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Community Engagement

Workshops, Tools and Training for Community Partners

CERP Partnered Research "How To" Series

How to Design a Memorandum of Understanding 
Provides directions on designing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which is a written agreement (not a contract) between two or more parties meant to support the collaborative partnership. An MOU offers a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the collaborative partners’ roles and expectations to assure fairness and mutually satisfactory outcomes.

How to Pretest a Survey Questionnaire 
Provides directions on how to conduct pretesting of survey questionnaires for research, outlines the advantages and disadvantages of different pretesting methods, and describes the pretesting process used by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Care Connections Program.

How to Translate Research Documents for Non-English Speaking Participants
Presents basic information on how to translate research documents into languages other than English. It also highlights different translation approaches, translation methods, and important considerations.

How to Design a Partnered Consent Form
Provides a guide to develop a community partnered research consent form which reflects the views of community members, while still meeting requirements for IRB approval.

How to Include Community Partners in Data Collection
Describes the process used by the Healthy Community Neighborhood Initiative research project to incorporate staff from community partners in data collection to increase trust and success of the project.

Informed Consent-IRB

  • Page Title: UCLA Office of the Human Research Protection Program Consent, Assent, and Screening Templates Summary: Sample Consent and Assent Forms depending on study type, or target population. 
    Source: Consent, Assent and Screening Templates
  • Page Title: UCSF Human Research Protection Program- Committee on Human Research, Consent Guidelines
    Summary: Provides overview of importance of informed consent, and the required characteristics of appropriate consent for research. Samples and definitions of key terms are also available, as well as the required federal elements.
    Source: University of California San Francisco
  • Page Title: Consent Development from Clinical Research Resource HUB
    Summary: List of resources for Investigators, Study staff, and participants about clinical trials and the different needs that may arise as a result of being part of one. The most useful part of the website will be the portion for Study Staff, since it lists here information relevant to developing a consent form (links out to "UCSF Human Research Protection Program" link above). However this website is mostly for information on clinical trials -- quick links available for information on ethics and compliance and key terms glossary.
    Source: University of California San Francisco
  • Page Title: UCSF Human Research Protection Program- Committee on Human Research-Forms, Standard Formats, & Templates
    Summary: Sample Consent and Assent Forms depending on study type, or target population. Sample consent and assent forms are annotated to help the study team determine the information that needs to be filled in, as well as the relevant information for the form.
    Source: University of California San Francisco
  • Page Title: Informed Consent: Ethical Topic in Medicine
    Summary: List of questions that explain the importance and limitations of informed consent. Two case studies are also available with discussion topics.
    Source: University of Washington School of Medicine

General research

  • Page Title: Glossary of Clinical Research Terms
    Summary: Glossary of terms for research volunteers listing terms used in clinical research trials.
    Source: University of California, San Diego
  • Page Title: Explaining Research
    Summary: Drop-down set of questions describing the basics of research, how studies are designed and what people should do before joining a clinical trial. Videos are included in certain portions (How is research made safe?, What is a control group?, What is random assignment?, Who can participate in research?, Seniors making a difference & Why should we participate in research studies [a video in Spanish])
    Source: University of California, San Diego
  • Page Title: What is Research?
    Summary: Text-heavy webpage explaining research from three sources ([Anglin, Ross, Morrison 1995], [Gall, Borg, Gall 1996] and [Patton 1990]). Three questions are answered: What is research, What are the purposes of research, and What is the research process -- a flowchart of the research process is included.
    Source: Penn State


  • Page Title: HIMH: A Participants Guide to Mental Health Clinical Research
    Summary: A brochure prepared by the NIMH, that provides answers to common questions about volunteering for mental health clinical research. A section of this document explains what randomization is and displays a diagram that helps explain how randomization works.
    Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (provided by Harvard University)
  • Page Title: Randomization
    Summary: A page giving the definition of randomization and explaining further what it is, how randomization actually works, how to achieve randomization in randomized controlled trials, and a brief explanation of blinding.
    Source: Explorable.com
  • Page Title: An overview of randomization techniques: An unbiased assessment of outcome in clinical research
    Summary: Article providing an overview of randomization techniques. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2011 Jan-Apr; 4(1): 8–11.
    Source: PubMed
  • Page Title: Developing a Randomization Protocol in a Community-Partnered Participatory Research Project to Reduce the Burden of Depression
    Summary: A slide presentation by Dr. Thomas Belin, PhD, presented on October 12, 2012 as part of the first CTSI CERP-Biostatistics Workgroup Seminar.
    Source: Slide Presentation

