What’s Happening Now
We are delighted to report that we have completed our University-wide rollout of the RAS Proposal Development system!
This month, we surpassed 800 proposal submissions through the tool, with roughly a third of these transmitting system-to-system to Grants.gov.
We continue to work with our user community on digitization, simplifications, and improvements, particularly as we integrate the RAS suite of tools with Tufts’ financial systems and other research resources. As noted previously, we are now beginning the implementation of a new Award Budget Tool that directly connects to the detailed budgets from Proposal Development.
Once again, we want to express our many thanks to school leaders, principal investigators, local research administrators (RAs), and the Office of Research Administration, all of whom have helped to make our implementation successful, and who continue to add to and extract value from RAS.
This month, we surpassed 500 proposal submissions in the new RAS Proposal Development (PD) module! Of proposals routed and submitted through RAS, over a third of these are system-to-system (S2S) submissions, with data from the systems screens being transmitted directly through to Grants.gov to auto-populate many of its forms.
To date, Schools that are using PD for all proposal activity include:
- Cummings School of Vet Medicine
- Friedman School
- School of Arts & Sciences
- School of Dental Medicine
- School of Medicine: Public Health & Community Medicine, Neuroscience, DMCB, IPP, and Microbiology
We are actively working with Tisch College, The Fletcher School, School of Engineering, Sackler School, and Central departments to prepare them for roll-out of the system as well. We are looking forward to saying a complete farewell to our paper-based routing and approval documents and embracing RAS as our single proposal development, approval and submission solution for the University.
We are grateful to school leaders, principal investigators, local research administrators (RAs), and the Office of Research Administration, all of whom have helped to make our implementation successful. We continually review the system to make essential improvements and widen the breadth of proposal types that can be delivered S2S. Please feel free to take our survey to weigh in on your experiences working in RAS!
As we conclude the rollout of the PD module, the RAS team is hard at work developing a new module for Award Budget. This tool will be used to transmit awarded budget data to Tufts’ financial systems in collaboration with our PeopleSoft and Axiom teams. OVPR’s Laura Lucas will be working closely with research administration teams and our Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) office to provide training on the new Award Budget module on a rolling basis beginning in the Fall.
We are also working on developing new standard reporting mechanisms to get comprehensive research data to various constituents. We recently began publishing quarterly reports of Proposal and Award data to Lead RAs, and are collecting their feedback to further improve the usability of this data.
On October 5, 2016, we we reached our 100th proposal submission through the RAS Proposal Development module!
Thank you for all of your contributions in helping us meet this important milestone.
To date, we have put over 30 proposals through the Research Administration System (RAS) with many more actively in progress for future deadlines. These include Federal, non-Federal, and subaward applications, as well as sponsored agreements and contracts.
Since our last update, we have begun onboarding three new schools in Wave 2 of rollout, namely:
- Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine – Dean Deborah Kochevar, Associate Dean for Research Sawkat Anwer, Gail Zamarchi, Denise Rouleau, Mikki Hui, Anne Carney, Janine Stuczko and Trena Haroutunian
- Friedman School – Dean Dariush Mozaffarian, Executive Administrative Dean Edward Kleifgen, Seedang Simonin, Jori Barabino, Meryem Ould-Sfiya, and Brandi Negron
- School of Dental Medicine – Dean Huw Thomas, Associate Dean of Research Gerard Kugel, Jen Towers, Pam Corrado, and Quigley Raleigh
We want to thank you all for collaborating with us to keep up our momentum!
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine within the School of Medicine is creating and submitting 100% of their proposal volume through RAS, and we will be kicking off Wave 3 with the School of Arts & Sciences very soon.
Our training program has evolved to include modules for Federal vs. non-Federal applications, and online sessions are being developed to support ongoing and self-directed training for users.
If you are eager to have your department join RAS roll-out, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What your department can do to begin preparing for RAS:
- Clarify, for each Department ID in your department, the desired signing and approval path for proposals.
- Identify a representative in your school’s senior leadership (e.g. Dean or Research Dean) who can authorize RAS workflows and decision making.
- Identify peak volume deadline timing for your department and separately, times that might be problematic for a rollout.
- Note down any broad-based questions your department may have about moving your current workflow into a new system.
