The New Tufts University Research Administration System

The Tufts Research Administration System (RAS) will enable researchers and their support staff to access information about past and current funding proposals and awards, and use that information to create new proposals within the system. The principal investigator (PI) will be able to grant access to the proposal to others (collaborators, support staff) so multiple people can contribute to the development of the proposal. Proposals will be electronically routed for internal Tufts approvals, and NIH, NSF and other federal applications will be submitted directly to the funding agency, when applicable, bypassing the need to use agency electronic submission systems (Grants.gov and FastLane). The system will facilitate the submission of research proposals to multiple funding sources, including Foundations. Data will be secure and accurate with advanced technology and data validations. RAS will have the ability to connect directly with systems of records such as those for HR, Finance, and Tufts Data Warehouse, to reduce errors and redundancy. Researchers will also be able to generate reports on their pre- and post-award research activities, which will facilitate post-award reporting requirements.

The system is being developed and implemented in two phases. Phase 1 includes Proposal Tracking and Expanded Reporting. Proposal Tracking was completed in late fall 2013 when the new system replaced the old database system of keeping track of proposal and award activity by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR). Expanded Reporting is capable of generating summary and detailed reports on proposal and award data through Data Warehouse. This capability was released to the OVPR in April 2014.

Phase 2, Proposal Development, began planning and initiation in June 2014. Implementation will be phased in throughout 2015. This module will allow faculty and research administrators to create proposals, route them electronically for approval and submit them directly to funding agencies, when applicable. One aspect of Phase 2 is the development of the PI Dashboard, which will allow PIs to generate reports on their pre- and post-award research activities.

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 at ras@tufts.edu.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) and Tufts Technology Services (TTS) are working together to bring the Research Administration System to the Tufts community. For more information, please see Tufts Research Administration System (RAS).