Pre or post award research administration? In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how this question originated, why separation of pre and post award functions occurs and items of consideration when contemplating a separation of these functions.
In this second part of the series, we will focus on the differences between pre award and post award research administration. We will examine functions that are unique to each of these two parts of the research administration process. As discussed in Part 1 of this series, a major component of splitting these functions is determining where in the process to split them. For the sake of this series, we will assume everything prior to account set-up is pre award and everything including/after account set-up is post award. Some of these items may fall on different sides of the split depending on an organization’s needs, priorities, procedures, expertise, etc.
Distinct Functions of Pre Award Research Administration
What does it mean when you answer the subject question with “pre award”? What does it say about what you do? While this varies by organization, the functions of research administration that are typically exclusively pre award in nature are:
- Finding Funding: locating funding via search engines such as Pivot, Grants.gov, Foundation Center, individual funding agency websites, or even Google.
- Budget Creation: working with the principal investigator(s) to determine what their budgetary needs are, as well as incorporating and taking into consideration other factors such as organization and funding agency limitations or set rates (fringe benefits, indirect costs, etc.).
- Filling Out Proposal Forms: completing forms – depending on the funding agency, this could be a simple cover page or something as involved, or more involved, than a grants.gov package.
- Submitting the Proposal: submitting the final, internally approved proposal to the funding agency for consideration.
- Award Negotiation and Acceptance: negotiating the corresponding award and its formal acceptance by your organization.
- Compliance Considerations: making sure compliance requirements (funding agency and project specific) such as Human Subject, Animal Subject, Responsible Conduct of Research, Financial Conflict of Interest, etc. are satisfied. Typically this is completed by a research compliance office, but most pre award offices still need to verify the appropriate documents are completed/approved prior to turning the project over to the post award group.
Post Award Research Administration (where it’s different from pre award research administration)
Conversely, what does it mean when you answer the subject question with “post award”? What does that say instantly about what you do? While this too can vary by organization, the functions of research administration that are typically only part of the post award process are:
- Award/Account Set-up: establishing a central general ledger number for the principal investigator(s) to charge project expenses to.
- Modifications: managing any changes to the initial award which do not require a new proposal. Examples are a no-cost extension, change in personnel, scope revision, budget reallocation, etc.
- Financial Compliance Monitoring: making sure expenses charged to the project meet standards set forth by your organization, the government, and the funding agency.
- Facility, Equipment and Space Monitoring, Reporting and Billing: generating invoices for use of facilities or charge back centers, tracking those funds, monitoring and tracking space and equipment usage, preparing and submitting interim and final financial reports, invoicing or completing funding agency drawdowns, etc.
- Project Reporting: submitting progress reports and deliverable reports as defined and required by the award document.
- Project Close Out: filing all the paperwork, internal and external, to close out the project and address items such as unused funds, equipment disposition, intellectual property generation, etc. in accordance with the award document.
Pre or Post Award? Series
Comment below on any other differences between pre and post award research administration that we may not have included or that may be unique to your organization.
Be on the lookout in the following weeks for the third and final part of this series on pre and post award research administration. Part 3 will discuss the similarities between these two functions of research administration at every organization. Also, check out Part 1 of this series and our other blogs.
Solutions to Assist with Pre and Post Award Administration
IT Works offers a variety of both pre and post award solutions that are innovative, easy to use, diverse in report selection, well-supported by an implementation staff with research administration experience, and competitively priced.
There are numerous customer case studies and other literature on the ease of use, implementation, and added value of a solution from IT Works. For more information regarding the IT Works solutions, contact our team.