On January 14, 2023, President Biden declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides beginning on December 27, 2022. Additionally, on January 15, 2023, President Biden also declared a major disaster exists in the State of Alabama due to the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that began on January 12, 2023. NIH is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people and animals, and about the biomedical enterprise in the areas in California and Alabama affected by these natural disasters. Due to the exceptional impact of these storms, NIH wants to assure our recipient community that we will be doing our part to help the extramural community continue its research. Our website on Extramural Response to Natural Disasters has a list of available resources, including guidance on animal welfare issues.
NIH has identified the following actions to relieve short-term administrative, financial management, and audit requirements under the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards – which are implemented in HHS regulation at 45 CFR 75 – without compromise to accountability requirements. This guidance will be updated as appropriate once further guidance is received from HHS and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Specific policy exceptions are detailed below.
Flexibility with application deadlines
- Although NIH's general policy is to accept applications submitted late due to a natural disaster by no more than the number of days the applicant organization was officially closed, due to the catastrophic damage caused by the winter storms, NIH recognizes the need to provide additional exceptions and guidance.
- NIH will accept late applications from impacted institutions in California for all funding opportunity announcements with dues dates from the beginning of the incident period, December 27, 2022, until such time as the major disaster is no longer in effect, regardless of how many days the applicant organization was officially closed.
- NIH encourages a cover letter explaining the reason for late submission, but these letters are not required.
Extension of financial and other reporting
- During the declared national disaster, if recipients are unable to complete and submit interim and/or final Research Performance Progress Reports, Federal Financial Reports, and/or Final Invention Statement reports by the scheduled due date, contact the assigned grants management and program official at the awarding NIH Institute or Center to let them know the reports will be late, even if by phone, and the NIH staff will document the file until the recipient is able to submit the request electronically.
- Although NIH will accept these late reports, we will delay issuing grant awards until the required reports are submitted and accepted by NIH. This does not prevent the institution from receiving disaster relief supplemental funding if those funds become available.
- See below for details related to Extension of Closeout Requirements.
Prior approval requirement waivers
- As a reminder, NIH recipients maintain rebudgeting authority under the NIH Grants Policy Statement Section 126.96.36.199 Cost-Related Prior Approvals, which states that NIH prior approval is not required to rebudget funds for any direct cost item that the applicable cost principles identify as requiring the Federal awarding agencys prior approval, unless the incurrence of costs is associated with or is considered to be a change in scope.
Extension of currently approved Facilities and Administration (F&A/indirect cost) rates
- For recipient institutions whose current Federally approved F&A rates are close to expiring (i.e., in the next several months, but less than a year from now), NIH will allow recipients in the affected areas to continue to use the current Federally approved indirect cost rates (predetermined, fixed, or provisional rates) to recover their F&A/indirect costs on Federal awards for one additional year without submission of an indirect cost proposal.
- NIH will also approve recipient requests for an extension of the F&A/indirect cost rate proposal submission (for up to one year) to finalize the current rates and establish future rates.
Alternatives for record retention and cost documentation
- NIH will allow recipients to submit paper copies in lieu of machine readable formats when necessary, as permitted under 45 CFR 75.363.
Expenditure of award funds for salaries and other project activities
- Remember that, in general, expenditure of award funds to continue paying salaries and fringe benefits to researchers during any period when no work is performed under the award is unallowable.
Extension of Closeout Requirements
- As outlined under the Extension of Reports, NIH will allow affected recipients to delay submission of any pending final financial, performance and other reports required by the terms and conditions of award for the closeout of expired projects, provided that the recipient provide the IC with the notice as soon as feasible. about the reporting delay is given by the recipient to the agency. This delay may not exceed one year without prior approval from the appropriate IC grants management staff.
- Institutions in the affected area may submit post-submission grant application materials to revise information that was submitted in an application for a due date before January 12, 2023, or in an application submitted under this Notices exception. Post-submission materials will be accepted from institutions in the affected areas until fourteen days before the start of the review meeting. See Frequently Asked Questions; Post-Submission Materials Policy for details of the NIH post-submission materials policy. A letter of explanation (maximum of one page) is required.