News You Can Use keeps researchers aware of the many resources available to them. This page also includes an archive of past issues of Access Granted, the OSPR newsletter.


National Sceince Foundation PAPPG

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) has been issued. The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted or due, and awards made, on or after June 1, 2020. Some significant changes are detailed below. OSPR will update with further insight after reviewing the PAPPG.

  • NSF will require use of an NSF-approved format in submission of the biographical sketch and current and pending support documents. NSF is partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae as an NSF-approved format for preparation of both documents. To assist the community, NSF has developed websites with additional information for the preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support.
  • New requirement for proposing organizations to submit government-wide representations and certifications in the System for Award Management (SAM)
  • New requirement for providing e-mail documentation of Program Officer approval for the submission of RAPID and EAGER proposals
  • Clarifications to current and pending support coverage as well as other changes throughout the document


Registration for the NIH Regional Seminar is now open. The seminar serves the mission of providing education and training for the next generation of biomedical and behavioral scientists. The seminar is intended to:

  • Demystify the application and review process
  • Clarify federal regulations and policies
  • Highlight current areas of special interest or concern

The seminar will be held April 21-22 with optional Pre-Seminar workshops on April 20 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. 

Register by March 30, 2020 to receive discounted registration. 



The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) made a substantial change to their Fellowship Guidelines this year that is important to keep in mind if you intend to apply. Beginning this year, applicants for NEH Fellowships (except those proposing editions, translations, and database projects) must include a writing sample in their application package. It serves to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to express ideas and make a clear project. The writing sample:

  1. Should be in the style of the proposed project. Evaluators will use the sample to assess the clarity of your writing as well as your knowledge of the subject area.
  2. Can be from the proposed project (preferred) or from a recent publication.
  3. Should not be more than five years old.
  4. Must be from a single piece of work and single-authored.
  5. For pre-tenure investigators, an excerpt from your dissertation is acceptable if you are applying for your first book project.
  6. May not be more than ten double-spaced pages in length, including any footnotes or endnotes.
  7. May not include a table of contents, an outline, or an abstract of the proposed work (information of this sort still belongs in the narrative).
  8. Should be formatted with one-inch margins.
  9. Should use a font no smaller than eleven point.
  10. Footnotes or endnotes may be single-spaced.
  11. If it is a PDF of a published work, its length may not exceed the equivalent of ten double-spaced pages in eleven-point typescript.
  12. If it has been published, you must indicate this and list the publication on your resume.

NEH will also be piloting a new system of peer-review for the Fellowship program. Applications will be reviewed by a three-person panel with a fairly specific scope (19th-century American history). If the application moves beyond that stage, they’ll be reviewed by the regular full peer review panel with a broader scope (e.g., American and British history). Therefore, proposals that do not make it out of the triage will receive three reviews, and those that make it to the second round will receive the usual five.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently updated eligibility criteria for Early Stage Investigators (ESI) seeking new funding opportunities within NIH.

The Next Generation Researchers Initiative addresses systemic barriers faced by researchers who seek long-term independent research careers, and extramural support, to build careers within the biomedical research workforce. According to NIH, there are cases when applicants may need to update and/or request an extension of their ESI status post application submission. To minimize the need for manual change requests after submission, the updated policy (NOT-OD-19-072) now allows NIH to automatically update the ESI status of an application within eRA Commons to reflect the following:

  1. Applications will be reviewed within the designation assigned at the time of submission when applicants update educational credentials, residency, etc. information after submission of an R01 or R01-equivalent application, or if an investigator requests and/or receives an extension of ESI status after submitting an R01 or R01-equivalent application; and
  2. If an ESI-eligible application is awarded, and has an R01 or R01-equivalent application pending review, the pending application will be reviewed as an ESI-eligible application.

NSF Broader Impacts Wizard

COSEE Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW) created the BI Wizard to provide an interface that guides users through a series of well-defined steps necessary for the construction and implementation of a broader impact statement required in research proposals. The goal is to help researchers identify their target audience and plan appropriate BI activities, budget, objectives, and evaluation plan. This is a useful tool for PIs developing NSF proposals.


National Institutes of Health area update

The newly released Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) guide notice from NIH confirms the scope of award and eligibility changes applicable to future applicants beginning in January 2019.

The most obvious change is the elimination of the AREA Parent Announcement. It will be replaced with AREA for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (PAR-18-714). As a predominately undergraduate institution that received support from NIH totaling less than $6 million per year in total costs in four of the last seven years, Towson University is eligible for these awards.

If you are considering applying to an AREA program, you are strongly encouraged to visit NIH’s R15 “cheat sheet.”

Study Abroad

Five times Ronn Pineo (History) and Colleen Ebacher (Foreign Languages), along with curriculum specialist John Shock from Baltimore City Public Schools, have designed, managed, and assessed short-term study abroad programs for K-12 teachers through the Fulbright-Hays Group Study Abroad program, three times in Mexico and twice in Perú. While Ebacher and Pineo note that the programs were richly rewarding, they admit that they made many mistakes along the way, always trying to learn from each. Given their experiences, they decided to offer some advice to those considering writing a grant proposal and running a study abroad program. Looking back, as Ebacher and Pineo explain, “we certainly would have liked to have received advice like this before we started out our first time.” MORE.