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. NIH – Changes to Public Access Policy (Friday, January 25, 2013)

This webinar is designed for Compliance Officials at grantee institutions responsible for adhering to the NIH Public Access Policy.

3. NSF – Reporting Changes (Thursday, November 1, 2012)

All NSF project reporting will transfer from FastLane to Research.gov: the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Principal investigators and co-PIs will use Research.gov to meet all NSF project reporting requirements, including submission of annual, final, and interim project reports and the project outcomes report. Where can I get more information? The following resources from Research.gov are very helpful to get started.

  1. Project Reporting Getting Started Guide (step-by-step instructions with great screen shots)
  2. FAQs
  3. Slides from their October webinar

4. 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.

5. 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.

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

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

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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