Research Administration Final Report
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:
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 teams mission statement.
- 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.
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, Deans 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 Universitys 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
% of Proposals Awarded
# of Active Accounts
PERCENT INCREASE FROM 87/88 TO 96/97 FOR EACH CATEGORY:
Proposals Submitted: 59%
Awards Received: 57%
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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 teams work. As a result of
the teams 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:
External Assessment: Appendix J provides a comparison between UVa and the
Universities visited by the team of how each administers and structures
- 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
- 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.
The following information was collected from site visits to Duke University, the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and
IV. Vision for Research Administration
- 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
- 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
- All schools have relatively new automated pre-award systems in place
or in development.
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:
In addition, the team adhered to the following guiding principles in advancing new
- 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.
- 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
- 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 Universitys
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
- Appropriate and clear levels of responsibility and accountability
will be established throughout the process: A process which supports
the Universitys 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.
VI. Groundwork for Recommendations
- 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
School Level: Fundamental to understanding the RATs 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
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
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 Offices role in the process,
as well as a description (in narrative form) of OSPs work process
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
Moving pre-award to the Vice President for Researchs 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
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
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.
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:
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.
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 institutions
proposal submittal process. This sets a model for one-stop shopping
of central services (housing key services/triage).
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
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.
RPMs 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. RPMs
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.
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
Three in the SOM: RPMs 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).
RPMs 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. RPMs 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
RPMs 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, Deans 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
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
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 RATs 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
Counsels 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 UVas general agreement); nonstandard confidentiality agreements
(which might require institutional signature); nonstandard material
transfer agreements (those which contain alterations to UVas standard
To fulfill its purpose, the Technology Transfer Office will need to
be staffed as follows:
Reiterate the important role of the Patents Foundation in furthering sponsored research
- 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 Universitys
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, Deans Office, General Counsels 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.
- 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-
- 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)
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 VPRs 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 Presidents 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.
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
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
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
Standard industry research agreements which would be handled by schools include
standard research funding agreements (restricted to use of UVas
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
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
Locate additional space to support an enhanced central research administration
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 RATs 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.
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 investigators 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 governments 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
grants post-award phase. ORA will assume all the duties of OSP
Post- Award which include these duties:
In addition, the duties of ORA should be expanded to include:
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Table 2. Number of accounts per accountant
|# of Awards
To fulfill its purpose, the Office of Research Accounting will need
the following additional staff or role changes:
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.
- 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
- 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 ORAs 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 ORAs
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).
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 ORAs
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
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 teams
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.
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
Goal: To implement the technology required to efficiently and effectively administer
the Universitys pre- and post-award grants and contract management
As noted in the "Guiding Principles" section of this report, many of
the teams 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:
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.
- 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.
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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.
X. Implementation Priorities
- 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
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:
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
- Establish a committee to evaluate and implement a grants management
- 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
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.
XII. Roll-Out Process
- Improved customer satisfaction with process results (process facilitates
- 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.)
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
During this roll-out process, team members learned about a number of concerns
from stakeholders that were outside the scope of the RATs 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.