Basic Study Design

  • Page Title: Basic Research Design
    Summary: A slide presentation going through the different study designs.
    Source: SUNY (found on SlideShare.net)
  • Page Title: Study Design 101
    Summary: Website dedicated to explaining the different types of studies that exsit, as well as their benefits and disadvantages.
    Source: George Washington University
  • Page Title: Understanding Research Study Designs
    Summary: Description of different study designs uses multiple graphics to describe the study designs.
    Source: University of Minnesota

UCLA CTSI Community Presentations

Do You!! Leveling the Playing Field in CBPR

An introduction for community organizations with minimal research experience
Aziza Lucas-Wright, M.Ed.

Community Engagement Specialist/ Project Associate IV, The RAND Corporation;
Community Instructor, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science;
Program Manager/Research Assistant, Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA

Preparing for the Courtship

This presentation assesses an organization’s readiness for working in research by asking questions to a potential research partner.
Aziza Lucas-Wright, M.Ed.

Community Engagement Specialist/ Project Associate IV, The RAND Corporation;
Community Instructor, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science;
Program Manager/Research Assistant, Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA

The Importance of Research

This presentation highlights the importance of clinical research and the protections offered to research participants.
Keith C. Norris, M.D. – University of California, Los Angeles

Loretta Jones, Th.D., M.A. – Founder and CEO of Healthy African American Families II
Aziza Lucas-Wright, M Ed. – Healthy African American Families II

7 Ethics of Doing Community-Partnered Research

This presentation provides an overview of the ethical standards for research.
Loretta Jones, Th.D., M.A. - Founder and CEO of Healthy African American Families II
Aziza Lucas-Wright, M.Ed. – Healthy African American Families II

Episocopal Health Foundation CCBR Community Training Program: Boot Camp

Summary: Training program for community members who are being introduced to research. Their training includes a pre & post test, a presentation with talking points as well as handouts. Training teaches the following skills: research design, interviewing and data gathering, data analysis, and Implementation & dissemination of plans and interventions.
(NOTES, 1. Presentation is 155 slides in length. 2. If used, please cite CES4Health.info as source, along with resources listed in presentation.)
St. Luke Episcopal Health Charities

Principles of Community-Engaged Research

Training Materials and Templates

Dissemination and Sharing Knowledge

Additional References

Promotora Research Training Project

Summary: Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the San Diego State University developed a curriculum aimed to better prepare community health workers’ involvement in research with the Latino community. A self-paced training curriculum is available, as well as an instructors’ guide and tutorial, available in English and Spanish.

CITI Training: IRB Training (in English)

Coming soon. For additional information, please contact isankare@mednet.ucla.edu

CITI Training: IRB Training (in Spanish)

Coming soon. For additional information, please contact isankare@mednet.ucla.edu

CERP Community-Academic Grant Writing

The UCLA CTSI Community Engagement & Research Program developed a two-part community-academic partnered grant writing series designed to help community organizations and academic institutions build infrastructure for collaborative research projects using a partnered approach. The first phase of the series was a half-day workshop on grant readiness, which was open to all interested community partners. The second phase, open only to community–academic teams that met eligibility criteria, was a 12-week session that covered partnered grant writing for foundation grants and National Institutes of Health grants.

Citation: King K, Pardo YJ, Norris KC, Diaz-Romero M, Morris DA, Vassar SD, Brown AF. A Community-Academic Partnered Grant writing Series to Build Infrastructure for Partnered Research. Clin Trans Sci 2015; Vol 8: 573-578 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cts.12327/full

Click here to see the Grant Writing poster.

Detailed information about training session content is available upon request. Please contact cerp@mednet.ucla.edu.


Budgets for Partnered Research Projects


Created by: Maria Diaz-Romero (CDU), Matt Kirk (Cedars-Sinai), Brittney Lee (UCLA CERP), Arturo Martinez (UCLA CERP), Homero del Pino (CDU), Allison Weber (Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA). With contributions by: Rosie Cardenas (UCLA), Andrea Jones (HAAF), Elizabeth Lizaola (UCLA), Norma Mtume (Community Partner), Cristina Punzalen (UCLA).

