University of Virginia Process Simplification
Process Simplification Teams and Reports: Completed Teams

Research Administration Final Report

I. Introduction
Following the work of the Research Administration Business Case team that concluded in May 1997, the Administrative Services Process Owners Group (ADMINPOG) formed the Research Administration Redesign team (RAT). Launched in September 1997, the RAT was charged with the tasks of examining the research administration process from start to finish and recommending improvements to the process where needed. The team bounded its work by focusing on those processes that fall clearly within the domain of research administration. Specific goals were to:

  • enhance the quality of the process;
  • simplify the process and make it more effective and efficient;
  • establish clear roles of accountability and responsibility; and
  • facilitate research at the University.
The team considered current and prospective Principal Investigators as the primary customers of the process. Secondary customers of the process included research administrators at the school and department level, fiscal technicians, students, and persons in central offices that support research administration. Appendix A outlines the team’s mission statement.
Mike Glasgow, Microbiology Department, served as team leader. Other core team members include: Becky Abell, Office of Sponsored Programs; Bob Burnett, Chemistry Department; Tom Dod, Environmental Sciences; Charles Flickinger, Cell Biology; Dave Hudson, Office of the Vice President for Research; Melvin Mallory, Information Technology and Communication; Norma Miller, Dean’s Office, School of Medicine; Christina Morell, Office of the Vice President for Management and Budget; Starr Palmore, Clinical Pharmacology; Tara Telfair, Organizational Development and Training; Dee Van, School of Engineering; and Rod Waterman, English Department. In addition, 15 representatives from areas involved in research administration served as resource members to the core team (see Appendix B for a list of the resource members).

Representing the largest share of the University’s revenue budget, sponsored programs awards totaled over $159 million dollars for fiscal year 1996-97. Combined, the School of Medicine (SOM), College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) accounted for 92% of research dollars (see Appendix C for a proposal summary by school for this period). These funds were conveyed to the University in 1,940 separate awards. At the same time, the University submitted 2,821 proposals. As of the end of April 1998, the University was managing 4,079 active research awards. Over the past ten years, sponsored research funding has more than doubled from just over sixty million dollars in 1986. Table 1 provides a per year breakdown of this period.

Table 1. Sponsored Programs Profile 1987-1997
Fiscal Year Proposals Submitted Awards Received % of Proposals Awarded Amount # of Active Accounts
87/88 1778 1237 70% 76,408,265 2537
88/89 1834 1246 68% 86,939,586 2624
89/90 2030 1309 64% 92,060,114 2755
90/91 2250 1496 66% 107,247,191 2733
91/92 2390 1683 70% 122,493,689 2561
92/93 2434 1656 68% 128,487,273 3296
93/94 2509 1624 65% 135,418,467 3591
94/95 2562 1733 68% 136,470,557 3901
95/96 2551 1737 68% 141,207,194 3351
96/97 2821 1940 69% 159,855,432 4230

PERCENT INCREASE FROM 87/88 TO 96/97 FOR EACH CATEGORY:
Proposals Submitted: 59%
Awards Received: 57%
Amount: 109%
Number of Active Accounts: 67%

II.Work of the Team
To assess the process, the team gathered data from internal customers and stakeholders about aspects of research administration that work well or require improvement. In addition, the RAT collected information from individuals involved in research administration at other Universities to learn how they managed similar processes.

Internal Assessment: The team obtained information from over 140 persons involved in research administration. Examples of ways the team collected data include:* One-on-one survey interviews with 30 Principal Investigators (PI), 16 Research Administrators (RA), and 25 Fiscal Technicians (FT) from 20 academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), Curry School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), School of Medicine (SOM), and School of Nursing.
  • Focus groups with PI, RA, and FT.
  • Interviews with representatives from the central school level.
  • Interviews with representatives from key central offices supporting research administration including the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of the Vice President for Research.
  • Interviews with staff members from ancillary departments supporting research such as Human Resources, ITC, and Purchasing.
  • Interviews with 18 key stakeholders involved in the process about the high level organizational structure supporting research.
External Assessment: The team conducted site visits at Duke University, North Carolina State University, Stanford University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to learn how these institutions are organized and structured to manage sponsored research. In total, team members met with 27 individuals from these respective universities. Telephone interviews with officials from the University of Michigan and Yale University also were conducted.

Appendix D contains a summary of the approaches used to collect information within and outside the University. Appendix E contains a glossary of key concepts and terms related to research administration.

III. Findings
Research administration includes an array of activities ranging from pre-award services, which generally involve activities associated with generating and submitting a proposal, to post-award services which include activities associated with the management of an award from receipt to account closeout. Depending on the nature of a proposal (e.g., standard, non-standard, industry, non-industry, multi-disciplinary, etc.), different offices will be involved in the process at various points in time. Under the current process, pre- and post-award activities at the central level are located in the Office of Sponsored Programs which reports on the Financial side of operations. Pre-award activities commonly originate at the department level, and through a series of reviews, work their way to a central office for final review and approval (i.e., department to school to OSP). This process has been in place for nearly twenty years without any significant process reviews or modifications, except for in the SOM which received signatory authority in 1994. Appendix F contains a map of the current process.

Internal Data: Appendices G through I contain summaries of internal data collected during the course of the team’s work. As a result of the team’s agreements with the participants to maintain confidentiality, not all of the data are presented.
Based on analysis and synthesis of the data, the RAT identified the following key issues as requiring improvement. These results validate and further expand on the findings of the Business Case team:

