After years of effort, the U.S. Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) has published the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects; Final Rule known as the “Common Rule”.  On January 21, 2019 the revisions to the Common Rule will be effective.

Some of the major revisions include but are not limited to:

  1. New/Revised Definitions

  2. Changes to the Continuing Review Procedures

  3. Changes to the Exempt Categories

  4. Changes to the Informed Consent

UMass Amherst Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) has developed a resource document and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to assist researchers in understanding the revisions to the Common Rule and their impact on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) review process.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have: or 413-545-3428

Below is a reminder to update you on two policies related to research:

The first of these is the recent NSF Policy and award requirement on “Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault.” This requires the university to inform the NSF of:

  • Any findings or determinations that an NSF-funded principal investigator or co-principal investigator committed harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • The placement of the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on administrative leave, or of the imposition of any administrative action relating to a harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation.

NSF will consult with the awardee organization, and determine what action is necessary under NSF's authority. NSF actions may include substituting or removing principal investigators or co-principal investigators, reducing award funding, and -- where neither of those options is available or adequate -- suspending or terminating awards. For more information, see and especially the recently updated Sexual Harassment FAQ (PDF).

The second concerns the possession or use of marijuana, including but not limited to use in research. Despite recent changes in Massachusetts law, this remains prohibited on campus or on university-owned or controlled property, except under the conditions described in the legal alert from the Office of General Counsel (PDF).

Please consult the Office of Research Compliance, Melinda Lelacheur (, with any questions on these policies.

Thank you for your attention to our compliance requirements which are an important component of our relationship with our federal funding partners.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a revised version of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (19-1) effective for proposals submitted or due on or after January 28, 2019. Significant changes and clarifications are summarized on the PAPPG website.

The NIH published its annual update to the Grants Policy Statement (GPS). For a synopsis, see Summary of Significant Changes to the NIH GPS (PDF)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced minor updates to the application instructions and review criteria language for Research, Career, and Fellowship award applications effective for proposals submitted on or after January 25, 2019. Updates are available on the How to Apply – Application Guide website

During the first meeting of the semester on September 14, 2018, James Kitts was elected as the new Research Council Chair and Lori Goldner was elected as the new Research Policy Committee Chair.

Based on an extensive vetting process over the past year with the help of multiple stakeholders (e.g., faculty, business administrators, the Research Council and the Research Administration Advisory Board) and at various events (e.g., focus groups with campus community members and discussions with peer institutions), and as the result of a competitive bidding process, Kuali Research has been selected as the new Electronic Research Administration (eRA) system for the UMass Amherst campus.

Learn more at

The UMass Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) semi-annual facility inspections will take place in October. All expired items should be removed from facilities regularly and solutions, dilutions, etc. need to be clearly labeled with contents and date.

We developed a new web page with detailed information to help faculty and staff better understand Graduate Student Fellowships.

The recently approved fringe rates for Fiscal Year 2019 are now posted to our website and updated in SmartGrant.

For links and further information on how this impacts grant proposals currently in the queue but not yet submitted, please see below:

Updated Fact Sheet for FY’19 - - All new changes are highlighted in yellow.

Graduate Student Calculator – update pending

Important SmartGrant Reminder - With the advent of the new fiscal year, like the COLAs, the new fringe rates will automatically update all SmartGrant based budgets when accessed. Since no mechanism exists to lock down the budgets currently in process that were created prior to July 1, 2018, the budgets will automatically be updated with the new rates when the detailed budget is accessed in SmartGrant. Business Managers and Principal Investigators should evaluate whether or not to revise their budgets to accommodate the changes or to submit with the older rates.

In recognition of the fact that the variance to the budget should generally have minimal impact, we can either submit budgets for active proposals in the pipeline with last year’s rates or the Business Manager and Principal Investigator can opt to make revisions to their budget to accommodate the updates. Our staff are aware of the issue and will be monitoring this closely for proposals due in the first couple of weeks of July.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (NIH, HRSA, etc.) and Colleges and Universities are now assigned at the level of school/college and shared by two pre-award administrators. For more details, see our Staff Contacts for Proposals.

Build only a limited budget and provide further details at the Just-In-Time phase. For more details, see the updated guidance on the NIH Sponsor Specific Resources page (Modular Budget Process section).

Below please view a new flowchart that visually describes the COI disclosure process and a set of FAQs to help explain COI and Outside Activities:

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Process Flowchart (PDF download - June 2018)
Conflict of Interest and Outside Activities FAQs (Word download - June 2018)

More information on COI

Effective April 30, 2018, Principal Investigators now have the option of using to submit Full, Research, non-collaborative proposals to NSF.

Effective March 26, 2018 - The National Science Foundation (NSF) is introducing a new centralized and streamlined Fastlane Account Registration Process in

Effective January 7, 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) salary cap is now $189,600 (12 month FTE).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) rolled out its new “FORMS-E” grant application packages effective January 25, 2018, with most changes resulting from a reengineering of the term Clinical Trial. For more resources and information, see NIH’s Clinical Trial Requirements for Grants and Contracts. Three rounds of applications have been successfully submitted on behalf of UMass Amherst investigators.

Some key changes were made in response to feedback from users on suggested improvements to the Internal Processing Form and the ease of completion in the system. See the link in the title for more information and a description of the changes.

Introduction to the current state of funder mandates and the library resources available to facilitate meeting compliance requirements. 10 am., Life Science Labs (LSL) S330. Co-sponsored by the University Libraries and Research & Engagement as part of Open Access Week.

The FY 2017 Annual Report of Sponsored Activity is now posted in the Reports section of Research Administration and Compliance