Olaf Svennigsen (Lund University), Eva Björndal (King’s College London)
Target group: research managers and administrators with limited to intermediate experience of applying for and managing research funding from US Federal funding agencies.
Learning objectives: After having actively engaged in this workshop, participants will:
- Have an understanding of the US Federal research funding system.
- Understand the requirements to prepare a European organization to successfully apply for and manage research funding from US Federal funding agencies.
- Be able to decode a call from the National Institutes Health and determine:
o Whether or not it is possible and/or a good idea to submit a proposal in response to the call;
o Risks, including the pros and cons of prime award vs. subaward.
o How to proceed in preparing the proposal and submitting it.
- Be oriented on the procedures and requirements for post-award management of US Federal research funds.
Applying for research funding and managing grants from foreign countries may be daunting for both the scientists and the administrative staff involved in the process. If the foreign country is the USA and the funding agencies are federal – for example the biggest of them all, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the challenge and complexity of setting an institution up in the many required systems may be overwhelming, and some very real risks are indeed present. However, with patience, persistence, knowledge, and some forethought, administrative staff may save their institution (and themselves) much work and grievance.
A Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) from the NIH is generally 20-30 printed pages, contains all the information needed to apply (or decide not to), but presumes knowledge of a number of rules, guidelines and legislation that may not be familiar for a foreign research manager. There are different types of FOA—with acronyms like e.g. RFA, CFA, PA and more—with implications for how to read the FOA. In addition, the NIH has a vast number of funding instruments, and knowing the difference between for example an R01, an R21 and an U01 is very important.
The application procedure of US federal funders is highly standardized, using a common format. The logic and technology behind the US Federal application format is easy and practical, but different from most European proposal systems, not least the EU Commission’s Participant Portal.
Once a US award has been obtained, the post-award processes need to be addressed, too. Just as with the pre-award processes, surviving post-award assumes knowledge about…
PART I, background: The characteristics of the US Federal research funding systems and processes will be outlined, based on insider experience—the speaker worked at the National Science Foundation for a number of years—trying to answer the question(s): “But why do they do it like that?”
The process and requirements for setting up a foreign (non-US) institution to apply for and manage NIH and other US federal grants will be explained. Dealing with the Public Policy Requirements or “compliance” will be addressed, including, among other, audit requirements, protection of human research subject, data management, indirect costs and other challenges.
PART II, pre-award: Hands-on training on two key issues when considering whether or not to apply for funding from the NIH:
- Reading and understanding the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to decide whether or not to apply, and;
- Setting up and submitting the grant proposal in the US systems.
The exercise focuses on the NIH, but the principles are generally applicable to other US funders.
PART III, post-award: What are the main processes and requirements that must be addressed when managing US Federal funds in Europe? How do they differ from the requirements of the EU Commission, and what are the biggest risks? Focus will be on:
- Financial management, including financial conflicts of interest, reporting requirements and audits.
- Who to talk to at the funding agency (NIH), and when and how to get in touch.
- Maintaining a good relationship with the prime awardee (US organization).
- Closing out a project.
IMPORTANT! To get the most out of this workshop, participants should bring a laptop or tablet with Internet access. In PART II, participants will work in small (2-3 individuals) groups to solve challenges designed to enhance the learning outcome of the workshop.
Number of Participants: Maximum 30