  • Authority and Responsibility: The current system appears to lack clear lines of responsibility and role definition. The roles of individuals and offices, and areas of accountability and responsibility, are not defined. For example, ambiguous interpretation of duties of all participants in industry proposals results in disadvantages during negotiation, loss of opportunity, incorrect application of funds, and lapses in protection of University intellectual property.
  • Communication: Changes in policies and procedures, which occur regularly, often are not identified until a proposal is returned for correction or an invoice against an award is denied. Identifying University and sponsor initiated changes is an arbitrary process. Once collected, information does not get distributed to all process participants on a timely basis, which delays the process and restricts the flow of funds.
  • Training: Basic research administration training on processes and requirements consists of a "sink or swim" methodology using an informal support network of peers, RAs, Dean's office staff, and OSP. The lack of formal training results in confusion among persons involved in the process. Researchers and administrators spend a significant amount of time compensating for this lack of training.
  • Compliance: Although compliance is a critical part of Research Administration, the current system primarily emphasizes compliance issues with PI support and research facilitation being allocated a lower priority. As a result, some PIs perceive that the University is more interested in protecting itself from PIs rather than proactively assisting them in achieving the goals of the research while remaining in compliance with external rules and regulations.
  • Resources: Support for research administration has not kept pace with changes in the enterprise and, as a result, workloads have significantly outpaced resources. Processes have become strained and are unable to meet the needs of the PI or the requirements of the sponsor. Not only is there a cost in missed funding opportunities as proposals do not get submitted because of insufficient staff assistance, but there is a tangible financial loss in awards being returned under spent or ending in deficit. A sampling of four departments indicates a loss of $88,000 resulting from returned funds to sponsors or overspent funds because of poor management systems within the last year.
  • Support Services: Research Administration support to individual PI's tends to be uneven, especially in small departments that lack Research Administrators. Many small departments do not have staff available to help in preparing proposals and/or managing awards and may get limited support at the school or central level because of heavy work loads.  Also, the University does not have a well coordinated or central approach to help Pi's identify potential sponsors, understand the myriad of federal, state, and non-governmental sponsor requirements, and assist in the development of complex proposals.
  • Automation: The current environment is non-integrated and paper intensive. Key information is replicated in many different shadow systems both within departments, schools and OSP, with few controls to ensure accuracy and integrity. Data entry is duplicative and non-intuitive. The automation that does exist uses technology that is not capable of handling the information exchange requirements of sponsors. The combination of on-line and hard copy forms often results in unnecessary duplication of effort.
External Assessment: Appendix J provides a comparison between UVa and the Universities visited by the team of how each administers and structures research administration.

The following information was collected from site visits to Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Stanford University:
  • Pre- and Post-award functions were separate at the four institutions. In each case the pre-award function reports to the equivalent of a Vice President for Research and the post-award function reports to the equivalent of a Vice President for Finance (note: one school was considering merging both areas).
  • Each institution has an internal Technology Transfer office rather than an external Patent Foundation. Each internal Technology Transfer office also manages and executes Material Transfer Agreements.
  • Two of the four institutions have sophisticated and extensive funding opportunities information and staff to support such a function. UNC-Chapel Hill has a library and 6 FTE's to support funding opportunities.
  • Three of the four schools have formal research administration training programs in place, and all schools have documented procedures manuals for pre- and post-award operations. All training programs are coordinated through or by the equivalent of an office of Organizational Development and Training.
  • All schools have relatively new automated pre-award systems in place or in development.
IV. Vision for Research Administration
Based on the findings and the experience and knowledge of team members, and in light of the changing nature of the research enterprise, the RAT developed a vision statement for research administration at the University. This vision for research administration, outlined in Appendix K, served as the foundation for the team in its redesign of the current process and framed the following guiding principles for redesign.

V. Guiding Principles
The team recommends establishing a process that adheres to 10 central guiding principles. Four of these served as significant driving forces in developing recommendations to enhance the current process:
  1. Adequate resources will be provided throughout the process: The team recognizes that none of the proposed changes to the process will be realized unless the appropriate resources are dedicate to both sustain current levels of work and manage future requirements. Accordingly, staffing, employee compensation, technology, and other resources should be appropriate to meet the mission and level of authority and responsibility given to employees or offices.
  2. The Office of the Vice President for Research will provide leadership for research administration: One of the most important goals of the re-engineering process is to establish a system that will facilitate and encourage research. The team believes this can best be accomplished by aligning major functions of the research administration process with academic interests by making them the responsibility of a strengthened Office of the Vice President for Research. The Vice President for Research is expected to serve as a leader for promoting research throughout the University.
  3. Technology will be made available to support current and future process requirements: In order to operate efficiently and effectively, a grants and contracts management system that bridges pre- and post-award activities is required. Such a system will provide resources for preparing proposals directly to PIs and administrators. The system will contain proposal form templates and allow information to be pulled in from data sources in a consistent and accurate manner. The system will support account monitoring and tracking by connecting to the University’s financial systems to allow for automated reconciliation, and access to accounting information in a useful manner to administrators and PIs. By bridging post and pre-award activities, the system also will produce reports which will allow the University to respond to external demands more quickly.
  4. Appropriate and clear levels of responsibility and accountability will be established throughout the process: A process which supports the University’s research goals and is responsive to customer needs must clearly delineate the responsibility and accountability of persons involved in the process, and provide the necessary support for the process to succeed. The University will vest responsibility at the appropriate level, hold those vested with responsibility accountable, and move to a flexible process that recognizes differences in transactions and delegates responsibility to the appropriate level.
In addition, the team adhered to the following guiding principles in advancing new strategies:
  • Reviews should be value added. The process should triage standard from nonstandard items and treat them appropriately.
  • The emphasis of the process will be on facilitating research. Staff will be advocates for research. They will responsibly safeguard the PI and institution on compliance and legal issues while actively pursuing the interests of the researcher. The process will be designed to promote research rather than being designed to regulate it.
  • The process will be flexible and able to accommodate the unique needs of individual schools (inputs and outputs will be standardized). The process will support schools’ and departments’ individual business and management systems for internal review and processing requirements. The process will standardize all transactions (use common forms and formats) between central offices, schools and departments.
  • The process will be efficient, easy to understand, and effective.
  • Users of the process will know clearly where they need to go for assistance, and the model of one-stop shopping should be in place when possible.
  • "Do no harm." Change should not be recommended for the sake of change.
VI. Groundwork for Recommendations
School Level: Fundamental to understanding the RAT’s recommendations is a general understanding of the different school models in place to support research administration. There are unique differences between the three largest externally funded research schools: A&S, SEAS, and SOM. Some of these differences are a result of the type of research the schools are involved in (e.g., clinical research in the SOM), while others arise from their organizational structure.

In SEAS, research administration is centralized at the school level. Investigators interact directly with a central office for all of their pre- or post- award activities. Once SEAS approves an activity, it is sent to OSP for review.

In the SOM and in A&S, the activity is initiated at the department level and is sent to the school level for review. Since the SOM has delegated signatory authority, many pre-award items are signed for the institution at the school. In A&S, after an activity has been reviewed and approved, it is sent to OSP for review and institutional signature. In both schools, the School Research Administrator assists PIs directly for those departments which do not have their own Research Administrator. Post- Award activities generally are handled by departmental personnel in both schools.

Central Level: The team believes that in order for research administration to meet current and future customer needs and institutional concerns, it has to be supported by an organizational structure that will establish clear levels of accountability and responsibility, and provide the necessary resources for the process to work effectively and efficiently. The University has somewhat of a unique organizational structure in that it has two Provosts. Both Provosts are actively involved with research policy for their areas and the institution. While the Vice President for Research reports to the President through the Academic Provost, the team notes the important role and authority the Vice President and Provost for Health Sciences has in setting policy for research in the Health Sciences Center.

Currently, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) operates as the central administrative unit supporting the process for pre- and post-award activities. Appendix L provides a general description of the Office’s role in the process, as well as a description (in narrative form) of OSP’s work process flow.

