UFIRST Grants Proposal System Goes Live This Month

This month, UF will launch the first phase of UFIRST—the University of Florida Integrated Research Support Tool—with the implementation of a new proposal routing system. Beginning March 23, all proposals for sponsored funding will be required to be routed through UFIRST.

Designed to significantly improve the way the Office of Research administers research, from proposals through awards, UFIRST will streamline workflow processes and improve transparency, tracking and reporting. Subsequent phases of UFIRST’s implementation will occur in the fall of 2015, when UFIRST submission to will replace the use of Cayuse, and the spring of 2016, when a new awards system will be introduced.

Departments that currently use myUFL Proposal Express and anticipate submitting proposals between Friday, March 13, and Friday, March 20, should have all electronic routing completed by March 12. Any proposals initiated between March 13 and March 20 must use the paper DSP-1. The DSP-1 can be found on the Office of Research Forms and Templates webpage under Sponsored Projects Approval Forms. All proposals routed after March 20 will be required to use UFIRST.

For more information about UFIRST—including frequently asked questions, training information, and a project timeline—please visit

UF Office of Research Revises Cost Sharing Policy

With the implementation of UFIRST and the new federal Uniform Guidance (see article UF Implements New OMB Uniform Guidance), the UF Office of Research has updated its Cost Sharing Policy.

Key changes include the following:

  • Definition of voluntary committed cost sharing updated to “Voluntary committed cost sharing is created if a proposal budget or justification specifically includes cost sharing where none was required.” Prior policy included any documented commitment anywhere in the proposal.
  • Clarification on unit approval of voluntary committed cost sharing to “All voluntary committed cost sharing being offered to the sponsor in a proposal must be approved by the College Dean, Department Chair, or Unit Director (or any of their delegates) and forwarded with the proposal to the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) for approval by authorized institutional representative.”

UF Implements New OMB Uniform Guidance

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 revising administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards. The modified regulations place increased emphasis on institutions to strengthen their internal control processes over the management of funds in order to provide reasonable assurance of effective and efficient operations, reliability of reporting, and compliance with laws and regulations.

The major points of emphasis and implications for UF at this time are as follows:

All costs must be reasonable, allocable, and necessary to the performance of the work.

  • Computing Devices – The Uniform Guidance allows the direct charging of computing devices, costing less than $5,000 as a material and supply cost provided they are essential and allocable to the project. Computing devices do not have to be solely dedicated to the performance of a federal award, in order to be charged 100% to a single award or allocated to several awards. Computer devices are expected to be primarily used to support the performance of the federal award. The UF Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) will continue to require CAS exemption forms for these items.
      DSP recommends that for any project where a computer is essential and allocable and can be documented as such, to include these items in your budget and justification starting immediately.
  • Administrative and Clerical Support – The Uniform Guidance clearly states salaries of administrative and clerical staff should normally be treated as indirect (F&A) costs; however, direct charging of administration and clerical costs may be appropriate to a federal award only if all of the following conditions are met:
    • Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity.
    • Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity.
    • Such costs are explicitly included in the budget or have the prior written approval of the federal awarding agency.
    • The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
      DSP recommends starting immediately for the budget justification to include the positions, cost, reason the project has a need for dedicated administrative and clerical personnel, and the role these individuals will play. If awarded, DSP will require a CAS exemption form to be approved for these charges to be expensed to your project. DSP recommends that administrative or clerical time must exceed 20% of an individual’s total effort to be proposed as direct charged to any sponsored project. Any effort less than 20% should generally be recovered as indirect costs.
  • Effort Reporting – The standards for documenting personnel charges on sponsored projects remain. There is some flexibility in the method of documentation, but the overall policy and requirements are not changed. UF will work to clarify its policy on Institutional Base Salary but anticipates no procedural changes. Effort reporting in myUFL will continue once per semester for all individuals paid or cost shared on sponsored projects.
  • Subrecipient Monitoring – There is an increased emphasis on the role of the prime award recipient in monitoring the fiscal and programmatic performance of its subrecipients. UF is required to evaluate each subrecipient’s risk of noncompliance with federal regulations and the terms of the award for the purposes of determining the appropriate subrecipient monitoring. PIs on projects with subrecipients will be required to collect, review, and retain subrecipient’s programmatic reports as required by the terms of the subaward and continue to review invoices and ensure that the subrecipient is performing work at least equivalent to the charges billed.
  • Fixed Price Outgoing Subawards – Sponsor prior approval will be required in order for UF to issue a fixed price subaward rather than a cost-reimbursement subaward. The total cost of each fixed price subaward may not exceed $150,000. UF typically uses fixed price subawards with foreign subrecipients, clinical trial site agreements, and occasionally with small organizations. UF will consider the fixed price subaward approved if the award is made and no contrary guidance has been provided by the sponsor in the award notice.
      Starting immediately, DSP recommends that for any project where an outgoing subaward is contemplated to be fixed price, a clear statement must be included in the proposal/budget justification that indicates the budgeted subaward for (insert subrecipient name) will be issued as a fixed price subaward.
  • Fixed Amount Awards – UF will require that all budgets for all types of awards are built, routed, and approved at a minimum category level budget, with key personnel broken out by name and effort commitment. The guidance requires that any deviation from the effort commitment, even for fixed amount awards, by 25% or more be approved by the sponsor, in writing, prior to the change.
  • Closeout – There is increased scrutiny on the timeline for closeout of an award. UF has already experienced increased pressure from sponsors to ensure timely closeout of all awards. PIs and administrators are encouraged to monitor charges throughout the life of the award to expedite the fiscal closeout. In addition, PIs are expected to file all technical and invention reports within 90 days of the expiration of the award.
  • Participant Support Costs – Participant support costs in all budgets will be excluded from the F&A base. UF is seeking clarification whether this applies immediately to all budgets or only after the next F&A agreement is negotiated.
  • Procurement Requirements – There are significant changes in the procurement requirements. They are so significant that the research community was successful in delaying the implementation for one year (until 7/1/2016). These changes will require bids, quotes, and increased documentation on all purchases greater than $3,000.