Budget Process Overview

There are four steps in creating a partnered research project budget: pre-proposal, pre-award, post-award and closeout. In the below sections, you will find helpful processes, terms and tips to help you navigate the process.

Project Timeline: 12 weeks – this timeline goes through the last ten weeks prior to a proposal submission
Budget Timeline: in development

In which stage of the budget process are you?


NCURA YouTube Channel: short videos describing all aspects of applying for and managing research funds.


Identify Funding Opportunity
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This step describes the search for opportunities, organizational eligibility, pursuing opportunities, review and selection of proposals.

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Once a funding opportunity has been screened for both principal investigator (PI) and organizational eligibility, the development of a complete proposal will include adhering to sponsor content and format specifications, complying with sponsor requirements, obtaining necessary organizational approvals, and transmitting the compiled proposal for review and submission.

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Contents of Proposal
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Most funding agencies have their own proposal forms or formats and provide specific instruction on content, page limitations, and numbers of copies of proposals that are to be submitted. In most instances, proposals contain most or all of the following elements:

    Contents of a Proposal
  • Cover Page - either a form printed or created by you
  • Abstract or Project Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • Project Description
  • Budget and Budget Justification
  • Indirect Costs
  • Insurance
  • Biographical Sketch - for key personnel
  • Current and Pending Support - for key personnel
  • Resources (Equipment and Facilities)
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Certifications and other forms as may be required by agency


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Proposal Review
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Applications submitted to the Sponsoring Agencies or Foundations will normally be evaluated by a peer review process to ensure a fair, competent and objective assessment of their scientific and technical merit. The peer review of grant applications frequently involves an assessment conducted by panels of experts established according to scientific disciplines or medical specialty areas. Applications for Federal funding (including sub-award applications submitted as part of a prime applicant’s proposal) can take from nine months to one year to be completely evaluated and considered for award. After so much time has passed since submission, the Sponsor may reach out to the proposer and request updated information, referred to as the "Just-in-time" (JIT) process (see here for additional detail: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/glossary.htm#J). Applications submitted from Community-Based Organizations directly to a UCLA CTSI funding opportunity generally have a somewhat more informal evaluation process and can be fully evaluated in a much shorter timeframe. During a Sponsor’s review process, it is common for revised proposal documents to be requested by the Sponsor (e.g. revised budget in response to limited funding availability or revised work plan in response to reviewers’ concerns).

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Pre-award Costs
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Any cost incurred prior to the beginning date of the project period or the initial budget period of a competitive segment (under a multi-year award), in anticipation of the award and at the applicant's own risk, for otherwise allowable costs. If for any reason an award cannot be made after an application is preliminarily identified for funding, all pre-award costs become the responsibility of the organization that incurred the cost. A prime applicant is NOT responsible to reimburse pre-award costs incurred by their sub-award/consortium partners in anticipation of an award to the prime. Costs can only be reimbursed once there is a fully executed sub-award/consortium agreement in place between the prime and sub-award organizations. (The short answer is that any costs for the project before you have a contract or award document are at your own risk.)

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Notice of Award (NOA)
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The official, legally binding document provided to the prime applicant, signed (or the electronic equivalent of signature) by an authorized official of the sponsor that:

  1. notifies the recipient of the award of a grant;
  2. contains or references all the terms and conditions of the grant and funding limits and obligations; and,
  3. provides the documentary basis for recording the obligation of funds in the sponsor’s accounting system.


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Sub-award Process
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Establishment of a formalized agreement whereby a research project is carried out by the prime grantee and one or more other organizations that are separate legal entities. Under the agreement, the (prime) grantee must perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned research and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. These agreements typically involve a specific level of effort from the consortium (sometimes called a sub-award or subcontractor) organization's PD/PI and a categorical breakdown of costs, such as personnel, supplies, and other allowable expenses, including F&A costs (see section Key Terms & FAQs). Until this agreement is in place, consortium participants (sub-awardees or subcontractors) are responsible for all pre-award spending, and will not be reimbursed unless/until a consortium agreement is executed by both organizations.

