AFAR Questions (Representative Sample)

The following are intended to be a representative sample rather than an exhaustive of the issues the Office of Sponsored Programs considers during proposal review. Resolution of many of these issues requires collaboration with and attention by administrative units of authority outside of OSP.

Sponsor-specific Information

  1. Who is the sponsor and what type of entity are they (e.g., governmental, quasi-governmental, private corporation, foundation, etc.)?
    1. Have we done business before?
    2. Is the mission of the sponsor institution in conflict with the mission of an institution of higher education?  
  2. Is the sponsor a foreign entity?
    1. What country(ies) are they incorporated to do business in?
    2. Is there risk of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues or Anti-Boycott issues?
  3. Has the sponsor published guidelines?
    1.  Are we eligible to receive funds or to participate in sponsored activities?
    2.  If the guidelines include the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions are we able to accept them?
    3.  Do we have the ability to negotiate the terms of performance?  

Location of Sponsored Activities

  1. Where will the research take place?
    1. Has the location of international activities been made sufficiently clear to the sponsor in the proposal?
    2. Is the location(s) a U.S. embargoed or restricted territory? http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/embargoed_countries/index.html
  2. If the research will be conducted in a foreign country, is NYU licensed to do business/have permissions to undertake the project activities in that country?
    1. Do we have authority to issue contracts to organizations in that country?
    2. Should the establishment of a non-governmental organization (NGO) or a special purpose entity (SPE) be considered?
  3. What foreign travel will be involved and what regulations are applicable?
  4. Is the research being conducted in a country that is in good diplomatic standing with the United States?
    1. If not, will there be difficulties in undertaking activities in the country or getting the research data out of the country when the project is complete?  

Investigators/Research Team

  1. Who will be involved in conducting the research?
    1. What is the nature of their appointment(s) with the University?
    2. Are we permitted to post U.S. citizens in the country or hire foreign nationals abroad?
    3. Do we need to hire independent consultants or contractors?
  2. If the project involves international collaboration between investigators at different institutions, then how will this collaboration be managed?
  3. Have faculty notified federal sponsors of any extended leaves of absence if necessary?
  4. Will NYU students or personnel be involved in field research as part of the project?
    1. Would their involvement put them at risk, and if so could that risk be managed effectively to ensure their safety?
    2. Is the capacity in which they are participating (student vs. employee) clear and are there conflicts between their roles in the academic program and/or research component?
  5. Would personnel’s current levels of insurance be sufficient to cover them in the field during the period of research?
  6. Do all personnel have the appropriate travel and/or work visas to be able to carry out the project in the specified country?
    1. Would their citizenship status have any effect on their ability to participate in the sponsored project?

Budget

  1. What items can and should be charged as direct cost line items?
    1. Are there unique costs involved e.g. foreign housing and living expenses, value added taxes, visa fees, currently fluctuation, relocation, security?
    2. What costs require sponsor approval and what flexibility do we have during performance for budget revisions to accommodate what’s happening on the ground?
  2. Can indirect costs be recovered?
    1. What is the appropriate rate of indirect costs to be charged to the sponsor?
  3. Does the project involve cost sharing or additional resources over and above what is requested in the budget?
  4. If the project is being conducted in the field how will cash flow be managed? What currency will be used?
  5. If the sponsor is a foreign entity do they have different requirements for post-award issues such as currency conversion, method of payment, cost allowance, cost sharing, effort reporting, etc.?

Regulatory Compliance

  1. Are there export control or deemed export issues to consider?
    1. Will there be difficulty in getting equipment, software, services, or technology into the country for the proposed project?
  2. Is any of the equipment being used for the project export controlled?
    1. Is the equipment or other items restricted from being imported into any country where the research is to be conducted?
    2. Will an export license, import certificate, carnet, or other governmental approval be required?
  3. If the sponsor is a foreign entity would they have different requirements for research compliance and financial conflict of interest, etc?
  4. Is the funding coming from Foreign Military Funding (FMF)?
    1. Is the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) connected to the FMF?
  5. What activities will take place?
    1. Will human subjects or animals be involved?
    2. If so, will local partners be engaged in the research?
  6. Does the local institution have an IRB or IACUC or the equivalent?
    1. Do they have a FWA (for HS)?
  7. Do local laws or customs require special considerations of conducting research involving human subjects?
  8. Does the research involve recombinant DNA, rDNA, biohazards?
    1. Are any types of material transfers contemplated?  

Intellectual Property

  1. Will the activities likely result in a patentable invention?
  2. Is there any background intellectual property involved that needs to be protected?
  3. Is a Technology Control Plan (TCP) required?
  4. Will any of the information that is protected be shared electronically?
    1. If so, by what method? (e.g., email, Cloud storage, flash drive)
  5. How do we obtain assignments and disclosures?

Subcontractors

  1. Would any consultants or subawardees be involved in the project? How will local partners be identified?
    1. Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?
  2. Does NYU have a history of working with this local partner, and if not then what criteria will be used to determine trustworthiness to carry out the proposed activities?'
    1. Do they have sufficient emergency preparedness plans?
    2. Communication planning?
  3. If the funding is from a federal source, then have the partner institutions registered in the appropriate federal systems?
    1. Have they conducted U.S. federally funded projects in the past?
  4. Do they have appropriate compliance standards in place?
  5. How will subrecipient monitoring be handled?