Flood-Related Updates

Flood Recovery Effort: February 2009

The University of Iowa research community has worked continuously and  diligently over the past many months to recover from the damage caused by the June 2008 flooding, yet those most deeply affected  by a long-term displacement or an extensive loss of equipment and materials may just now be fully assessing the loss of time, resources, and, consequently, progress. We offer the following information for those seeking guidance on how to proceed.

Flexibilities and Financial Assistance

The University of Iowa has been fortunate to receive sponsor flexibilities allowing deadline extensions, schedule changes, project relocations, and continuous salary compensation, along with supplemental funding opportunities, FEMA funding, and insurance compensation.  Unfortunately, these types of administrative flexibilities and financial aid are not packaged and available on a consistent basis or through a uniform process, but are most often afforded on a case-by-case basis – particular to the sponsor, the type of award, and the needs of a given project.  With your particular external funding in mind, please refer to the following sponsor- and award-specific allowances.

Federal Agencies

General Allowances: Grants and Contracts

As mentioned above, the federal government has no consistent, blanket policy to guide crisis situations that force a disruption in grant- or contract-funded work, but tailors its response to each given crisis. In past crises the government has, however, consistently responded with support and flexibility, issuing favorable guidelines to be adopted by individual granting agencies as appropriate. The federal Office of Management and Budget has authorized a set of flexibilities across all federal funding agencies, enabling individual agencies to allow, as they see fit, one or more of the following leniencies:

  • Allow flexibility in application deadlines and project reporting.
  • Allow award fund expenditures for salaries and other project costs, including those necessary to resume the activities supported by the award.
  • Waive prior approval requirements.
  • Award supplemental funding to meet flood-related recovery needs.

National Institutes of Health

Specific Allowances: Grants and Contracts

The NIH has implemented, based on the general set of flexibilities outlined above, the following leniencies:

  • Allowed UI, as an institution, to continue charging personnel costs against grants and contracts during periods of administrative leave.
  • Allowed UI, as an institution, to assume expanded administrative authority, enabling rebudgeting requests and project extensions without prior approval.
  • Will consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests to extend deadlines and submit abbreviated applications/reports, instructing Principal Investigators to contact the responsible NIH Program Officer.
  • Will consider, on a case-by case basis, the possibility of supplemental funds to aid the recovery of flood-affected projects, instructing Principal Investigators to contact the responsible NIH Program Officer.

National Science Foundation

Specific Allowances: Grants and Contracts

The NSF has implemented, based on the general set of leniencies outlined above, the following flexibilities:

  • Allowed UI, as an institution, to continue charging salaries, benefits, stipends, and other project costs – including those necessary to resume the activities supported by the NSF award – to be charged to the corresponding NSF research, training, or fellowship award.
  • Will consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests for deadline extensions and abbreviated reporting, instructing Principal Investigators to contact the responsible NSF Program Officer.
  • Will consider, on a case-by case basis, the possibility of supplemental funds to aid the recovery of flood-affected projects, instructing Principal Investigators to contact the responsible NSF Program Officer.

Private Sponsors: Grants

Private granting agencies include a full range of foundations, professional organizations, and business entities, each with a specific set of policies, procedures, and resources. Much like the federal agencies, these private sponsors generally have no blanket policy in response to crisis situations, but prefer to tailor their responses to a particular crisis. Generally speaking, private sponsors are generous in allowing flexibilities, but more limited in available resources. Generally, private sources may allow:

  • Application deadline extensions.
  • Scientific and financial reporting extensions.
  • Salary reimbursement during short periods of project disruption.

Private Sponsors: Contracts

Private contractors – generally corporate foundations and industry sponsors – are largely guided by the nature of contracts, which greatly limit flexibilities and allowances beyond the original agreement. Under extenuating circumstances, the contractor might agree to a project extension due to delays, but can’t be expected to contribute additional funding to aid the situation.

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Who Can Help

Division of Sponsored Programs, 2 Gilmore Hall, 335-2123

As reflected above, allowances may come in the form of time and/or funding, and can be expected to vary greatly by sponsor and project. The first step in the process, though – the request for additional time or sponsor funding – will always be the same. Your DSP contact can help put this process in motion, seeking time extensions and funding allowances in accordance with your particular project needs.

Grant Accounting Office, B5 Jessup Hall, 335-3801

The Grant Accounting Office can assist you in determining whether flood-related costs can be appropriately charged to a specific grant or contract account. In accordance with federal guidelines, UI must remain consistent in its charging of flood-related expenses to grants and contracts – meaning UI must handle such charges in a uniform way, regardless of the funding source.

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Flood Recovery Effort: October 2008

As the University of Iowa research community continues its recovery from the June 2008 flooding, the Division of Sponsored Programs offers the following update on ongoing efforts and available resources to address and mitigate the effects of the flooding.

Since the flooding we have been in communication with various government agencies and private research sponsors, advising them of flood-related damages, displacements, and delays. We are grateful to the many agencies and organizations that have responded to our crisis situation with understanding and flexibility, allowing deadline extensions, administrative exceptions, and other leniencies as requested, justified, and possible. These leniencies have enabled our investigators to meet grant application and reporting deadlines; to relocate to alternative work sites and adopt flexible schedules as needed; and to receive continuous salary compensation as they pursued their work on a best-efforts basis.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, for instance, have each afforded UI the following leniencies:

  • Allowing UI to continue charging costs against grants and contracts during the shutdown, provided UI adheres to a consistent policy applicable to all funding sources and in accordance with federal cost principles.
  • Considering requests for deadline extensions and the submission of abbreviated applications/reports on a case-by-case basis, instructing individual investigators to contact the project-specific Program Officer.
  • Allowing the possibility of supplemental funds to aid the recovery of flood-affected projects, considering requests on a case-by-case basis, as directed to the project-specific Program Officer.
  • UI has also been fortunate to schedule personal visits from three of our federal sponsors:
  1. National Science Foundation

June 29–30, 2008

Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director of NSF, toured the University of Iowa campus as well as flood-affected areas of Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids.

August 27–28, 2008

Zeev Rosenweig, NSF Program Officer for Analytical & Surface Chemistry, met with Chemistry Department faculty who were displaced and otherwise severely affected by the flooding.

  1. National Institutes of Health

September 22–23, 2008

Barbara Alving, Director of the NIH National Center for Research Resources and head of its Clinical and Translational Science Awards program, met with UI’s top administration, chemistry and engineering faculty, and CTSA program participants.

  1. National Endowment for the Humanities

October 15, 2008

Thomas Lindsay, Deputy Chairman of the NEH, met with members of UI''s central administration and arts and humanities faculty, discussing flood-related concerns, touring flood-affected areas of campus, and presenting at a ceremony in honor of UI scholars recently awarded funding in support for their work.

In addition to generous leniencies and personal site visits, some sponsors have opened additional avenues of financial support, accepting grant and supplemental grant applications to replace equipment, restore resources and collections, restock labs, and/or conduct research on the flooding and the responses and effects within UI, the surrounding communities, and the state of Iowa. The DSP has posted a compilation of such opportunities to the Flood-Related Funding site listed below.

For more flood-related information, please visit the following websites: