Using an Agile software development approach, we set project priorities after gathering input from our user base, the larger University research community, and the ResearchUVA project team.
Work completed in FY17
- Strengthened system security: a critical part of building ResearchUVA is making sure we have a security model that allows for more robust collaboration, delegation, access to information in the system, and integration with other systems.
- Developed electronic forms and workflow to reduce administrative burden and increase transparency: specifically, we've developed the electronic Proposal Routing Form (ePRF) and the Non-funded Agreement (NFA) form, along with the associated electronic workflow and notifications for both these processes. This functionality has allowed the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to sunset the legacy Grants Administration System (GAS) and the Document Control Log (DCL) and provide fuller transparency and timely, targeted notifications for the University’s research community.
- Stopped sending paper files all over Grounds: we've now fully implemented electronic award notice distribution, eliminating the need for us to have multiple hard copy versions of the final documents printed and delivered across the University. This has resulted in significant savings in printing and resource costs for OSP and completed our transition to a paper-free office. Since 2015, OSP has reduced its printing costs by 172%, with a 65% decrease in costs in FY2016, when we started to distribute our documents electronically. This year, we are close to zero for printing and copying expenses. At the same time, we’ve implemented several tools and electronic processes to allow OSP’s front desk to process and assign incoming documents and activities from across Grounds.
- Made it possible to search all documents housed in the system: we added enhanced document search capability along with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of all documents contained in Research UVA, with the goal of making it easier for users to find the information they are looking for very quickly (NOTE: this functionality is currently only available to users with certain roles and permissions). We've also started working on other search functionality to make searching even better for our users. We'll keep you posted.
- Piloted Juice, the Sponsored Programs Dashboard*, a data analytics and visualization platform to create insights and facilitate data-driven decision making at UVA.
- Implemented an automated testing infrastructure which will aid in the long-term growth and reliability of the system.
- Cleaned up a lot of data: the success of our decision making is contingent on the quality of the data in the system. Every user has a role to play in ensuring ResearchUVA data meets our decision-making needs.
*We created the dashboard in collaboration with a company called Juice Analytics and sometimes you’ll hear people use "Juice" and "Sponsored Programs Dashboard" interchangeably. It’s the same thing.
Work completed in FY18
- ePRF Enhancements: More functionality was added to the electronic Proposal Routing Form (ePRF), most notably integration with the Conflict of Interest (COI) and CITI systems to surface personnel status for disclosure dates, interest, and training. These improvements streamline the proposal development process and automate compliance checks.
- Juice ETL Improvements: Juice, the Sponsored Programs Dashboard, benefited from improvements in how the data is generated. The process of extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) the data from the ResearchUVA and Oracle systems was moved from CACS to the OSP Electronic Research Administration (ERA) team. These improvements give the ERA team the ability to make additional changes as needed and to refresh data on short notice. Additional user-facing functionality was also added, including an option for comparison metrics on the Trend Analysis stack and more fields in the detailed data download on the Detail Analysis stack.
- Sponsor Award: Historically, UVA has only tracked proposed amount (the ask) and this methodology has changed over time; UVA has always tracked awarded amount (the actual). However, neither Oracle nor ResearchUVA have tracked the amount of authorized funding committed by sponsors for future years. As an example, if we had a proposal for $500,000 (the ask), were awarded $450,000 (the promise), and we received $100,000 for year 1 (the actual), a user would only see the ask and the actual. The promise would only be found in award documentation and the difference between the award and actual would have to be manually calculated using the award documentation and actuals. The Sponsor Award functionality makes it possible to capture the “promise” from the Sponsor, in this example $450,000, along with all sponsor award metadata elements in ResearchUVA. This new functionality will be incorporated into business processes in FY19. Read more at the following link: http://info.researchuva.virginia.edu/managing-sponsored-awards
Work completed in FY19
- electronic Non-Funded Agreement Form (eNFA): For approximately the past 18 months, OSP has been working on a better way to gather information required to have a non-funded agreement (i.e. MTA, DUA, CDA, etc.) negotiated. This digital approach replaces the “clunky” .pdf form current used to collect the information and approvals. With the expertise of the ResearchUVA team, we developed a more sophisticated eNFA process through ResearchUVA. You’ll see the familiar interface (similar to the ePRF) and will only be prompted for answers to questions that are relevant for your specific situation. And, you’ll still be able to track your request in ResearchUVA from receipt to agreement execution.
- Document Renaming: Proposal documents are now automatically renamed to conform to standard naming conventions during the upload process. These naming conventions were specified by a working group of representatives from the schools, OSP, and OE. This behavior applies to several of the Document Types in the Upload section.
- Status Modifications: Status changes were made more apparent in the Update History table through improvements in wording and shading. This makes it easier for a user to quickly scan the history and understand what happened, the latest status, and who the action is currently assigned to.
- electronic Sponsored Action Request Form (eSPAR): Soft release of initial eSPAR form functionality to cover At-Risk Preliminary, At-Risk Extension, and No Cost Extension types. This replaces and improves the quality of data and efficiency in processing the former SP23 request forms.
- Email Approvals for Forms: With the release of the eSPAR form, users can send approval requests on the ePRF, eNFA, and eSPAR forms through ResearchUVA. Previously, the ePRF and eNFA had to be emailed around. The new functionality provides a lookup of eligible approvers and tracks those who have already been sent an approval request.
Work completed in FY20
- electronic Sponsored Action Request Form (eSPAR): Release of eSPAR form functionality to cover At-Risk Preliminary, Just in Time, Offer Acknowledgement, Transaction Controls, At-Risk Extension, No Cost Extension, Change PI, Pre-Award Costs, Change Sponsor and Change Scope types. This replaces and improves the quality of data and efficiency in processing the former SP23 request forms.