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ARRA “Stimulus” Weekly Update, May 7, 2009

I. Reporting

Weekly Submissions to UNC-GA. Campuses have been submitting information on ARRA related proposals, preliminary notices of award (i.e. JIT submissions) or actual awards for several weeks now. Please note weekly reports from this point forward should be cumulative for all proposals, preliminary notices of award (JIT) and actual awards, to-date. 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. The submission time coincides with the time frame for submitting materials to be discussed at the UNC-GA Council meeting on Monday mornings. This information will be pulled by UNC-GA from RAMSeS and SPARC by June 1st.

State Reporting:

Office of Economic Recovery and Investment (OERI) Directives:

There are four types of ARRA funds flowing into the state of North Carolina: Student Financial Aid, Faculty/Campus Initiated Competitive Grants, State Initiated Competitive Grants and State Allocated ARRA Formula Funds. The Office of Economic Recovery and Investment (OERI) has issued a series of directives regarding reporting requirements for ARRA funds flowing into the state. UNC General Administration is seeking clarification on the applicability of these directives to the ARRA funds received at UNC System institutions resulting from faculty/campus initiated competitive grants. Attached is a copy of a memorandum submitted to OERI seeking clarification on the directives. The directives are located at the following URL for reference: http://www.ncrecovery.gov/RecoveryPlan/NCPlan.aspx. Directive #3 was informally released to purchasing officers on May 1st (copy attached). UNC-GA has engaged OERI about Directive #3 and will convene a group comprised of finance, purchasing, construction/facilities, legal affairs and the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) staff to develop a set of proposed parameters for the UNC System campuses, in particular maintenance of current delegations. The goal is to have the response submitted to OERI by May 15th. If your campus has received an ARRA funded award and are planning procurement actions prior to May 15th, please contact Sarah Smith.

The UNC Post-award Working Group will schedule a conference call to discuss the ramification of potentially two levels of reporting for ARRA funds – one to the federal sponsor and the other to the state.

Executive Order #4

Also under discussion is Executive Order #4, issued by the Governor on January 12th. The EO created the website NC OpenBook, a single, searchable site on state spending for grants and contracts. Currently, the site only contains information on grants awarded to non-state entities directly from state appropriations (not award to UNC campuses of related subcontracts issued from UNC campus contract and grant accounts), but will eventually provide information on ARRA funded projects. EO #4 applies directly to agencies that are under the control of the Governor, i.e. those that are statutorily designated as “principle state departments.” The UNC System is not one of those agencies. The UNC System has been invited to participate and UNCGA continues to seek ways that information about contract and grant awards can be made available for the purposes of NC OpenBook with a minimum of redundant or low value data collection.

Office of State Budget Management (OSBM) Data Element Survey

The OSBM recently asked state agency Chief Information Officers to complete a survey regarding the proposed OMB reporting elements. Sarah Smith has customized the survey for the UNC System response to specifically identify data elements for prime awards to UNC campuses and subawards (1st Tier) from campus prime awards. The possible responses include RAMSeS, SPARC, RADAR, Banner, FRS, PeopleSoft, other off-line tools such as spreadsheets or Access databases, hardcopy or not captured. The survey was discussed at the SPARC meeting on April 29th. Campuses should review the data elements listed for both prime awards and subawards and confirm the location for the data element in question is represented on the survey. Campuses are to confirm the location for their data elements no later than May 14th. The intent is to coordinate reporting to NC OpenBook and NC Recovery with the required ARRA reporting and to utilize existing applications, to the extent possible, for tracking grants and contracts information. Please contact Sarah Smith at smsmith@northcarolina.edu if you have any questions about the survey.

 

II. Stimulus Resources

The National Council of University Research Administrator (NCURA) recently released a panel discussion on ARRA in a “pod-cast” format entitled “Preparing Your Institution for Stimulus Funding: Part I. The panel is moderated by David Richardson, Assistant Vice President for Research, The Pennsylvania State University and features panelists Denise Clark, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration and Advancement, University of Maryland College Park, Anthony DeCrappeo, President, COGR, Susan Sedwick, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Sponsored Programs, University of Texas-Austin, and Richard Seligman, Associate Vice President for Research Administration, California Technical Institute. Please contact an NCURA member on your campus for information about the pod-cast.

 

III. Agency Activity

The U.S. Department of Energy announced nearly $800 Million from Recovery Act funds to Accelerate Biofuels Research and Commercialization. As part of the ongoing effort to increase the use of domestic renewable fuels, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced plans to provide $786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development and to provide additional funding for commercialscale biorefinery demonstration projects. The DOE biomass program will leverage DOE’s national laboratories, universities, and the private sector to help improve biofuels reliability and overcome key technical challenges, with the goal of creating third-generation biofuels like green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. The $786.5 million in Recovery Act funding is a mix of new funding opportunities and additional funding for existing projects. It will be allocated across four main areas: $480 million solicitation for integrated pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries, $176.5 million for commercial-scale biorefinery projects, $110 million for fundamental research in key program areas, and $20 million for ethanol research. The full announcement can be found at the following URL: http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7375.htm.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to provide $93 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support further development of wind energy in the United States during a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory today. Secretary Chu also announced more than $100 million in funding from the Recovery Act for NREL facility and infrastructure improvements. Please see the following URL for the full announcement: http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7358.htm

The U.S. Department of Education will soon release the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the ARRA funded Teacher Quality Enhancement (TQE) grants. An eligible grant applicant is a partnership that includes, at a minimum: (1) A high-need local educational agency (LEA); (2) A high-need school or a consortium of high-need schools served by the high-need LEA and/or, as applicable, a high-need early childhood education program; (3) A partner institution of higher education; (4) A school, department, or program of education within such partner institution, which may include an existing teacher professional development program with proven outcomes within a four-year institution of higher education that provides intensive and sustained collaboration between faculty and LEAs consistent with the requirements of the law; and (5) A school or department of arts and sciences within such partner institution. The partnership may also include the governor of the state, a business and other types of educational entities, e.g., state board of education, charter school, or teacher organization. Definitions and other more detailed information on eligibility requirements are provided in the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title II, Part A. The CFDA# is 84.405A. Campuses are strongly encouraged to align their applications with the UNC strategic plans for teacher recruitment and retention.

Please contact Alisa Chapman, Associate Vice President for University-School Programs at chapman@northcarolina.edu if your campus has any questions about the UNC strategic plans.

 

On May 5th, the Government Accountability Office testified before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, Commission on Science and Technology, House of Representatives. The subject of the testimony was the GAOs efforts to work with the Accountability Community to help ensure effective and efficient oversight of the ARRA. The full report is located at the following URL: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09672t.pdf.