Archived Communications

Please check back here to view project communications and announcements sent to the university community.

ERA February Implementation Announcement - January 26, 2016

Sent on behalf of Christopher Molloy and Michael Gower

We continue to implement improvements to optimize research administration services across the institution under the Excellence in Research Administration initiative. Our focus is on improving support to faculty, decreasing administrative burden, and increasing efficiency through the evaluation of various business processes.

The initial wave of changes was announced in August and effective September 1, 2015.  Another wave of changes was announced in October and effective November 2, 2015. We are announcing the next wave of process enhancements outlined below. Working groups comprised of faculty, central, and local administrators have discussed and finalized these changes, to be effective on Monday, February 1, 2016.

A summary of the changes is listed below.  For additional information, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

 

ERA February Implementation

Invention Statements

  • Invention Statements: Standardized process for submitting invention statements during award closeout. The PI/Department will send completed invention statements directly to the DGCA Accountant/Analyst for sponsor submission. DGCA will work with the Office of Research Commercialization to verify the accuracy of the invention statement. For NIH awards, the PI/Department will complete the invention statements in ERA Commons and notify the DGCA Accountant/Analyst for University approval.

Conflict of Interest

  • Training: Following the implementation of eCOI to all units in October, the Office of Research Regulatory Affairs (ORRA) will be conducting training sessions for faculty, staff and department administrators. Click here for a list of training opportunities.
  • Non-Employee Attestation Form: Removed the Non-Rutgers Employee Attestation Form from eCOI. Subrecipients will only complete the Rutgers COI process if the subrecipient institution does not have a PHS compliant policy in place.
  • Outgoing Subrecipients: Removed questions related to outgoing subrecipients from eCOI. Relevant COI information is collected separately during the sub-agreement execution process.

Advance Accounts and Pre-Award Spending

  • Advance Accounts: The PI/Department may request an account or index before an agreement is received by Rutgers or it is fully-executed.  Advance accounts require a back-up account from the Department and restrict spending.  If approved, advance accounts will be expedited for set-up. Advance Accounts can be requested via the Institutional Prior Approval System (IPAS).
  • Pre-award Spending: Certain sponsors allow spending in advance of the award start date. Once an award is fully-executed, the PI/Department may request approval for expenses incurred prior to the award start date if allowed by the sponsor. This request should be made via the Institutional Prior Approval System (IPAS).

Contract Agreement Types

  • Contract Agreement Types Decision Tree: Developed a resource to clarify the various contract agreement types issued by the Office of Corporate Contracts (OCC), Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), and Procurement.
  • Gift vs. Sponsored Project Checklist: Developed a resource to distinguish between gifts and sponsored projects. This provides guidance to determine whether an award is considered a gift or sponsored project, which office handles the agreement and the form needed to request an account or index.
  • The Contract Agreement Types Decision Tree and Gift vs. Sponsored Project Checklist guidance can be found on the ORSP website.

 

Effort Reporting

  • Faculty Time and Effort Reporting System (FTERS) Certifications. Applies to RBHS Faculty Only: Simplified the effort certification process in the FTERS System. The following changes will be implemented for the July 2015 – December 2015 certification period which will be issued for certification in February 2016:
    • Removed certification requirements for individuals that do not conduct research, or whose research activities are not funded by state/federal/local funding. Certified effort statements are now only required from individuals with effort on one or more sources of state/federal/local funding (including pass-through).
    • Reduced the categories that must be certified.  Individuals only need to certify detail for research awards in the Research and Sponsored Activities category. All other effort can be included as a lump-sum percentage in Non-Sponsored Activities.
    • Removed the post-approval review by the Dean. Effort reports are available to Dean for oversight in the system.
  • Recertification of Effort Reports: If you need to reopen and recertify a previously certified and processed effort card, complete the Recertification Request and submit to pacer@rci.rutgers.edu. Recertification of previously certified effort certification documents should be limited to rare and extenuating circumstances and a justification to recertify must be provided.

We will continue to provide updates as this initiative progresses.  For additional information and the latest status on changes, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Judy Zenowich, Executive Project Manager (zenowich@oldqueens.rutgers.edu).  We appreciate your participation in the Excellence in Research Administration Initiative.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh                                      J. Michael Gower

Senior Vice President                                                         Executive Vice President

Office of Research and Economic Development        Finance and Administration, and University Treasurer

 

ERA November Implementation Announcement - October 27, 2015

Sent on behalf of Christopher Molloy and Michael Gower

We continue to implement improvements to optimize research administration services across the institution under the Excellence in Research Administration initiative. Our focus is on improving support to faculty, decreasing administrative burden, and increasing efficiency through the evaluation of various business processes.