Pre-and post-award functions at the central level are housed in OSP. As will become evident in the listing of specific recommendations, the team is recommending a separation of pre- and post-award functions at the central level, with pre-award activities falling under the Vice President for Research, and post-award activities remaining under Finance. The team considered various models for OSP which are outlined in Appendix M. In addition, the team received some feedback not to change the existing OSP structure. However, based on its assessment of the current process and the desire to implement a process that facilitates research, the team recommends splitting pre- and post-award activities for the following key reasons:

Pre-Award:
Moving pre-award to the Vice President for Research’s Office has the advantage of centralizing all pre-award activities together on the academic side. Since the Vice President for Research (VPR) already is actively involved in many pre-award activities including proposal development, training, funding opportunities, institutional proposals, and industry agreements, the centralization of these services under the VPR would bring about one stop shopping for all pre-award activities and has the advantage of keeping these functions close to the customer. These services are seen as being uniquely separate from the accounting functions associated with award management and are of an entrepreneurial bend which should complement the outreach and research development goals of the Vice President for Research.

Post-Award:
The functions associated with post award, while unique in some aspects (e.g., effort certification tracking, individual sponsor requirements, reporting requirements, etc.), are closely related to and interact often with other units in Financial Administration. For example, cash management, which includes the daily monitoring of cash flow to the institution, requires coordination with the State via General Accounting. Also, post- award works closely with Property Accounting for equipment purchases, and with Financial Analysis for the development of the indirect cost rate. In addition, $160 million dollars drives a lot of activity and attracts numerous audits. The Assistant Vice President for Finance and Comptroller of the University is responsible for financial compliance. Because of these interactions and significant financial compliance issues, given appropriate resources post-award would be best organized within Financial Administration.

Although OSP Pre- and Post-Award are currently together, the RAT found that there are no formal shared processes between them which require the two functions to be co-located. In fact, both areas maintain their own separate files; they are CO-located but not integrated. Proximity of location, rather than process requirements, allows for discussions between Pre and Post to be easily conducted in person. The team recognizes the advantages of having good communication between these two functions and has made recommendations to ensure this continues formally under a split organization.

VII. Recommendations
A number of the recommendations can be categorized under two key headings: those that are most identifiable with pre-award activities; and those that relate mostly to post-award functions. However, there are recommendations, mainly those related to training and technology, which are integral to both pre- and post-award processes. Accordingly, the recommendations included in this report are organized as follows:
A. Pre-Award
B. Post-Award
C. "Integral to Both"
Within these three sections, each recommendation is presented as follows: 1) the recommendation itself (the action being suggested); 2) the goal of the recommendation; and when appropriate; 3) additional staffing and other resources required to implement the recommendation.

A. Pre-Award
Pre-award encompasses all activities that occur from the point a PI has an idea for a research project to when a proposal is funded. The following recommendations are designed to facilitate the research process and to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of activities that occur during this phase of the grants and contracts process .Redistribute pre-award functions of the Office of Sponsored Programs.  Relocate pre-award to a new Office of Research Services (ORS) and locate it in the Office of the Vice President of Research (VPR).

Goal: To align pre-award operations of sponsored research and the interests of key stakeholders with the academic side of operations under the Vice President of Research.

ORS will assume a central role in supporting the process and facilitating research at the University. The Office will assume the pre-award responsibilities of OSP and be responsible for the following: providing assistance to departments and schools for nonstandard issues or proposals; coordinating interdisciplinary funding and institutional grants; identifying funding opportunities (data bases); updating policy and procedures; coordinating and conducting research administration institutional training; providing system management for the new Grants and Contracts Management System; providing assistance to departments or schools which require support for standard proposals; and directing and supporting the institution’s proposal submittal process. This sets a model for one-stop shopping of central services (housing key services/triage).

Staffing:
To fulfill its purpose, the Office of Research Services will need to be staffed as follows:
Director of ORS. Changes proposed to the current process include decentralizing authority to the field and placing greater emphasis on training and service. The Director will be primarily responsible for ensuring that ORS is accomplishing its mission and will play an essential role in determining whether the proposed changes to the process are meeting their intended purpose. This will require a person who exhibits strong leadership qualities, is dynamic and progressive in their approach to work, and has proven experience in this arena. A national search for this position should be conducted.
In order to attract and recruit a successful candidate for this position, the team recommends elevating the position to a general faculty position and dedicating sufficient funds to make it a competitive salary.

As noted above, ORS will house positions to carry out services related to facilitating research, compliance, training/funding opportunities, and systems. Recommendations related to facilitating research, funding opportunities, and addressing compliance are explained in detail below. Recommendations related to training and technology are discussed later in this report.

Establish Part-Time Funding Opportunities Position in ORS.

Goal: Provide targeted funding opportunity searches to PIs and graduate students using search engines now available on the web.

Currently, the University has a fragmented approach to identifying funding opportunities for PIs and graduate students. The VPR office puts together a funding opportunities newsletter, and schools and some departments are involved in identifying funding opportunities to varying degrees with different levels of service provided. This effort is more personality based than position or mission based. Collectively, the University is putting forth a lot of effort in this area; however, individually areas are duplicating efforts. The aim of this position in ORS will be to support these efforts and help coordinate the overall approach to identifying funding opportunities. Appendix N contains information on several funding opportunities data bases.

Staffing:
Part-Time Funding Opportunities Coordinator: This person will oversee a web based system which will allow PIs and graduate students to conduct targeted funding searches specific to their research interest. The duties of this position and the Training Coordinator, to be discussed, will be shared by one FTE.

Establish the positions of Research Program Managers (RPMs).

Goal: To provide expertise and support when and where needed to facilitate the submission process of nonstandard and standard (if needed) proposals, including multidisciplinary proposals, program projects, center proposals, and institutional proposals.

RPMs will provide direct on-site service to PIs by handling all of the administrative preparation of a proposal, routing for institutional signature, and assisting with the copying and preparation of the proposal prior to submittal to the Sponsor.
RPMs are pre-award specialists housed either in ORS or at the school level, who will be available to assist with the preparation of complex proposals such as Program Projects, Training Grants, Multidisciplinary Grants, Center Grants, etc., which many Departments are not "resourced" to handle. RPMs also will be available to assist smaller departments that do not have an assigned Research Administrator with more basic proposals. RPMs will assist school and departmental Research Administrators as requested and will keep an open communication line with these individuals. RPM’s will function as centralized mobile resources that can be applied when and where needed rather than requiring units to increase staff to meet peaks and valleys. They will serve supplemental resource that may be called upon to meet individual school needs. RPM’s will be available to fill in for departments who have lost an experienced research administrator until the department could advertise, recruit, and fill the position. The RPM could stay on to help train the new administrator, especially if the new individual is someone not familiar with the University of Virginia research administration system.

