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November 2023 Desk of the Director

Dear Sea Grant Colleagues, 

It’s hard to believe that Fall is almost over, and Winter is right around the corner. I hope that you all have had a fantastic Fall season so far. 

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your continued hard work and to share with you some updates and reflections from the National Sea Grant Office on ongoing and upcoming activities. As always, PLEASE closely read this newsletter, as below includes important updates for what we know to date on eRA.

First and foremost, as you may have heard, the House and Senate have passed a second short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that will extend Sea Grant’s funding at FY2023 levels through February 2, 2024. The President is expected to sign the CR before the end of the day on Friday. This is excellent news on many fronts, although it still leaves uncertainty on our overall FY2024 budget. I will provide additional information as the process moves forward and we begin to get a better sense of where the budget might land once Congress starts moving through the process (as you know, there are significant differences in the views of members both within and between the parties and in the budget marks that the House and the Senate have developed). As codified in the draft Allocation of Funds Policy submitted to me recently from the Advisory Board, the highest priority will be to meet our commitment to base funds for the programs to the greatest extent possible.

On a brighter note, the Holiday Season is also approaching, and the NSGO will be working hard to complete a number of significant efforts before then. A summary of updates can be found below:

  • Site Visit Planning 
      • A friendly reminder that Site Review Visit Surveys from Directors and Board Members are due today.
  • Advisory Board Member Nominations
  • 2024 Knauss Executive Class
      • We are pleased to announce the 2024 Executive Class! We have successfully placed all 68 executive fellows across 16 federal agencies. You can view the placements HERE.  We received nothing but positive feedback about the professionalism and quality of the finalists from our hosts. We look forward to the placement of our 2024 Legislative Finalists in January. Thank you all for your continued support of the program and your fellows and finalists!
  • 2024 – 2027 Omnibus
      • As I noted in the NSGO webinar on November 2nd, thank you for the tremendous work your program staff have done to plan for and implement your competitions and submit your Omnibus application. This represents an impactful and accountable body of work and it is exciting to learn of your anticipated plans and investments. 
      • We also appreciate your responsiveness to any PO questions, as well as minimizing any non-urgent requests to the NSGO over the next couple of weeks so that they are able to complete the review and processing of your proposals.  
      • At this moment, the NSGO and the NOAA Grants Management Division are working on navigating the nuances and intricacies of the new eRA system in our review and processing. As we do so, you can continue to plan for February 1st start dates.
  • eRA, Financial Reports, Progress Reports (RPPRs), and Project Validation
      • As noted above, your continued patience is very much appreciated as the NSGO learns and works through the new eRA system. At this time, please use Newsletters, Training and the eRA Service Desk first and connect with your PO as needed. Unfortunately, there is currently very little the POs can do to support technical issues within eRA and you will need to reach to the eRA Service Desk for support. Below is what we know to date (and please see the Training page above for guidance on actions). 
          • Checking awards – Please try to get into eRA, see if your award(s) have transferred into the new system correctly and have the correct PI(s) assigned. If not, reach out to the eRA Service Desk with the support of your sponsored program office to have items corrected.
          • New action award requests (AARs) – If you have access to your awards in eRA, you should be able to submit new award action requests and if you are having difficulty please connect with the eRA Service Desk. 
          • Specific Award Conditions (SACs) – SACs on existing awards have not been migrated from Grants Online. To satisfy a SAC on an existing award that was migrated to eRA, you can do that by initiating a two-way correspondence feature within eRA. Make sure the check box for “program official” is checked to make sure your PO is included on that correspondence. 
          • Research Performance Program Reports (RPPR) – For reports that were due between September 25th and December 31st – we’re awaiting further guidance from NOAA and eRA on how to handle those. Additional guidance, including instructions for reporting in future reporting periods, will be distributed as soon as it is available.
              • Additionally, NSGO is continuing to finalize project validations from the 90-2 webform submissions, and you should see your full suite of projects in PIER soon. We will contact you if any clarifications are needed. Until further notice, please pause on downloading PIER-generated Grant Progress Reports. 
          • Financial reports – As noted in the last newsletter, do not submit Federal Financial Reports (FFR) at this time and you can ignore any late FFR notifications from eRA. NOAA will provide additional updates to the grant recipients once the upgrades are completed.

I hope that you find the information above helpful for you and your programs. I know that despite the calendar year coming to a close, a lot of our work as the National Sea Grant College Program is ramping up. Your hard work, patience, and dedication are not only seen, but also acknowledged and appreciated! 

I wish you all a wonderful upcoming holiday season and look forward to connecting with you all in the New Year.

Warmest Regards, 


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