Please see the UF Office of Research Uniform Guidance Implementation webpage for more information.

2015 Workshop on Quasi-Experimental Design and Analysis

Northwestern University, with a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is hosting the 2015 Workshop on Quasi-Experimental Design and Analysis from Monday, August 3 to Friday, August 14. Applications to attend the workshop should be submitted by April 20, 2015 and decisions will be made by May 1. The workshop is for faculty from all disciplines who have an interest in causal research in education though advanced graduate students working with quasi-experimental data are also welcome.

The application process will include a vita and a letter describing past, present, or future involvements with the conduct of quasi-experimental studies in education. The application form and more information can be found at the workshop website Workshop instruction and accommodations will take place at the Orrington Hotel ( in Evanston, Illinois.

The workshop is funded by IES (Grant R305D140029), and thanks to this grant, all instructional and lodging costs will be met, but not travel or food costs. However, there are travel scholarships available for five persons from institutions that cannot pay for the travel costs. Applicants who need a travel scholarship should request one. The Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University has agreed to defray the costs of breakfast snacks. In addition, Evanston has a large number of easily available, inexpensive, and good restaurants where workshop attendees may eat.

This two-week workshop will expose attendees to the best current quasi-experimental practice for education and will help them analyze the data that the better designs produce. The format will be some lectures with active involvement from attendees. These lectures will describe better practice with the rationale based on both statistical theory and the results of studies directly comparing non-experimental and experimental causal results. The rest of the workshop will be spent hands on the analysis of data from the designs covered in the lectures.

The hands-on instructional component having to do with analysis will use two programs: R and STATA. Attendees should have a copy of one or both of these on their laptop they bring to the training. There may be some people who do not know either program. For those who are adept at learning computer languages and are confident of their skills, we advise them to apply for the workshop. For those who know they are not adept and do not know either language, it would probably not be a good idea to apply. We anticipate that most attendees will be familiar with one or both of these programs.

Each day will involve about three hours of lecture time with breaks, then lunch, then three to four hours of hands-on instruction in analysis that takes place in smaller groups. This breakout time will be organized around modules that we prepared to illustrate analytic practice with either R or STATA. Lunch can be local, including inexpensive sandwiches or ethnic restaurants. During the evenings, we envisage that most dinners will be taken communally in local, inexpensive restaurants. The town of Evanston is beautiful in the summer and nearby Chicago offers plenty of leisure options for the weekend.

The instructors will be Thomas Cook of Northwestern University, Will Shadish of the University of California at Merced, Peter Steiner from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Coady Wing from Indiana University at Bloomington, and Vivian Wong from the University of Virginia. Taken together they have had considerable experience in the design and analysis of randomized experiments, regression discontinuity designs, interrupted time series, and many other forms of non-experimental practice. All have backgrounds in education research, with three teaching graduate students and postdocs in education. Together they know the literature, not just in education, but also in statistics, psychology, economics, and public policy.

For further information, please contact Ms. Rebecca Morris at

Research Event in March

Faculty and doctoral students are cordially invited to attend:

OER Professorship Symposium

with Stephen Smith, Fien Professor; Pat Snyder, Lawrence Professor; and Ester de Jong, B.O. Smith Professor 

Monday, March 16, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Terrace Room

Bring your brown bag lunch. Refreshments and cookies will be served.

RSVP to Rosie Connolly by Friday, March 13:

Awarded Projects for February 2015

College of Education
Awarded Projects
February 2015
Principal Investigator: Lynda Hayes (P.K. Yonge)
Co-PI: N/A
Funding Agency: Florida Department of Education
Project Title: Performance Adjustments to School Districts
Project Period: 7/1/2014 – 6/30/2015
Award Amount: $51,292


Submitted Projects for February 2015

College of Education
Submitted Projects
February 2015
Principal Investigator: Philip Poekert (Lastinger Center for Learning)
Co-PI: N/A
Funding Agency: Early Learning Coalition of Miami Dade/Monroe
Proposal Title: Early Childhood Development Services #2015-5
Requested Amount: $120,000
Principal Investigator: Thomasenia Lott Adams (Dean’s Area)
Co-PI: Jennifer Curtis (College of Engineering), Henry “Hank” Frierson (UF Graduate School), Juan Gilbert (Computer & Information Science & Engineering), R. Elaine Turner (College of Agricultural & Life Sciences)
Funding Agency: UF Office of Research
Proposal Title: In Pursuit of the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers
Requested Amount: $135,579
Principal Investigator: Feihong Wang (AZCEECS/SESPECS)
Co-PI: Patricia Snyder (AZCEECS/SESPECS), Maureen Conroy (AZCEECS/SESPECS), James Algina (AZCEECS/SESPECS)
Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health
Proposal Title: Validation of a Task Engagement Factor in Early Childhood and Exploration of its Mediating Role in Children’s Executive Function and Academic Performance
Requested Amount: $150,000
Principal Investigator: Elliott Douglas (Materials Science and Engineering)
Co-PI: David Therriault (SHDOSE)
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Proposal Title: Collaborative Research: Ambiguity as Choice: How Engineers Approach Ill-Structured Problems
Requested Amount: $310,953