As a result of many discussions with PIs, the RAT has heard that the University is not providing adequate support in the proposal preparation stage to some PIs who do not have access to an assigned RA. The team also has heard of cases where large complex multidisciplinary and Program Project proposals were not submitted because of limited administrative support available to assist with the process. RPMs should help address these periodic needs and provide additional resources to the school and department to help with a variety of pre-award activities. Appendix O contains an in-depth description of the role of the RPM.

Staffing:
RPMs will be targeted to meet the needs of the three schools most heavily involved in sponsored research. Additional RPM skills will be tailored to individual school needs and are not limited to strictly pre-award activities- although this is the focus of their positions. Five RPMs (three in SOM; 1 in SEAS; 1 in A&S) are needed to provide support to PIs which are not currently receiving adequate support and to meet future needs. Examples of the role RPMs will assume is several of the schools follows:

Three in the SOM: RPM’s would be dispatched to assist Program Directors who are in the process of initiating a new program project or center proposal. The RPM would assemble all of the administrative components (budget, budget justification, other support, biographical sketches, resources and environment and institutional review board certifications). RPM’s could be dispatched to departments or centers at the time of renewal for large program projects or center proposals, as well as new projects. The SOM anticipates that within the next year, there will be a minimum of 7-10 new program projects prepared. RPM’s would assist small departments, centers, or clinical departments that do not have administrative support for research administration, in identifying funding sources and then assisting with the preparation of the proposals. The RPM also could assist with the post award administration in these small departments.

RPM’s would be available to faculty assembling complex industry initiatives which might involve licensing agreements, research funding agreements, consulting agreements, and part ownership in a small company. The RPM might be available to coordinate and facilitate this process with the department, Dean’s Office, Vice President for Research, The Technology Transfer Office, and the Patent Foundation. The RPM might help with rewrites of the various agreements, and keep all interested parties informed as to where each component is in the process.* SEAS: RPMs would assist those unfamiliar with research or new entrepreneurial types to put proposals together; serve as contact with government agencies to match a "source conduit" for other awards; research difficult areas when certain types of support are needed, such as library and community services; assist in multidisciplinary activities; help with foreign employees and interactions other countries; and assist in forming consortium agreements.

One or two in A&S: Research Program Managers (RPM's) would work in support of the A&S Research Administration. A&S Rpm's would be a resource for faculty and staff. RPM's would assist in the implementation of a plan identifying funding sources for faculty's research projects, department programs and graduate student support by matching a faculty interest data bank with announcements of funding opportunities. As A&S involves a wide diversity of intellectual pursues, some areas with limited funding availability, the identification of sponsor sources is critical.

Rpm's would also assist with Program Directors in the process of initiating a new program project, center proposal, large interdisciplinary proposal, international proposal or consortia. The RPM would research the requirements and advise on the process. The process might include generating the administrative components of budget, budget justification, other support, biographical sketches, resources, foreign faculty and staff appointments and environment and institutional review board certifications. Assistance from Rpm's could be requested at the time of renewal for large program projects or center proposals.

Rpm's could assist small departments, centers, or institutes that do not have administrative support for research administration, in identifying funding sources and assisting faculty who infrequently submit grants with the proposal preparation and submission. The RPM would also help with the post award administration in these small departments, especially if staff turnover, multiple source fund accounting and cost share reporting is involved .Establish a Technology Transfer Office within the Office of the Vice President for Research

Goal: To establish a central point of contact and advocate for industry related proposals. Office staff will work jointly with ORS to provide expertise for negotiations and processing of nonstandard industry agreements and serve as a point of contact for dealings with the Patent Foundation.

The RAT’s surveys and discussions with faculty and administrators have made it clear that the current system has many shortcomings in attempting to deal with industry-sponsored research.  PIs who have attempted to obtain and administer industrial support for research have been handicapped by the need to deal with multiple university offices, a diffusion of responsibility, and a lack of expertise in the culture of negotiation required by potential industrial sponsors.  To solve these and other problems, the team recommends the establishment of a strong technology transfer contingent in the Office of the VPR, which will have both the authority and ability to assist investigators in negotiating industrial support.  It is to be emphasized that, following school approval, this office will be the focus for interaction with the PI, the General Counsel’s office, the Patent Foundation and the industrial sponsor. To execute this responsibility it is essential that this office be staffed with personnel equipped with industry-style negotiating skills.

This office will process research agreements which will include: memorandums of understanding; teaming agreements; entrepreneurial issues; copyrights and trademarks; licensing and patent operations with the Patent Foundation; nonstandard research funding agreements (those which contain alterations to UVa’s general agreement); nonstandard confidentiality agreements (which might require institutional signature); nonstandard material transfer agreements (those which contain alterations to UVa’s standard agreement).

Staffing:
To fulfill its purpose, the Technology Transfer Office will need to be staffed as follows:
  • Director of Technology Transfer: The Director will advise faculty members who are working on large deals and advise inventors who have invented a new technology. The Director will interpret the University’s policies surrounding technology transfer and facilitate collaborations between inventors and the Patent Foundation. This person will interact with industry to identify partnerships between faculty members and companies that might be interested in sponsoring research. The Director will monitor and approve assignment of intellectual property to the Patent Foundation and may reserve the right to handle certain tech transfers internally without reference to the Patent Foundation. (Existing FTE- role change)
  • Industry Negotiator: This person will handle more complex research funding agreements, consulting agreements, confidentiality agreements and teaming agreements, as well as assist the Director with assembling complex industry initiatives involving licensing agreements, and entrepreneurial issues involving SBIRs and STTRs. This person will coordinate with the PI, Dept, Dean’s Office, General Counsel’s Office and the Patents Foundation. The Industry Negotiator will work with industry in negotiating agreements that may require significant negotiation and rewrites to come to an agreement. The Industry Negotiator will take responsibility for keeping all parties informed as to where each component is in the process and will work to keep the process moving forward. (New FTE)
  • Contracts Specialist: Certain contracts, such as Material Transfer Agreements, Memorandum of Understanding and some nonstandard research funding agreements are relatively simple to execute, but are time consuming to negotiate in terms of their specific language and legalese. This person will assume responsibility for these proposals. (Existing FTE- role change)
  • Administrative Assistant: Provide clerical support to Director and Technology Transfer Office. (New FTE)
  • Office of the General Counsel: An additional attorney is needed to move quickly on all tech transfer matters. This person will be a specialist in technology transfer issues and will allow the Office of the General Counsel to focus and develop greater expertise in this area. (New FTE)
Reiterate the important role of the Patents Foundation in furthering sponsored research at UVa.

