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CFANS Research News

FDP Releases Summary of ARRA Survey

capital top picThe Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP), a Washington-based association of federal agencies, academic research institutions, and educational and/or research policy organizations, recently released an executive summary of its ARRA Administrative Impact Survey conducted in 2010-2011. Befitting its goal of streamlining the administration of federally sponsored research, the FDP asked its members to take part in a survey on the administrative and financial impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding on awardees.

The purpose of the survey was to document and quantify the administrative impact on FDP members - UMN being one -  of the ARRA-specific requirements for recipients. Awardees of ARRA funds were required to comply with such new requirements as reporting jobs created and retained and quarterly progress reporting. In addition to completing these requirements, substantial time and effort was expended by staff to identify and understand the requirements and to train other faculty and staff members.

Conducted between October 2010 and June 2011, the survey drew responses from 100 FDP members, awardees of $7.2 billion in ARRA awards. FDP found that many (approximately one third) hired, on average, three full-time staff members to handle the additional workload. Those who did not or could not add staff relied heavily on reallocating current staff members or increasing work hours. FDP also found that PIs from the responding institutions spent 5,750 hours on progress reporting for ARRA awards - a figure they believe is understated. In total, the respondents reported $91.7 million in administrative costs between FY 2009 and FY 2012, amounting to an average of $7,973 per ARRA award. The University of Minnesota reported nearly $785,00 in administrative costs related to ARRA awards over the four year time period.mcnamara pic

Together with key recommendations from the respondents for reducing the administrative burden of ARRA reporting, FDP hopes these these results will be used by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, legislative bodies, and others involved in the development of transparency, or other ARRA-like, requirements (such as the proposed Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act) to better understand the potential impacts of such requirements on research institutions. To read a copy of the summary, visit the FDP website.

U.S. Research Commercialization Strong Despite Economy

honeycrispsAccording to data gathered by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) from its annual survey, universities completed more licensing deals, filed more patent applications, and formed more start-up companies in FY 2010 despite a faltering economy. The AUTM released highlights form its AUTM Licensing Activity Survey Summary for FY 2010 which drew responses from 183 U.S. institutions, including 155 universities. (full results will be released in late November). Increases over FY 2009 were noted in the following areas:

It remains to be seen whether these increases will continue or the tide will be reversed over the next several years as the provisions set out in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) are implemented. The legislation, signed into law just shy of two months ago, will move the U.S. "first-to-invent" patent system to a "first-inventor-to-file" approach for applications filed March 16, 2013.

For a brief look at the potential impact of the AIA specifically on colleges and universities, see a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "To Protect Your Next Bright Idea, Mind What You Say and When You Say It".

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NIH Funding Research on Health Effects of Climate Change

Researchers interested in the effects of a changing global climate on human health are encouraged to apply under the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Climate Change and Health: Assessing and Modeling Population Vulnerability to Climate Change (R21) program. As part of a ten year commitment made by NIH and, more specifically, by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the ultimate objective of this FOA is to identify who is at the greatest risk for adverse health effects due to climate change and why, and what strategies in health care, emergency services, land use, urban design and settlement patterns can implemented to protect the most vulnerable.

Under the program, NIEHS funds small research applications to assess and characterize the differential risk factors of populations that lead to or are associated with increased vulnerability to exposures, diseases and other adverse health outcomes related to climate change. Competitive applications fall into one of two major categories: 

Applicants are expected to assemble diverse, multidisciplinary teams with at least one health scientist and one climatologist on board as well as researchers with expertise in areas such as geography, mathematical models, economics, demography, and the social and behavioral sciences. Partnerships with community-based organizations, public health officials, policy-makers, health professionals, and others as appropriate to the proposed project are encouraged as well.

Applications are due by May 24, 2012.

In this CFANS Research eNews Issue:

A New Look for Research eNews

Watch for the next issue of CFANS Research eNews which will feature a new, streamlined design and all the same research-related news and information.

OSTP Needs Your Input on Nat'l Bioeconomy Blueprint

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is seeking feedback from the scientific community on Building A 21st Century Bioeconomy (pdf) to assist OSTP and other federal agencies as they develop a National Bioeconomy Blueprint. The Blueprint will outline Administration-wide steps to harness biological research innovations to meet grand challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment and spur job growth. Send your comments and suggestions by December 16, 2011 to

UMN Soon To Offer COS's Pivot

The University will soon be making a new product from COS (Community of Science) available for use by UMN faculty and staff. Currently, the U provides access to the searchable COS Funding Database, one of the most widely used databases of funding opportunities among research institutions, as well as the COS Expertise Database. COS's new Pivot product combines the capabilities of these two databases and pre-populates researcher profiles with information from publications databases and University websites. Pivot will allow faculty and staff to search for a funding opportunity and view faculty with matching profiles within the U community and outside and vice versa. To learn more about Pivot, visit Recorded training modules and registration for training web sessions can be found here.

 Recent CFANS Grant Awards

A number of CFANS faculty members received grant awards in October. Click here to learn more. Congratulations to all the successful PIs!

Upcoming Deadlines

The CFANS Dean's Office maintains a comprehensive list of upcoming grant program deadlines online at the CFANS Research web page. Do you have a question about a program? Contact Jessica Weaver at

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CFANS Research News is written and edited by Jessica Weaver, CFANS Grants Coordinator. Send questions, comments and article ideas to