NIH’s clarifying guidance for oversight of foreign sub-awards

The NIH has released its final guide notice clarifying its longstanding policy on foreign sub-award and consortium agreements. This applies to all U.S. NIH grants with a sub-contract to a foreign institution. This guide is in response to audits conducted by the Office of the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. It intends to help principal awardees of federal dollars better comply with their already established requirement for access to sub-awardee records.

The new guidance states that “subaward agreements must stipulate that foreign subrecipients will provide access to copies of all lab notebooks, all data, and all documentation that supports the research outcomes as described in the progress report, to the primary recipient with a frequency of no less than once per year, in alignment with the timing requirements for Research Performance Progress Report submission.” Access may be entirely electronic and must include all data that supports the research outcomes reported in the yearly Research Performance Progress Report.

This new guidance will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2024. Grant recipients with existing sub-award agreements have until March 2, 2024, to comply with the new rules. If more time is needed, you may request an extension. NIH will host a webinar on Oct. 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET to offer more details. You can also find additional resources on the newly developed NIH Grants & Funding sub-award webpage with FAQs. They provide language you can include in sub-award agreements and offer other resources to help you comply with this policy guidance.

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