EPA Solicitation Clauses
(updated March, 2020) i
Confidential Business Information
Pre-proposal/Application Assistance and Communications
Contracts and Subawards
System for Award Management (SAM) Unique Entity Identifier Requirements
Restrictions on Use of Federal Funds
Intergovernmental Review Act
Flexibilities Available to Organizations Impacted by COVID-19
Section VI ii
Data Access and Information Release
Nonprofit Administrative Capability Clause
Final Application Submission
Subaward and Executive Compensation Reporting
SAM/Unique Entity Identifier
Website References in Solicitations
Unpaid Federal Tax Liabilities and Felony Convictions for Non-Profit and For-Profit Organizations
Unfair Competitive Advantage
Competency of Organizations Generating Environmental Measurement Data
Confidentiality Statements-Fraud, Waste or Abuse Reporting
EPA Financial Assistance Conflict of Interest Policy
Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance
Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern
IDC Competition Clause
Federal Advisory Committee Membership
Increasing Access to Results of EPA-Funded Extramural Scientific Research (applies to solicitations for “research awards)
a. Confidential Business Information
EPA recommends that you do not include confidential business information (CBI) in your proposal/application. However, if CBI is included, it will be treated in accordance with 40 CFR 2.203. Applicants must clearly indicate which portion(s) of their proposal/application they are claiming as CBI. EPA will evaluate such claims in accordance with 40 CFR Part 2. If no claim of confidentiality is made, EPA is not required to make the inquiry to the applicant otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204(c)(2) prior to disclosure. The agency protects competitive proposals/applications from disclosure under applicable provisions of the Freedom of Information Act prior to the completion of the competitive selection process.
b. Pre-proposal/Application Assistance and Communications
In accordance with EPA's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy (EPA Order 5700.5A1), EPA staff will not meet with individual applicants to discuss draft proposals, provide informal comments on draft proposals, or provide advice to applicants on how to respond to ranking criteria. Applicants are responsible for the contents of their applications/proposals. However, consistent with the provisions in the announcement, EPA will respond to questions from individual applicants regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the proposal, and requests for clarification about any of the language or provisions in the announcement. Please note that applicants should raise any questions they may have about the solicitation language to the contact identified in Section VII as soon as possible so that any questions about the solicitation language may be resolved prior to submitting a proposal.
c. Management Fees
When formulating budgets for proposals/applications, applicants must not include management fees or similar charges in excess of the direct costs and indirect costs at the rate approved by the applicants cognizant audit agency, or at the rate provided for by the terms of the agreement negotiated with EPA. The term management fees or similar charges refers to expenses added to the direct costs in order to accumulate and reserve funds for ongoing business expenses, unforeseen liabilities, or for other similar costs that are not allowable under EPA assistance agreements. Management fees or similar charges may not be used to improve or expand the project funded under this agreement, except to the extent authorized as a direct cost of carrying out the scope of work.
d.Contracts and Subawards:
a. Can funding be used for the applicant to make subawards, acquire contract services, or fund partnerships?
EPA awards funds to one eligible applicant as the recipient even if other eligible applicants are named as partners or co-applicants or members of a coalition or consortium. The recipient is accountable to EPA for the proper expenditure of funds.
Funding may be used to provide subawards of financial assistance, which includes using subawards to fund partnerships, provided the recipient complies with applicable requirements for subawards including those contained in 2 CFR Part 200 and EPA's Subaward Policy. EPA has also posted Additional Resources on Subawards for applicants to consult.
Applicants must compete contracts for services and products, including consultant contracts, and conduct cost and price analyses, to the extent required by the procurement provisions of the regulations at 2 CFR Part 200. Applicants are not required to identify subrecipients and/or contractors (including consultants) in their proposal/application. However, if they do, the fact that an applicant selected for award has named a specific subrecipient, contractor, or consultant in the proposal/application EPA selects for funding does not relieve the applicant of its obligations to comply with subaward and/or competitive procurement requirements as appropriate. Please note that applicants may not award sole source contracts to consulting, engineering or other firms assisting applicants with the proposal solely based on the firm's role in preparing the proposal/application.
Successful applicants cannot use subawards to avoid requirements in EPA grant regulations for competitive procurement by using these instruments to acquire commercial services or products from for-profit organizations to carry out its assistance agreement. The nature of the transaction between the recipient and the subrecipient must be consistent with the standards for distinguishing between vendor transactions and subrecipient assistance found at 2 CFR 200.330, the definitions of subaward at 2 CFR 200.92 and subrecipient at 2 CFR 200.93, and Appendix A to EPA’s Subaward Policy. EPA will not be a party to these transactions. Applicants acquiring commercial goods or services must comply with the competitive procurement standards in 2 CFR 200.317-326 and cannot use a subaward as the funding mechanism.
b. How will an applicant's proposed subrecipients and contractors be considered during the evaluation process described in Section V of the announcement?
Section V of the announcement describes the evaluation criteria and evaluation process that will be used by EPA to make selections under this announcement. During this evaluation, except for those criteria that relate to the applicant's own qualifications, past performance, and reporting history, the review panel will consider, as appropriate and relevant, the qualifications, expertise, and experience of:
(i) an applicant's named subrecipients identified in the proposal/application if the applicant demonstrates in the proposal/application that if it receives an award that the subaward will be properly awarded consistent with the applicable regulations in 2 CFR Part 200. For example, applicants must not use subawards to obtain commercial services or products from for profit firms or individual consultants.
(ii) an applicant's named contractor(s), including consultants, identified in the proposal/application if the applicant demonstrates in its proposal/application that the contractor(s) was selected in compliance with the competitive Procurement Standards in 2 CFR 200.317-326. For example, an applicant must demonstrate that it selected the contractor(s) competitively or that a proper non-competitive sole-source award consistent with the regulations will be made to the contractor(s), that efforts were made to provide small and disadvantaged businesses with opportunities to compete, and that some form of cost or price analysis was conducted. EPA may not accept sole source justifications for contracts for services or products that are otherwise readily available in the commercial marketplace.
EPA will not consider the qualifications, experience, and expertise of named subrecipients and/or named contractor(s) during the proposal/application evaluation process unless the applicant complies with these requirements.
e. Duplicate Funding
Generally, applicants are not prohibited from submitting the same or virtually the same proposal to EPA under multiple EPA competitions, if appropriate. However, if an applicant does so, and the proposal (or one virtually the same) that was submitted under this solicitation is selected for award under another EPA competition, that may affect their ability to receive an award under this competition for that proposal. Moreover, if an applicant will be funded by EPA or another agency or entity for the same or virtually the same project that it submitted to EPA under this solicitation then that may affect their ability to receive an award under this competition.
f. System for Award Management (SAM) Unique Entity Identifier Requirements
Unless exempt from these requirements under OMB guidance at 2 CFR Part 25 (e.g., individuals), applicants must:
1. Be registered in SAM prior to submitting an application or proposal under this announcement. SAM information can be found at Sam.gov
2. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active fgederal award or an application or proposal under consideration by a federal awarding agency, and
3. Provide a valid unique entity identifier in its application (e.g., provide its DUNS number in each application or proposal it submits to the agency). Unique entity identifier means the identifier required for SAM registration to uniquely identify business entities.
Applicants can receive a DUNS number, at no cost, by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711, or visiting the D&B website Exit
If an applicant fails to fully comply with these requirements by the time EPA is ready to make an award, EPA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis to make an award to another applicant.
To learn more about SAM, go to SAM.gov or System for Award Management
g. Restrictions on Use of Federal Funds
All costs incurred under this program must be allowable under 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart E. In accordance with applicable law, regulation, and policy, any recipient of funding must agree to comply with restrictions on using assistance funds for unauthorized lobbying, fund-raising, or political activities (i.e., lobbying members of Congress or lobbying for other federal grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts). See e.g. 2 CFR 200.450. Funds generally cannot be used to pay for travel by federal agency staff. Proposed project activities must also comply with all state and federal regulations applicable to the project area. The applicant must also review the solicitation for any other programmatic funding restrictions applicable to this program. If awarded funding, the recipient must refer to the terms and conditions of its award for other funding restrictions applicable to its award. It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure compliance with these requirements. In addition, please see 2 CFR §1500.8 for information on pre-award costs.
h. Intergovernmental Review Act
Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, may be applicable to awards resulting from this announcement. EPA implemented the Executive Order in 40 CFR Part 29. EPA may require applicants selected for funding to provide a copy of their application to their State Point of Contact (SPOC) for review as provided at 40 CFR 29.7 and 40 CFR 29.8. The SPOC list can be found on the webpage below.
