Managing Sea Grant omnibus and program development grants

The following requirements for managing grants from Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) have been established by federal statute, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or by Oregon State University (OSU), which houses OSG. In addition to these requirements, your own university or college has established rules and regulations governing grant administration that also should be followed.

This guidance is broken into two major sections:

Requirements and Grant Tracking

1. Budgetary Requirements

Budget Balances
You are required to track your project budget. If expenditures create a negative balance in a budget category, please discuss it immediately with Oregon Sea Grant Research and Scholars Program Leader Sarah Kolesar (541-737-8695).

Allowable Costs
There are restrictions on how these grant funds can be used. If you have questions about what are allowable costs, please contact us, check the OSU Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) website, or contact the Contracts Office of your institution. Investigators and their institutions are reminded that expending federal or non-federal (cost-share) funds, or providing in-kind goods and services for the purposes of providing any expenses for any federal employee is expressly prohibited.

Travel
Travel expenses under this grant shall follow your institution’s or agency’s approved travel policies. In all cases, expenses shall not exceed, and are capped at, the federal per diem rates. Per diem rates for Oregon State University are published at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/fa/businessaffairs/travel/tres/per_diem_us

International Travel and Fly America Restrictions
All international travel must be included in your approved proposal budget (including location, date of trip, estimated cost of airfare and per diem) and must be approved by OSG before you make travel arrangements. You will need to contact Sarah Kolesar to discuss the object of the trip and submit an international travel request form to OSG. You must follow Fly America regulations. Please contact your accountant or OSG for Fly America policies and procedures. We recommend allowing at least 60 days for processing.

Equipment
All equipment purchases must be included in your approved proposal budget and must be approved by OSG prior to purchasing any unit or item of permanent equipment (equipment is generally defined as an article of non-expendable, tangible personal property, having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit; occasionally, the RFP or research sponsor may have a more restrictive definition). If the unit cost is in excess of $5,000, OSG must obtain prior approval for the purchase from NOAA. Any equipment request over $5,000 requires a lease-versus-purchase analysis as part of the procurement process. We recommend allowing at least 60 days for processing. Purchase of general-purpose equipment (any item that is usable for activities of the institution other than research) is generally not an allowable expense. Contact Sarah Kolesar to explore what options may be available.

Cost-Share/Matching Funds
OSG Cost Share Description
: Cost Share is the project cost that does not come from Sea Grant but is contributed and committed to the project by the PI, Co-PIs, and partners. In other words, it is the funds, or effort, required to complete a particular project beyond what Sea Grant provides. Note, the terms “cost share” and “matching funds” often are used interchangeably. Federal law requires Oregon Sea Grant to provide a non-federal “match” of one dollar for each two dollars of Sea Grant funds received (although some grant opportunities through OSG may have different cost share requirements). While OSG must provide one dollar of non-federal match for every two dollars of federal funds, we are able to be somewhat flexible on individual research projects. Please contact Sarah Kolesar with questions regarding cost share on individual projects.

For proposals, cost share must be detailed in the project proposal budget worksheets and in the budget justification narrative. For OSU PIs, the source index of cost share funds should be included when possible. Research projects that do not provide at least 50% non-federal match may not qualify for funding.

Typical/Common Sources of Cost Share:
Home institution - The most common source of cost share for Oregon Sea Grant research projects are the PI and/or Co-PIs salaries, fringe benefits and associated indirect costs (faculty effort at OSU is tracked through the OSU fiscal system). Additional items that may be considered include supplies, equipment and services that the PI’s institution purchases exclusively for the benefit of the project.

Third-Party Cost Share - In cases where a third party (a non-federal organization or company) is willing to provide time/effort, supplies, equipment and/or services to benefit the project, the value of these supplies, equipment or services may be included as cost-share. A letter confirming the commitment, with a statement of the value per year and a description of the contribution, must be included with the project proposal. This letter of commitment must also include the PI’s name and project title and be authorized by the third party. If funded, the PI is responsible for providing documentation from the third party certifying the time/effort, supplies or equipment were provided, or services rendered, as part of the project’s documentation requirements.

Donated land, facilities, or equipment must be valued at no more than fair market value at the time of donation. Donated services or supplies, such as use of boat time or a supply of fish, should be valued at the rate that would normally be charged to another user.

