American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

The American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is now fully enacted. Institutions of higher education nationwide, including UW-Madison, are being asked to contribute our expertise and strong record of success in research and education to help stimulate the economy with an infusion of an unprecedented level of funding. We are truly grateful to the key leaders, particularly Wisconsin's Congressman Dave Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who supported the role of science in this package.

How these funds will be disbursed from the agencies is yet to be determined. Detailed implementation plans are required from each agency by May 1, 2009. Information below is distilled from the agency releases regarding their implementation plans to date. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.

UW ARRA Processing Information ARRA Funding Announcements on Grants.gov
Wisconsin Office of Recovery & Reinvestment Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) Summary of OMB Guidance
NIH Implementation Information DOE Energy Related Recovery Programs
NSF Implementation Information OMB Reporting Guidance
University of Wisconsin-Madison Implementation

NIH Implementation Information

Terms and conditions associated with NIH ARRA funding. Additional information about carryover funds and other requirements were announced in NIH notice NIH-OD-09-080 on April 3. Additional NIH FAQs are now available.

NIH Implementation Plan available here.

NIH FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:

NIH Enabling National Networking of Scientists and Resource Discovery (U24) - Limited competition to be reviewed by the Graduate School. Deadline for intent to Graduate School is May 18, 2009.

Grand Opportunity ("GO" applications over $500,000 per year for 2 years). Cayuse should be used to support submission. Links to individual Institutes and Centers information on RC2 is available here. UPDATE on 5/1/09: Due day now May 29, 2009. UPDATE on 4/24/2009: 2 new areas of interest have been posted. Click here to see the new information.

Recovery Act Limited Competition: NCMHD Dissertation Research Award to Increase Diversity (R36) RFA-MD-09-008 is a limited submission program. Nominations are due at the Graduate School on May 26. Posted May 18, 2009.

Supplement Opportunities (posted March 18, 2009). Updates regarding use of Modular Budgets and budget caps posted April 3, 2009.

High-End Instrumentation Grant Program - Letters of intent were due April 6, 2009.

Core Facility Renovation, Repair, and Improvement (G20) - This is a limited submission program which will require review by the Graduate School. Deadline for consideration by the Graduate School is March 24, 2009.

Research Facilities Improvement Opportunity (C06) - This is a limited submission program which will require review by the Graduate School. Deadline for consideration by the Graduate School is March 24, 2009.

Biomedical Research Core Centers to Enhance Research Resources (P30). We strongly recommend reviewing the Institute and Center specific eligibility requirements. Many institutes and centers have limited submission requirements for these grants. The Graduate School limited submission review requires letters of intent by April 20, 2009.

Shared Instrumentation Opportunity (S10) - Deadline for submission was March 23, 2009.

Challenge Grant (RC1). Cayuse should be used to support submission. Deadline April 27, 2009.

Research to Address the Heterogeneity in Autism Spectrum Disorders - There are four solicitations in this area.

Approximately $8.2 billion of the $10.4 billion to be provided to NIH between now and September 2010 is expected to be committed to science research. The vast majority of this ($7.4 billion) will be distributed to the I/Cs (and the Common Fund, which supports the Roadmap Initiative) in amounts proportional to their budgets.

There will be three broad categories for distribution of this $7.4 billion:

  1. The institutes will review meritorious currently pending proposals (primarily r01s) for which progress with only two years of funding is feasible. Updates were provided in notice NOT-OD-09-078 on April 3.
  2. Administrative supplement requests will be accepted in a range of themes, which are yet to be determined. Announcements posted March 18.
  3. A smaller portion (in the range of $100-200 million) will be used to fund challenge grant RFAs in individual I/Cs; the priority areas are yet to be determined. Additional information about NIH Challenge Grants.

Some funding will also be made available for renovations, shared instrumentation.

Dr. Kington made the point that these funds must be obligated within two years, and will not be base building for NIH. He anticipates distributing more information, and having more answers to our questions about the application processes, review mechanisms and negotiation of shorter-term awards soon. We will share information as we receive it, and expect to have a web page on the RSP site for up-to-date information on how NIH and other federal agencies will handle stimulus package funding next week.