EPA may require successful applicants from states that do not have a SPOC to provide a copy of their application for review to directly affected state, area-wide, regional and local government entities as provided at 40 CFR 29.7 and 40 CFR 29.8. These reviews are not required before submitting an application. Only applicants that EPA selects for funding under this announcement are subject to the Intergovernmental Review requirement.
i. No Awards
i. Flexibilities Available to Organizations Impacted by COVID-19
The Office of Management and Budget’s March 19, 2020 OMB Guidance(5 pp, 5,575 K, About PDF) affords agencies the ability provide certain flexibilities to applicants. Generally, applicants for competitive opportunities should continue to submit their applications to EPA electronically through Grants.gov. However, there are limited exceptions to this requirement under certain circumstances as stated in Section IV of announcements. As is standard policy, if an applicant has internet accessibility issues (related to COVID-19 or not) that prevent them from using Grants.gov, they may request a Grants.gov Exception. Instructions for how to request a Grants.gov Exception are contained in Section IV of the announcement and can also be found here. On a case by case basis, applicants may also request permission from the applicable program or grants office to submit their application outside of Grants.gov due to unforeseen exigent circumstances for a specific opportunity. Submittal issues related to COVID-19 may qualify as unforeseen exigent circumstances.
Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget’s March 19, 2020 OMB Guidance says that agencies can “relax the requirement for active System for Award Management (SAM) registration at time of application in order to expeditiously issue funding” but that applicants must be registered in SAM.gov in order to get an award. It also says that “current registrants in SAM with active registrations expiring before May 16, 2020 will be afforded a one-time extension of 60 days.” It is EPA’s understanding that Grants.gov is working on the technical issues to allow non-individual applicants (which represent almost all of EPA’s applicant and grantee community) to apply electronically through Grants.gov without an active SAM registration. However, until Grants.gov provides a workaround in its system, EPA will provide flexibility to EPA applicants who are experiencing operational capacity or other issues in submitting their applications through Grants.gov due to COVID-19 consistent with the above OMB guidance.
Applicants for EPA funding opportunities that are experiencing technical difficulties in applying for an opportunity because of SAM.gov registration issues may submit their applications via an alternative method, such as email. As described in the instructions in Section IV of the solicitations, applicants should contact the point of contact listed in Section VII of the funding opportunity to notify them of the issue and request approval to submit the application outside of Grants.gov. Please note that applicants afforded this flexibility should still initiate registration with SAM.gov by the time of application submission to the extent possible. If they are selected for award, not having an active SAM registration will delay the processing of the award because they must have an active SAM registration for EPA to issue an award.
If you have any questions, please contact the point of contact listed in Section VII of the announcement.
a. Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance:
For any award under this solicitation where EPA anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold over the period of performance (see 2 CFR §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold—as of January 1, 2016 the threshold is $150,000 but it is periodically adjusted;), applicants are notified:
i. That EPA, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
ii. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;
iii. That EPA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR §200.205, Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.
Section VI Clauses (as applicable to the solicitation) ii
a. Human Subjects (if applicable):
An applicant must agree to meet all EPA requirements for studies using human subjects prior to implementing any work with these subjects. These requirements are given in 40 CFR Part 26. Studies involving intentional exposure of human subjects who are children or pregnant or nursing women are prohibited by Subpart B of 40 CFR Part 26. For observational studies involving children or pregnant women and fetuses please refer to Subparts C & D of 40 CFR Part 26. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR Part 46.101(e) have long required ... compliance with pertinent federal laws or regulations which provide additional protection for human subjects. EPA’s regulation 40 CFR Part 26 is such a pertinent federal regulation. Therefore, the applicant's institutional review board (IRB) approval must state that the applicant's study meets the EPA's regulations at 40 CFR Part 26. No work involving human subjects, including recruiting, may be initiated before the EPA has received a copy of the applicant’s IRB approval of the project and the EPA has also provided approval. Where human subjects are involved in the research, the recipient must provide evidence of subsequent IRB reviews, including amendments or minor changes of protocol, as part of annual reports.
