A Message from the OSP Director, Jim Casey

Welcome to the June issue of the OSP Newsletter. We hope your summers are going well so far.

This issue contains the normal mix of research administration substance and announcements. It is always a pleasure to highlight a faculty member, and this month we are featuring Dr. Cristel Russell in a very interesting piece. Joe Gesa, the OSP electronic research administrator, has a timely piece on routing in Cayuse SP. Speaking of Cayuse SP, OSP is holding SP training sessions throughout the summer, and you will find those dates under the training section in this newsletter. In fact, training will be a major focus this coming academic year.

Enjoy this issue and see you next month.

Jim Casey

Posted in Message from OSP Director, Uncategorized

May Research Awards

In May 2017 (FY 2018), the Office of Sponsored Programs recorded the following grants for American University researchers.

PI: Philip Johnson
College of Arts and Sciences – Physics
Title: 2017 NIST SURF – Gaithersburg Campus
Sponsor: National Institute of Standards and Technology
Funds: $9,036.00

PI: Bruce McCollum
College of Arts and Sciences – Physics
Title: Determining the Progenitor of a Red Transient
Sponsor: Space Telescope Science Institute
Funds: $19,405.00

PI: Dennis Stinchcomb
Center for Latin American and Latino Studies
Title: Central American Refugee Advocacy Project
Sponsor: Christopher Renolyds Foundation
Funds: $5,000.00

PI: Caty Borum Chattoo
School of Communication – Center for Social Media
Title: Exhibit D: Health Disparities Among U.S. Hispanics: Assessing the Impact of Viewing a Comedy Documentary
Sponsor: Univision Management
Funds: $25,000.00

PI: Simon Nicholson
School of International Service
Title: Supplementary Funding for the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment
Sponsor: V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation
Funds: $100,000.00

PI: Angie McCarthy
Washington College of Law – Dean’s Office
Title: Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Public Policy Fellowship
Sponsor: Squire Patton Boggs Foundation
Funds: $5,000.00


Posted in Awards, Faculty Research Updates, Uncategorized

OSP Summer Training

OSP Training (1)

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Routing in Cayuse SP


Joe Gesa, Electronic Research Administrator

The review and approval of proposal records is handled electronically within Cayuse SP during a process known as, “Routing.” Routing is a communication tool used to ensure all stakeholders in a proposal have a clear understanding of the obligations they and the University are offering to undertake in return for a potential award. After submission for routing in Cayuse SP, the proposal record is certified by the PI, authorized by unit/school/college/center internal processing forms (IPF) approvers, and reviewed for compliance by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) prior to submission to the sponsor. This process may occur in sequence, or in parallel, but will always end with OSP.

Occasionally, errors will be found that need to be corrected prior to submission to the sponsor. These errors may, or may not require the proposal to be reauthorized and resubmitted for routing. For example, something minor like a Typo, can be corrected on your behalf by an admin (any/all OSP staff) with no further action required. However, for something larger like a change or error in the budget, the record would either need to be rejected somewhere in the routing chain, or set back to “Unsubmitted” by a system admin. Once corrected, the record would need to be reauthorized for routing, resubmitted for routing, and rerouted as if it were new. This means that the PI needs to recertify and all approvers need to sign again.

Posted in Cayuse SP, OSP Staff Articles | Tagged

Faculty Stoplight: Cristel Russell, PhD

Each month, an OSP staff member interviews an American University faculty member to highlight their contributions in providing cutting-edge research that serves to create and advance knowledge, and enrich the resources of our educational community. This month, we are featuring Cristel Russell, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Kogod School of Business.


You received funding from the Institut National du Cancer to conduct research on “E-cigarette Marketing and Influences on Youth.” Could you give us an overview of this project? Have there been any surprising discoveries?

The project focuses first on reviewing existing policies, which are ever evolving. Regulating e-cigarettes has proven a difficult undertaking and the international community has taken a varied response, ranging from outright banning e-cigs to enacting comprehensive e-cig-specific legislation. Intermediary approaches include amending existing tobacco legislation to include e-cigs, and differentiating regulation based on whether a device uses nicotine. One of the difficulties of regulating e-cigarettes is that they have been positioned as a beneficial alternative to traditional tobacco consumption and a smoking cessation tool for adult smokers, although findings remain inconclusive. Nonetheless, international anti-smoking organizations, such as the Action on Smoking and Health (2016), actively advocate for e-cig usage as a less harmful alternative to smoking and have even bemoaned the fact that healthcare policymakers are not better integrating e-cigs into sanctioned cessation efforts.

The greater policy concern is youth experimentation with e-cigs, which is the focus of this research project. This concern is rooted in the belief that e-cigs might serve as a catalyst for a new generation of nicotine addicts and ultimately lead to an increase in traditional tobacco use by renormalizing smoking behavior, which has steadily been curtailed in many countries resultant of multiple prevention effort.

What has been the impact on traditional cigarette marketing since the emergence of e-cigarettes?

We do not yet know if e-cigarette trial leads more teens to eventually pick up tobacco in the traditional form. This study will help us answer this question. We are interested in whether the same symbols are used by advertisers to communicate about e-cigs as with cigarettes.

