Operational Excellence

IN RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION

In accordance with the University’s research growth strategy, we are reviewing and revamping research administration at the University of Delaware. Our goal is to provide top-notch support for researchers at every step of the way, from proposal submission to award closeout.

 

STREAMLINED RESEARCH

In fall 2018, the University of Delaware underwent an extensive evaluation of research administration under the direction of Charlie Riordan and Jeff Friedland.

In partnership with Huron Consulting Group, administrative functions performed by the Research Office were reviewed in collaboration with central administrators, department administrators, principal investigators, and other key stakeholders and leaders across the research community.

As a result, we have many actionable recommendations for consideration as we work to optimize our research administration infrastructure. The Operational Excellence in Research Administration (“OPERA”) initiative has been launched to address these recommendations.

Upcoming Events
WHY WE’RE DOING THIS

The quality of administrative services provided by the Research Office is critical to creating an efficient and effective research environment at the University. Our goals during this initiative are to:

  • Improve service to faculty who participate in sponsored research
  • Increase process efficiency via enhanced policies, procedures, tools, and systems
  • Bolster institutional compliance with federal and sponsor requirements
  • Implement performance metrics to continuously review administrative effectiveness

 

PROGRESS UPDATES

We will be engaging the broader research community and sharing our progress throughout this transformation effort. Ongoing communications and status updates can be viewed in the announcement section below.

Announcements

1. New Effort Certification View (Monday, September 30, 2019)

Beginning October 1st, those who log in to the Effort Certification System to certify their own effort reports will see a new view that displays effort distributions in a clearer and simpler layout. Please see below for an example of this new view and details regarding updated features of the report. Please contact effortcert@udel.edu with any questions regarding these changes or effort certification in general.

  1. Admin/Payroll View Button: Effort administrators and employees viewing reports that are not their own will still initially see the “Admin/Payroll” view with commitments and dollar amounts when accessing a report. All users can toggle between views by clicking the “Admin/Payroll view” / “View employee summary” box under the name of the effort administrator at the top of the report.
  2. Sponsored v. Non-Sponsored Activity Detail: Salary distributions are split into two sections: Sponsored activity and non-sponsored activity. The sponsored activity section contains the percentages for direct sponsored salary and corresponding cost share contributions. The non-sponsored activity section contains percentages for payments for internal responsibilities such as instruction, public service, and departmental research.
  3. Action: Towards the bottom of the report, employees have two options: Certify effort for the period or send the report back to the report’s effort administrator for corrections. If the employee selects “Certify effort,” a checkbox will appear along with e-signature boxes to ensure the employee intends to certify the report as accurate.
  4. Notes: Employees can add an optional note in the “Notes” box.
  5. Attachments: Employees also now have the option to add attachments that will be visible to others viewing the report prior to final certification. All common file types are supported (Excel, Word, PDF, JPG, etc.). To add an attachment, click “Choose File,” select the file to be uploaded, click “Open,” and click the green “Add line” button to save the attachment to the report.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ryan Barthold
All Announcements

2. Updated Effort Certification Reporting Policy (Friday, April 19, 2019)

The Research Office and the Office of General Counsel recently updated the University’s Effort Certification policy to better adhere to Uniform Guidance and reduce administrative burden during the certification process. The primary changes are as follows:

  • There is no longer a five percent limit on the deviation between allocated or “committed” effort and reported or “actual” effort. PIs and other personnel receiving sponsored salary should still adhere to their commitments to the best of their ability and have commitment percentages updated in UD Financials whenever they change from the budgeted amount. It is the responsibility of the department to maintain communication with the sponsor and ensure that the actual effort exhibited is acceptable to the sponsor.
  • The deadline for certification of reports is now 60 days following the close of the reporting period. This deadline puts the University in line with the certification procedures of other large research institutions and ensures that review of reports occurs in a timely manner closer to the applicable reporting period.
  • PIs are reminded that effort certification is a requirement of accepting federal rewards. Knowingly certifying a false report is a violation of University policy and may result in potential disciplinary action and civil or criminal penalties.

The full policy can viewed on the General Counsel’s website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Friedland

3. Operational Excellence in Research Administration (“OPERA”) initiative (Thursday, March 28, 2019)

March 28, 2019

Dear Colleagues,  

We recently completed an extensive evaluation of the research administration infrastructure at the University of Delaware. The goal of this evaluation was to identify opportunities to enhance processes and technology in support of our research mission and strategic plan for growth.