Guidance and training for investigators conducting EPA-funded research involving human subjects may be obtained here:
Basic Information about Human Subjects Research
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
b. Animal Welfare (if applicable):
A grant recipient must agree to comply with the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-544), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2131-2159. The recipient must also agree to abide by the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research, and Training. (50 Federal Register 20864-20865 (May 20, 1985))
*This clause applies if a research facility (defined as any school (except elementary or secondary), institution, organization or person) receives funds under a grant from a federal agency for the purpose of carrying out research, tests, or experiments involving animals.
c. Data Access and Information Release:
EPA has the right to obtain, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the data produced under the awards to be made under this solicitation and authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use such data for federal purposes under 2 CFR 200.315. In addition, pursuant to 2 CFR 200.315(e), if EPA receives a Freedom of Information Act request for research data that (1) relates to published research findings produced under an EPA award and (2) was used by the federal government in developing an agency action that has the force and effect of law, then EPA shall request, and the award recipient shall provide, within a reasonable time, the research data so that it may be made available to the public through procedures established under the FOIA.
d. Nonprofit Administrative Capability Clause (applicable to certain non-profit awards)
Non-profit applicants that are recommended for funding under this announcement are subject to pre-award administrative capability reviews consistent with Section 8b, 8c and 9d of EPA Order 5700.8: EPA's Policy on Assessing Capabilities of Non-Profit Applicants for Managing Assistance Awards. In addition, non-profit applicants that qualify for funding may, depending on the size of the award, be required to fill out and submit to the grants management office the Administrative Capabilities Form with supporting documents contained in Appendix A of EPA Order 5700.8.
e. Final Application Submission
Generally, following EPA’s evaluation of proposals/applications, all applicants will be notified regarding their status. Final applications and forms will be requested, as necessary, from those eligible entities whose proposal/application has been successfully evaluated and preliminarily recommended for award. Those entities will be provided with instructions and a due date for submittal of the final application package.
f. Subaward and Executive Compensation Reporting
Applicants must ensure that they have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the sub-award and executive total compensation reporting requirements established under OMB guidance at 2 CFR Part 170, unless they qualify for an exception from the requirements, should they be selected for funding.
g. Unliquidated Obligations
An applicant that receives an award under this announcement is expected to manage assistance agreement funds efficiently and effectively and make sufficient progress towards completing the project activities described in the work-plan in a timely manner. The assistance agreement will include terms/conditions implementing this requirement.
h. Website References in Solicitations
Any non-federal websites or website links included in this solicitation are provided for proposal preparation and/or informational purposes only. EPA does not endorse any of these entities or their services. In addition, EPA does not guarantee that any linked, external websites referenced in this solicitation comply with Section 508 (Accessibility Requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.
i. Unpaid Federal Tax Liabilities and Felony Convictions for Non-Profit and For-Profit Organizations (if applicable):
For announcements open to for-profits or non-profits where awards will be funded by FY 12, FY 13, FY 14, FY 15, FY 16, FY 17, FY 18, FY 19 and/or FY 20 appropriations
Per the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, Public Law 116-93, awards made under this announcement are subject to the provisions contained in Division C, Title VII, Sections 744 and 745, and prior appropriations act, regarding unpaid federal tax liabilities and federal felony convictions. These provisions (and the prior ones) prohibit EPA from awarding funds made available by the Act (and the prior appropriations acts) to any for-profit or non-profit organization: (1) subject to any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability; or (2) that was convicted of a felony criminal conviction under any federal law within 24 months preceding the award, unless EPA has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation, based on these tax liabilities or convictions, and determined that such action is not necessary to protect the government’s interests. Non-profit or for-profit organizations that are covered by these prohibitions are ineligible to receive an award under this announcement.
j. Unfair Competitive Advantage
EPA personnel will take appropriate actions in situations where it is determined that an applicant may have an unfair competitive advantage, or the appearance of such, in competing for awards under this announcement. Affected applicants will be provided an opportunity to respond before any final action is taken.
k. Exchange Network
The Environmental Information Exchange Network (Exchange Network, Network or EN) is a partner-inspired, developed, implemented and governed information network. It facilitates environmental data sharing among EPA, states, tribes and territories. The EN uses a standards-based approach that allows partners to exchange data over the Internet regardless of the specific information technology used. This replaces the need to perform complex and expensive data transformations to move data between systems or to share data on paper, discs or other media or via email. Partners share electronic data more easily and at a lower cost, and environmental decision makers are able to use the data to make timely decisions. States, tribes and territories exchanging data with each other or with EPA, should make the Exchange Network and the agency's connection to it, the Central Data Exchange (CDX), the standard way they exchange data and should phase out any legacy methods they have been using. More information available on the Exchange Network
Unsuccessful applicants interested in requesting a debriefing should refer to the procedures for debriefings in the Dispute Resolution Procedures, which can also be found at 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the person listed in Section VII of the announcement. Please note that the FR notice referenced above refers to regulations at 40 CFR Parts 30 and 31 that have been superseded by regulations in 2 CFR parts 200 and 1500. Notwithstanding this, the procedures for competition-related debriefings and disputes remains unchanged from the procedures described at 70 FR 3629, 3630, as indicated in 2 CFR Part 1500, Subpart E.
Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005) which can be found at Grant Competition Dispute Resolution Procedures. Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the person listed in Section VII of the announcement. Note, the FR notice references regulations at 40 CFR Parts 30 and 31 that have been superseded by regulations in 2 CFR parts 200 and 1500. Notwithstanding the regulatory changes, the procedures for competition-related disputes remains unchanged from the procedures described at 70 FR 3629, 3630, as indicated in 2 CFR Part 1500, Subpart E.
In accordance with 2 CFR 200.315, EPA reserves a royalty-free, nonexclusive and irrevocable right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use, for federal government purposes, copyrighted works developed under a grant, subaward or contract under a grant or subaward. Examples of federal purpose include but are not limited to: (1) Use by EPA and other federal employees for official government purposes; (2) Use by federal contractors performing specific tasks for the government; (3) Publication in EPA documents provided the document does not disclose trade secrets (e.g. software codes) and the work is properly attributed to the recipient through citation or otherwise; (4) Reproduction of documents for inclusion in federal depositories; (5) Use by state, tribal and local governments that carry out delegated federal environmental programs as co-regulators or act as official partners with EPA to carry out a national environmental program within their jurisdiction; and (6) Limited use by other grantees to carry out federal grants provided the use is consistent with the terms of EPA’s authorization to the grantee to use the copyrighted material.
o. Competency of Organizations Generating Environmental Measurement Data (if applicable):
In accordance with EPA's Policy to Assure the Competency of Organizations Generating Environmental Measurement Data under Agency-Funded Assistance Agreements, successful applicants/recipients for awards under this competition that are expected to exceed $200,000 in federal funding that involve the generation or use of environmental data must demonstrate competency to perform such work either prior to award, or if that is not practicable or will delay the award, prior to beginning any work involving the generation or use of environmental data under the agreement. Applicants that demonstrate competency prior to award must maintain competency, as appropriate, during the award period. Applicants that do not address competency prior to award must demonstrate competency prior to beginning any work involving the generation or use of environmental data under the agreement and maintain competency, as appropriate, during the award period. A copy of the policy is available online at Federal Register Volume 78, Number 82 or a copy may also be requested by contacting the person listed in Section VII of the announcement.
p. Confidentiality Statements-Fraud, Waste or Abuse Reporting (if applicable):
For announcements where awards will be funded by FY 16, FY 17, FY 18, FY 19 and/or FY 20 appropriations)
Per the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, Public Law 116-93, awards made under this announcement are subject to the provision contained in Division C, Title VII, Section 742, and prior appropriations acts. This provision prohibits EPA from awarding funds made available by the act to an entity that requires employees or contractors of such entity seeking to report fraud, waste, or abuse to sign internal confidentiality agreements or statements prohibiting or otherwise restricting such employees or contractors from lawfully reporting such waste, fraud, or abuse to a designated investigative or law enforcement representative of a federal department or agency authorized to receive such information.
