COVID-19 Update: Recession, Funding Opportunities and Sub-Recipients on Awards
04/10/2020, 12:50:01 PM
From the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston. View this message in browser.
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Dear Research Faculty,

Texas officially entered a recession. The economic impact of the pandemic and the oil price war reduced economic activity.  While firm numbers will not be available for a while, tax revenues are expected to be down by several billion dollars, according to an interview Comptroller Hegar gave to the Texas Tribune last Wednesday. We can expect to see a reduction in state funds to higher education that will not be compensated for despite the large federal stimulus bill that was recently passed and signed into law. Comptroller Hegar also commented on the accelerated move to online platforms that we are all experiencing now in our daily lives.

In my role as VPR, I am part of a network of VPRs of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). The organization is advocating for higher education and has sent a letter to Congress to ask that “the federal government take measures to help relieve the strain and sustain the strength of our nation’s research workforce capacity.”

Here are a few additional updates:

Faculty Café Events and Funding Opportunities

Talking about moving to online platforms, we are back in full force offering virtual Faculty Café sessions as part of our 50-in-5 University Research Explained series. With the April 20 session on Identifying Grant Opportunities Using PIVOT and GrantForward that I mentioned in my last email, we will begin offering biweekly sessions on research funding opportunities, starting April 24. Look for announcements in future emails.

We are already seeing a number of COVID-19 related funding opportunities and we anticipate many more as the funding from the stimulus package is being distributed. Some proposals are due soon, such as the DOD prototype development opportunity (deadline: April 15). We also expect to see opportunities for the arts and humanities, and the social sciences. For instance, the Russell Sage Foundation is soliciting proposals to address the social, political, economic or psychological disruptions resulting from the coronavirus crisis (deadline: May 21). We will continue to post funding opportunities on our COVID-19 Funding Opportunities page.

Sub-Recipients on Awards

Our Office of Contracts and Grants has received questions about sub-recipient awards, and I would like to clarify how our office plans to handle flowing down the flexibilities offered by the various agency guidelines. If a UH sub-recipient asks for any modifications due to COVID-19, we will always check with the UH PI first before allowing any adjustments. If the other institution has the prime award, that is, UH is the sub-recipient, we expect that the other institution will do the same, namely check with their PI first. As such, UH must seek prior approval from the prime award holder before charging these awards for COVID-19 related expenses. Modifications that are allowed under the new federal agency guidelines do not automatically flow-down on pass-through awards.

Best regards,

Amr Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer |

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