What are some of the methods that the E-cigarette industry uses to engage with youth?

Although the e-cig industry asserts that its focus is on adult consumer, the product’s 400+ flavors, the ease of concealment, and general access all appeal to youth. As e-cigs are still in the early stages of new product diffusion, advertising efforts remain aggressive and designed to generate positive product images and beliefs. In the US, e-cig advertising expenditures increased from US$6.4 million in 2011 to US$115 million in 2014 while e-cig use concurrently increased from 0.6% to 3.9% for those aged 11-13 and from 1.5% to 13.4% for those aged 14-18 (CDC 2016).Youth encounter e-cig across a range of media. A large US youth study reported high-levels of exposure to e-cig advertising across multiple sources; among age groups of 11-13 and 14-18, exposure was: retail stores (52.8%/56.3%, 14.4 million combined), Internet (35.8%/42.9%, 10.5 million combined), television/movies (34.1%/38.4%, 9.6 million combined), and newspapers/magazines (25.0%/34.6%, 8 million combined). Youth exposures are likely to increase if unchecked; for instance, a US-based study found that youth exposure to e-cig television advertising alone increased by 256% between 2011 and 2013. E-cig advertisements promote traditional positive usage behaviors and associated outcomes (e.g., looking cool by blowing vapor from one’s mouth) and negate regulatory barriers established to curtail smoking behavior. Images often have purposeful youth appeal (e.g., portraying young people having fun while using the product) and in youth-oriented media. This is what the first phase of this project in France is documenting: what are the images and themes used by e-cig companies and how are those interpreted by youth?

In December 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that the use of e-cigarettes among youth is a major public health concern. In your opinion, what can be done to protect the youth from this industry.

Market surveillance is especially prudent at a time when the e-cig industry is increasing efforts to lobby government bodies at all levels; for example, between 2011-16, US$63 million was contributed to politician campaigns and ballot efforts. Surveillance of e-cigarette marketing, performing content analyses of the messages and media used (like we are doing here), and conducting studies to assess the link between exposure to e-cigarette marketing and the use of e-cigarette products (again like this research aims to do), particularly among youth and young adults, will facilitate the development of an evidence base of the type that informed prior. As the body of research evidence grows, specific e-cig strategies may be targeted more specifically for active legislation.

What are your ideas for further research?

In parallel public health advocates may want to promote media literacy campaigns that have proven a useful tool to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use among school-aged youth. But these campaigns must be specific and targeted, and must engage multiple partners, from schools, families, and the contribution of media institutions. As I head on sabbatical in France, my goal is to develop one such media literacy intervention to help adolescents discern what are ads and what they are designed to do and to help them fight against these influences.

Posted in Faculty Spotlight, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

A Message from the OSP Director, Jim Casey


Jim Casey, Director, OSP

Dear AU Colleagues,

Welcome to the May issue of The Sponsored Research Monthly. We hope that you enjoy this new issue, as it contains a variety of information pertaining to the sponsored research enterprise.

One of the highlights is the inclusion of our first student spotlight, covering Anila D’Mello in CAS. Congratulations on your recent Ph.D., Anila! You will be seeing more student spotlights in the future as undergraduate and graduate students are important components in many sponsored research grants and contribute to the creation of knowledge at AU.

We had a wonderful month for sponsored research awards in April, and congratulations to everyone who received funding! It is a pleasure to share the news of awards, because these awards will spur greater intellectual growth in the classroom and in the lab.

Elsewhere in this issue you will find timely articles written by OSP staff: electronic research administrator Joe Gesa focused on Cayuse SP roles and permissions, and assistant director Ashley Alexander and grant and contract manager Vibeke Svensson provided updates from the NCURA Region II and Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) meetings. The Cayuse SP material is extremely important as we are still in the early implementation of SP, but the updates from NCURA and FDP provide a broader context for what is going on in the field of research administration. Thanks Joe, Ashley, and Vibeke for your contributions!

If you attended the May 15th Library Conference for High Impact Research, you may have attended (or noticed) the afternoon session on “best practices in developing federal grant proposals.” The presentations by Dr. Tom Vollberg (NIH), Claudia Kinkela (NEH), and Dr. Angela Wilson (NSF) are hot linked into this issue. Check them out!

One final point. The pilot for the Research Administration for the AU Investigator program was rolled out effective May 1, 2017, and is applicable only to PIs who are receiving their first sponsored research award in the last two years. A full roll out for all PIs is scheduled for Fall, 2018. More information is included in the memo that is part of this issue.

Thank you for your time in reading this welcome, and we wish you an enjoyable and happy summer!

Best regards,


Posted in Message from OSP Director, Uncategorized

Highlights from NCURA Region II and Federal Demonstration Partnership Meetings

By Ashley Alexander & Vibeke Svensson

The NCURA Region II Meeting was held April 30 – May 3 in Saratoga Springs, New York. Research administrators from the Mid-Atlantic region were able to receive information through networking meetings and various sessions.