Uncommon, but Possible, Sources of Cost Share:
Volunteer services must be valued according to the type of service being provided (and not based on the position of the person volunteering), and the volunteer’s time must be documented and signed by the volunteer and volunteer coordinator.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) time may be used for cost share if, and only if, that time is exclusively for the benefit of the project. This may occur, for example, when the GTA is creating curriculum or engaged in instruction as part of the education and outreach component of the project.

PI Responsibilities Regarding Cost Share:
Cost share included in an awarded project is a contractual obligation that must be documented and met. Any unmet cost share at the end of the award period may lead to a reduction in the total amount awarded from Sea Grant. Cost share expenses are auditable and must be verifiable from the partner’s organizational accounting records or similar source document. Cost share for Sea Grant projects cannot come from federal funds and cannot represent contributions to other federally assisted projects. All cost share must be allowable, reasonable and necessary costs to support the project. In the event that any of the costs are disallowed, the PI is responsible for reimbursing Sea Grant for the costs. The project PI must institute processes to obtain, track, document, verify and approve cost share commitments throughout the life of the award. The PI must report third-party cost share directly to the OSG office quarterly. The third-party cost-share form is here: Cost-Share from Outside Sources. OSU PIs also must report third-party cost share to OSRAA, as well. PIs must communicate and work with OSG on any revisions to cost share that may be necessary during the course of the project.

2. Programmatic Requirements

Students
The current names and contact information for students involved with the project must be provided to OSG for reporting purposes within 60 days of the award or as soon as students are identified, so that we can invite supported students to participate in Oregon Sea Grant Scholars activities. PIs should provide updates when students leave the project or graduate, and keep OSG informed of student employment and/or schooling for two years post-graduation, as required by the National Sea Grant Office.

Presentations
Please acknowledge Oregon Sea Grant support when presentations are made. This visibility has become increasingly important to us and is a courtesy we take seriously. PIs must also keep track of the presentations given related to this project and the number of people at the presentation, for reporting purposes; this includes presentations made by students on the projects. The Oregon Sea Grant logo, and guidance on its use, can be found here, for use in presentations and other visual materials. There may be opportunities during your project for presentations at OSG-sponsored events. We will contact you directly with specific requests.

Publications
OSG expects that you will publish the progress and results of your Sea Grant-funded work through technical journals, proceedings, trade press, etc. OSG must receive a PDF of all publications resulting from this project. Sea Grant Communications is available as a resource to work with you on publishing materials, please contact Rick Cooper (541-737-0793) for more information. If publication funds were requested in your budget and are needed beyond your project period, contact Sarah Kolesar to explore what options may be available.

It is essential that you, your co-PIs, and students on this project properly acknowledge support by Oregon Sea Grant and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in all materials published as a result of this project. All publications must carry the following acknowledgment:

This report was prepared by Oregon Sea Grant under award (grant) number _________ (CFDA No. ___) (project number _________) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea Grant College Program, U.S. Department of Commerce, and by appropriations made by the Oregon State Legislature. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funders.

Note: The award, CFDA (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance), and project numbers are included in your award letter and award conditions. For more information see Things You'll Need to Know: Publishing Sea Grant-Sponsored Work.h14002.pdf (170.39 KB)

Patents
All potentially patentable ideas, inventions, discoveries or improvements made during the grant terms must be disclosed promptly to their institution’s grants administration office, which will be able to provide instructions. Researchers should also contact Sarah Kolesar (541-737-8695) to report the patent.

Data Management
Data and information collected and/or created under NOAA grants and cooperative agreements must be made visible, accessible, and independently understandable to general users, free of charge or at minimal cost, in a timely manner (typically no later than two years after the data are collected or created), except where limited by law, regulation, policy or by security requirements. The requirement has two basic parts: (1) environmental data generated by a grant project must be made available after a reasonable period of exclusive use, and (2) the grant application must describe the plan to make the data available (Principal Investigators are expected to execute the plan).

If your project produces environmental data, it must conform to NOAA’s Data Sharing Directive for Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts. For detailed guidance, you can view the current version of the policy, including a definition of environmental data (which can include socioeconomic and model data). Download any updates and access additional implementation resources from the following permanent URL (Appendix B outlines requirements):

https://nosc.noaa.gov/EDMC/documents/Data_Sharing_Directive_v3.0.pdf. If a Data Management Plan (DMP) was included in your approved project proposal, the DMP must be followed. If you fail to share your data as you proposed in your DMP, you could be subject to a number of sanctions, including denial of future grant awards, freezing of funds in your current award, or in extreme cases even being forced to repay the grant award to the government. If you are unable to follow through with the DMP, contact Sarah Kolesar to explore what options may be available.