Finally, we would like you to be aware that this funding will carry significant additional requirements. Examples Dr. Kington provided were more frequent reports (both financial and programmatic) and additional details in those reports, such as number of jobs created by the project.

NSF Implementation Information

NSF announces the Academic Research Infrastructure Program. This is a limited submission opportunity - only one application will be allowed from the UW. Nominators are due to the Graduate School by May 28, 2009. Updated May 18, 2009.

NSF announces the Major Research Instrumentation Program. This is a limited submission opportunity - only three applications will be allowed from the UW. Notice of Intent to apply must be to the Graduate School by June 2, 2009. Updated May 17, 2009.

NSF posts ARRA Terms & Conditions on May 9, 2009.

NSF posts Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on March 28, 2009.

NSF announced on March 18 its initial plans for implementation in Notice No. 131. It states:

"NSF currently has many highly rated proposals that it has not been able to fund. For this reason, NSF is planning to use the majority of the $2 billion available in Research and Related Activities for proposals that are already in house and will be reviewed and/or awarded prior to September 30, 2009.

The Foundation also expects to expeditiously award funds as specified in the Recovery Act for: the Math and Science Partnership program (funded at $25 million); the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (funded at $60 million); the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Account (funded at $400 million); the Academic Research Infrastructure (ARI) program (funded at $200 million); and the Science Masters program, (funded at $15 million). Solicitations for these latter two programs will be posted this spring.

NSF will post a solicitation this spring for the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) in order to make a sufficient number of awards to utilize the $300 million provided in the legislation. The Foundation currently anticipates that no other solicitations will be posted that are solely in response to the Recovery Act."

NSF confirmed the above information in a press release by Director Bement on March 26, 2009.

More information will be posted as we learn more about these new programs and solicitations.

Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR) Summary of OMB Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget on February 18 issued initial implementation guidance to the federal agencies on spending the economic recovery funds - http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-10.pdf

NIH and NSF have issued general statements about their plans to use the funds they will receive under the Economic Recovery Act. However, all of the agencies' plans will need to be reviewed and approved by OMB.

Among provisions of interest in the OMB document are those relating to the allocation of grants and cooperative agreements and the extensive new reporting requirements for entities that accept Recovery Act funds. As stated at the COGR meeting February 20, we will work with OMB and agency officials to minimize reporting burdens as much as possible, given the requirements of the Act.

Guidance on Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Page 32 of the OMB guidance addresses grants and cooperative agreements, noting that although the Recovery Act calls on agencies to spend the funding as quickly as possible, "this statement, by itself, does not constitute a sufficient justification to support award of a federal grant on a non-competitive basis."

Agencies are expected "to follow the same laws, principles, procedures, and practices in awarding discretionary grants with Recovery Act funds as they do with other funds," and to promote competition "to the maximum extent practicable." It adds, "Agencies may want to consider the appropriateness of limited competitions among existing high-performing projects versus full and open competitions and formula allocations."

Guidance on Significant New Reporting Requirements

Beginning on page 14, OMB describes the detailed reporting requirements for recipients of economic recovery funds.

"As required by Section 1512 of the Recovery Act and this guidance, each recipient, as described above, is required to report the following information to the Federal agency providing the award 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter, starting on July 10th.

These reports will include the following data elements, as prescribed by the Recovery Act:

  • The total amount of recovery funds received from that agency;
  • The amount of recovery funds received that were obligated and expended to projects or activities. This reporting will also include unobligated Allotment balances to facilitate reconciliations.
  • A detailed list of all projects or activities for which recovery funds were obligated and expended including:
    • The name of the project or activity;
    • A description of the project or activity;
    • An evaluation of the completion status of the project or activity;
    • An estimate of the number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained by the project or activity; and
    • For infrastructure investments made by State and local governments, the purpose, total cost, and rationale of the agency for funding the infrastructure investment with funds made available under this Act, and name of the person to contact at the agency if there are concerns with the infrastructure investment.
  • Detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants awarded by the recipient to include the data elements required to comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-282), allowing aggregate reporting on awards below $25,000 or to individuals, as prescribed by the Director of OMB.

The final guidance issued by OMB for the Recovery Act will lay out in more detail specific reporting instructions and how the data collection for this reporting will work government-wide."