Goal: Bring the Patents Foundation closer to the aims and mission of the University and build a partnership like relationship with the Technology Transfer Office. The establishment of a technology transfer office at the University should bring about stronger ties to the Patents Foundation as the two organizations work together to facilitate the commercialization of research at the University. This should lead to constant informal and formal communications. The Director of the Technology Transfer Office should work closely with the Patents Foundation.

Furthermore, the University should explore options for increasing ties with the Patents Foundation, possibly through non-salaried faculty appointments and making space available to the Patents Foundation closer to grounds or in proximity to the VPR’s office.

Appoint or elect) an inventor to the Board of the Patents Foundation.

Goal: To involve inventors, as key customers of the Patent Foundation, more closely to the operations and objectives of the Patent Foundation. It is important, from the standpoint of good customer-service, for the inventors at UVa to feel that their interests are being considered, and their opinions heard at the Patent Foundation. This relationship could be furthered by the Patent Foundation Board considering the appointment of a UVa inventor to the Patent Foundation Board. This could be an ex officio position, or it could rotate among interested inventors, or it could even be a representative of an advisory committee such as the Faculty Advisory Committee to the University of Virginia Patents Foundation chaired by John Herr.
Formalize the reporting lines of all Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and establish the position of Compliance Coordinator to oversee all IRBs

Goal: To consolidate the reporting lines of all IRBs in this office in order to centralize responsibility, authority, and control.

The University has three main IRBs: the Institutional Review Board for Behavioral Sciences; the Human Investigations Committee in the SOM; and the Animal Research Committee. There are other smaller review committees as well, such as the Institution BioSafety Committee. The role of IRBs is to ensure that research being conducted at the University complies with the appropriate federal requirements. Presently, the Vice President for Research is the designated University official responsible for compliance. However, not all of the committees report to the Vice President.

This discontinuity between the Vice President’s designated responsibility for all IRBs and his actual level of authority and accountability for these committees poses compliance concerns, causes confusion about which committee should review a particular protocol in some cases, and leads to unnecessary duplication of PI effort and delays in processing. Accordingly, the team recommends that the reporting lines of all IRBs be centralized in ORS. The team recommends that the existing mechanism for appointing members to IRBs remain the same.

Staffing:
Compliance Coordinator: This person will ensure that all IRBs are operating in a manner that conforms with federal guidelines. The Compliance Coordinator will work with the Chairs of the IRBs to verify they are receiving the necessary support to operate effectively, and will work toward pooling resources between the IRBs in a manner that may benefit the committees in their work. This person also will be responsible for monitoring ongoing activities to simplify, modernize, and automate to minimize the workload of the PI and the committee members. It is expected that this person will represent the University at relevant national and regional meetings related to compliance and IRB functions. In addition, it is the responsibility of this person to monitor changes in federal regulations and notices of proposed rule-making (NPRM) so that the University may comment on these proposals and functions in the rule-making process. This will involve coordination with the federal relations person (already in place) and relevant national organizations in which UVa is a member. (New FTE)
Provide central funding to support all IRBs

Goal: To ensure that all IRBs are receiving sufficient support to fulfill their mission.

All funded or non-funded proposals involving human or animal subjects must be approved or exempted by the appropriate IRB. As noted in its Multiple Project Assurance statement, the University is required to agree that "this institution will provide both meeting space and sufficient staff to support the IRB's review and record-keeping duties."

The rise in number of proposals reviewed, coupled with federal changes in policy for continuing review of ongoing projects, have placed increased demands on the IRBs and on their support staffs. However, resources required to support the IRBs have been limited. For example, the operating budget for the largest of the UVa IRBs has remained virtually constant for the past ten years. As a result of a NIH site visit, this IRB was authorized to hire an additional staff support person, but its OTPS budget was not substantially increased. The confusion over reporting lines and authority may interfere with consistent and adequate support for the IRBs.

The team recommends that IRBs receive central funding to support their operating needs in a manner similar to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) which also has a "campus-wide" responsibility and is not fragmented in this manner.

Delegate signatory authority from the Vice President for Research for standard proposals (including industry) to the school level, and allow deans (if they so choose) to further delegate signatory authority for standard proposals to the appropriate level (Department Chair). Nonstandard proposals of any type would go through ORS.

Goal: Eliminate non-value added reviews, expedite the process.

Standard non-industry proposals are considered to have full indirect cost recovery as appropriate by sponsor, no institutional cost share or commitment of matching funds above the School, and are not institutional proposals. Schools could declare any proposal nonstandard and send it to ORS for further review.

Standard industry research agreements which would be handled by schools include standard research funding agreements (restricted to use of UVa’s standard agreement; if there is any deviation from the standard UVa agreement, the agreement becomes nonstandard and must be negotiated and processed through the Technology Transfer Office), consulting agreements, and standard Material Transfer Agreements (use of standard UVa agreement). The team notes that the School of Medicine has expanded authority in this area because of the large volume handled. This means that an agreement which might be "routine" for the SOM might be regarded as "nonstandard" processing for another school. The RAT recommends that the SOM also routinely handle standard confidentiality agreements and clinical trial agreements. Schools may declare any proposal or agreement as being nonstandard and forward it to the Technology Transfer Office for processing. In fact, outside of the SOM, many industry related activities may be considered nonstandard and would therefore be routed to the Technology Transfer Office.

The current process does not differentiate standard from nonstandard proposals. With the exception of the School of Medicine which has achieved some delegated authority in this area, all proposals move through the same process of review: department, school, and OSP. Most of the review is duplicative with at least three different offices receiving the same information regardless of its complexity. Although the data suggests that some of the reviews are not as thorough for standard proposals, the proposals still go through the process. The team is not suggesting that the OSP review is slow, in fact standard proposals move quickly, but rather that the review adds no value. By eliminating this non-value added review of standard proposals, staff in central offices will be able to divert their efforts to more complex issues.

Given the unique nature and role of the grants administrators in the Science Departments in the College of A&S, the team suggests consideration of further delegation of authority to these departments based on their individual abilities to take on the added responsibilities. è Delegate signatory authority from the Vice President for Research for non-competitive renewals (continuations) and standard fellowships to Department Chairs.

Goal: Eliminate non-value added reviews, expedite the process.