q. EPA Financial Assistance Conflict of Interest Policy:
The Applicant’s Conflict of Interest (COI) Point of Contact as defined in EPA's Conflict of Interest Policy must notify the EPA contact identified in Section VII of this solicitation of any actual or potential conflict of interest that they are aware of that may provide the Applicant with an unfair competitive advantage in competing for EPA financial assistance awards within 10 calendar days of becoming aware of the conflict of interest. Examples of an unfair competitive advantage include but are not limited to situations in which an EPA employee reviewed and commented on or drafted all or part of an applicant’s proposal. Note that EPA does not generally consider receiving information from an EPA employee limited to whether the applicant or the applicant’s proposed project is eligible to compete for funding to confer an unfair competitive advantage. In addition, assistance agreements made under this solicitation will include a term and condition notifying recipients of their COI disclosure obligations and responsibilities under the award including the need to have systems in place to address, resolve and disclose COIs to EPA.
r. Mandatory Disclosures
As required by 2 CFR § 200.113, non-federal entities or applicants for a Federal award must disclose, in a timely manner, in writing to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity all violations of Federal criminal law involving fraud, bribery, or gratuity violations potentially affecting the Federal award. Failure to make required disclosures can result in any of the remedies described in 2 CFR § 200.338 including suspension and debarment.
s. Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance
If the Federal share of any Federal award may include more than $500,000 over the period of performance, applicants are advised about the post-award reporting requirements reflected in the Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters contained in Appendix XII to 2 CFR Part 200.
t. Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern
Projects awarded under this solicitation that involve life sciences research as defined below are subject to the requirements of the United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (iDURC Policy), provided that the recipient is an institution within the United States that receives funding through this agreement, or from any other source, to conduct or sponsor research involving any of the agents or toxins identified in Section 6.2.1 of the iDURC Policy. If the recipient is an institution outside the United States that receives funding through this agreement to conduct or sponsor research involving any of those same agents or toxins, it will also be subject to requirements of the iDURC Policy. The iDURC Policy is available for reference.
Life Sciences Research, for purposes of this clause, and based on the definition of research in 40 CFR §26.102(d), is a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge involving living organisms (e.g., microbes, human beings, animals, and plants) and their products. EPA does not consider the following activities to be research: routine product testing, quality control, mapping, collection of general-purpose statistics, routine monitoring and evaluation of an operational program, observational studies, and the training of scientific and technical personnel. [Note: This is consistent with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11.]
u. IDC Competition Clause
Indirect costs (IDCs) may be budgeted and charged by recipients of Federal assistance agreements in accordance with 2 CFR Part 200. EPA’s Indirect Cost Policy for Recipients of EPA Assistance Agreements (IDC Policy) implements the Federal regulations, and the following applies to all EPA assistance agreements, unless there are statutory or regulatory limits on IDCs.
In order for an assistance agreement recipient to use EPA funding for indirect costs, the IDC category of the recipient’s assistance agreement award budget must include an amount for IDCs and at least one of the following must apply:
- With the exception of “exempt” agencies and Institutions of Higher Education as noted below, all recipients must have one of the following current (not expired) IDC rates, including IDC rates that have been extended by the cognizant agency:
- Fixed rate with carry-forward;
- 10% de minimis rate authorized by 2 CFR 200.414(f)
- EPA-approved use of one of the following:
- 10% de minimis as detailed in section 6.3 of the IDC Policy; or
- Expired fixed rate with carry-forward as detailed in section 6.4.a. of the IDC Policy.
- “Exempt” state or local governmental departments or agencies are agencies that receive up to and including $35,000,000 in Federal funding per the department or agency’s fiscal year, and must have an IDC rate proposal developed in accordance with 2 CFR 200 Appendix VII, with documentation maintained and available for audit.
- Institutions of Higher Education must use the IDC rate in place at the time of award for the life of the assistance agreement (unless the rate was provisional at time of award, in which case the rate will change once it becomes final). As provided by 2 CFR Part 200, Appendix III(C)(7), the term “life of the assistance agreement”, means each competitive segment of the project. Additional information is available in the regulation.
