Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that you do not see answered here, please contact us. Please check back for updated FAQ as we continue through the implementation process.

Why is Rutgers conducting this project?

Rutgers is committed to excellence in research and improving service to faculty.  In an environment where external grant funding is becoming increasingly competitive and resources to support research are constrained, Rutgers must ensure it has the best processes, tools, and resources to support investigators.

return to top of the page

What units or schools are included?

All schools, departments, and units are included in the Excellence in Research Administration initiative, specifically all units within Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

return to top of the page

How was the research administration survey conducted and who was invited to participate?

Rutgers sent a broad-reaching survey to more than 14,000 individuals across the university including faculty and staff, local research administrators, and central support staff.  The survey focused on those individuals who participate in externally sponsored research, either as faculty (principal investigators), as a local research administrator, or as a central research administrator.  The survey was available from January 8–February 11, 2015. 

We received a total of 2,064 survey responses from the following individuals:

  • Central staff: 229
  • Local administrators: 677
  • Faculty: 1,158
return to top of the page

Research administration is working fine for our department.  What exact issues are being addressed with this project?

Our research administration infrastructure is one of the most critical functions we provide to our faculty and staff. We want to ensure operations run efficiently, while also maintaining compliance with our federal, state, and private funders.

The goals of this initiative are to optimize research administration services for externally sponsored research across the university, both at the central and school and unit levels, by

  • improving service to faculty through streamlined processes and enhanced communication;
  • increasing compliance and efficiency by evaluating and improving policies, procedures, systems, and processes;
  • implementing performance metrics and benchmarks to measure service to faculty, efficiency, and regulatory compliance.
return to top of the page

How does this relate to other initiatives at Rutgers?

The Excellence in Research Administration project directly supports the Rutgers University Strategic Plan, which outlines foundational elements that must be in place for Rutgers to continue fulfilling its research and education missions.  By creating an effective and efficient infrastructure and staff we propel Rutgers toward its aspiration, “To be broadly recognized as among the nation’s leading public universities: preeminent in research, excellent in teaching, and committed to the community.” – President Robert Barchi

In an effort to streamline operations, increase accountability for research administration, and provide enhanced access to research data for all stakeholders, Rutgers has implemented a new electronic research administration and grant submission system, called RAPSS. The Excellence in Research Administration initiative is separate from the implementation of RAPSS, but the two initiatives are closely aligned.

The Excellence in Research Administration project will improve service to faculty and efficiency of business processes for all research administration functions, not just proposal and award submission. The Excellence in Research Administration team will work closely with the RAPSS implementation team to ensure any business process changes are well aligned with the RAPSS software being implemented.

return to top of the page

Does this project include internally funded research conducted at Rutgers?

The focus of this project is on externally sponsored research projects, although some of the process changes may benefit internally funded research.

return to top of the page

Why were external consultants brought in for this project, and how were they selected?

Rutgers partnered with an external firm that had experience identifying best practices in research administration, benchmarking against peers, implementing a more efficient and cost effective organizational structure, and evaluating and redesigning policies, procedures, and processes related to research administration.

Rutgers conducted a competitive search process and, after careful consideration, selected 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 United States, including fellow Big Ten member institutions such as the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Additional information about Huron can be found at

return to top of the page

How will faculty and staff be informed of progress?

The Project Management Office will provide updates through the following mechanisms:

Excellence in Research Administration Website: We will regularly post to this website changes in policies and procedures, status updates on the working groups, and metrics and results achieved for each initiative.
Research Administration Office Websites: Changes to policies and procedures will also be posted to the website for each office (Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Office of Research and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Grant and Contract Accounting) to ensure the most up-to-date information is available.
Email Communication: We will broadly distribute email updates on a regular basis.  These communications will summarize the changes made and the impact they will have on the research community.
Faculty and Administrator Forums: We will present updates on the project in various faculty and administrator forums.  If you would like the Project Management Office to present at a particular forum, please contact us.

return to top of the page

Can the Project Management Office come to my department, school, or unit's forum or meetings to share more information?

Yes, we would be happy to present at your department's, school's or unit's forum or meetings. If you are interested in this, please contact us for more information.

return to top of the page

How do I participate in a working group?

If you would like to be involved in Excellence in Research Administration, please contact us.

return to top of the page