Many proposals are funded for multiple years. An NIH RO1, for example, is funded in three year increments. This is referred to as the project period. Each year at the project anniversary date, a noncompetitive renewal, which normally requires a brief update and request for continued funding, must be submitted to continue funding. The vast majority of the time, competitive renewals reflect no change in the budget or scope of work that the University has previously reviewed and approved. The team recommends that signatory authority for continuations that do not vary from the original award be delegated to Department chairs. Furthermore, signatory authority for all standard fellowships should be delegated to Chairmen as well. A standard fellowship is one that has a set budget, specified stipend level, and institutional allowance. An example is a NRSA fellowship. è Establish a customer based research administration advisory council that will advise the Vice President for Research. The advisory council will be comprised of representatives from ORS, Office of Research Accounting (ORA), Faculty, and ancillary services (e.g., Human Resources, Purchasing) providing services to researchers.

Goal: To institute a forum whereby both customers of the process and representatives from offices that provide key services have an opportunity to communicate about issues affecting the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the research administration process, and suggest ways to address such issues. The recommended advisory council would bring a cross-sectional group of key stakeholders together to focus specifically on matters related to research administration and ways the University could responsive to the needs of the research community. The suggested membership for this group includes the Vice President for Research or his delegate, the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Comptroller of the University or his representative -researchers, school administrators, and resource members from ORS and, as will be described further in this report, the Office of Research Accounting. The advisory council will also have "on-call" membership from University ancillary organizations which will be invited to meetings to present information or join a discussion involving services offered by their unit. It will be the responsibility of the Director of ORS and the Director of ORA to respond to issues raised by the council. Appendix P has a complete breakdown of potential membership of this group.

Locate additional space to support an enhanced central research administration structure.

Goal: To house in one central location key providers of research administration services in a location that is accessible and visible to researchers and other process stakeholders.

One of the main goals of the RAT’s work is to bring about a change in the culture of research administration and align the pre-award activities with the academic side of the University and make it part of the "academic mission." To foster this cultural change, ORS and the Technology Transfer Office need to be easily accessible to researchers. Space is needed On- Grounds to house ORS and the Technology Transfer Office together with or in close proximity to the Vice President of Research.

Summary of Pre-Award Section: The recommendations outlined above relate to changes that affect pre-award services, primarily as they relate to the existing organizational structure and proposal preparation and review process. Appendix Q includes the revised organizational structure for the Office of the Vice President for Research. Appendix R is a map of the revised process.

B. Post–Award
Post-award encompasses all activities that occur from the point an award has been received to account close-out. The following recommendations are designed to facilitate the research process and to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of activities that occur during this phase of the grants and contracts process.lign post-award operations of sponsored research with the financial side of operations under the Assistant Vice President of Finance and Comptroller of the University by establishing the Office of Research Accounting (ORA).

Goal: To ensure that services related to grants and contract award management are carried out in an effective and efficient manner under the auspices of the office responsible for similar processes throughout the University.

Post-award administration is vitally important to researchers as well as to the University. From the investigator’s perspective, it is essential to have an accurate monthly tracking of dollars spent and committed. Staff to support these activities is limited at the department level as well as the central level. Currently, the University is constrained in allocating these resources because of cost accounting standards and the federal government’s cap on administrative costs allowed through indirect costs recovery. Recognizing these constraints, it is important that the University shift the roles and responsibilities of the central post-award office from non-value added pre-audits to post-auditing with emphasis on account review, timely billings, collections, and cash management.

The newly created Office of Research Accounting will shift its role to be proactive in assisting investigators and administrators with managing expenditures and offer training to new PIs and fiscal technicians. Similar to ORS’ role in promoting a culture that facilitates research during the pre-award process, ORA will play a key role in facilitating research during a grant’s post-award phase. ORA will assume all the duties of OSP Post- Award which include these duties:
  • Cash Management. Billing and receipt of payment:
  • Serve as a financial and administrative liaison between university faculty/ staff and sponsors.
  • Collections- responsible for collecting unpaid bills.
  • Special billing requirements. Tailor reports to meet specific sponsor requirements. For example, some industry sponsors require bills to be submitted by tasks including cost sharing.
  • Filing financial reports to sponsors on time. Receiving continuing funds on a project is often subject to an acceptable financial report being filed. In some cases, this requires significant coordination between departments, schools and the PI. Financial status reports vary in format and frequency by sponsor: monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.
  • Monitoring of Funds. Responsible for routine monitoring of expenditures for compliance to allow for timely corrections. Also monitor cash balances on a budget year to ensure compliance with sponsor guidelines when projects have been funded or are billed for the project period. Monitor funds for deficit balances and work with Departments to clear deficit balances applying the established policies in this area.
  • Technical Reports: When needed, coordinate the required technical reports to agencies.
  • Filing of Property reports when required.
  • Audit Contact. Official University contact for sponsored research financial audits. Note: the state audits OSP every year- the audit on average takes six months. ORA maintains detailed financial records for all sponsored research accounts.
  • Account close-out. This includes final billing and reporting to sponsor. May include ‘facilitation’ of the filing of scientific report if impacting payments.
  • Assistance. When policy or procedural provisions appear unclear or incomplete as applied to a particular situation, ORA provides clarification and assistance.
In addition, the duties of ORA should be expanded to include:
  • Receipt and processing of Notice of Awards (NOAs): The majority of NOAs received are straight forward and do not require additional negotiation. However, because of the on going negotiations involved with industry sponsorship, contractual NOAs will be handled directly by ORS until they are ready to be set up as an award by UVa. NOAs of a nonstandard nature that are received by ORA will be forwarded to ORS for negotiation.
  • Account create and distribution: ORA will be responsible for creating new research accounts and interfacing with financial administration systems.
  • Management of subcontracts: ORA will prepare all standard subcontracts by generating the subcontract, securing PI signature via departmental contact, and upon return from PI sending it to the appropriate subcontractee. Sub contracts which fall outside of UVa's standard language will be referred to ORS or the Technology Transfer Office for processing.
  • Maintaining Effort Certification files: As a "quick win," the team recommends decentralizing the auditing function of effort certification to schools. ORA will be responsible for producing, distributing, and keeping the official completed form returned via the schools for external auditing purposes.
  • Training: ORA will help shape specific training to research accounting. Elements of this training program are addressed under the training sub-heading in the next section.
  • Coordinating Financial Policy with ORS and field: ORA will assume responsibility for disseminating information and communicating with the community about changes in financial administration policies related to research accounting.
Even though this committee is suggesting less pre-audit, the RAT would like to emphasize the need to increase the staffing levels in order to meet the additional duties being assigned to this office and the needs that are not currently being met. The OSP accountants are tracking a heavy account load (see Table 2) and are limited in their ability to address many of their assignments in a timely manner. For example, while billings are submitted in a timely manner, staff do not have sufficient time to follow up on collections, monitor accounts proactively for the appropriateness of charges, or work with departments that are delinquent in processing appropriate transactions to allow submission of required quarterly, annual, or final financial reports.