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Project Period
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The total time for which sponsor support of a project has been programmatically approved as shown in the NOA; however it does not constitute a commitment by the sponsor to fund the entire period. For example, the project period may be for five years, but the funder may be unhappy with the grantee’s progress and so decides to stop funding the project after year two. The total project period comprises the initial budget period, any subsequent budget periods resulting from a renewal award(s), and extensions. Federal awards are often made in 2, 3 or 5 year project periods. The single award year is considered the Budget Period (below) and all other years may be called “out” years. All together, these years constitute the Project Period.

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Budget Period
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The intervals of time (usually 12 months each) into which a project period is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

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Interim Progress Report
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Periodic, usually annual, report submitted by the grantee and used by NIH or other sponsor to assess progress and, except for the final progress report of a project period, to determine whether to provide funding for the budget period subsequent to that covered by the report. This report may also be called the non-competing continuation progress report. Sometimes referred to as “non-competing continuation” to indicate that evaluation for next funding increment is only for programmatic progress; it is not scored and evaluated against other proposals (c.f. “renewal”). Generally, all reports generally go to the sponsor from the prime grantee. If you are a subcontract on a grant then your progress report information should be coordinated with the prime grantee. That Prime grantee then incorporates your updates or data or report into their report for submission to the sponsor.

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Interim Financial Report
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A financial report normally due 30-90 days after the end of each budget period showing the status of awarded funds for that period. All reports generally go to the sponsor from the prime grantee. If you are a subcontract on a grant then your progress report information should be coordinated with the prime grantee. That prime grantee then incorporates your updates or data or report into their report for submission to the sponsor.

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The process by which a sponsor determines that all applicable administrative actions and all required work (often referred to as ‘deliverables’) under an award have been completed by the grantee. Typically, this includes submission of a Final Progress Report and Final Financial report. This may also require disclosure of any inventions (sometimes called “Final Invention Statement”) which were conceived or first actually reduced to practice during the course of work under the grant (especially for funding initiated by the federal government).

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Final Progress Report
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A report to the sponsor that communicates the work accomplished with the funds provided. It should include:

  • A statement of progress made towards the achievement of originally stated aims
  • A list of results (positive and/or negative) considered significant
  • A list of publications resulting from the project, including plans, if any, for further publication. Some sponsors (especially for funding initiated by the federal government) may also require:
    • Reports on the inclusion of gender and minority study subjects (using the gender and minority inclusion table as provided in the PHS2590)
    • Indication of whether children were involved in the study or how the study was relevant for conditions affecting children
    • Description of data, research materials (e.g., cell lines, DNA probes, and animal models), protocols, software, or other information resulting from the research that is available to be shared with other investigators and how it may be accessed
  • all reports generally go to the sponsor from the prime grantee. If you are a subcontract on a grant then your progress report information should be coordinated with the prime grantee. That Prime grantee then incorporates your updates or data or report into their report for submission to the sponsor.

If a renewal has been submitted, the progress report contained in that application may sometimes serve in lieu of a separate Final Progress Report and will likely be used (in part) to evaluate request for continued funding.

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Final Financial Report
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A financial report normally due 30-90 days after the end of the project period showing the status of awarded funds for the entire award. If an organization is participating as a sub-awardee, the Final Financial report will take the form of a Final Invoice, stating expenses incurred for the final billing period, as well as for the entire budget period that is ending. Final invoices are normally due 30-60 days after the end of the project period to allow time for the prime awardee to review and pay Final Invoices and then file their prime Final Financial report to the Sponsor.

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Final Invention Statement
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Report disclosing any inventions which were conceived or first actually reduced to practice during the course of work under the grant.

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Key Terms

Conflict of Interest
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A Financial Conflict of Interest exists when the Institution, through its designated official(s), reasonably determines that an Investigator’s Significant Financial Interest is related to a NIH-funded research project and could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct or reporting of the NIH-funded research.
Source: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/coi_faqs.htm#3180

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Consortium Agreement
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Group of collaborative investigators/institutions; arrangement can be formalized with specified terms and conditions.
Source: https://www.research.uci.edu/compliance/human-research-protections/docs/glossary-of-terms.html (provided by UC Irvine)

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An individual who provides professional advice or services for a fee, but typically not as an employee of the engaging party. In unusual situations, an individual may be both a consultant and an employee of the same party, receiving compensation for some services as a consultant and for other work as a salaried employee. To prevent apparent or actual conflicts of interest, grantees and consultants must establish written guidelines indicating the conditions of payment of consulting fees. Consultants may also include firms that provide paid professional advice or services.
Source: http://www.grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/senior_key_personnel_faqs.htm?print=yes#1661

