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New Rules: Feb 14, 2013

The White House Office of Management and Budget has issued a proposed guidance that would change aspects of how US research funds are managed, ScienceInsider reports. According to the proposed rule in the Federal Register, its goal is to "increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal grant-making process" and comply with executive orders issued by President Barack Obama requiring that regulations be streamlined.

"We think it's definitely a positive step in the right direction," Tony DeCrappeo, president of the Council on Governmental Relations, says of the proposed changes at ScienceInsider.

The four key changes, ScienceInsider notes, deal with charging administrative support, time and effort reporting, utilities reimbursements, and exceptions to negotiated cost rates. For example, the salaries of support staff who handle the administrative tasks for researchers didn't use to be covered by grants. "An item or activity may be charged directly to a grant if it is clearly allocable to that award, as opposed to an activity that supports multiple projects," the proposed rules say. "This principle remains true regardless of whether the work performed is administrative in nature."

The comment period on the proposed rules ends in the beginning of May.

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