Research and Graduate Studies


5/14/2015 - ORSP Develops New Initiatives in Response to NCURA Peer Evaluation

In the spring of 2014, the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) performed a peer evaluation of research activities at CSUN, especially as they relate to the pre-award office, ORSP. This evaluation consisted of a thorough review of policies, procedures, and practices in the pre-award phase of the grants management process. The complete review generated 72 recommendations for process improvements in ORSP, as well as in the colleges, auxiliaries, and executive administration.

In response to the review, ORSP has engaged in a yearlong self-study of its activities, processes, policies, and workflow. Through several office retreats and activities, four working groups evaluated the recommendations. Based on the work of the working groups and in response to the report, the following five major initiatives have been identified: New Faculty; Scholarship Development and Growth; Accountability; Staff Development; and Research Policy. Each initiative is designed to provide a roadmap for projects and actions that support campus priorities for the sustainable growth of the research enterprise at CSUN.

3/23/2015 - NSF changes in FastLane to support Uniform Guidance Update

On January 26, 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will implement changes in FastLane to support the revised version of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and to run additional automated compliance checks on proposals.

Changes to FastLane

  • Budget Form Update: The budget form will be updated so that the “Residual Funds” line (Line K) will not be editable for all programs except Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR). As this field is currently used for the purpose of collecting fees, “Residual Funds” will be renamed to “Small Business Fee.”
  • Budget Justification Upload: Budget justification can no longer be entered as text. Awardees will be required to upload a budget justification for each organization added to the budget via an upload screen. Already, 95% of proposers take advantage of the upload option.
  • Cost Sharing Notifications Requirement: The existing requirement that only awards with cost sharing of $500,000 or more must submit a cost sharing certificate will be modified to support the revised policy which specifies that cost sharing notifications must be submitted by all awardees with awards that include cost sharing.
  • New Funding Mechanism: The FastLane proposal cover sheet will be updated to include the new funding mechanism type, Ideas Lab. Ideas Lab is designed to support the development and implementation of creative and innovative project ideas. These projects will typically be high-risk/high-impact as they represent new and unproven ideas, approaches, and/or technologies.

Automated Compliance Checks
FastLane will begin to run an additional 24 automated compliance checks on proposals to ensure they comply with requirements outlined in the PAPPG, Chapter II.C.2 of the Grants Proposal Guide (GPG). These checks will validate a proposal for compliance with page count, proposal sections per type of funding mechanism and budget related rules for proposals submitted in response to the GPG, Program Announcements and Program Descriptions. At this time, these checks will not be enforced for proposals submitted in response to Program Solicitations.

  • Page Count: Page count rules will be enforced on the following proposal sections:
    • Project Description: 15-page limit [exceptions: 8-page limit for Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and 5-page limit for Rapid Response Research (RAPID)]
    • Budget Justification: 3-page limit for the proposing institution and a separate, 3-page limit for each sub-recipient organizatio
    • Mentoring Plan: 1-page limit
    • Data Management Plan: 2-page limit
  • Budget: Budget-related checks will focus primarily on proposal duration and requested amount. For example, the system will enforce a maximum requested amount of $200,000 for a RAPID proposal and $300,000 for an EAGER proposal.
  • Proposal Section: Proposal sections will be enforced by their funding mechanism for Program Announcement, Program Description and other GPG-type funding opportunities. For example, an error message will appear if a Project Description was not provided for an EAGER proposal.

The checks detailed above will be triggered when the “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” or “Submit Proposal” functions are selected by a proposer or proposing organization. Depending on the rule being checked, a warning or error message will display when a proposal is found to be non-compliant. If an error message appears, the organization will not be able to submit the proposal until it is compliant. To view a detailed list of all compliance checks, click here.

Please contact for any further questions.

3/20/2015 - BUILD-PODER website available

The NIH-funded BUILD-PODER (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity - Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research) program has launched a BUILD-PODER website with information for students and faculty from CSUN and our pipeline partners. From public health to philosophical frameworks for pain, CSUN's BUILD program seeks to generate a vibrant, socially responsible and open environment for asking new research questions and using new methods to reduce health disparities. The five-year program is funded with a $21.8 million NIH grant.

3/13/15 - NIH Requires New Biographical Sketch Format After May

The revised forms and instructions are now available on the SF 424 (R&R) Forms and Applications page and adjustments have been made to improve their usability.

Individual fellowships, R36 dissertation grants, and diversity supplements should use the Fellowship Application Biographical Sketch Format Page and related pre-doc and post-doc instructions and samples, while research grant applications, career development, training grant, and all other application types should use the general Biographical Sketch Format Page and instructions and sample.

