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 – Transition to Electronic Submission (Monday, October 1, 2012)

NIH has also announced its plans to transition to electronic submission of Multi-Project Applications. More information regarding this transition may be found in notice NOT-OD-12-161.

3. AFOSR – Pre-Award Cost Policy (Friday, June 1, 2012)

AFOSR has changed its requirements regarding pre-award costs up to 90 calendar days prior to the award.

4. UD – Compliance Hotline (Saturday, April 28, 2012)

Please visit the UD Compliance site for Hotline and Compliance related information.

5. UD – Travel and Compliance (Saturday, April 28, 2012)

UD Travel with or Transportation of Research Related Data MEMO FROM – Dr. Charles (Charlie) Riordan, Vice Provost for Research: The purpose of this memo is to remind and inform all University of Delaware employees of the laws, policies and procedures that may impact the transportation of University of Delaware property, including research-related materials, software, data, biological materials and equipment. These laws, policies and procedures apply whether the materials, software or data are hand-carried during travel or shipped commercially. The laws, policies and procedures apply to our international visitors as well.

6. NSF – UD Grant Management Service (Wednesday, February 1, 2012)

Information Technologies now offers University researchers a streamlined way to log in to NSF’s Research.gov site for grant management services including FastLane.

7. NIH – Notice of Salary Limitations (Friday, January 20, 2012)

Notice Number NOT-OD-14-043 provides information regarding the salary limitation for NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards and extramural research and development contract awards (referred to as grants). Executive Level II salary has increased by 1 percent from $179,700 to $181,500 by Executive Order 13655.

8. AFOSR – No-Cost Extension Guidelines (Sunday, January 1, 2012)

According to AFOSR, there has been a new development for the administrative guidelines dealing with no-cost extension of continuing grants. As mentioned quite a while ago, all unspent funds sitting at the university accounts are becoming a potential target for congressional budget scrutiny and an excuse for reshuffling of the budget within the same agency. On top of this situation, the reduction of supporting personnel in the Government agencies creates major delay in the procurement process. As a consequence, all requests for no-cost extension of the grants beyond the designated expiration date will go through the Office of AFOSR Director. Please be conscious of this new rule making no-cost extension virtually impossible and try to find a way of spending the allocated budget on schedule. If the funds are not spent within the original timeframe, there is the potential to lose the funds.

9. UD – Cayuse (Monday, January 31, 2011)

Cayuse Proposal Development and Grants Submission Tools

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