Table 2. Number of accounts per accountant
Accountant ED/NIH NSF/NIH Industry/NASA/NIH State/Non-Federal Foundations/DOE
# of Awards 836 721 989 784 749
Staffing:
To fulfill its purpose, the Office of Research Accounting will need the following additional staff or role changes:
  • Director ORA: Maintains overall responsibility for ORA contract/ grant accounting, office management and supervision, and related policy and procedure matters. (Increase to existing FTE).
  • Senior Accountant: Assists the Director with the supervision of cash management, accounting, financial, and technical reporting functions associated with all contracts/ grants and awards (existing FTE- role change).
  • 2 Additional Accountants: Responsible for collecting, reporting and monitoring all fiscal data in keeping with sponsoring agency and University Requirements for assigned accounts (New FTEs).
  • Systems Support, half-time: Support and train staff in the use of new technology. Work with the Director to keep ORA’s Technology current. Collaborate with Systems Support personnel in ORS to keep systems compatible between ORA and ORS. Keep systems functioning. Run specialized reports as needed. Create and maintain accurate information on ORA’s web page (New half –time FTE).
  • Training/ sub- contract administrator: Executes and provides assistance to departments, PIs, and schools in the preparation of standard sub-contracts. Assists Account Create Specialist with the creation of new accounts. Coordinates training with Training Coordinator in ORS to provide award management training to the University community (New FTE).
  • Account Create Specialist: Assigns account numbers and is responsible for establishing new accounts into the financial administration system including associated contractual and grant information (New FTE).
Space Current space assigned to OSP post- award will need to be increased to accommodate additional staff. Ideally, the space would include a receptionist area for individuals to be seated while waiting to meet with someone. Space needs to be large enough to accommodate staff and visitors. ORA has many interactions which involve direct customer contact.

Implement a pilot program to allow for post-audit review, on a quarterly basis, of Ledger 5 transactions for everything other than purchase orders.

Goal: To eliminate duplicative reviews at ORA of transactions already conducted in the field and redirect efforts toward activities central to ORA’s role, such as invoicing and monitoring of accounts.

The implementation of a grants and contracts system, addressed later in this report, will make it possible to move from an pre-audit review of Ledger 5 transactions to a post-audit review. Presently, all Ledger 5 transactions are reviewed and approved by OSP on a pre-audit basis, even though funds already have been committed and a review of the expenditures already has been conducted at the department level. The team recommends that several Departments be chosen and invited to participate in a pilot where Ledger 5 transactions, excluding purchase orders, are pre-approved at the Department level by using a special stamp which will mark the transaction as pre-authorized and thereby not routed to OSP from accounts payable. This allows some flexibility for triaging of transactions at the unit level. Forms that could be easily processed in this manner include travel vouchers, COMBOS and LPOs.

Review research transaction processing as it fits in the larger picture of financial administration operations in any future examinations.

Goal: To reduce the highly fragmented process that transactions travel through to be approved.

Review and processing of research transactions (e.g., LPOs, COMBOs, Purchase Orders, etc.) should be examined as they fit in the larger context of financial operations.  This goes to the heart of the enormously fragmented process that all transactions go through.  Some of the frustration stakeholders have in research administration deals with university wide systems that are arduous from any perspective- research or not.  The RAT encourages any review of this process to consider research transactions as part of the whole and not proprietary to ORA.

Establish a structure whereby ORS and ORA staff can communicate effectively with each other and with the rest of the University community. The RAT recognizes that communication between ORA and ORS will be important to keep both units operating effectively. Thus, the team recommends that ORA and ORS hold monthly meetings to discuss issues of importance to both offices and that a day-long retreat be scheduled yearly for both offices to maintain and ensure a good working relationships.

The team also recommends that both offices have trained phone receptionists that are able to easily transfer a call to the appropriate person. For example, if someone calls ORA but really needs to be talking to someone in ORS, the ORA receptionist will transfer the caller to the appropriate individual in ORS. Ideally, the team would like to see calls transferred to the appropriate person whether they be in ORS, ORA, or at a school or department. This could be easily be accomplished with a directory of research administrators that would be included as a feature of a grants management system.

Both ORA and ORS should have an integrated Web page. This page should include policies and procedures, links to forms, directory of staff, answers to frequent questions, links to research related web pages, etc. Summary of Post-Award Recommendations: The recommendations outlined above relate to changes that affect post-award services, primarily as they relate to services provided during this phase of the process. Appendix S includes the revised organizational structure for the Office of Research Accounting.

C. "Integral to Both"
Although most features of the research administration process can be categorized under the two main headings of pre- or post-award, there are elements, primarily training and technology, that bridge activities in these two areas. A shared characteristic of such elements is that they function as "enablers" of the process. The following recommendations are designed to strengthen the research administration process .Institutionalize and support training in ORS to meet training requirements related to grants and contracts administration that are unique to the process and outside the scope of other training offered by central departments.

Goal: To ensure consistency, accuracy, and a level of quality in the delivery of training and information essential to research administration.

Research administration entails knowledge of and expertise in policies and procedures that are unique to the process. Examples of such issues include cost accounting standards, cost sharing, conflict of interest, OMB Circular A-21, indirect costs, and how to prepare and submit a proposal that is consistent with school, University, and sponsor requirements. These skills, which in part outlined in the Enhanced Employee Training team’s skills matrix, are presently delivered in an ad hoc fashion (or on a one-on-one basis). Although some training is provided at the school level, the team recommends that a formal training program at a central level be instituted to facilitate the current process. The team recognizes that schools may offer additional training specific to their requirements.

Staffing
The team recommends that a Training Coordinator in ORS be assigned the responsibility of developing, implementing and assessing a training program related to issues that are mainly in-line with pre-award activities and that includes self-directed learning and job aides. The Training Coordinator also should serve as the leader of a training development committee described below. Once a training program is established, the team recognizes that the Training Coordinator likely will be able to manage additional responsibilities. Accordingly, the RAT suggests that the training coordinator dedicate 30 percent of his/her time to identifying funding opportunities. In addition, the team recommends that a Training Coordinator in ORA assume responsibility for developing, delivering, and assessing training on matters that primarily relate to post-award functions including development of job aides. (Existing FTE- role change)

Establish a Research Administration Training Development Committee

Goal: To contribute to the design and delivery of an institutional training program and provide ongoing feedback about the effectiveness of this effort.

A successful training program is responsive to the dynamic needs of trainees which stem from the changing characteristics of policy and technology affecting the research administration process. The proposed training committee, which would be comprised of representatives from various schools as well as central offices supporting the process, would assume the role of providing this input. Appendix T includes additional detail on the roles and responsibilities of the training coordinators and the training development committee, as well as examples of training content. è Establish a committee to evaluate and recommend a grants management system

Goal: To implement the technology required to efficiently and effectively administer the University’s pre- and post-award grants and contract management activities.

