Operational Excellence


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.



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

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



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.


1. 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 their 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
All Announcements

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. ONR No Funds Extensions (Friday, November 13, 2015)

ONR has recently released new guidance pertaining to No Funds Extensions, effective immediately. The new guidance spells out the maximum extension time allowable and what parties need to be involved at each step.

10. NSF Frequently Asked Questions 2 CFR § 200 (Tuesday, June 2, 2015)

NSF has issued a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Foundation’s implementation of 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance).

These FAQs are available on the DIAS/Policy Office website . The FAQs will be updated periodically as additional questions arise.

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