EPS Research Administration
Administrative support and information is provided for sponsored research activities in EPS from a variety of sources including department administrative staff, FAS Research Administration Services, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and the Office of the General Counsel. Please use this web page as a resource and a starting point to answer any questions that you may have regarding research administration in EPS.
Proposal Preparation and Submission
All grant proposals are reviewed by the EPS Research Administration staff and the EPS Lab Director for accuracy and content prior to submission to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for final review and submission to the sponsor. It is important to note that University Policy requires that finished proposals be submitted to OSP 5 business days prior to the due date. Please be certain that you allow sufficient preparation and review time to meet this deadline. Proposal submitted to OSP after the deadline will be reviewed and submitted only after those that were submitted on time have been processed. Late proposals result in a risk of non-submission to the sponsor. As a general policy, as soon as you become aware that you may have a proposal going in for a particular date, please notify the EPS Administration so that we can assist in preparation and help keep the process on track for timely review.
Managing Your Research
FAS Research Administration maintains these two key publications:
The Gold Book entitled "Managing Your Research" is an ideal reference for new faculty and staff which provides introduction to research activities and policies. This is a very good handbook for those wanting a refresher on some key concepts. A copy of the book is available at:
The Grey Book contains key information on principles and policies that govern your research, instruction, and other professional activities for FAS Faculty. A copy of the book is available at:
Items of Particular Note and Focus
Unspent Federal Balances
We are writing to alert you to a recent trend in the US government whereby some federal agencies are scrutinizing unspent balances on grants and cracking down on timeliness of grant closeout. See below ( or on the OSP blog) for more details about how to protect your grants from government clawbacks. Background: Over the past year or so, Harvard has seen some federal agencies actively pursue funds remaining unspent at grant end, despite requests for no cost extensions. As background, in the spring of 2012, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) finalized a study about grant closeout and accounting. This study looked at the “efficiency of federal grants processes, such as grant closeout procedures that allow for the return of unspent balances to the Treasury” in part to help the federal government come up with ways to manage the fiscal challenges felt by federal agencies for the past few years. The 2012 study followed a report published by the GAO in 2008 which reported about $1 billion in undisbursed funding remaining across the country in expired grant accounts. Loss of funding from an existing grant can be avoided by paying close attention to actual spending vs. budget and by watching the burn rate on grants. One tool that can provide PIs with a snapshot of an entire portfolio is the PI Dashboard available on the home page of GMAS. The PI dashboard is a tool in GMAS that provides high-level information such as current projects, remaining funds, and projected spending on sponsored projects. To access the dashboard, log into GMAS: https://gmas.harvard.edu/gmas (PIN required) Please contact your OSP rep or you local school research administration office if you have further questions.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training
The NSF, one of our primary funding sources, requires that all individuals being paid from any of its research grants be trained in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). There are on-line and classroom-based training options available to satisfy this requirement. Please follow this link to the FAS Research Services page for more information. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Carolyn Jones.
Export Control Regulations
In this era of increased focus on regulatory compliance one of the main areas that we need to be concerned about involves export controls over the instrumentation and technology that we use in our research. It is essential that all PI's and responsible Lab Staff be familiar with these controls and make every effort to comply with them. The Provost's Office has maintains the University policy on Export Controls and provides explanatory information at: http://www.provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/export_policy.pdf
Departmental policy is that any research group that will be taking instrumentation or technology outside of the country will provide the Lab Director with a list of what they are taking. The Lab Director will then engage FAS Research Administration Services and the Office of the General Counsel to ensure that all of the items may be taken to particular destination being considered.
Government penalties for non-compliance on this policy are very severe and can include six-figure fines! It is essential that you ensure you are in compliance.
Monthly Salary Certifications
Federal regulations require that we certify the accuracy and proportionality of all salaries being charged to grants. Harvard's policy on this matter is that we certify all non-faculty salaries on a monthly basis (please note that certifications for faculty salaries are done annually). It is the responsibility of the PI to review the monthly salary certification forms and sign them to attest to their accuracy. Any discrepancies that are noted during this process should be indicated on the form and referred to the EPS Financial Analyst for correction immediately. This is an area that has received increased scrutiny in the recent past since late certifications have become unacceptably frequent. Please be sure that you give this process your due attention each month and make certain that the information on the forms you are signing as PI are accurate!