OMB No. 0925-0534 Exp: 08/2007
Survey of Institutional Officials Logo


Evaluation of the Modular Grant Application Process


Survey of Institutional Officials

Sponsored by:

National Institutes of Health

Office of Extramural Research


Introduction

This survey of institutional officials is part of a larger study evaluating the modular grant application process. The purpose of the evaluation is to gather information about your opinions and experiences with the modular grant application process. Results will be used to help improve communication and training about the process as well as improve various aspects of it. This study is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. You have been selected to participate in this important study. Your feedback is critical. Even if you have limited experience with the modular grant application process, your opinions are still very important to us.

The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete. Most of the survey items ask about the modular grant application process. However, NIH is also taking this opportunity to ask your opinions about Just-in-Time procedures. When responding to this survey, please keep the following definitions in mind.

Modular grants: The modular grants program began in 1999. It is for grants of $250,000 or less in direct costs per year. Direct costs are requested in modules of $25,000 and applicants are not required to include detailed budgets in their applications.

Just-in-Time: Once an award (either modular or nonmodular) is likely to be made, applicants are asked to submit missing IRB or IACUC approvals, along with Other Support pages that provide detailed information about funding from other sources.

When responding to questions about one topic (either the modular grant application process or Just-in-Time procedures) please try to think only about that topic. Keeping these two separate when responding to questions will help NIH better understand the unique problems and benefits of each.

There are no right or wrong answers, so you should respond by giving the answer that best describes your own situation. While we would like you to answer all the questions in this questionnaire, you may skip any questions that you do not wish to answer. Even if you feel you must skip a question, your answers to other questions will still be important to us.

Your participation is entirely voluntary, and if you choose to complete the survey, all of your responses will remain completely confidential and will not be linked to your name. All study results will be aggregated and will not be used to rate or report on NIH Institutes, Centers, or Study Sections.

Thank you very much for your participation.

A. ABOUT YOU


This section asks for information about you, your institution, and your involvement in the modular grant application process.

A1.   As an official of your institution, have you participated in the submission of a modular grant application?

Yes
No
 
A2.   Are you authorized to sign grant applications on behalf of your institution?

Yes - How many years have you had this signatory authority?  years
No
 
A3.   How many years of full-time grants administration experience have you had?

 
A4.   Does your institution have department- or school-level sponsored research administration offices?

Yes
No
 
A5.   Where are you currently located?

In the central office of sponsored programs at my institution
In a school within a university (e.g., School of Medicine)
In a dean’s office
In an academic or clinical department
In a research institute
Other, please specify
 
A6.   What is the size of your current institution in terms of support/funding from NIH? If you are not sure, please provide your best estimate.

Above $100 million in NIH support per year
Between $20 and $100 million in NIH support per year
Between $5 and $20 million in NIH support per year
Below $5 million in NIH support per year
Don’t know/Can’t estimate
 
A7.   Does your office or any other office at your university/research center require principal investigators to submit detailed budgets for review even if they are applying for an NIH modular grant?

Yes - Why?
No
 
A8.   Which University/Research Center are you affiliated with?

 
A9.   What is your job title (e.g., Director, Office of Sponsored Programs; Assistant Director of Sponsored Research)?


B. KNOWLEDGE AND ASSESSMENT OF THE MODULAR GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS


NIH is concerned that some aspects of the modular grant application process may present difficulties for you and other institutional officials. Therefore, we would like you to identify the modular grant elements that you think need clarification. Below is a list of actual key features of the modular grant application process. Please check one box for each line that indicates how well you understand these features.
B1.   Features of the modular grant application process

This feature is clear to me This feature is not clear to me I have never heard about this feature
a.   There is no routine escalation for future years
b.   One or more additional modules may be requested during a particular year to cover an unusual cost fluctuation (such as a piece of equipment)
c.   Additional narrative budget justification is needed for any variation in the number of modules requested
d.   A separate form labeled "Other Support" does not appear in the modular grant application
e.   Narrative budget justification is needed only for personnel and consortium/contractual arrangements
f.   Individual salary information is not required for personnel
g.   Total consortium/contractual costs need to be estimated for each year, rounded to the nearest $1,000
h.   The total cost of the consortium/contractual arrangement is included in the requested modular direct cost total
i.   Indirect costs are not calculated on equipment
j.   Biographical sketches need to be prepared for all key personnel
k.   Biographical sketches should include the goals of current or recently completed research projects (federal and non-federal support
l.   Modular grant awards are eligible for administrative supplements (i.e., noncompeting supplemental funding)
m.   All forms for modular grant applications are available on the NIH website
n.   Some form pages are different for a modular grant application than for a nonmodular grant application
 
B2.   Before taking this survey, had you ever heard of the following goals of the modular grant application process?

Yes No
a.   Reduce administrative burden for institutional officials
b.   Focus the efforts of principal investigators on the scientific content of the grant application
c.   Reinforce the grant-in-aid philosophy (i.e., the government's assisting in carrying out the research endeavor) as opposed to the contract mentality (i.e., buying research dollar-for-dollar)
d.   Accommodate principal investigators' need for flexibility
 
B3.   In your opinion, to what extent has the modular grant application process achieved the following goals:

Not at all To some extent To a large extent Don't know/Can't rate
a.   Reduce administrative burden for institutional officials
b.   Focus the efforts of principal investigators on the scientific content of the grant application
c.   Reinforce the grant-in-aid philosophy (i.e., the government's assisting in carrying out the research endeavor) as opposed to the contract mentality (i.e., buying research dollar-for-dollar)
d.   Accommodate principal investigators' need for flexibility
 
B4.   Do you think there are other reasons for the implementation of the modular grant application process?

