries can be directly charged if they are integral to a project or activity and are also directly allocable. Such costs must be explicitly explained in the budget and/or have prior approval from the sponsor. (CFR 200.413 Direct costs).

7. There is now a clarification of the institutional base salary concept at universities under “personnel compensation”. Institutions must establish consistent written policies that apply uniformly to all faculty members, not just those working on federal grants. The requirements for effort reporting have changed, with an emphasis on strong internal controls. (CFR 200-430 Compensation-personal services)

8. Computers and computing devices can be directly charged to grants if they are essential and allocable. In below the federal Equipment threshold ($5,000) they can be counted in the budget as Supplies. There is no longer a requirement that they be solely used for the project at hand but should be used mostly for the project. (CFR 200.453 Materials and supplies costs)

  • Implications: You can now include computers and computing devices in your Supply budget with written justification for their purchase.

9. Institutions must submit performance reports using OMB-approved government-wide standard information collections. Required information includes a comparison of actual accomplishments to those that were proposed for the reporting period, the reasons why goals were not met (if applicable), and an analysis and explanation of cost overruns. (CFR 200.328 Monitoring and reporting program performance).

10. Before issuing an award, the Federal awarding agency will evaluate the risk posed by the institution. The risk assessment will review the institution’s financial stability, the reports and findings from its audits, and its history of performance around compliance and report requirements. (CFR 200.205 Review of risk posed by applicants)

  • Implications: Compliance with reporting requirements by individual faculty members at New College will have a positive impact on Agencies’ funding decisions, while non-compliance with reporting requirements by individual faculty members might adversely affect other faculty members’ ability to win future grants.

(This summary was adapted from the Amherst College Grants Office webpage)

Link to full Uniform Guidance:

The Grantspace video library. This is a collection of many videos on various topics hosted by the Grantspace organization. The videos range in subjects from crowdfunding to how to build a better grant board. The videos can be anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour in length. So if you have some time, it’s worth it just explore what they have to offer.

The Grantsmanship center‘s youtube page offers users many videos on the subjects of grants and grant writing. The videos are generally short in length and focus on individual parts of the grant process. So if you find yourself stuck on a particular issue, you might find something helpful here.

The NIH has a series of videos detailing their peer review process on their webpage.

A short video detailing the NSF’s review process.