The initial wave of changes was announced in August and effective September 1, 2015.  We are announcing the next wave of process enhancements outlined below. Working groups comprised of faculty, central, and local administrators have discussed and finalized these changes, to be effective on Monday, November 2, 2015.

A summary of the changes is listed below.  For additional information, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

ERA November Implementation

Award Set-up

  • Award Set-up Unit for RBHS: Established an Award Set-Up Unit to ensure sustained, ongoing success for award set-up for priority during Wave 2.  The award set-up unit will have staff dedicated solely to the set-up of RBHS awards; will expand to legacy Rutgers after processes are refined.
  • IACUC Congruency Review: Removed review of approved animal protocols for non-competing continuations/modifications unless a significant change to vertebrate animals is identified on the progress report.
  • Request for Project Accounts and Indices: Streamlined Project Fund Source/Index Request & Modification Form to request additional accounts or indices.  If requesting project accounts, please submit this form to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) or the Office of Corporate Contracts (OCC) with all other award documents.
  • Establishment of New Accounts or Indices: Created guidelines for when awards will keep the same account/index for the project period and when a new account/index will be set-up each year. This guidance can be found on the Division of Grant and Contract Accounting (DGCA) website.
  • Oracle End Date: For Oracle (legacy Rutgers) awards that keep the same account for the project period, the date that suspends spending has been changed from the budget period end date to 90 days after the budget period end date.  Departments do not need to submit an IPAS request to extend the internal IPAS end date, unless the award letter is delayed by more than 90 days.

Conflict of Interest

  • Implementation of eCOI:  As of October 19th, the eCOI system has been implemented across all units.  This is the first research system and process that is consistent across all Rutgers units.
  • For additional guidance on who needs to disclose and when to disclose, visit the compliance office, the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORRA).

Subrecipient Monitoring

  • Subrecipient Commitment Form: Developed a consolidated commitment form for PI/Department Administrator to collect necessary subrecipient information during proposal submission for each new subaward.  This form replaces the Subrecipient checklist and should be collected with proposal submissions after November 2nd.
  • Risk Assessment Tool: Developed a tool for ORSP to objectively categorize subrecipients’ risk level, in accordance with Uniform Guidance.  The level of risk will determine the terms and conditions included in the agreement.
  • For additional detail related to Subrecipient monitoring, visit the ORSP website.

Award Closeout

  • Closeout Timeline: Standardized timeline and templates for closeout communications between the PI/Department and DGCA.  Departments will receive an automatic notification 60 days prior to the award end date to trigger award closeout or a no-cost extension request.
  • Department Checklist: Developed standard checklists for use by the PI/Department and DGCA when completing closeout action items.
  • To view the Department Checklist and the Closeout Timeline, visit the DGCA website.

 

Compliance (IRB and IACUC)

  • IACUC Policies: Aligned committee processes for full board and designated member review.  For the Rutgers IACUC, this will result in certain protocols moving to Designated Member Review that are currently reviewed by the full board.
  • IRB De Novo Process: Delayed “de novo” process for the Arts and Sciences IRB until the electronic system (eIRB) is implemented next spring to avoid re-writing IRB protocols for the de novo process and again for conversion to eIRB.

 

We will continue to provide updates as this initiative progresses.  For additional information and the latest status on changes, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Judy Zenowich, Executive Project Manager (zenowich@oldqueens.rutgers.edu).  We appreciate your participation in the Excellence in Research Administration Initiative.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh                                      J. Michael Gower

Senior Vice President                                                         Senior Vice President

Office of Research and Economic Development          Finance and Treasurer

 

Wave 1 Implementation Announcement - August 3, 2015

In May, Rutgers launched its Excellence in Research Administration initiative to optimize research administration services across the institution. Our focus is on improving support to faculty, decreasing administrative burden, and increasing efficiency through the evaluation of various business processes.

Working groups comprising faculty, central, and local administrators have discussed and finalized the process enhancements outlined below for our first phase of implementation. All changes will be effective as of Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

A summary of the changes is listed below.  For additional information, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

Wave 1 Implementation

Key Improvements for Faculty

Proposal Submission

  • Endorsement Form has been shortened to 2 pages and includes electronic signature capability.
  • Internal proposal submission deadline established at 5 business days for administrative components and 2 business days for scientific elements prior to the sponsor deadline.  Proposals that have not been submitted to ORSP by the 2 day deadline will not be accepted without prior approval. *Effective on September 1, 2015.
  • Conflict of Interest certifications will not be required at the time of proposal submission if a disclosure has been submitted within the last 12 months for all investigators participating on the research project.

