[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 47 (Tuesday, March 11, 2014)]
[Pages 13680-13682]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05012]



Research Performance Progress Report Updates

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF).

ACTION: Request for public comment.


SUMMARY: The Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for use with 
interim progress reports resulted from an initiative of the Research 
Business Models (RBM) Subcommittee of the Committee on Science (CoS), a 
committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The 
updated RPPR will directly benefit award recipients by making it easier 
for them to administer Federal grant and cooperative agreement programs 
through standardization of the types of information required in interim 
and final performance reports--thereby reducing their administrative 
effort and costs. The RPPR will also make it easier to compare the 
outputs, outcomes, etc. of research programs across the government.

DATES: Comments must be received by May 12, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports 
Clearance Officer, Office of the General Counsel, National Science 
Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, email: 
splimpto@nsf.gov; telephone: (703) 292-7556; FAX (703) 292-9242. We 
encourage respondents to submit comments electronically to ensure 
timely receipt. We cannot guarantee that comments mailed will be 
received before the comment closing date. Please include ``Research 
Performance Progress Reporting'' in the subject line of the email 
message; please also include the full body of your comments in the text 
of the message and as an attachment. Include your name, title, 
organization, postal address, telephone number, and email address in 
your message. To view the RPPR format, see: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/rppr/index.jsp.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the RPPR, contact 
Jean Feldman, Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution & Support, 
National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, 
email: jfeldman@nsf.gov; telephone (703) 292-8243; FAX: (703) 292-9171. 
For further information on the NSTC RBM Interagency Working Group, 
contact Kei Koizumi, at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, 
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20504; email:

[[Page 13681]]

kkoizumi@ostp.eop.gov; telephone 202-456-6133; FAX 202-456-6021. See 
also the RBM Working Group's Internet Web site located at: http://rbm.nih.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: One of the RBM Subcommittee's priority areas 
is to create greater consistency in the administration of Federal 
research awards. Given the increasing complexity of interdisciplinary 
and interagency research, it is important for Federal agencies to 
manage awards in a similar fashion. On behalf of the RBM Subcommittee, 
the NSF has agreed to continue to serve as the ``sponsor'' of this 
updated Federal-wide format.
    Comments are invited on (a) whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
agencies funding research and research-related activities, including 
whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected 
from respondents, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology; and (c) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, 
including through the use of automated collection techniques or other 
forms of information technology.
    After obtaining and considering public comment, NSF on behalf of 
the RBM, will prepare the submission requesting OMB clearance of this 
collection for no longer than three years.

I. Background

    The NSF, on behalf of the National Science & Technology Council's 
Research Business Models Interagency Working Group, is soliciting 
public comment on a revised standardized RPPR format. The NSF has 
agreed to continue to serve as the ``sponsor'' of this Federal-wide 
format for receipt of comments under this interagency initiative. After 
an updated format is adopted, Agencies will be required to submit, 
through the PRA, revisions to their currently approved performance 
progress reporting information collections in order to comply with the 
updated RPPR format.
    Development and maintenance of a standardized RPPR is an initiative 
of the Research Business Models (RBM) Interagency Working Group of the 
Committee on Science (CoS), a Committee of the National Science and 
Technology Council (NSTC). The objective of this initiative is to 
implement and maintain a uniform format for reporting performance on 
Federally-funded research projects. Prior to the implementation of a 
uniform format, Federal agencies utilized a variety of formats for 
reporting progress on activities supported by research grants, though 
similar information was usually collected. These variations increased 
administrative effort and costs for recipients of Federal awards and 
made it difficult to compare research programs across government. This 
format directly benefits award recipients by making it easier for 
recipients to administer Federal grant programs through standardization 
of the types of research information required in performance reports.
    The RPPR format was approved by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which 
released the Policy on Research Performance Progress Report in April 
2010. The OMB/OSTP-issued Policy specified that the RPPR would be used 
by agencies and awarding offices that support research and research-
related activities for use in submission of required annual or other 
interim performance reporting on grants and cooperative agreements. The 
RPPR is intended to address progress for the most recently completed 
period, at the frequency required or designated by the sponsoring 
agency. As indicated in the Federal Register [75 FR 1816-1819, January 
13, 2010], the development of a final RPPR format would take place upon 
completion of the interim RPPR exercise.
    A working group was established in March 2013 to handle development 
of a final RPPR format. Representatives from thirteen different 
departments/agencies comprised the group. Drawing from agency 
experiences and perspectives, the group discussed potential revisions 
to the RPPR format. The group recommended changes in order to allow the 
format to be used for submission of both interim and final progress 
reports. Several amendments have been inserted throughout the document 
to update it, though the proposed revised format retains the same 
overall structure as the original format.
    Each of the categories specified is a separate reporting component. 
Federal agencies will direct recipients to report on the mandatory 
category and may also require reporting on optional categories, as 
appropriate. Recipients will not be required or expected to report on 
each of the questions or items listed under a particular category. They 
will be advised to state ``Nothing to report'' if they have nothing 
significant to report.
    Agencies will utilize the standard instructions that have been 
developed for each category, but may provide additional program-
specific instructions necessary to clarify a requirement for a 
particular program.
    Agencies also may develop additional agency- or program-specific 
reporting categories and instructions (e.g., the National Institutes of 
Health may need to collect additional information on clinical trial 
awards); however, to maintain maximum uniformity, agencies are 
instructed to minimize the degree to which they supplement the standard 

II. Proposed Revisions to Report Format

    The proposed revised format for interim and final performance 
progress reporting on grants and cooperative agreements awarded under 
research programs is available on the NSF Web site at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/rppr/index.jsp.
    Revisions to the format have been made so that it may be used for 
both interim and final reports. Each report will cover one reporting 
period (annual or other interim period at the frequency required or 
designated by the agency). Instructions that are specific to the final 
reporting period will be included as applicable in the format. The 
recommendation is made to maintain consistency between interim and 
final reporting for both agencies and recipients.
    All existing categories will be retained, and one new category is 
proposed. The new optional category will be entitled ``Project 
Outcomes'' and is intended to be completed as part of the final report. 
This category enables agencies to collect a summary of outcomes or 
findings of the award, thereby capturing cumulative information needed 
by several agencies.
    Language was revised throughout the report. First, language was 
clarified where necessary. Second, terminology was made more inclusive 
of research-related activities. Third, verbs were made past tense where 
    New information, questions, or instructions were inserted 
throughout the format. More examples of ``other products'' were added. 
The Participants section now has a question on active other support. 
The Impact section contains a new question on the impact on teaching 
and educational experiences. Finally, a new, optional category, Project 
Outcomes, was added.
    To accompany the revisions in the RPPR Format, amendments were also 
made to the RPPR Data Dictionary. New or amended data elements or 
fields correspond to their counterparts in the RPPR Format.

[[Page 13682]]

    Dated: March 4, 2014.
Suzanne H. Plimpton,
Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.
[FR Doc. 2014-05012 Filed 3-10-14; 8:45 am]