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AC4 PI Handbook

The following guidance applies to all projects supported by AC4, particularly those institutions that have been awarded a  Grant or a Cooperative Agreement. The official rules and regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements are contained in the Department of Commerce Grants and Cooperative Agreements Manual. Grants Online is used by  institutions’ offices of sponsored research for the formal submission of reports and requests related to AC4 awards.

The document below answers some of the questions AC4 PIs might have, including guidance for submitting annual and final reports, information about requesting a No-Cost extension on a project, etc.

AC4 award recipients are required to submit annual and final progress reports documenting research progress and achievements under their award. The progress report should be about 3-10 pages long. In the case of multi-institution awards, only one report, inclusive of entire project team’s activity, needs to be submitted by the lead PI; co-PIs should submit an identical report.

Contents of the progress report:

  • progress carried out under the project: scientific results, algorithms developed, equipment purchased/set up/deployed/etc.
  • key results and relevant figures
  • publications acknowledging AC4 support, including those in preparation and recently submitted
  • presentations at domestic and international meetings, workshops and conferences
  • postdocs/graduate/undergraduate students trained as part of the project
  • optional: impact on community (e.g. shared parameterization for modelers), feedback and/or collaboration with NOAA scientists, future directions, awards
  • optional: public outreach activities

For those institutions receiving support via a Grant or Cooperative Agreement progress reports must be submitted through Grants Online system (RPPR template). Please note that that Grants Online system sends an automated email notification when a progress report can be submitted (about 30 days before submission deadline). It is, however, the responsibility of the institution’s office of sponsored research to either ensure that the PI is receiving this email or that it is forwarded to the PI by the official who receives this email. Program managers will do their best to forward the email reminder to the PI if the PI is not copied on this email.  Kindly refer to the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) instructions before submitting the progress report.

A project in its final year may request a one year no cost extension to finish planned work. Prior to submission of the request all Progress Reports must be up to date. There are two types of no-cost extensions: No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived and No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Required. Requests for No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Required submitted prior to the No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived will be denied. No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived
  • The request must be submitted in Grants Online 10 or more days prior to the Award End Date. If you do not submit the request 10 or more days prior to the expiration of the award period, the Grants Online will prohibit you from doing so.
  • The execution of the No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived by the recipient is completely automatic in Grants Online. Once the notification is submitted by the institution, the Award End Date is immediately updated to reflect the new end date. Notifications are sent to the Program Officer and the Grants Specialist of the new Award End Date.
  • Only one No Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived can be submitted per award.
  • ALL No Cost Extension – Prior Approval Waived actions be for a 1-year duration.
No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Required A No-Cost Extension – Prior Approval Required is required to be
  • The request must be submitted 30 or more days prior to the the Award End Date. Failure to meet this requirement is sufficient grounds for rejection of the request.
  • A brief written request clearly justifying the need for the extension and detailing what activities will be accomplished must accompany the request.
  • A document containing a budget of remaining funds must be attached.
  • Any extension request submitted after the expiration of the award shall be denied.
  • Approval of this action results in an amendment to the award. It is not considered to be completed until the Recipient Authorized Representative has accepted the Amendment


We request that AC4 program support be acknowledged in any publications supported by AC4 by including the following statement: “This study was supported by NOAA’s Climate Program Office’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle, and Climate program.” If the study was supported by a Grant or Cooperative  Agreement the Grant No. should be acknowledged. The Grant No is contained in the decision letter, along with the statement above. We also ask that you include the NOAA CPO FundRef number when submitting your manuscript to a publisher so that it will be available as metadata (100007298).

Prior notice for major papers and events

Send AC4 program management notice of upcoming major papers (and press releases) for AC4 funded work (ideally) 2-3 weeks prior to their publication date.

Also please give us prior notice for any other major events of relevance to your AC4 project (special sessions/meetings that you are convening, special issues that will appear etc.) that you think could help to demonstrate your AC4 work and accomplishments.

If we receive prior notice we are able to alert CPO and OAR communication offices in a way that ensures maximum coverage for your papers/events. Also, please let us know if your work/event receives news coverage. We intend to highlight such coverage on the AC4 and CPO webpage.

For your convenience, a short Frequently Asked Questions section is included as additional guidance regarding administrative issues. This informal guidance is based on program management’s past experience. However, NOAA’s current rules and regulations and special award conditions will take precedence if different from what is stated in this document.

I have trouble accessing my Grants Online account or performing actions on this account, who should I contact?

  • You should call the Grants Online Help Desk at 1-877-662-2478.

I need to re-budget some of the costs for my award, who should I contact?

  • For grants, you should submit an award action request (AAR) through Grants Online to rebudget. This request should include a new budget table, a new budget description, and a letter explaining the need for and nature of the budgetary change and a statement ensuring that the rebudgeting will help and not interfere with the team meeting the project’s objectives.

I have questions regarding how to prepare and submit my progress report, due dates or any other information in the table; who should I contact?

  • You should contact AC4 Program Managers.

My award is a grant. How many progress reports should I expect to submit?

  • Generally, for 3-year grants there is a first progress report covering the first 9 months after the start of the project, a second year progress report 12 months after that, and a third progress report 12 months later. A Final Comprehensive report is due 3 months after the end of the project. This may be different for particular awards.

What happens if I don’t submit a report for my grant?

  • Grants Online will continue to send emails regarding your report notifying all relevant parties in your organization and at NOAA that your report is delinquent. For progress reports, note that we might not process a funding continuation if a progress report is delinquent. Please note that prospective PIs prior performance is one of evaluation criteria for funding recommendations.
  • A report that is never submitted is subject to enforcement action by NOAA and may impact the eligibility of your institution to receive future funding.

My project is funded through a Cooperative Institute (CI); do I still need to submit a report directly to the AC4 program?

  • Yes, we ask that you submit a report according to the instructions in this document in addition to any report prepared for your respective CI, following any special award condition requirements.

Continuation of Funding and requesting No-cost Extensions

I have submitted my report but I still have not received continuation of funding for my project, who should I ask regarding my funding?

  • After you submit your progress report, it may still take several months for the funding to arrive at your institution. You can contact AC4 Program Managers for information regarding the status of funding for your project.

I asked for a no-cost extension before the deadline. This was approved, but I still don’t see a change in the project duration in Grants Online, why is that?

  • There may be a lag between the no-cost extension approval and the change in the final date of the project in the Grants Online System. Ask the program manager responsible for your award to double check that the no-cost extension has indeed been approved and if so, just wait for it to appear in Grants Online. You can also call the Grants Online help desk with questions.

I asked for a no-cost extension after the deadline, is this likely to be approved?

  • No, no-cost extension requests that are made after the prior 30-day deadline will not be approved.

AC4 Program Staff

To email the entire AC4 staff use:

Monika Kopacz (Program Manager):

Kenneth Mooney (Program Manager):

CPO Administrative Staff

Diane Brown (Grants Administration Team Leader):

Grants Online:

Grants Online Help: Toll free: 1-877-662-2478 | Local (DC area): 301-444-2112

Email: | Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern

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