Award Set-Up

  • For budgets reduced by less than 25% of the proposed amount, or awards that allow re-budgeting without sponsor approval, a 5 business day window has been established for the PI to provide a revised budget; otherwise, ORSP will perform a straight line reduction across all cost categories to proceed with the account/index set-up.
  • Signature Authorization Form will no longer be distributed or collected.  This form previously required the PIs signature after an account was created and prior to expenditure of funds.
  • Automatic, electronic notifications will be sent to PIs and Department Administrators for all accounts/indices created.

Award Management

  • Only PI and Business Official are required to approve requests in Rutgers’ Institutional Prior Approval System (IPAS) (e.g., late cost transfers and advance accounts).
  • Removed no-cost extension (NCE) requests from the IPAS system. All NCE requests should be submitted to ORSP or Corporate Contracts.

Key Improvements for Central Offices
(ORSP & DGCA)

  • Eliminated review of approved IRB protocols in subsequent years of non-competing continuations/modifications.
  • Developed automated tool to review expenses and prepare invoices/reports for those units that do not have access to the existing central office system AIRS (e.g. RBHS, Rutgers – Camden).

We will continue to provide updates as this initiative progresses.  For additional information related to this project and the latest status on changes, please visit the Excellence in Research Administration website.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Judy Zenowich, Executive Project Manager (zenowich@oldqueens.rutgers.edu).  We appreciate your participation in the Excellence in Research Administration Initiative.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh                                 J. Michael Gower

Senior Vice President                                                   Senior Vice President

Office of Research and Economic Development         Finance and Treasurer

 

Excellence in Research Administration Announcement - May 5, 2015

Sent on behalf of Christopher Molloy and Michael Gower

 May 5, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

Recently, with the assistance of Huron Consulting Group, we completed an evaluation of the Research Administration functions across Rutgers.  The goal was to identify opportunities to create an efficient and effective research administration infrastructure that will optimize resources to support and advance our research mission.  The outcome of this evaluation is a number of actionable recommendations for Rutgers to consider for implementation.

Rutgers is now launching the Excellence in Research Administration initiative to implement these recommendations across the institution.  Our focus is on increasing support to faculty who participate in externally sponsored research and on decreasing the administrative burden for both faculty and local research administrators.

We have created the Excellence in Research Administration website to provide updates and help keep you informed about this initiative.  Project updates, project results, and new policies and procedures will be posted to the website on a regular basis to share news of our progress.  You can view the website at era.rutgers.edu.

Many individuals across the university participated in the initial phase of this initiative and we hope you continue to provide us with your feedback.  We thank you in advance for your contributions to this important endeavor.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Judy Zenowich, Executive Project Manager (zenowich@oldqueens.rutgers.edu).

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh                                           J. Michael Gower

Senior Vice President                                                             Senior Vice President

Office of Research and Economic Development                   Finance and Treasurer

 

Research Sponsored Projects Administration Evaluation Announcement - November 5, 2014

November 5, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

This fall, we will begin an evaluation of the Research Sponsored Projects Administration functions across all of Rutgers.  This effort will include functions within the Office of Research and Economic Development (e.g. grant submissions, corporate contracts, institutional review boards, etc.) and the Division of Grants and Contract Accounting (e.g. post award, effort reporting, etc.) within the Office of the University Controller as well as the interface to the research administration functions within departments, schools, centers, and institutes.  Our goal is to identify opportunities to create an efficient and effective research administration function that will optimize our resources to support and advance our research mission with a particular focus on servicing the needs of the primary customers – the principal investigator/project director and the sponsors.

Following a competitive search process and careful consideration, we have chosen Huron Consulting Group as an external partner in this undertaking.  Huron has demonstrated extensive experience in conducting assessments of Research Administration in higher education.  They have performed work for more than 90 of the top 100 research universities in the US, including fellow Big Ten member institutions such as University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Additional information about Huron can be found at http://www.huronconsultinggroup.com.

The first phase of the project will involve information gathering, process review, and benchmarking analysis.  In the coming months, Huron will be reaching out to all three of our universities and RBHS to collect baseline data from departments, to hold interviews and focus groups with faculty, staff, and other researchers, and to administer a web-based survey to the research community.  Huron will incorporate the information and findings into a detailed report of actionable recommendations for the university.

In the second phase of the project, Huron will work with Rutgers to prioritize recommendations and implement select key initiatives.  Huron will assist in developing project plans for each initiative and in determining key milestones and metrics against which to measure implementation success.

The goals of this assessment are to identify best practices in research administration, to improve service for internal and external customers, and to increase compliance and efficiency through evaluation of policies, procedures, systems, and processes.  Your cooperation and involvement in this project will be greatly appreciated as we work to bolster Rutgers’ place as a top research university.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh
Senior Vice President
Office of Research and Economic Development

J. Michael Gower
Senior Vice President
Finance and Treasurer