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. OPERA Updates (Tuesday, October 8, 2019)

In recent months, the University has been focused on improving services for research administration under the Operational Excellence in Research Administration (OPERA) initiative. Throughout this initiative, the Research Office has worked closely with colleagues across campus to reevaluate and enhance various processes and resources. Our goal has been to increase support to faculty by increasing efficiency and reducing administrative burden in several areas.

As a result, we are announcing new process enhancements and resources available effective immediately:

New Process Enhancements and Resources

Key Impacts

Award Setup

Chart of Accounts Notice (COA)

The Chart of Accounts (COA) Notice has been updated to simplify email communications and links to resources for new awards and modifications.

Streamline Communications

Sponsor Terms & Conditions Webpage

A new Sponsor Terms and Conditions webpage has been created as a one-stop resource for common sponsor guidelines.

Clarify Responsibilities

Proposal Submission

UD Financials: PeopleSoft Proposal Entry User Guide

A new UD Financials: PeopleSoft User Guide for Proposal Submission has been created to consolidate and simplify step-by-step instructions for proposal entry in UD Financials: PeopleSoft.

Enhance Training Resources

PI Eligibility Form

The PI Eligibility Form has been translated to fillable PDF format to allow for electronic signatures and approval routing.

Promote Efficiency

3-Business-Day Internal Proposal Deadline Policy

The Research Office has adopted an updated 3-Business-Day Internal Proposal Deadline Policy to clarify proposal review aspects and timing:

  • Proposals are due to the Research Office by 8:00am at least 3-Business-Days prior to the sponsor agency deadline. Final technical/scientific content may be omitted until 8:00am on the sponsor agency deadline.
  • The Research Office will follow a “staggered” review process wherein the date a proposal is received dictates the level of review provided by the assigned Contract and Grants Specialist:
    • 3+ Business Days à Full Review (All proposal aspects)
    • 2 Business Days à Limited Review (UD and sponsor requirements)
    • 1 Business Day à Minimal Review (UD institutional risk areas only)
  • An accompanying Sample Proposal Timeline has been created which outlines key components and target dates for standard proposals.

Increase Accountability
&
Ensure Proposal Acceptance

Transactions

Graduate Tuition Policy

The Graduate Tuition Policy has been updated to clarify guidelines for tuition budgeting, policy exceptions, and post-award management:

  • Graduate tuition will be budgeted as a direct charge to all grants and contracts at a minimum rate of 20% of the full-time tuition at the program rate for the fall/spring semesters.

Reduce Administrative Burden
&
Clarify Guidelines

Budget Categories List

The list of active Budget Categories is updated to reflect up-to-date account codes for sponsored programs use.

Mitigate Financial Risk

Cash Management

Accounts Receivables Monitoring, Collections, and Write-Offs Procedure

A new AR Monitoring, Collections, and Write-Offs Procedure has been adopted to standardize and increase follow-up for sponsored research payments.

  • The Department/College Administrator and Principal Investigator will be notified of payments outstanding for 121-180 Days.

Mitigate Financial Risk

Effort Reporting

New Effort Certification View

A New Effort Certification View has been implemented for employees certifying their own reports. Key aspects of the new layout include:

  • An updated summary page containing a simplified effort distribution.
  • The option to add attachments to reports to support certifications.

Enhance Technology
&
Increase Compliance

Automated Dunning Notices for Overdue Effort Reports

Automated dunning notifications will be sent via the Effort Certification System to cut down on overdue effort reports. Notices will be sent to effort administrators and current report holders, gradually escalating to department chairs, assistant deans, and college deans in accordance with UD’s Effort Policy.

Bolster Compliance

We will continue to provide updates as the OPERA initiative progresses. Please reach out to your unit’s Contract and Grants Speciaist in the Research Office with any questions or to provide ongoing feedback.

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

2. Procedure requesting letters of Support and Cost Share commitments from the Research Office (Monday, May 15, 2017)

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Research Development

3. NSF Newsletters (Monday, April 24, 2017)

The Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter is a quarterly publication designed to provide information about upcoming changes and clarifications to policies and procedures that affect how you prepare and submit proposals, and manage NSF awards.

4. NIH initiatives for 2017 (Friday, January 6, 2017)

The Research Office writes to inform the UD Research Community of several reforms and new initiatives the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be implementing in the upcoming weeks and months with the aim of enhancing clinical trials stewardship.

5. NIH Rigor and Reproducibility (Thursday, August 4, 2016)

Scientific rigor and transparency in conducting biomedical research is key to the successful application of knowledge toward improving health outcomes. The information provided on this website is designed to assist the extramural community in addressing rigor and transparency in NIH grant applications and progress reports.

6. UD – NSF Template for Collaborators & Other Affiliations (Monday, February 1, 2016)

The Research Office has created a template to assist with the new NSF Collaborators & Other Affiliations Requirements. Instructions on how to use the template can be found using the link.

7. UD – Procedures for International Travel (Friday, January 8, 2016)

University Procedure for International Travel with Electronic Devices

Memo from Dr. Charles (Charlie) Riordan, Deputy Provost, Research and Scholarship: The purpose of this memorandum is to remind and inform University of Delaware (UD) employees of the states-of-nature and UD expectations that exist when traveling internationally with mobile devices, laptop computers, personal-digital assistants (PDAs) and other electronic devices.

8. NIH Salary Cap Updated (Monday, January 4, 2016)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced an updated salary cap for grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards. Effective January 10, 2016, the Executive Level II salary cap will be raised to $185,100. This change effects the following:

NIH grant/contract awards for applications/proposals that request direct salaries of individuals in excess of the applicable RATE per year will be adjusted in accordance with the legislative salary limitation and will include a notification such as the following: None of the funds in this award shall be used to pay the salary of an individual at a rate in excess of the applicable salary cap.

NIH competing grant awards with categorical budgets reflecting salary levels at or above the new cap(s) that are issued on or after the January 10, 2016 effective date, will reflect adjustments to the current and all future years so that no funds are awarded or committed for salaries over the limitation.

The salary limitation provision DOES apply to subawards/subcontracts for substantive work under an NIH grant or contract.

9. NSF – Updated Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (Monday, November 23, 2015)

NSF has released a new version of the PAPPG, to take effect January 25, 2016. Key changes include new formatting guidance for letters of collaboration, page limitations for Collaborators and Other Affiliations information and updated submission deadlines.

10. NIH Changes (Friday, November 13, 2015)

NIH has released several changes regarding application formatting and attachments that will go into effect throughout early 2016. In addition, NIH will issue an updated Grants Policy Statement in late 2015.

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