As noted in the "Guiding Principles" section of this report, many of the team’s recommendations assume that a grants management system will be put in place to facilitate the current process. Appendix U provides a description of steps in both the pre- and post-award phases of the process that would be facilitated using such a system. In summary, the team recommends the implementation of a grants and contracts management system that would accomplish the following:

  • Automate the grant preparation process by providing on-line access to all federal and common non-federal sponsor forms that would be made available as templates within the system.
  • Store institutional and principal investigator information electronically so that data does not have to be re-keyed.
  • Provide access to useful and required information through the web.
  • Provide an easy to use system at the desktop in the laboratories and offices of principal investigators and their staff.
  • Route proposals electronically for internal review and approval.
  • Allow for "real time" reconciliation with UVa records.
  • Prepare useful financial reports with ease.
  • Allow for quick check in of grant restrictions for expenditures.
The RAT has worked in conjunction with the Integrated Systems project to identify criteria and required features for the research administration component of an integrated system. Significant savings in effort and increased productivity would immediately follow the implementation of a grants management system. There are a number of important reports that can not easily be generated using current databases or AMO-PRO that the grants administration system would produce.
Since a grants management component of an integrated system is not currently available as part of most integrated packages and is a lower priority ranking of systems to be implemented by the ISP, the RAT recommends that a team be formed quickly and charged with investigating what systems currently are available that could be purchased and put in place quickly at a cost beneficial price either as a short term enabler (5 to 7 years) or as a more permanent component that will interact with the eventual ISP system.

Although the RAT did not conduct a formal search for a grants management system, the team did collect information about what systems are currently available. Several members witnessed a demonstration of GAMS during a site visit to NC State University. However, most of the systems the team identified were located through web searches. Appendix V includes information on potential systems for consideration for a permanent or interim research administration system solution.
Summary of Training and Technology Recommendations: The recommendations outlined above relate to strategies designed to enhance the way research administration is supported at the University.

All of the recommendations presented in this report are intended to enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the research administration process. A summary of the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at every level of the process, some of which have been described throughout the recommendations, our outlined in Appendix W.

VIII. Additional Resources
In its assessment of the current process, and in considering the level of support necessary to further enhance, respond to, and manage future requirements, the RAT focused on the need for additional support in all areas of research administration. Specifically, the team has identified the need for increased personnel to perform key functions in pre- and post-award activities, training, technology, and contracting/relations with industry.

In total, 14.5 additional FTEs are requested to help correct an overburdened and understaffed research structure. The team assumes that the requested FTEs will be phased in over a 12-month period. Although the phase-in of additional personnel will be gradual, the team suggests that three of these FTEs be added by September 1998 to work full time on implementation of the redesign team.

IX. Cost-Benefit Analysis (The Case for Change) - Outline
Reality: Institutional resources dedicated to research have remained relatively flat over the past fifteen years compared to the volume of work.
I. Current state requires an investment:
  • No structured procedures or processes in place relative to industrial work. This leads to confusion and wasted effort on the part of everyone involved in the process (PIs, Deans, RA, OSP), which translates to a loss of opportunity of unknown quantity. There are recent examples of this.
  • Losing money because of poor management systems (personnel, technology); losing dollars because departments cannot track funds.
  • Ineffective use of resources. The University is using more "expensive" people to do work than it should be doing (faculty spend time on work that detracts from their scientific pursuits).
  • Ineffective use of time ("we review everything")
  • II. Future State requires an investment:
  • Projected federal increase for research
  • University is "poised for greatness." It has: made large investment in capital (equipment trust fund); has recruited and retained good faculty
  • Future of research - complex projects (multidisciplinary research). Need to build intellectual and administrative bridges.
  • Competitive market place (look what other places are doing). If UVa does these things, volume will increase, so that instead of 2 RO 1s, a PI does a program project. It will continue to allow UVa to attract first class faculty and students in what is a competitive market place for those people.
In Summary:
  • It's an issue of quantity and quality.
  • The University needed scientists, space, equipment, and infrastructure. What's lacking most right now at the University is the infrastructure
X. Implementation Priorities
Based on the findings and the feedback received during the course of the project, the team recommends that the implementation team give priority to the following recommendations listed in descending order. Although some preference has been given to each proposal, a number of the recommendations, such as instituting a grants management system and a training program, are integrally linked:
  • Establish a committee to evaluate and implement a grants management system
  • Establish the Office of Research Services (provide sufficient resources)
  • Establish a Technology Transfer Office (provide sufficient resources)
  • Establish and provide adequate resources for the Office of Research Accounting (provide sufficient resources)
  • Create the positions of Research Program Managers
  • Delegate signatory authority for standard proposals to schools
  • Institutionalize and support training
  • Consolidate reporting lines of IRBs and provide central funding.
  • Enhance funding opportunities activities
The team recommends that planning for implementation of these recommendations commence in as short a time frame as possible, recognizing that final implementation of some of the proposed initiatives may take longer than others.

XI. Measuring Change
As noted in the report, key individuals supporting research administration at a central level, mainly the Director of ORS, the Director of ORA, and the Training Coordinators at ORS and ORA, will be responsible for assessing the impact of the proposed recommendations. Part of an overall change the team hopes to promote is the need to continuously evaluate the state of research administration, and, based on the findings, respond to the needs and interests of key stakeholders in a timely manner.

The recommendations offered are intended to accomplish the following: facilitate research, establish clear lines of roles and responsibilities; make the process more effective and efficient; provide needed service to meet current and future demands.
Measurable benefits:
  • Improved customer satisfaction with process results (process facilitates research)
  • Improved access to/dissemination of accurate information;
  • Improved communication
  • Increase in submitted proposals
  • Increase in awarded proposals.
  • Published policies and procedures that describe appropriate activities around industry contracting (time saver)
  • Training program for administrative staff. This will allow for proper preparation of work to be done "do it right the first time;"
  • Quicker cycle time (billing, cash management, proposal review, etc.)
XII. Roll-Out Process
The RAT conducted its retreat and finished its preliminary outline of recommendations in April. During May and June, the team scheduled meetings and discussion groups with key process stakeholders to outline the recommendations and obtain feedback and buy-in. Appendix X includes a summary of these meetings.

During this roll-out process, team members learned about a number of concerns from stakeholders that were outside the scope of the RAT’s review. Examples of such issues include the cost of research services for PIs, the current University rate structure (indirect cost return), and allocation of funds at the school and department level. These concerns have been summarized and included in this report (see Appendix Y), for consideration by University offices with authority over such issues.
E-mail comments to:
© Copyright 2014 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Last Modified: 10-Nov-2010 07:58:01 EDT