As a result of this evaluation, the University is now launching the Operational Excellence in Research Administration (“OPERA”) initiative to implement recommended improvements. Our goal is to create an efficient and effective administrative environment in order to increase support to faculty who participate in externally sponsored research.

We have created a webpage to keep you informed about this initiative and invite you to explore its contents. Project updates, outcomes, and links to new policies and procedures will be posted to the website on an ongoing basis to share news of our progress.

Many individuals across the University participated in the initial phase of this initiative, and we hope you continue to provide us with your feedback. We thank you in advance for your contributions to this important endeavor. Please contact us with any questions as we move forward with this new phase.

THE OPERA INITIATIVE

Sincerely,

Charles G. Riordan Vice President for Research, Scholarship & Innovation

Jeffrey Friedland Associate Vice President, Research Administration

 

4. Important revisions have been made to the Resumption of Operations at NSF page on the NSF website (Thursday, January 31, 2019)

Important revisions have been made to the Resumption of Operations at NSF page on the NSF website, including identification of new deadline dates for specific solicitations and Dear Colleague Letters. This updated information will be of interest to your membership and we would appreciate your sharing with your colleagues as soon as possible. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

Policy-related questions regarding the resumption of operations at NSF may be addressed to policy@nsf.gov.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman

5. New Resumption of Operations at NSF (Monday, January 28, 2019)

A Resumption of Operations at NSF page has been developed that includes Important Notice No. 145, Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation, dated January 28, 2019, as well as supplemental guidance that addresses grant and cooperative agreement-related policy and systems issues. This page will be of interest to your membership and we would appreciate your sharing this link as soon as possible. This page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

Policy-related questions regarding resumption of operations at NSF may be addressed to policy@nsf.gov.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jean Feldman

6. Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects Update (Common Rule) (Monday, January 21, 2019)

Significant revisions to the “Common Rule” – a regulation that governs research involving human subjects conducted or sponsored by the Federal departments and agencies that have adopted those rules – are expected to take full effect on January 21, 2019.

This is the first revision to the Common Rule since its publication in 1991 and aims to strengthen the protection of research participants, while also reducing administrative burden for investigators.

The UD Institutional Review Board (IRB) will continue providing oversight of any studies reviewed and approved prior to January 21, 2019 under the version of the Common Rule under which the study was originally approved (pre-revisions). All new project submissions to the UD IRB beginning January 21, 2019 will be required to comply with the Revised Common Rule and will need to use the new templates as posted in IRBNet.

A new course on the “Revised Common Rule” is available under the University of Delaware training curriculum at www.citiprogram.org. Below is a summary of several key provisions and changes that will require compliance beginning January 21, 2019.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact UD IRB

7. Partial Government Shutdown (Wednesday, January 2, 2019)

A partial government shutdown has continued into the new year. While NIH and the Department of Education are funded, others such as NSF, NASA, NOAA, USDA, NIST, and NEH are not. Agency Contingency Plans and FAQs can be found on the OMB website.

8. UD Financials Upgrade (Monday, April 16, 2018)

UD Financials PeopleSoft upgrade is now complete.

If you have any questions, please contact the Research Office

9. Delay on the Updated Common Rule Effective Date (Monday, January 22, 2018)

In a final rule published on January 19, 2017, federal departments and agencies listed in this document made revisions to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) adopted the same regulatory changes in a separate final rule published on September 18, 2017. The revised policy, reflected in both final rules, is described here as the “2018 Requirements.” The 2018 Requirements are scheduled to become effective on January 19, 2018, with a general compliance date of January 19, 2018 (with the exception of the revisions to the cooperative research provision).

This interim final rule delays the effective date and general compliance date of the 2018 Requirements to July 19, 2018. The federal departments and agencies listed in this document are in the process of developing a proposed rule to further delay implementation of the 2018 Requirements. The limited implementation delay accomplished by this interim final rule both provides additional time to regulated entities for the preparations necessary to implement the 2018 Requirements, and additional time for the departments and agencies listed in this document to seek input from interested stakeholders through a notice and comment rulemaking process that allows for public engagement on the proposal for a further implementation delay.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Maria Palazuelos, PhD

10. NSF accepting proposals related to hurricane Irma (Thursday, September 21, 2017)

With the second major hurricane – Hurricane Irma – to strike the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its staff remain strongly committed to supporting the people and institutions affected by these storms. Now that the consequences of these disasters are upon us, new science and engineering questions are being raised. Through this Dear Colleague Letter, NSF encourages the submission of proposals that seek to address the challenges related to Hurricane Irma.

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