- Reach out to Laura Lucas to set up a time for an initial discussion and/or overview (email@example.com).
Our Proposal Development pilots concluded in Fall 2015, confirming the application of RAS for various proposal types, including complex and modular budgets, subawards, and direct system-to-system submissions. With the support of our Senior Department Research Administrators, our pilots included the diverse areas of HNRCA, Friedman, Medicine (DMCB), Engineering (Biomedical), and Cummings. Our early pilots served to identify residual issues resulting from live data feeds to Grants.gov (not possible to forecast through testing), and these bugs were swiftly resolved during the pilot phase, ultimately achieving a 100% success rate by the end of the phase.
This new module of RAS has now been released for active proposal submissions (as of November 2015), and we are currently at the start of a phased roll-out within the research community. A department’s roll-out will span three phases: initialization, stabilization, and maintenance to maximize a high-level of customer support and user comfort in the system before onboarding additional departments. (If you are eager to have your department participate, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Department of Public Health and Community Medicine within the Tufts University School of Medicine has already taken the plunge as our first implementers. Many thanks to Dean Harris Berman, Dean Aviva Must, Dr. Christine Wanke, Brenda McGinnis, Ryan Bringhurst, Zachary Crosser, Sheila Palma, and Todd Conley for their participation and contributions to date.
Our team is taking a white-glove service approach to implementation, featuring our new OVPR Senior Training & Learning Development Specialist, Laura Lucas, who will be reaching out individually to each department to understand their particular needs upfront, assess which workflow configurations work best, and deliver comprehensive trainings in advance of live submission starts. We look forward to working with all of you in the research community!
The project team for the Research Administration System (RAS) has finished developing and testing the Proposal Development module, and is in the process of training staff in the Office of Research Administration on its use. The roll-out to the research community at Tufts is scheduled to begin in November 2015. The roll-out will be conducted in phases over a period of several months, and is being coordinated in conjunction with other University-wide initiatives and in partnership with the leadership team of each School and Center. Once finalized, the roll-out schedule will be shared with the research community.
In preparation for the roll-out, the Project Team has been working with teams of investigators and department staff across Tufts to pilot the Proposal Development module. As part of this pilot, several different application types are being prepared and routed for internal approval in RAS. For those application being submitted to Federal sponsors, the system-to-system feature within RAS is being used to submit the proposal directly to Grants.gov. The results of the pilot will be shared with the research community upon completion.
Lastly, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Tufts Technology Services are in the process of recruiting a Senior Training & Learning Development Specialist to provide training on RAS and other research-related initiatives.
The project team finalized the Proposal Development module blueprints and the testing plans for the second phase, Proposal Development, of the implementation of the Research Administration System (RAS). The blueprints are the result of many focus group meetings with the Office of Research Administration (ORA), Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) members, and the research community. These documents will be the basis for configuring, customizing, and testing the RAS system to Tufts’ requirements. The blueprints will be reviewed and approved by the Change Collaborative Sponsors.
Proposal Development will run on a new software release, Kuali Coeus (KC) 6.0, which is designed to provide a new and intuitive user experience. The development team are configuring the development and test servers with the KC 6.0 release, and upgrading the current Institutional Proposal and Award modules (Proposal Tracking) to KC 6.0. For the next two months, the project team and ORA staff will focus on extensive testing of Proposal Development and regression testing of Proposal Tracking.
By the end of April or early May, “road shows” will be scheduled to demonstrate the system to faculty and staff during departmental and administrative meetings. Our plan is to have the first pilot starting end of June. The University-wide phased roll-out will start in the beginning of September.
If you would like to participate in the pilots, please contact us at email@example.com.
In September 2014, our Research Administration community has come together under the umbrella of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to create the Change Collaborative for Tufts Research Administration (the Collaborative). This is a continuation of the TEAM strategic initiative during which, with the help of consulting groups, Tufts has identified operational elements that support our success in research. Building on this work, the Collaborative has the immediate goal of partnering with faculty and staff across the University to define a research administration enterprise that is tailored to Tufts. The long-term goal is to foster a consistent, high-quality, and responsive research administration enterprise across Tufts University by building upon and enhancing existing internal resources.
