Best practices to ensure a successful project start
According to Tracey Fraser, Director, Office of Sponsored Projects at the Smithsonian Institution, there are several items that need to be addressed at the beginning of the post award process. Being proactive in addressing these items within your team will make all components of the research administration process work in your favor, and allow you to successfully manage the project through a research administration software system. She discusses several items in this training video that are critical for making the first steps easy and straight-forward in order to eliminate administrative burdens. While each situation can vary, it is helpful to know what to anticipate and how to proceed with preparations.
Most important habits for success with research administration software:
- When your university or site is awarded a grant of any size or scope, it’s important to read the award summary. In addition to a high level view of the project approved by the Sponsor the summary will give you key information that will play a role in how you utilize your research administration software to track and monitor the project. Many people need to be involved in the various roles in order to allow for the flow of information where necessary, to embrace confidentiality when it’s important, and to ensure collaboration across departments. It’s also important to know your site’s reporting requirements at the beginning in order to measure and organize the correct data. A comprehensive research administration software system should be designed for managing the key information provided in the award and tracking these requirements.
- All grant recipients will have their own unique way to manage the process from beginning to end. When reviewing the award summary make note of important dates such as the start- and end-dates, and reporting deadlines, such as monthly, quarterly, or annual depending on the type of research project. Utilizing a research administration software system allows you to establish a process for collecting data that will need to be distributed to appropriate parties, across departments, and possibly shared with other agencies, such as a collaborating partner. This system should be designed for managing multiple projects with overlapping budget cycles and ever changing needs to ensure a comprehensive tracking of various types of projects.
- Starting out on the right foot also requires making sure the information about designated codes for accounting, overhead expenses, and other expenditures is set up correctly from the beginning. All costs will have to be accounted for and being proactive with research administration software can help you with all necessary financial requirements. Knowing whether funds are tied to time or milestones is an important distinction that will need to be discussed and managed right from the start. The way you manage the accounting piece will be dependent on how the institution receives funding related to the project, i.e. through reimbursement via invoices or receiving funds at the onset of the project.
In this training video Tracey also mentions the importance of leaving the technical side of the research to the researchers. Allowing them to move forward with their next steps and technical details will be dependent on having a good start at the beginning. Reach out to the IT Works team to learn more about how we can customize a solution that will help you get started on the right foot.