Recent Changes to Uniform Guidance

Published December 15, 2020

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has revised sections of Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) located in title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR part 200), originally implemented on December 26, 2016. 

Per law, the Uniform Guidance must be reviewed every five years. These revisions to the Uniform Guidance are effective November 12, 2020, except for the amendments to Section  200.216 (Prohibition against certain telecommunications) and Section 200.340 (Termination), which are effective on August 13, 2020. The changes believed to be most impactful to UB faculty and administrative staff for administering sponsored projects are summarized below.

Changes in Definitions


Budget Period

The time interval from the start date of a funded portion of an award to the end date of that funded portion during which recipients are authorized to expend the funds awarded, including any funds carried forward or other revisions pursuant to §200.308.

Period of performance

The total estimated time interval between the start of an initial Federal award and the planned end date, which may include one or more funded portions, or budget periods. Identification of the Period of Performance in the Federal award does not commit the awarding agency to fund the award beyond the currently approved budget period.

Renewal Award

An award made subsequent to an expiring Federal award for which the start date is contiguous with, or closely follows, the end of the expiring Federal award. A renewal award’s start date will begin a distinct period of performance.  

Pre-award costs

Costs incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award directly pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the Federal award where such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of work. Such costs are allowable only to the extent that they would have been allowable if incurred after the date of the Federal award and only with the written approval of the Federal awarding agency. If charged to the award, these costs must be charged to the initial budget period of the award, unless otherwise specified by the Federal awarding agency.

Impact on PI Management of Sponsored Awards

May mean that we can no longer “borrow” funds from anticipated continuation award to use at end of current budget period that exceeds the current awarded budget allocation. We’ll need to see if the award budget period continues to expand, similar to NIH changing the budget period and simply extending the date for the next year. It may mean new projects annually.

Never Contract With the Enemy

This new section is applicable to grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $50,000, that are performed outside the United States and its territories, in support of a contingency operation in which members of the Armed Forces are actively engaged in hostilities. These provisions prohibit recipients from providing funds, subawards, or contracts to persons actively opposing the United States or coalition forces involved in said contingency operations. 

Impact on PI Management of Sponsored Awards

Most likely minimal to no impact

Prohibition on certain telecommunications and video surveillance services or equipment

This new section implements Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of FFY 2019 by establishing a broad prohibition against purchasing any equipment, services, or systems that uses [sic] covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial component of any system. “Covered telecommunications equipment or services” include such items provided by Huawei Technology Company, ZTE Corporation, or any of their many subsidiaries or affiliates. When it is to be used for certain public security purposes, such equipment also includes products provided by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company, and their subsidiaries and affiliates.

Impact on PI Management of Sponsored Awards

PIs need to be make sure they do not include any “covered communication equipment or services” in proposal requests or attempt to purchase such items on sponsored awards. The UB Procurement Office is incorporating this prohibition into their procedures.

Change in Termination language

The bases available for termination of an award have been expanded to include authorization for awarding agencies to terminate an award “to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities” (this language replaces “for cause”).

Impact on PI Management of Sponsored Awards

No immediate impact; it’s possible we may start to see terminations from the federal government for reasons other than cause. It’s possible this clause will make it easier for non-scientific, political considerations to determine the fate of individual scientific projects.

Closeout changes

The closeout period for all reports due under federal awards has been extended to 120 calendar days. Subawards must complete their closeout within 90 days, unless an earlier timeframe has been provided in the subaward agreement terms. Federal agencies must report failure to adhere to the submission criteria as a material failure to adhere to terms within in the OMB-designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS); they may also pursue other enforcement actions, including withholding payments, disallowing costs, and withholding further federal awards.

Impact on PI Management of Sponsored Awards

All final reports must be submitted within 120 days of the award term date. Failure to do so may result in enforcement actions against the University. PIs should coordinate with SPS to ensure that all required final reports are submitted and documented in the RF business system.