Office of Sponsored Programs and Research

Red Square Clark University Worcester MA


Update to Human Subjects Anonymous Survey Web Tool

As of December 2013, Qualtrics survey software will replace Checkbox for use with anonymous surveys. For advance viewing of Qualtrics, please visit the Qualtrics Service page to learn more about the new software.

For anonymous surveys with current approval, Checkbox software will be supported through June 6, 2014, however, all new surveys should be published in Qualtrics. Please see the Human Subjects/IRB Anonymous Survey Application page for submission information.


Agency Guidance after Termination of Funding Hiatus, 10/24/13

NIH Revised Guidance on Resumption of NIH Activities

NSF Revised Proposal Due Dates


Information for the Clark Grant Community Regarding the Funding Hiatus (As of 10/2/13) - Updated as of 10/15/13

The Government Fiscal Year 2013 ended on September 30th and an Appropriation Act for FY 2014 was not passed resulting in a partial Government shutdown. This shutdown significantly affects the funding agencies with whom the University works to apply for and receive external funding in support of research and scholarly endeavors.

We have been reviewing information as it is being made available on the impact of the shutdown on various agencies and their functioning as related to grants and contracts.

A few general items to note:

• Many agency websites and related online portals (including will be or have already been shut down. Websites that appear active will have a note on their homepages that they are not being maintained with up-to-date information. Please note that the ARRA reporting portal WILL be available for the October deadline and those reports should be completed on time.

• With limited exceptions, agency personnel will not be available to respond to emails or phone calls during the shutdown.

• The Office of Management and Budget has an extensive list of “Agency Contingency Plans” that can be accessed here. Listed below are some key agencies with links to policy and operations information.

We ask that PIs forward to OSPR any information they may receive regarding their individual grants or contracts (either from agency contacts or prime recipient institutions/organizations), and to please be in touch with our office as soon as possible with respect to any upcoming grant deadlines so that we may discuss how to schedule out the proposal review and approval given the funding hiatus.

Please review the material below with respect to agencies that are funding your projects for specific details of which you should be aware, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions.

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Department of Justice (DOJ)

  For additional information from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) click here.

  Updated information as of 10/11/13 may be found here.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  Click here for additional information from NIH.

  Updated information as of 10/11/13 may be found here.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Click here to see “National Science Foundation Assistance and Contract-Related Policy and Systems Issues During the Government Shutdown”.

Americorps VISTA

Sequestration Order and Grant Funding

March 2013 (Updated 5/21/13)

This month President Obama issued notice that all federal agencies must reduce spending by $85 Billion for the remainder of the federal fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. This sequestration means that all of the federal agencies that support research and scholarship here at Clark University are making cuts to their budgets in all of their major programs. Reductions could occur in a variety of areas that impact grant funding such as in the number and/or size of new awards, reductions in funding to continuation awards, renegotiation in the scope of work on existing awards, and reductions in graduate fellowships.

The following are notices from some of the main agencies from which Clark receives funding regarding their plans for implementing sequestration:

The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The Department of Energy
The National Endowment for the Humanities

**NEW** National Institutes of Health (NIH)

We will continue to post information as it becomes available. The University asks that Principal Investigators (PIs) inform the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) about any notices they may receive specific to their grants. OSPR and the Dean of Research will work with PIs if any adjustments to budgets become necessary and will encourage any re-budgeting to prioritize the protection of grant-funded students and staff.

New Policy on Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) in Sponsored Programs and Research

As of August 24, 2012, Clark has implemented a revised Policy on Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Programs and Research.

All faculty members and other individuals (staff, researchers, students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting researchers) who are responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of research or other educational programs/ activities which are funded or proposed for funding by external funding agencies/institutions, are required to disclose whether they, their spouse/domestic partner, or any of their dependent children have any Significant Financial Interests related to their institutional responsibilities.

A Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Programs and Research Disclosure Form must be completed by each Investigator (persons responsible for design, conduct or reporting) involved in the research project or educational program/activity with each application for funding.

It is the responsibility of the Investigator to update this information with the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research at any time that it changes. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that each Investigator working on his/her project submits this disclosure form and any necessary updates. All Investigators must update this form at least annually. For more information see Clark’s Policy on Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) in Sponsored Programs and Research or contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research.

Important New Requirements for NSF Grant Recipients

1. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

As of January 4, 2010, all grant applications to NSF must certify that the institution has a plan,"to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.” See Grantee Standards

With the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and the Research Board, OSPR established a subscription with an online resource, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), to provide access to training in RCR core areas.

Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for not only overseeing and mentoring their students and researchers in the responsible and ethical conduct of research, but also for ensuring that all undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by their NSF awards are successfully completing the designated modules of the online course.

Please review Clark’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Requirement Policy and Procedures [DOC] statement for information on how to access the CITI program, as well as guidelines for PIs on their role in Clark’s compliance with this new requirement.

2. Project Outcomes Report for the General Public

This is a new requirement of PIs that, “Within 90 days following expiration of the grant, a project outcomes report for the general public must be submitted electronically via This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project.” More information on the format and content of this report

Major Changes to NIH Applications

1. Starting January 25, 2011, the error correction window that currently allows applicants to correct missing or incorrect portions of their applications during a two business day window after the submission deadline will be eliminated. Researchers should plan on submitting their proposals at least 1-2 days in advance of the deadline in order to allow for correction of errors. For more details see the official notice from NIH.

2. On July 27, 2010, NIH announced a new policy on the submission of application materials during the period after a grant application has been submitted, but prior to initial peer review. If you are planning an NIH proposal, please review details on this new policy, including lists of acceptable and unacceptable post-submission materials, circumstances in which post-submission application materials are allowable (or not), and deadlines and instructions for submission of post-submission application materials.

3. Beginning January 25, 2010, NIH requires the use of new forms and instructions for all grant proposals. Major changes include:

  • Restructured forms to align with review criteria
  • Significantly shorter page limits

These changes apply to all competing applications, so whether you are submitting a new, renewal, resubmission or revision, you must take action now to ensure a successful submission!

For more details, see Enhancing Peer Review, which has a page dedicated to the upcoming application changes, as well as a number of additional resources.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)

Stimulus Information