27 March 2020
The US’s NIH have published a compliance notice over “Flexibilities Available to Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by COVID-19”, from a post-award perspective the headlines are:
NIH understands that many researchers may be unable to work as a result of or related to the effects of COVID-19. If a recipient organization’s policy allows for the charging of salaries and benefits during periods when no work is performed due to the effect of COVID-19, regardless of the funding source, including Federal and non-Federal, then such charges to NIH grant awards will be allowable.
Reminder: NIH awarding Institutes/Centers (ICs) may request documentation to confirm the requirements of institutional policies.
Institutions affected by COVID-19 may continue to provide stipend payments to fellows and trainees who may be unable to work as a result of or related to COVID-19. Recipients should notify the assigned grants management official, and provide documentation demonstrating the effect of COVID-19, and how long the institution will be affected.
Non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable. See NIH GPS 7.9.1 for detailed information on the allowability of travel expenses.
Conference Registration Fees:
Non-refundable registration fees for conferences, symposiums or seminars that have been cancelled due to COVID19 may be charged to the NIH award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives
Full NIH statement here
When delays occur because the applicant or recipient organisation is officially closed or unable to submit grant applications due to the effects of COVID-19, the NIH will consider accepting applications late, on a case-by-case basis, under certain circumstances.
The NIH has introduced flexibilities applicable to NIH applicants and recipients where the entity is conducting research activities related to or affected by COVID-19, relating to:
- pre-award costs
- extension of post-award financial and other reporting
- prior approval requirement waivers
- cost-related flexibilities/expenditure of award funds
- extension of closeout
- extension of single audit submission
The NIH has issued guidance on clinical trials and human subject studies affected by COVID-19. They encourage recipients to consult with their institutions about potential measures to protect participants and research staff. Recipients may submit late financial and progress reports if research is delayed due to COVID-19, and may carry over unobligated balances on active grants without requesting prior approval.
Frequently asked questions on proposal submission and award management related to COVID-19 are also available: