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. 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


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. 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.

3. NSF Fastlane Changes- new automated compliance check now live, Effective Date: April 24, 2015 (Friday, April 24, 2015)

Beginning April 24, 2015, proposals submitted in response to Program Solicitations in Fastlane will undergo a series of automated proposal compliance validation checks to ensure they comply with requirements in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

4. NSF Fastlane Changes – additional automated compliance checks on proposals, Effective Date: January 26, 2015 (Monday, January 26, 2015)

The following changes will be made to FastLane to support the revised PAPPG:

  • Budget Form Update
  • Budget Justification Upload
  • Cost Sharing Notifications Requirement
  • New Funding Mechanism

Automated Compliance Checks

  • Page Count
  • Budget
  • Proposal Section

Effective Date: January 26, 2015

5. A new version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) , (NSF 15-1) has been issued. This new version of the PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014 (Monday, January 26, 2015)

A new version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) , (NSF 15-1) has been issued. The PAPPG is comprised of documents relating to the Foundation’s proposal and award process and consists of the: (a) Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) for guidance on the preparation and submission of proposals to NSF and and (b) Award & Administration Guide (AAG) to guide, manage, and monitor the award and administration of grants and cooperative agreements made by the Foundation.

This new version of the PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014.

6. NSF has updated their proposal guide as well as their grant and cooperative agreement terms/conditions (Monday, January 5, 2015)

The Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) update is effective December 26, 2014. In conjunction with this update, NSF has also updated the Grant General Conditions and the Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions. You will find the documents at the following urls:

7. NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY2015 (Monday, January 5, 2015)

NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards – FY2015

8. Notice of Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts (Monday, January 5, 2015)

Notice of Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts

9. Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2015 (Monday, January 5, 2015)

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Effective for Fiscal Year 2015

10. NIH has revised its definition of ‘Clinical Trial’ (Wednesday, December 17, 2014)

NIH policy requires clinical trials to be monitored, and applicants and offerors seeking NIH support are expected to describe their plans for data and safety monitoring in their applications and proposals. Please see announcement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-015.html

[hide for=”all” exclude=”administrator, contributor, editor”]

Add a new announcement


Share This