Yes - Please specify 
No
 
B5.   Have you ever obtained information on the modular grant application process?

Yes
No
 
B6.   Have you obtained information about the modular grant application process from NIH staff (e.g., scientific review administrators, program or grants management staff, staff in the Office of Extramural Research)?

Yes
No - [Go to Question B8]
 
B7.   How satisfied were you with the information you received from the NIH staff about the modular grant application process?

Very satisfied
Satisfield
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
 
B8.   Below are other sources of information on the modular grant application process. Please indicate whether you have obtained information from any of these sources. Check all that apply

Colleague/peer
Workshops/trainging/seminars
NIH web site/NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

C. YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE MODULAR GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS

This section asks you about your experience with the modular grant application process. Please check the box that indicates how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.


Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don't know/Not applicable
C1.   The modular grant application process has decreased my workload because a detailed budget is not required by NIH
C2.   I have had to help PIs revise their budgets to fit the NIH modular format (e.g., do not include routine escalation)
C3.   I have had to help PIs correctly handle indirect costs in their modular grant budget preparations
C4.   After the award, I have found that modular grants are no different to administer than nonmodular grants
C5.   Negotiating significant changes in project direction is more difficult for modular grants compared to nonmodular grants
 
C6.   Our institution provides additional funds to the principal investigator when the actual cost of the research is somewhat more than the module level requested/awarded.

Always
Often
Sometimes
Seldom
Never
 
C7.   As a direct result of the modular grant application process my responsibilities as an institutional official have:

Increased significantly
Increased slightly
Remained the same
Decreased slightly
Decreased significantly
 
C8.   Do you work with auditors?

Yes
No

Please tell us how much do you agree or disagree with this statement:
 
C9.   I spend extra time with auditors explaining modular grants.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Don't Know/Not Applicable
 

D. YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE MODULAR GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS

This section asks your opinions about the modular grant application process. Please check the box that indicates how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.



Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don't know/Not applicable
D1.   Since the modular grant applications do not require detailed budgets, the pre-award process is much simpler for the institution’s grants administration staff
D2.   Institutional auditors, for the most part, don’t understand modular grants
D3.   The modular grant application process has discouraged interdisciplinary research because subcontractor’s indirect costs must be included in the $250,000 cap
D4.   Receiving the same number of modules each year does not reflect the cost realities of doing scientific research
D5.   Modular grants provide more spending flexibility for PIs than do nonmodular grants
D6.   Modular grants allow PIs to focus more on the scientific content of the application and less on the budget
D7.   PIs are more likely to apply for a modular grant because they believe it is more likely to be funded than a nonmodular grant
D8.   To improve their chances for funding, PIs should provide more detailed budget justifications with their modular grant application than is asked for
D9.   The modular grant application process has resulted in PIs breaking up a nonmodular proposal into two or more smaller (modular) proposals
D10.   Listing dollar value totals for major categories (personnel, travel, etc.) would be a good compromise between a detailed budget and a modular budget
 
D11.   As a direct result of the modular grant application process, my perception is that:

Increased Stayed
the
same
Decreased
a.   The average amount of funding requested has
b.   The average size of award (dollar amount) has
 
D12.   As a direct result of the modular grant application process, it seems to me that budgetary negotiations between institutions/PIs and NIH program staff have...

Increased a great deal
Increased somewhat
Remained about the same
Decreased somewhat
Decreased a great deal
Don't know
 

E. YOUR SATISFACTION WITH THE MODULAR GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS


We would like to know your general thoughts about and satisfaction with the modular grant application process. Please be as detailed as you like in your responses to the open-ended questions.

 
E1.   Overall, how satisfied are you with the modular grant application process?

Very satisfied
Satisfield
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
 
E2.   Would you prefer the modular grant limit be higher than $250,000?

Yes - Why?
No - Why not?
Not sure/don't know
 
E3.   What aspects of the modular grant application process do you like?

 
E4.   What aspects of the modular grant application process do you dislike?

 

F. YOUR OPINIONS ABOUT AND SATISFACTION WITH JUST-IN-TIME

This section asks your opinions about and satisfaction with the Just-in-Time procedures (e.g., IRB and IACUC approval and Other Support information). Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.

In my opinion...

Strongly Agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree Don't know/Not applicable
F1.   Just-in-Time increases administrative burden because of the speed with which materials must be provided when an investigator is being considered for an award
F2.   Just-in-Time decreases administrative burden because investigators who are not likely to be funded do not have to provide these materials with the application
F3.   Just-in-Time increases administrative burden because NIH staff repeatedly ask for the same materials during the review and award process
F4.   Just-in-Time doesn’t have much effect on our processes because our investigators prepare these materials ahead of time anyway
 
We would like to know your genearl thoughts about and satisfaction with the Just-in-Time procedures. Please be as detailed as you like in your responses to the open-ended questions.
 
F5.   Overall, how satisified are you with Just-in-Time?

Very satisfied
Satisfield
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
 
F6.   What aspects of the Just-in-Time procedures do you like?

 
F7.   What aspects of the Just-in-Time procedures do you dislike?