In March the revised Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) along with three supplement resources; Appendix A, Prior Approval Matrix/Appendix B, Subaward Requirements Matrix/Appendix C, National Policy Requirements Matrix, were released. The Research Terms and Conditions have been revised to reflect the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, Audit Requirement for Federal Awards, 2 CFT 200 (Uniform Guidance).

The links to the RTC and appendices can be found at: https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/rtc.jsp

The Prior Approval Matrix, Appendix A is an excellent resource to get a quick overview of the federal agencies requirements for approval. Currently NSF, DOE and NIH are the three agencies who have implemented the RTC. The remaining participating agencies are expected to following in the near future. In the below is a list of the agencies with their expected implementation deadline as listed below.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Implement the Research Terms and Conditions on new awards issued after Oct. 1, 2017.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): Research Terms and Conditions apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with the exceptions noted in the NIH Agency Specific Requirements and is effective as of April 3rd, 2017.

National Science Foundation (NSF): All new NSF grants and funding increments on existing NSF grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations will incorporate by reference the Research Terms and Conditions dated April 2017, and the NSF Agency Specific Requirements dated April 2017. Effective April 3, 2017.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): The terms and conditions will apply to all awards (grants, cooperative agreements, and special projects) funded by NIFA except: 1) Capacity Programs; 2) the 1890 Facilities Program; and 3) the Small Business Innovation Research Program; as well as 4) awards to individuals as of June 2017.

U.S. Department of Commerce:  Implement the Government-wide core set of research terms and conditions for all research financial assistance awards subject to 2 CFR Part 200, in addition to any Department and Bureau-specific terms and conditions that may apply. Commencing October 1, 2017,

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Implement the Research Terms and Conditions for all new grant and cooperative agreement awards made after April 3, 2017 to all organizations subject to 2 CFR 210 as implemented by 2 CFR 910.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Apply the standard Research Terms and Conditions to research grants and cooperative agreements awarded by the Office of Research and Development with exceptions. The anticipated implementation date December 2017.

U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The FAA Centers of Excellence Program will adopt the Standard Research Terms and Conditions with the negotiation of all new agreements beginning on or after October 1, 2017.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Apply the standard Research Terms and Conditions to new research grants and cooperative agreements beginning in fiscal year 2018, October 1, 2017.


The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) held its Phase VI Meeting on May 10-12. The FDP “offers a forum for individuals from universities and nonprofits to work collaboratively with federal agency officials to improve the national research enterprise”.[1]  A wealth of information was shared among federal officials, faculty, and sponsored research administrators.

In one of the sessions I attended, the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act was discussed. Effective January 28, 2016, the GONE Act’s goal is to close out all federal awards that have expired. Because of this act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must submit a report to Congress by December 31, 2017, that:

  • Lists each federal grant held by such agency
  • Provides the total number in federal grant awards, including the number of grants by time period of expiration, the number with zero dollar balances, and the number with undisbursed balances
  • Describes the challenges leading to delays in grant closeout
  • Explains, for the 30 oldest federal grant awards, why each has not been closed out.[2]

From the federal sponsor’s perspective, an award that has ended but not properly closed remains active in the federal agency’s system; thus, costing additional funds to keep the grant active. What was shared at the meeting is there are some awards in cash management systems that may have less than ten dollars remaining but have not been properly closed which causes administrative burden and additional cost to manage awards. For example, it was reported in a 2013 article “the federal government spent at least $890,000 on service fees to maintain empty accounts of expired grants.[3] Although most cases are due to final financial reports not entered into cash management systems, others are due the lack of submitting final technical reports or other reports due at the end of an award.

Regarding award closeout, federal officials stressed the importance of a proper closeout. Closeout of an award is just as important than award receipt. Proactive steps should be taken to ensure proper closeout of an award. When there are any issues related to award closeout, universities should be in touch with Grants Management Specialists assigned as both parties work together for closeout. Effective communication is essential in properly closing out awards.

Federal officials at the FDP meeting stated the agencies are working on reports to send to recipients concerning awards that are affected. From an institutional standpoint, all involved in the grant administration can work proactively to identify those awards in the Payment Management System (PMS) that are active and work on taking appropriate action to close out the awards. As all involved in research administration are aware, failure to submit reports can ultimately prohibit the university from receiving additional funding.

For more information about the GONE Act, click on the following link: Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act.

For more information about FDP, click on the following link: Federal Demonstration Partnership.

[1] Congressional Research Service. (2016, January 28). S.1115 – GONE Act. Retrieved from Congress.gov Web site: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1115?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22%5C%22GRANTS+OVERSIGHT+AND+NEW+EFFICIENCY+ACT%5C%22%22%5D%7D&resultIndex=1

[2] Federal Demonstration Partnership. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved May 19, 2017, from Federal Demonstration Partnership: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/fdp/PGA_054588

[3] Jernigan, S. (2016, February 3). President Obama Signs the GONE Act. Retrieved from Management Concepts Web site: http://blogs.managementconcepts.com/president-obama-signs-the-gone-act/#.WSL-puvysdU

Ashley Alexander, PhD, is the Assistant Director of OSP.
Vibeke Svensson, PhD, is a Grant and Contract Manager in OSP.

Posted in OSP Staff Articles, Uncategorized