How a Member of the Grants Community Prepares for 2017

New Year's Resolutions written on the page of a planner.What a year. And I’m not just talking about what you’re reading in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. We managed to launch or revise six grants courses, including Internal Controls for the Federal Grants Community. These were a labor of love, and I’m excited to see how you like what we did in the classroom.

But it’s early January, and it’s time to make my top 5 New Year’s resolutions for work. Feel free to share yours with me – because as we know in the grants world, crowd-sourcing is essential.

1. Figure out what the impact of the NDAA language is.

Did you read Shane Jernigan’s December post? Did you see this:

The first bill that may impact the research community is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017. Section 217 of NDAA:

  • Increases the micro-purchase threshold for basic research programs and activities under the Department of Defense; and
  • Adjusts the micro-purchase threshold for universities, independent research institutes, and nonprofit research organizations by:
    • Increasing the micro-purchase threshold to $10,000; or
    • At a higher threshold as determined by an agency and consistent with clean audit findings, internal institutional risk assessment, or state law.

Say what? As a reminder, the NDAA often has language that makes changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which in turn can affect grants. When I read this, it seems like some very specific grantee (and contractor) entities have a micro-purchase loophole. But I have no idea how this is going to work in practice. Is this going to vary by agency? Or is an entity going to be able to request a higher threshold from their cognizant agency, and then say that’s it? What if the entity is a subawardee receiving pass-through funds from an entity still held to the $3,500 threshold?

Please comment if you have thoughts on this.

2. Check the Federal Register for anticipated changes to 2 CFR 200.

We’ve seen some talk during the past few weeks that OMB is working on updates to bring some consistency with the DATA Act. Hopefully this will be something we can celebrate.

3. Continue to learn more about data management and visualization.

After decades of relying on Excel, I think it’s time to update my skills and know-how when it comes to organizing data and sharing what I learned. But before I take one of Management Concepts Analytics courses, I should start with the data chaos that is my messy desk.

4. Work on another webinar. 

I really enjoyed working with my colleagues on the “Get Your DATA Act Together” webinar last summer. If you have an idea for a topic you’d like to know a bit more about, please let me know in the comments section.

5. Think about my 35-year plan.

I know – what happened to the five-year plan? But in all seriousness, I’ve got to be honest with myself that I can’t imagine not working. That and I’ve got to be able to recover from my son’s college tuition. So that means learning from those who have had not one, but two or three long-term careers like our colleague, Chuck Williams. He provides our team with not only knowledge about our students and business, but inspiration that you can keep learning and growing for the long haul.

Hopefully I’ll make these resolutions happen.

Here’s to a successful 2017!

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