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Contracts (Contractor/Vendor)
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An award instrument used to acquire from a non-federal party, by purchase, lease, or barter, property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal government. The same term may be used to describe a vendor relationship between a recipient and another party under a grant (to acquire routine goods and services); however, the recipient may use subaward to describe the contract under a grant relationship.
Source: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/glossary.htm#C

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Direct Costs
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Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.
Source: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/developing_budget.htm#difference

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DUNS number
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A unique, nine-digit identifying number that an organization is provided free of charge by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet, and is required by the federal government to track how federal grant money is distributed. (See SAM)
Source: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/dunsnumber.jsp

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EIN (Employee Identification Number)
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A nine-digit number that the IRS assigns in the following format: 12-3456789. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. This is a type of taxpayer identification number.
Source: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs

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Facilities & Administrative Costs [Indirect Costs]
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Costs that are incurred by a grantee for common or joint objectives and therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project, program, instructional activity or any other institutional activity. These costs also are known as "indirect costs." (e.g., may include Human Resources & Accounting, & general administrative costs) Each grant opportunity has its own budget restrictions. When considering budget items, it is advised to include some of the common expenses such as, rent, supplies, utilities, phones, meeting costs, transportation, and other additional costs. Frequent contact with your partner institution is recommended to determine if the costs you propose can be covered by the grant.
Source: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/html5/section_7/7.3_direct_costs_and_facilities_and_administrative_costs.htm

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Fringe Benefits
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Allowable as part of overall compensation to employees in proportion to the amount of time or effort employees devote to the grant-supported project, provided such costs are incurred under formally established and consistently applied policies of the organization. For more information, contact your partnering institution.
Source: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch7.htm#Fringe_Benefits

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Contributions or assistance in a form other than money. Equipment, materials, or services of recognized value that are offered in lieu of cash (and salaries/fringe/indirect).
Source: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/html5/section_1/1.2_definition_of_terms.htm

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NIH Grants Policy Statement (NIHGPS)
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A consolidated resource of policy requirements that serve as the terms and conditions of NIH grant awards. It also provides general information about NIH-its organization, staff, and grants process. Current and historical versions of the NIHGPS can be found on the OER Grants Policy and Guidance webpage at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm#gps
Source: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/glossary.htm#N

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Person Months
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The metric for expressing the effort (amount of time) that the Principal Investigator(s), faculty and other senior personnel devote to a specific project. The effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with the organization; e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization's definition of such. For instance, some institutions define the academic year as a 9-month appointment while others define it as a 10-month appointment. See the NIH person-month calculator: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_conversion_chart.xls

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Principal Investigator
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The individual responsible for the conduct of research or other activity described in a proposal for an award.
Source: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi/faq.htm#2952

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System for Award Management (SAM)
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The System for Award Management (SAM) is a combination of the federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system. To be eligible to receive grants or contracts from the federal government, your organization must be registered in SAM. This consolidation is being done in phases. The first phase of SAM includes the functionality from the following systems:

  • Central Contractor Registry (CCR)
  • Federal Agency Registration (Fedreg)
  • Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA)
  • Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) 

Sources: https://www.transportation.gov/osdbu/system-award-management-sam (Department of Transportation)
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/how-to-apply-application-guide/prepare-to-apply-and-register/registration/org-representative-registration/sam-org-registration.htm (NIH)

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Senior/Key Personnel
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The personnel considered to be of primary importance to the successful conduct of a research project. The term usually applies to the senior members of the project staff. The Senior/Key Personnel section should include any senior or key personnel from the applicant organization who are dedicating effort to this project. “Other Significant Contributors” who dedicate negligible effort should not be included. Some common significant contributors include: 1) CEOs of companies who provide overall leadership, but no direct contribution to the research; and 2) mentors for K awardees, who provide advice and guidance to the candidate but do not work on the project. Likewise, any consultants or collaborators who are not employed by the applicant organization should not be included in section A, but rather should be included in section F.3 of the budget (for consultants) or in section A of the consortium/subaward budget page (for collaborators). If primary leadership of a CBO is added as senior/key personnel, additional requirements may need to be fulfilled.
Source: https://www.research.ucsb.edu/toolbox/definitions-and-acronyms

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Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
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An identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by the IRS. A Social Security number (SSN) is issued by the SSA whereas all other TINs are issued by the IRS. Both Social Security Numbers and Employer Identification Numbers are forms of TINs
Source: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/taxpayer-identification-numbers-tin

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How do you obtain an ERA commons user name?
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The process for obtaining an ERA commons user names varies depending on the academic institution with which your organization is collaborating. For guidance on the process, contact the academic institution with whom you are collaborating.

