It’s Just the Beginning . . .

It’s Just the Beginning . . .

September 11, 2015

Rock Talk ceases talking as of today, but someone else will be talking, so please keep your bookmarks active and stay tuned for continued dialogue with NIH. I want to thank all of you for a conversation worth having and for making the last portion of my federal career spectacular. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to know and interact with many of you, which was hands down the highlight of my travels around town and across the country to learn first-hand the issues facing the biomedical research community at large. Particularly inspiring were my many meetings with graduate… Read more about It’s Just the Beginning . . .

All About Indirect Costs

All About Indirect Costs

September 11, 2015

When I started Rock Talk, one of my goals was to lift the curtain on NIH decision-making and to demystify NIH policies and processes. One topic that I have talked endlessly about throughout my tenure is indirect costs (IDCs). Indirect costs generate almost more discussion than any other topic and there are many misunderstandings about them. Comments and questions reflect a range of perspectives, such as: “Indirect costs are rising all the time and eating up funds that could go for research.” and “Why can’t NIH reduce the rate of indirect costs?”. Others have asked us, “NIH – please get… Read more about All About Indirect Costs

Core Facts About Core Facilities

Core Facts About Core Facilities

September 10, 2015

Today, I’d like to blog about some interesting discussions and dispel some myths related to NIH-supported core facilities. Core facilities are important research resources, providing access to advanced instrumentation and technologies operated by experts. Cores provide opportunities to be hubs of innovation at an institution, connecting scientists with the tools and expertise that can take their research projects to the next level.

In March, NIH co-hosted a workshop with the Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities to discuss core facility management and strategies for… Read more about Core Facts About Core Facilities

SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Responding to Reviewers - Senior/Key Personnel"

July 29, 2014


A five-year proposal was submitted with a number of small subcontracts (each under $10,000) to U.S. universities to conduct focus groups at sites across the country in year one. The Principal Investigators of these subcontracts were designated as senior/key personnel, though their involvement in the project ended after year one. Reviewers expressed concern with the large number of key personnel involved… Read more about SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Responding to Reviewers - Senior/Key Personnel"

SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Senior/Key Person"

April 29, 2014

Senior/Key Person

The NIH defines a Senior/Key Person as an individual who contributes to the “scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request salaries or compensation.” While this seems like a clear definition, there are gray areas in who meets these criteria, and when to use the Other Significant Contributor or Consultant designations.

Read more about SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Senior/Key Person"

SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Research Services Agreement"

March 29, 2014

The Case
A faculty member at a university research lab is approached by Corporation X to analyze samples of a specimen. The research lab is neither a service center nor a core facility. Corporation X sends a “fee-for-service” agreement to the faculty member that, on closer inspection, strongly resembles a “work-for-hire” contract. Can the university, which is a tax exempt non-profit educational… Read more about SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Research Services Agreement"

SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Cost Share

January 29, 2014

Cost Share

This bi-monthly column tackles the shades of gray – tough cases or questions that don’t have an easy solution or clear-cut answer. In its inaugural debut the authors consider “cost share.” While defining cost share and its different variations (mandatory, voluntary committed, and voluntary uncommitted) isn’t challenging, identifying and managing cost share remains a struggle. Cost share is frequently not black or white… Read more about SRA Catalyst's Gray Matters - "Cost Share