SSARE Grants Amid the COVID-19 Situation

August 13, 2020

GRIFFIN, Georgia — Amid the COVID-19 situation, many institutions have reduced operations and halted non-essential research, and have asked faculty and staff to work remotely. These temporary changes may impact the ability to conduct research and Extension-related projects on Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) grants.

The following information is intended to help address any concerns surrounding research and extension constraints. For questions related to reporting requirements, contact Candace Pollock-Moore at cpollock@uga.edu. For questions related to grant financials, contact Jami Sealey at jsealey@uga.edu.

1. The completion of your project is impacted by the COVID-19 situation. Contact SSARE during the last year of the project to request a 6-month or 12-month no-cost extension. The no-cost extension must be approved by SSARE. Visit https://southern.sare.org/Grants/Manage-a-Grant/Financial-Requirements to learn more about submitting a no-cost extension. Contact Jami Sealey at jsealey@uga.edu to verify if your project is eligible to receive a no-cost extension.

2. Your institution is under a shelter-in-place and during this time you are unable to perform research related to your grant project. If you feel that shelter-in-place orders would prevent you from completing your grant project within the original duration or budget, you may change the project scope or objectives, or modify or revise your project budget. These changes must be approved by SSARE. Visit https://southern.sare.org/Grants/Manage-a-Grant/Financial-Requirements to learn more about changing the project scope or modifying the project budget. You may also request a 6-month or 12-month no-cost extension. However, you must submit the request in the final year of your grant project.

3. PIs can continue to provide salaries and stipends per the award for those who cannot perform work related to the grant project while at home during institutional shelter-in-place orders. You may also adjust costs necessary to resume activities supported by the award. However, supplemental funding will not be available should the charging of such costs or other fees results in a shortage of funds. It is the responsibility of the PI to determine if there are enough award funds to carry out the project with the inclusion of those additional costs.

4. Events or activities pertaining to the outreach component of your grant have been delayed. You may request a 6-month or 12-month no-cost extension to conduct any outreach activities that are delayed related to the COVID-19 situation. Visit https://southern.sare.org/Grants/Manage-a-Grant/Financial-Requirements to learn more about submitting a no-cost extension.

5. SSARE will allow associated costs of outreach activities due to the rescheduling of cancelled events related to the COVID-19 situation. The balance of the award funds may not be increased by the amount of funds expended on cancelled events. You must provide justification with the submission of your invoices for reimbursement. Losses by persons or activities not directly funded under the award are not covered (examples include airline change fees or increases in airline ticket purchases).

(Additional information can be found at NIFA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Partners.

In addition to the information outlined, SSARE has extended the deadlines for the submission of final reports from 45 days to 90 days beyond the close of the grant project. The submission of annual reports for FY2020 has also been waived. Any changes made to your grant project, including no-cost extensions, budget revisions or project scope and objectives require SSARE approval.

SSARE has postponed the release of the James Harrison Hill Young Scholar Enhancement Grants for this summer. These grants are specifically for researchers with current Research and Education Grant projects.

However, our other grant programs are continuing. We will continue to re-assess the situation provide updates as needed. In the meantime, feel free to contact SSARE for any questions regarding your grant project or any upcoming grant program.

Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America’s Southern region. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.