  1. Cedars-Sinai: Matt Kirk, Assistant Manager, Grants & Contracts Services, e-mail:
  2. CDU: TBN
  3. Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA: Allison Weber, Director, Government Sponsored Projects, e-mail:
  4. UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration: 310.794.0102

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What is a DUNS number and do I need one?
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Before you can bid on government proposals, you need to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet, or D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. DUNS Number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants. Therefore, technically you need one. In the past, a proposal could go through with putting nine zeroes in the DUNS field – but that may change.

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What do I need to get my DUNS number, and where can I obtain one?
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When registering for your DUNS Number, you will need the following on hand:

  1. Legal Name
  2. Headquarters name and address for your business
  3. Doing Business As (DBA) or other name by which your business is commonly recognized
  4. Physical address, city, state and ZIP code
  5. Mailing address (if separate from headquarters and/or physical address)
  6. Telephone number
  7. Contact name and title
  8. Number of employees at your physical location
  9. Whether you are a Home-Based Business

DUNS numbers can be obtained from: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/pages/CCRSearch.jsp
obtaining a new DUNS number takes about a day.

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How do I know if my agency qualifies for this grant?
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Read the Eligibility Criteria in the Funding Announcement.

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Do I need an institutional partner?
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It may be possible for your organization to apply for a proposal on its own; however, this depends on the eligibility requirements of the Funding Announcement. Be sure to read the Funding Announcement, and then contact your partner institution for additional questions.

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How do I get a Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A) rate/agreement (for indirect costs)?
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Generally, organizations without an established agreement are entitled to claim a certain percentage for F&A, this percentage might vary depending on the academic institution with which you partner. The process for obtaining an F&A Rate is arduous. Per NIH:

"F&A costs are determined by applying your organization’s negotiated F&A rate to your direct cost base. Most educational, hospital, or non-profit organizations have negotiated their rates with other Federal (cognizant) agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Naval Research. If you are a for-profit organization, the F&A costs are negotiated by the Division of Cost Allocation (DCA), Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) in the Office of Acquisition Management and Policy, NIH."

If you have any additional questions, the academic researcher and their institution may be able to provide further guidance.

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What is the difference between direct and indirect costs?
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The total costs requested in your budget will include allowable direct costs (related to the performance of the grant) plus allowable F&A costs. If awarded, each budget period of the Notice of Award will reflect direct costs, applicable F&A, and in the case of SBIR or STTR awards, a "profit" or fee. Direct costs can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. While indirect costs are costs incurred by a grantee for common or joint objectives and that, therefore, cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program (e.g., may include Human Resources & Accounting, & general administrative costs)

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How do I get a Federal-wide Assurance (FWA) for Human Subjects Protection?
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The Office of Human Research Protection, at the US Department of Health and Human Services oversees the issuing of FWAs. For more information on this, please view the information that the OHRP has on the subject: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/index.html.

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I am applying for a grant in which my organization may receive an award/subaward over $500,000 each year. Do I need to get an audit? What is the process for this?
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It is very likely that in this instance, you will need a Single Audit (formerly known as an A-133 Audit), your partner institution will be in contact with you.

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How do I write a budget and budget justification?
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The budget is your best guess of the cost (e.g. staff, supplies) to implement a project. Please see Sample Budgets and Justifications in Section 4.

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How do I determine salaries, costs of supplies, etc?
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All listed costs in your budget need to be your best estimation. If you already have staff, determine the amount of effort, or percentage of their time will be devoted to the project and use their current salary. If you will be hiring new staff for the project, follow your own organization’s human resource policies.