IDCs incurred during any period of the assistance agreement that are not covered by the provisions above are not allowable costs, and must not be drawn down by the recipient. Recipients may budget for IDCs pending approval of their IDC rate by the cognizant Federal agency or an exception granted by EPA under section 6.3 or 6.4 of the IDC Policy. However, recipients may not draw down IDCs until their rate is approved or EPA grants an exception.
The IDC Policy does not govern indirect rates for subrecipients or recipient procurement contractors under EPA assistance agreements. Pass-through entities are required to comply with 2 CFR 200.331(a)(4) when establishing indirect cost rates for subawards.
See the Indirect Cost Guidance for Recipients of EPA Assistance Agreements for additional information.
v. Federal Advisory Committee Membership
As indicated in the EPA memorandum, “Strengthening and Improving Membership on EPA Federal Advisory Committees (PDF),” (5 pp, 1.3 MBK, About PDF) issued on October 31, 2017, no member of an EPA Federal Advisory Committee may receive compensation from EPA grants, either as a principal investigator or co-investigator, or be in a position that otherwise would reap substantial direct benefit from the grant, while serving on an EPA Federal Advisory Committee. Accordingly, an individual’s ability to begin or continue serving on an EPA Federal Advisory committee may be impacted if during the individual’s expected or ongoing service: (a) the entities who are selected for award under this competition list the individual as a principal investigator or co-investigator on the grant; or (b) the individual is not listed on the grant but is in a position for the entity such that the individual would otherwise reap substantial direct benefit from the grant. This policy does not apply to state, tribal, or local government agency recipients.
w. Increasing Access to Results of EPA-Funded Extramural Scientific Research (applies to solicitations for “research awards)
Research is defined in the Policy for Increasing Access to Results of EPA-Funded Extramural Scientific Research as the systematic inquiry directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. This Policy requires that the results of EPA-funded extramural scientific research are accessible to the public to the greatest extent feasible consistent with applicable law; policies and Orders; the Agency’s mission; resource constraints; and U.S. national, homeland and economic security.
(a) When a journal does not submit a journal publication or author manuscript associated with the journal publication directly to the National Institute of Health’s PubMed Central (PMC) Exit, recipients are responsible for making the author manuscript accessible to the public at no charge via PMC. The recipient must submit the author manuscript to PMC no later than the end of the embargo period of twelve months after journal publication. PMC then posts the manuscript on its site at the end of the embargo period, so it is accessible to the public.
Recipients are responsible for ensuring that either the journal publication or the author manuscript associated with the journal publication is deposited into PMC, so that the public may read, download and analyze the research results in digital form. Instructions for depositing author manuscripts associated with journal publications in PMC will be included in the award’s terms and conditions.
(b) Scientific research data underlying a journal publication are to be posted to a publicly accessible data repository by the recipient within 30 days of the date the journal publication or associated author manuscript becomes accessible to the public, whether made accessible by the journal at the time of publication or by PMC following the embargo period, unless (a) the dataset has already been made accessible to the public via public release or another sharing mechanism; or (b) the research data cannot be released due to one or more constraints, such as requirements to protect personal privacy, proprietary interest, property rights, national security or dual use research of concern. Datasets must contain enough information to allow independent use (understanding, validation and analysis) of the data.
(c) Publication metadata records shall be provided via the National Institute of Health’s Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) Exit when the journal publication or associated author manuscript is submitted to NIHMS. The metadata record for the dataset underlying the journal publication will be made accessible by the recipient through EPA’s dataset metadata repository within 30 days of the date the journal publication or associated author manuscript becomes accessible to the public, whether made accessible by the journal at the time of publication or by PMC following the embargo period. Guidance for providing dataset metadata to EPA’s dataset metadata repository will be included in the award’s terms and conditions.
i. Any questions about these clauses should be raised to the EPA contact identified in the solicitation.
ii. Except as noted all Section VI Clauses apply to every award and/or solicitation. Questions about the applicability of any of these clauses should be raised to the EPA contact identified in the solicitation.
The Agency reserves the right to make no awards under this competition.