Reporting
Each project is required to submit interim progress reports (by request) and a technical completion report on the project's end date. These reports are required by NOAA and Oregon Sea Grant has the responsibility of collecting the reports from PIs and submitting them to NOAA. Both Oregon Sea Grant and the individual PIs are evaluated on the basis of productivity, which in turn affects future funding. Report due dates are specified in your project Award Letter and Conditions. Please review the reporting template available on eSeaGrant (contact eseagrant@oregonstate.edu to request access), so you are familiar with what information needs to be collected to complete the report. Please note, however, that reporting requirements may change over time.

OSG reserves the right to withhold the project funds if appropriate documentation or required reports are not provided by program deadlines; the interim progress reports serve as the basis for Sea Grant’s decision regarding continuation of a multi-year project into its next year. Furthermore, continued or new funding of any Sea Grant project with which you are affiliated may be withheld until previous, outstanding progress reporting requirements are fulfilled. In addition, a PI’s failure to provide timely reports on a previous or existing grant will be included among decision criteria when reviewing new grant requests with which the PI is associated.

OSG has an obligation to provide information to the public because projects are supported from federal and state funds. OSG responds to inquiries from the public and news media about the funding of your project with the project number, title of project, total funding approved, dates/duration of project and the principal investigator(s). We routinely provide public updates on the progress of funded projects through news releases, web articles and updates, etc. In the case of a specific inquiry, we will notify you, and if appropriate, encourage the inquirer to contact you directly.

OSG Outreach and Engagement Specialists may also contact you. We encourage you to assist them as much as possible in carrying out their outreach and engagement activities. We may also invite you to participate in workshops, seminars, and other meetings conducted by the Oregon Sea Grant Program.

Project Modification and Revision Requests

1. Budget Modifications

Budget Revisions, including Transferring Dollars among Categories
You must request and receive approval from OSG prior to executing any budget revision, including transfers among budget categories, or for contracting out of any work, or sub-contracts, not specified in the grant application. Please note that budget changes are sometimes granted, but it is necessary for the PI to make a formal written request (an email will suffice) and provide clear justifications for the request. Some requests may require prior approval from NOAA as well; we recommend allowing 60 days for processing and response. Contact Sarah Kolesar for budget revision questions and requests.

2. Project Modifications

Allowable Changes in the Involvement of Project Personnel
Major changes in personnel structure or project direction must be approved in advance by OSG and, in some instances, by NOAA. Items requiring approval include, but are not limited to, a change or relocation of principal investigator; sabbatical leaves for senior personnel, and substitution of graduate assistants with research associates. Prior approval is required for an absence of more than 3 months or a 25% reduction in time by the PI. Contact Sarah Kolesar for personnel revision questions and changes.

Allowable Changes in Project Methodology or Direction
We realize that you may be unlikely to conduct the funded research exactly as proposed. However, any major changes in the scope, objectives, approach or methodology for any element of the project also require prior approval. An example of a “major change” is a change in water quality sampling methodology from x to y, due to unexpectedly low stream flows during the expected sampling period –a change in methodology required to achieve project objectives, due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the study team’s control. A major change may also include unanticipated equipment needs. Note that some changes in project methodology or scope will also require related budget revision. Please make every effort to allow at least 90 days for adequate discussion and Oregon Sea Grant/NOAA approval before you would need to implement a change; 60 days is a minimum requirement. Contact Sarah Kolesar if you are not sure if your proposed adjustment constitutes a "major" change, or to request a change in project methodology or direction.

Allowable Changes in Project End Date
If necessary, PI's may request a no-cost extension (NCE) of a maximum of one year. NCEs must be requested in writing (mail, fax, or email) at least 60 days prior to the project end date. An annual or status report should be submitted with the request via eSeaGrant. The primary considerations for the request are the justification for the extension and the proposed use and allocation of unexpended funds.  All NCE requests will be submitted through eSeaGrant; contact eseagrant@oregonstate.edu for access.

CONTACTS

Project- and budget-related questions: Sarah Kolesar (541-737-8695)

Additional information:

updated April 2017