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How do I determine effort?
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For the most part, effort is based off a 40-hour workweek, or 2080 hours per year. If your staff will be working 10 hours a week on the project, then effort = 25% (10 hours per week working on project/40 hours worked per week). The person-months calculator may be of assistance when determining effort: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/person_months_conversion_chart.xls

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How do I calculate person-months?
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Person months assist in determining effort, which is based on the type of appointment of the individual with the organization; e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization's definition of such. For instance, some institutions define the academic year as a 9-month appointment while others define it as a 10-month appointment. To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your effort associated with the project times the number of months of your appointment.
For example:

  • 10% of a 12 month calendar appointment equals 1.2 (CY) person months (12 x 0.10 = 1.2)
  • 10% of a 0.5 FTE 12 month appointment equals 0.6 (CY) person months (12 x .5 X .1 = 0.6)

The person-months calculator may be of assistance when determining effort:

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What items should I put in the budget? What costs are not allowed?
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Costs necessary to achieve your specific aims and scope of work. In general, all costs must be: 1) allowable under federal regulations; 2) specifically allocable to the research project (not providing general support to multiple projects); 3) reasonable (you would purchase the same or similar good or service if you were funding the project yourself); and 4) consistently applied (whatever methods you use to allocate expenses to the project are used across all projects, regardless of the funding source for each project). This link from the National Institutes of Health provides general guidance on the allowability of some of the most commonly requested budget items:

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How are fringe benefits calculated?
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Fringe benefits are part of a the overall compensation to employees in proportion to the amount of time or effort employees devote to the grant-supported project, provided such costs are incurred under formally established and consistently applied policies of the organization. So, for a subcontractor, that will mean calculating the cost of Paid Medical Leave, Paid Vacation, Health (Dental, Vision), life, Disability Insurance, Retirement paid by the company as well as the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare Tax.

One may do this by adding the work hours of a hear (typically 2,080 hours per year), add together the sum of these costs of benefits. Divide that sum by the total wages earned while working on the job. That percentage is the Fringe Benefit Rate for that employee. The NIH does not have a pre-set limit on fringe benefits. More information on what is included as fringe benefits can be found in the Grants Policy Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2013/nihgps_ch7.htm#Fringe_Benefits. If you have questions about what rate to use, consult the partnering institution’s sponsored programs office.

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What should go in the scope of work?
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The Scope of Work is the specific description within the contract for services that includes those actions and deliverables for which the party will be contractually obligated to produce.

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What documents and information are needed prior to applying for a grant? For example how do I get a Tax ID number? What is the Central Contractor Registry?
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These are all elements needed to fulfill the requirement for recipients of Federal grant awardees (grants) and contractors (procurements) to be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM). For a quick guide to all required elements and timelines for registration, as well as additional resources, click here:

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What requirements have to be fulfilled in order to receive award money?
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  1. Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Certification for each Key Personnel involved on the project. This certification will provide project staff with human subject protections training. More information and a free tutorial can be found at:
  2. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval
  3. Completed forms listed in Section 4

***This is a growing resource, if you feel other questions should be added, please contact Stefanie Vassar (svassar@mednet.ucla.edu), Administrative Specialist of the Community Engagement & Research Program***

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Additional Links & FAQs

NIH GRANT POLICY STATEMENT: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm#gps

Books and Chapters

Journal Articles

  • Corbie-Smith G, Ford CL. Distrust and poor self-reported health. Canaries in the coal mine? J Gen Intern Med. Apr 2006;21(4):395-397. PMCID: PMC1484739
  • Corbie-Smith G, Thomas SB, Diane MMSG. Distrust, Race, and Research. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:2458-2246. PMID: 12437405
  • Gamble VN. Under the shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and health care. Am J Public Health. 1997;87:1773–1778. PMCID: PMC1381160
  • Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. J., Parker, E. A. et al. Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 1998; 19:183-202. PMID: 9611617
  • Jones L, Wells K. Strategies for academic and clinician engagement in community-participatory partnered research. JAMA. Jan 24 2007; 297(4):407-410. PMID: 17244838
  • Jones L, Wells K, Norris K, Meade B, Koegel P. The vision, valley, and victory of community engagement. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumnl 19(4 Suppl 6): S6:3-7
  • Keppel KG PJ, Heron MP. Is there progress toward eliminating racial/ethnic disparities in the leading causes of death? Public Health Rep. Sep-Oct 2010;125(5):689-697. PMCID: PMC2925005
  • King TE Jr. Racial Disparities in Clinical Trials. N Engl J Med 2002 May; 346(18):1400-2. PMID: 11986416
  • Wells K, Jones L. "Research" in community-partnered, participatory research. JAMA. Jul 15 2009;302(3):320-321. PMCID: PMC3050488
  • Wendler D, Kington R, Madans J, Van Wye G, Christ-Schmidt H, et al. (2006) Are racial and ethnic minorities less willing to participate in health research? PLoS Med 3(2): e19. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030019

