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ARRA “Stimulus” Weekly Update, June 5, 2009

I. Reporting

Weekly Submissions to UNC-GA

UNC-GA plans to extract the ARRA weekly report data from RAMSeS and SPARC once the local instance of the application is operational. Implementation has been delayed due to the birth of Andy Johns’ second child last Wednesday. Campuses should continue to provide their weekly reports until notified by UNC-GA that its instance of RAMSeS is operational. We apologize for the delay. Please note the cumulative weekly reports should include the federal award number for any actual awards received. Please add an award number column to the right of the CFDA# column of the reporting template to capture this information. The reports should be sent to Sarah Smith, with a copy to Courtney Thornton, on a weekly basis by 12:00 p.m. on Thursday.

UNC General Administration launched its redesigned website today and the site includes an ARRA link directly from the front page: http://www.northcarolina.edu/. The site captures ARRA information including guidance memos, FAQs, links and the weekly updates and reports. The weekly report is located under the reporting tab. Following is the URL for the UNC System Recovery Site: http://www.northcarolina.edu/recovery/index.php

State Reporting:

N.C. Office of Economic Recovery and Investment

On June 3rd, OERI issued Management Directive #4, “ARRA Reporting Readiness Assessment” in anticipation of an ARRA reporting “dry run” proposed by OMB for North Carolina in July. Each state agency is to complete and submit the ARRA Reporting Readiness Assessment Template by June 24th. An editable copy of the template and UNC-specific instructions for completing and submitting the template are being sent to the Chief Research Officers, Chief Finance Officers, the ARRA Point of Contact for each campus and the contracts and grants directors. Management Directive #4 and the ARRA Reporting Readiness Assessment template are attached to the .PDF version of this weekly update. This will be a topic of discussion for the next SPARC Post-Award Workgroup conference call.

OERI is including a high level summary of the ARRA R&D awards received by UNC campuses in materials presented at the Economic Recovery Workshops scheduled for June. The handout materials are attached and the dates/locations of the remaining workshops are located at the following URL: http://www.ncrecovery.gov/calendar/default.aspx.

II. Compliance

The White House Ethics Counsel has announced restrictions on oral communications about Recovery Act projects. The restrictions apply to registered federal lobbyists, unregistered lobbyists and “anyone else exerting influence on the process.” The announcement also established a window during which oral discussion about Recovery Act projects are prohibited. That window begins when grant applications are submitted and ends when awards are made. Additional guidance is forthcoming. The full announcement can be found at the following URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Update-on-Recovery-Act-Lobbying-Rules-New-Limits-on-Special-Interest-Influence/.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) team assigned to monitor North Carolina’s use of ARRA funds recently met via telephone conference with Rob Nelson, the Vice President for Finance. The focus of the discussion was the potential use of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) by public institutions of higher education and the impact of SFSF funds on jobs creation and retention and tuition rates. Mr. Nelson indicated neither the Governor’s Office nor the N.C. Legislature has made clear to the UNC System exactly how much of the SFSF funds would flow to the System or in which fiscal year. More information will be provided as it is made available. Steps will be taken to minimize the reporting impact on campuses for any SFSF funds received from the State.

Office of Management and Budget has released the A-133 Compliance Supplement in today’s Federal Register. The Supplement will apply to audits of fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2008 and supersedes the 2008 supplement. Public comments on the Supplement will be received through October 31, 2009. OMB encourages respondents to submit comments electronically to Mr. Gil Tran at Hai_M._Tran@omb.eop.gov and include A-133 compliance Supplement 2009 in the subject line and the comments in the body of the email message and as an attachment. Respondents should also include their full contact information in the body of the email message. The OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement can be found at the following URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a133_compliance_09toc/

III. Agency Activity

President Obama announce over $467M from ARRA funds to expand and accelerate the development, deployment and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the United States. The funding announced on May 27th represents a substantial down payment that will help the solar and geothermal industries overcome technical barriers, demonstrate new technologies, and provide support for clear energy jobs for years to come. The full announcement is located at the following URL: http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7427.htm.

The National Science Foundation recently announced a July 1st deadline for letters of intent for the ARI-R2 competition. Go to the following URL for more information: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503380&govDel=USNSF_39 The National Science Foundation's Office of Integrative Activities hosted a web conference on two American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) opportunities earlier today and will replay the webcast for the next three months at http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/nsf/090528/.

You have to register to view the webcast, which consists of two short presentations summarizing the main aspects of the Academic Research Infrastructure (ARI-R2) & Major Research Instrumentation (MRI-R2) programs, followed by a presentation of answers to broad questions about the programs submitted by email in advance of the web-cast.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the availability of approximately $120 million in competitive grants for the construction of new or expanded scientific research buildings at higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations. Approximately eight to 12 projects will be funded by these grants, which are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Possible projects include laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities, and observatories. If campuses have specific questions, they should contact Miles Lackey (UNC-GA Federal Relations) at mlackey@northcarolina.edu if they have any questions. Following is the URL for the full announcement: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/research_con_grants_052609.html