The new format extends the page limit for the biosketch from four to five pages, and allows researchers to describe up to five of their most significant contributions to science, along with the historical background that framed their research. Investigators can outline the central findings of prior work and the influence of those findings on the investigator's field. Investigators involved in Team Science are provided the opportunity to describe their specific role(s) in the work. Each description can be accompanied by a listing of up to four relevant peer-reviewed publications or other non-publication research products, including audio or video products; patents; data and research materials; databases; educational aids or curricula; instruments or equipment; models; protocols; and software or netware that are relevant to the described contribution. In addition to the descriptions of specific contributions and documentation, researchers will be allowed to include a link to a full list of their published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as MyBibliography or SciENcv.

1/30/15 - NIH releases Peer Review Notes

With competition for NIH grants so intense now, most applicants want to make sure they put their best foot forward when applying. To help them do this, NIH asked some study section chairs to help us update CSR’s Insider’s Guide to Peer Review, which provides applicant advice collected from current and former chairs.

12/25/14 - Office of the Chancellor Issues PI Quick Reference Guide to the new Uniform Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget has combined many federal circulars into a single guidance document, Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200), which can be used by all federal agencies. These new regulations are applicable to awards received on or after December 26, 2014. To help CSU principal investigators understand funding opportunity guidelines, the Office of the Chancellor has issued PI Quick Reference Guide: Uniform Guidance - Major Changes Affecting Proposal Budgets, Charging of Direct Costs and Prior Approval Requirements (.doc).

12/5/14 - National Institutes of Health (NIH) Requires New Biographical Sketch Format

The NIH has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-15-032 for NIH and AHRQ grant applications submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2015. The notice supersedes NOT-OD-15-024 (released 11/26/14), which had required applicants to use the new biosketch format beginning in January 2015. Notice Number NOT-OD-15-032 encourages (but does not require) applicants to use the newly published biosketch format for all grant and cooperative agreement applications with due dates on or after January 25, 2015; however, the new biosketch format will be required for applications submitted with due dates on or after May 25, 2015.

11/21/14 - National Science Foundation Provides Clarification on Senior Personnel Salary in Excess of the Two-Month Limit

In an effort to reconcile discrepancies between NSF policy and their FAQs related to senior personnel salary, the NSF has included FAQ language into their newly released 2015 Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

From the 2015 NSF PAPP Guide:

(i) Salaries and Wages (Lines A and B on the Proposal Budget)

(a) Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy

NSF regards research as one of the normal functions of faculty members at institutions of higher education. Compensation for time normally spent on research within the term of appointment is deemed to be included within the faculty member’s regular organizational salary.

As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. This effort must be documented in accordance with 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E. If anticipated, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.21 Under normal rebudgeting authority, as described in AAG Chapters II and V, an awardee can internally approve an increase or decrease in person months devoted to the project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two month salary policy. No prior approval from NSF is necessary as long as that change would not cause the objective or scope of the project to change. NSF prior approval is necessary if the objective or scope of the project changes.

These same general principles apply to other types of non-academic organizations.

3/12/14 - Human Subjects Research Protocol Submissions to be Accepted During the Summer

The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) is happy to announce that the CSUN Standing Advisory Committee on the Protection of Human Subjects (SACPHS, also known as Institutional Review Board or IRB) will accept and review protocols during the summer months! Researchers will now be able to submit human subjects protocols during June and July (6/1/14 – 7/31/14). This change is being initiated to increase the opportunity for CSUN researchers to conduct their research during the summer. In June and July, students and faculty may submit a protocol to ORSP on a rolling basis. There are no deadlines during these summer months. Protocols that are submitted between June 1st and July 31st will be reviewed on a first come first served basis. Please note that some research activities may require full committee review, especially those that involve greater than minimal risk to participants. Protocols that are greater than minimal risk may not be reviewed until the first SACPHS meeting in August. Deadlines for new submissions and full committee meetings will resume in Fall semester, on August 5, 2014.

1/2/14 - Revisions to Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy for Grants and Contracts - Annual COI Disclosures No Longer Required

The Conflict of Interest Policy for Grants and Contracts was revised on December 4, 2013. Applicants are required to submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure at the time of proposal submission and whenever new financial interests are obtained during the life of an award. However, annual disclosures beyond the initial disclosure are no longer required. For more information on COI requirements, please see the recent memo regarding the COI Form (.pdf)  and the revised Conflict of Interest Policy on the Research Policies, Plans, and Procedures webpage.

12/10/13 - Change to Human Subjects Research Protocol Submission Requirements

When submitting a Human Subjects Protocol for review, please submit only one set of materials. The nine additional copies of the packet are no longer required. For more information on the protocol submission and review process please visit our Protocol Submission Process webpage.