Journal Supplements

  • Ethnicity and Disease Journal Supplement, 2010, Volume 20, No. 1 Supplement 2: Creating Healthy African American Families. http://www.ishib.org/ED/sup_20_1_2_toc.asp
  • Norris K. Creating Healthy African American Families. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2):S2-i. PMID: 20626186
  • Ferre C, Jones L, Norris K, Rowley D. The Healthy African American Families (HAAF) Project: from community-based participatory research to community-partnered participatory research. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-1-8. PMCID: PMC3791221
  • Chung B, Jones L, Terry C, Jones A, Forge N, Norris K. Story of Stone Soup: A Recipe to Improve Health Disparities. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-9-14. PMCID: PMC3709872
  • Jones L, Collis BE. Participation in Action: The Healthy African American Families Community Conference Model. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-15-20. PMCID: PMC3791219
  • Brooks PE. Ethnographic evaluation of a research partnership between two African American communities and a university. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-21-9. PMID: 20629243
  • Jones L, Wright K, Wright A, Brown ND, Broussard M, Hogan V. The Healthy African American Families’ Risk Communications Initiative: Using Community Partnered Participatory Research to Address Preterm Birth at the Local Level. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-30-5. PMID: 20629244
  • Jones L, Lu MC, Lucas-Wright A, Dillon-Brown N, Broussard M, Wright K, Maidenberg M, Norris K, Ferre C. One Hundred Intentional Acts of Kindness toward a Pregnant Woman: Building Reproductive Social Capital in Los Angeles. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-36-40. PMCID: PMC3787313
  • Abdou C, Schetter CD, Jones F, Roubinov D, Tsai S, Jones L, Lu M, Hobel C. Community Perspectives: Mixed-Methods Investigation of Culture, Stress, Resilience, and Health. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-41-8. PMID: 20629246
  • Lu MC, Jones L, Bond MJ, Wright K, Pumpuang M, Maidenberg M, Jones D, Garfield C, Rowley DL. Where is the F in MCH? Father involvement in African American Families. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-49-61. PMID: 20629247
  • Lu MC, Kotelchuck M, Hogan V, Jones L, Wright K, Halfon N. Closing the Black-White Gap in Birth Outcomes: A Life-course Approach. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-62-76. PMID: 20629248
  • Wright K, Jones L, Hogan V. A roadmap for authentic community/academic engagement for developing effective community preterm birth education. Ethn Dis. 2010 Winter; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-77-82. PMID: 20629249
  • Ethnicity and Disease Journal Supplement, 2009, Volume 19, No. 4 Supplement 6: Community-Partnered Participatory Research: Strategies and Tactics for Improving Community Health. http://www.ishib.org/ED/sup_19_4_6_toc.asp
  • Jones L. Preface: Community-partnered participatory research: how we can work together to improve community health. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-1-2. PMID: 20085119
  • Jones L, Wells K, Norris K, Meade B, Koegel P. The vision, valley and victory of community engagement. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-3-7. PMID: 20088076
  • Jones L, Meade B, Forge N, Moini M, Jones F, Terry C, Norris K. Begin your partnership: the process of engagement. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-8-16. PMID: 20088077
  • Jones L, Meade B, Norris K, Lucas-Wright A, Jones F, Moini M, Jones A, Koegel P. Develop a vision. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-17-30. PMID: 20088078
  • Jones L, Meade B, Koegel P, Lucas-Wright A, Young-Brinn A, Terry C, Norris K. Work through the valley: plan. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-31-8. PMID: 20088079
  • Jones L, Wells K, Meade B, Forge N, Lucas-Wright A, Jones F, Young-Brinn A, Jones A, Norris K. Work through the valley: do. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-39-46. PMID: 20088080
  • Wells K, Koegel P, Jones L, Meade B. Work through the valley: evaluate. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-47-58. PMID: 20088081
  • Jones L, Wells K, Meade B. Celebrate victory. Ethn Dis. 2009 Autumn;19(4 Suppl 6):S6-59-71. PMID: 20088082