Understanding Federal “Expanded Authorities” – Part One

While most of the substantive efforts under a federal award are left to the PI and his staff, certain activities are still regulated by the governing sponsor, and the obligations therein vary from agency to agency depending on the issue.  Our next couple of installments will examine these “Expanded Authorities,” as there is often confusion regarding what can and cannot be done without prior approval by the sponsor.

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Revised Budget Submission Policy

Although ORA’s intention is always to minimize the administrative burden and system requirements for departments, the changing landscape has resulted in a dramatic increase in reduced budgets. Because many of these budgets have specific disallowed costs included in the cuts, and not just across-the-board percentage cuts, the University requires that documentation of those cuts are recorded.  Therefore, revised budgets will be required to be submitted through Coeus as “Revision” in the following instances:

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COEUS: Behind The Numbers

Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: We know.  We know that COEUS causes headaches.  We know that you all consider certain parts of it irrelevant, and others too confusing.  We know that sometimes our answers to your questions don’t provide as much clarity as you would like.

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Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

Absolutely nothing happened this week.

Not a d*&! thing.

The closest anything came to news was the realization that MIA officially ruined all hope anyone had of seeing a Super Bowl halftime “show” with anyone under 50.  I’m sure next year we’ll be watching Oasis, or maybe Blues Traveler.  Wait, Oasis is British, so there goes that option.  Maybe I shouldn’t complain about the USA-only option, though, as it significantly reduces the chances that we’ll be subjected to utter drek.

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Common Audit Errors

If you happen to notice some of your departmental colleagues looking a little more haggard than usual in the coming weeks, make sure to provide extra latitude, as audit season has begun.  While these investigations are an intense affair regardless of your institution’s adherence to protocol, we’re here to provide a few of the most common errors that are encountered by NIH’s Office of the Inspector General to get you thinking as to your current policies, and perhaps allow you to make any necessary changes prior to having the book thrown at you.

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Copyrights and Federal Funding

Last November, we addressed the issue of ownership of any intellectual property that arises under a Federal contract, and specifically focused on the Bayh-Dole Act and its application to patentable technologies.  Today, we’ll explore who owns copyrightable materials created using Federal funds, as we’ve encountered much confusion with this issue in recent months.  When our office is asked “What is taking so long?” with respect to a pending contract, this particular issue is generally at the top of the list, as it has a substantial impact on the research capabilities of JHU.

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