Well folks, it’s now official. It’s been many months in the making but federal research agencies now can use the updated governmentwide Research Terms and Conditions that implement the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform grant guidance. The final Research Terms and Conditions and Appendices are now available at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Research Terms and Conditions website at https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/rtc.jsp.
We discussed the development of these terms and conditions in a post almost a year ago. The Research Business Models (RBM) Interagency Working Group, under the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science in 2005, originally developed a set of research terms and conditions specifically designed for the research community. The working group in 2015 sought comments on a draft set of research terms and conditions that revised the original version to better align with the uniform guidance. Stakeholders submitted comments on the draft version to NSF, and after refining them based on the comments, the Research Terms and Conditions are now final.
Many of the federal awarding agencies that originally participated in the Research Terms and Conditions are doing so under this new version. Along with NSF, other participating agencies are the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology; Department of Energy; Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration; Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NSF will serve as the sponsor of the Research Terms and Conditions.
Of interest, two agencies — the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration — are new to this effort. Conversely, one agency that previously participated in the Research Terms and Conditions initiative that is not participating in this updated version is the Department of Defense. This includes DOD’s Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, U.S. Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research. These divisions will follow DOD’s Research and Development General Terms and Conditions.
Along with the revised Research Terms and Conditions, three companion resources are under development: Appendix A, Prior Approval Matrix; Appendix B, Subaward Requirements Matrix; and Appendix C, National Policy Requirements Matrix. The companion resources, when finalized, will be posted on the NSF’s Research Terms and Conditions website (Appendix B has already been posted). These appendices will enable adopting agencies to add individual agency clarification.
The Research Terms and Conditions will apply to an award when they are included as part of that award, or when incorporated into that award by reference. Each participating agency will develop its own implementation plan, and agency specific requirements to the Research Terms and Conditions. Since there will be multiple implementation dates, NSF officials urged stakeholder to check the Research Terms and Conditions website frequently.
NSF officials stated that other agencies not identified above that would like to implement the Research Terms and Conditions are “strongly encouraged to do so.” We’ve been following the progress of these terms and conditions for quite some time now and look forward to seeing how agencies now implement them.
Let us know your reaction to the finalized Research Terms and Conditions. We’d like to hear your thoughts.