The RAS project team is partnering with the Change Collaborative on the proposal development design sessions. Three out of five design sessions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) have been completed. Over the next couple of months, community focus groups will be held on a variety of topics, allowing those involved in the research administration enterprise at Tufts to share their thoughts and experiences on how to best design our future state. The first community focus group will be held on Friday, November 7, and will focus on Research Administration System, specifically internal proposal routing process and submission of the Grants.gov vs. non-Grants.gov proposals. Your feedback is very important to us.
When: Friday, November 7, 2014
- Medford: 9am – 10am, Dowling Hall, Room 745B
- Boston/Grafton: 2pm – 3pm, HNRCA Mezzanine Conference Room
Sign Up Here: http://sites.tufts.edu/collaborative/upcoming-events/
Please sign up using this link so we know how many people to expect!
In April 2014, a reporting capability has been developed that allows the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to generate summary and detail reports on pre-award and award data now being stored in the Tufts Data Warehouse.
In June 2014, the project team began the planning and initiation of the second phase, Proposal Development, of the implementation of the Research Administration System (RAS). The Proposal Development phase will focus on the functionality for researchers and administrators to create proposals, route them electronically for approval, and submit them directly to the funding agency, when applicable.
To create the best system for the Tufts research community, the RAS project team needs faculty and staff to be involved in the design of the system. In the summer and fall, the team will hold design sessions with an RAS focus group to focus on the functionality of the proposal development module. The focus group will comprise faculty members and departmental administrators as well as those responsible for approving grants at a school level. The design sessions will review the needs assessment and requirements that were collected two years ago during the system selection process; topics included the process for proposal routing and administration procedures at the school level, conceptual design of Grants.gov vs non-Grants.gov applications, and budget development.
If you would like to be involved in this effort, please send the team a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six weeks ago, the Institutional Proposal and Awards modules, which constitute Phase 1 of Tufts research administration system (RAS) project, were delivered into production for the Office of Research Administration (ORA) staff. This month, the project team will be working with members of Tufts’ Technology Transfer and Corporate and Foundation Relations offices to bring these benefits to administrators in those offices.
In addition, the RAS project team has been developing a reporting capability that will allow the OVPR to generate summary reports on proposal and award data now being stored in the Tufts Data Warehouse. These reports are expected to be completed in January and will be followed by more detailed reports in March. This data reporting capability will reach its full potential in the second half of the calendar year 2014 when an enhanced set of reports will be developed that combines both pre and post-award data in a more accessible and user-friendly format. Over the next month, the project team will be reaching out to members of the research community as it assembles a working group to provide input into the new report design.
Tufts new Research Administration System (RAS) Reaches Phase 1 Milestone
On Wednesday, November 13th, Tufts’ new research administration system (RAS) became available to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR). Upon the successful completion of phase 1 of the RAS project, the institutional proposal and awards modules will be fully implemented, thus creating a solid foundation for providing proposal development for Tufts’ research community and administrators in phase 2.
Tufts new research administration system is based on the Kuali Coeus (KC) open-source application. Over the next few months, staff in OVPR and Tufts Technology Services (TTS) will work with outside consultants to complete phase 1. Phase 2 of the RAS project will begin in early 2014. Phase 2 will initiate the implementation of the Kuali Coeus proposal development and proposal budget modules, making the new RAS the central repository for data associated with the entire grant proposal process, from development to submission and reporting.
If you would like to learn more about this project, contact Andy Valenti, RAS Project Manager, at email@example.com or (617) 627-3814.
RAS team is in the Design phase of the project’s lifecycle for Phase 1 (Proposal Tracking):
The new Research Administration (RAS) project is on track with the current plan and timeline.
The RAS core project team is collaboratively working with the implementation partners, Huron Consulting Group and Polus Solutions, and managing and developing the new RAS system. The following are some of the key milestones of the project schedule in this phase:
- Business requirements walkthroughs with the Office of Research Administration (ORA), Office of Proposal Development (OPD), and Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) for their pre-award and non-fiscal post-award administration of grants and contracts workflow has been completed and reviewed
- Gathering the reporting needs from the faculty, central offices, senior administrators, school and departmental administrators
- Starting the data conversion process
- Kuali Coeus v5.1 is running in the development and sandbox environments