FASEB COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REFORMS TO FEDERAL GRANTS POLICIES Created by on 05/29/2012
FASEB endorsed several of the proposals included in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Advance Notice of Proposed Guidance: Reform of Federal Policies Relating to Grants and Cooperative Agreements; Cost Principles and Administrative Requirements
(including Single Audit Act). In a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew, the Federation expressed support for efforts to identify an alternative to time and effort reporting requirements, allowing investigators to include the cost of certain computing devices as allowable direct cost supplies, and requiring agencies to provide 90 days advance notice of funding opportunities. OMB’s proposal to permit charging directly allocable administrative support as a direct cost was endorsed by FASEB with the caveat that it should not result in an across-the-board requirement to do so or reduce the level of general administrative support provided by institutions. If such a proposal were to be implemented, FASEB stated that OMB should require the personnel to report to the principal investigator and only perform activities directly related to the funded award.
FASEB also thanked OMB for not proposing to increase the indirect cost cap related to federal research grants. The letter stated that increasing the amount of money institutions could be reimbursed for indirect costs could reduce the portion of the federal grant budget available for research supplies, equipment, personnel, and other resources investigators need to carry out their research. This could result in fewer or smaller grants and would be a blow to scientists who are already struggling to sustain their research programs. A decline in the number or size of grants could also discourage research trainees from pursuing science and engineering careers. FASEB’s letter is available here.