IN THE NEWS
Three days after the first major federal economic stimulus grant deadline, the HMS Sponsored Programs Administration held its second open forum to provide information and updates. The April 30 session also introduced Stephanie Wasserman, the new director of Sponsored Programs Administration.
A preliminary tally shows that HMS researchers have submitted about one half of the total Harvard applications for research funding so far under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), said Deborah Good, associate director of Sponsored Programs (see Focus, March 20). As of May 1, HMS researchers had submitted about 250 grant proposals. The bulk of research proposals submitted since early March include the new category of challenge grants that were due April 27 and ongoing administrative supplements to existing grants.
News of the first HMS stimulus award arrived a few days later. It will fund a previously reviewed project to develop a mouse model of hepatitis C virus replication in the lab of Priscilla Yang, HMS assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.
The extra accountability and reporting requirements of ARRA awards will be handled by a designated group of “stimulus project specialists” to be hired and funded by an additional 3.5 percent of direct costs from those grants, according to an April 17 memo from Harvard University provost Steven Hyman. The extra 3.5 percent is now included as a budget item in most stimulus applications.
“The 3.5 percent has raised a lot of concern,” said Okey Agba,
HMS financial dean. “We currently do not have the resources to meet
the compliance and reporting needs. I can assure you that no penny of this
will go to solve the School’s financial position. These moneys will
be applied to that specific task or the grants will not be charged.” In
contrast, indirect costs from federal research grants account for nearly
half of the annual HMS operating budget, which may benefit from stimulus
Two free day-long training classes for administering sponsored research at Harvard will be offered June 8 in Cambridge and June 19 at HMS, said Jeff Seo, HMS director of research compliance.
For updated stimulus information, see the HMS ARRA (Stimulus) Resource (www.hms.harvard.edu/spa/funding/stimulus.shtml) and the Harvard University and Federal Stimulus Funding website (http://research.harvard.edu).
UPDATE: In a May 20 update, the HMS Sponsored Programs Administration alerted research administrators that the NIH will not provide direct costs for the extra administrative requirements of ARRA and advised researchers to discontinue the estimated budget line for the stimulus project specialist in their grant applications. For the latest information, see http://www.hms.harvard.edu/spa/funding/stimulus.shtml.