July 18, 2019

Staff Spotlight - New Associate Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Jeremy Cox as Associate Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA).  Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Management.  His professional career began in the field of public accounting where he continued to work for many years with his expertise including audits of local governments & not-for-profit entities, including conducting A-133 audits.  Previously, Jeremy served in OSPA as a Compliance Manager and a Senior Accountant, before moving to the MU Office of Finance where he was a Fiscal Officer supporting five divisions.   We welcome Jeremy back to OSPA and look forward to our continued collaborative work together to advance the research mission of the University of Missouri.  

Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC)

A private group with developed certification programs for the education and training in research administration, the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) has been certifying research administrators on their professional knowledge since 1993.  Programs exist to certify your education and knowledge as a Certified Research Administrator (CRA), a Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator (CPRA), and a Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA); each with varying required experience, education, and knowledge requirements.  According to the RACC, the benefits of becoming certified include professional development, credibility in research administration, demonstrated expertise, and professional recognition.   There are educational and experience requirements for candidates wishing to take an exam and there is a cost to do so.  For more information visit the RACC site.   The RACC provides a directory of Research Administrators who maintain an active certification in CRA, CPRA, or CFRA.

Grants Searchable Database

Did you know that there is a new searchable grants database available in MIS Web Applications? The database is a tool for discovering who within the UM System is doing research in a given area and can be used to help identify potential collaborators. Anyone with PeopleSoft Grants Module access can use the database. Instructions can be found here.

In order for a project to return in the search results, an abstract must be added in the PeopleSoft Grants Module at the time the proposal is entered (PSRS). This database is being used by the MU Office of Research, the Research Development Network, and various campus committees to identify who is doing research in a given field. We strongly encourage research administrators to enter abstracts in the PeopleSoft Grants Module whenever possible to ensure that projects are included in the searchable database.

SPPG: Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, and Sexual Assault – Compliance with Federal Granting Agency Requirements

Published in March 2019, this topic addresses federal policies related to the obligations of the research community on investigation of sexual or other harassment complaints and advises how the University of Missouri will comply with federal nondiscrimination law as directed by the federal granting agencies, National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

In collaboration with the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX, OSPA developed this policy to assist Principal Investigators and Departmental Research Administrators, as well as the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration, with their obligations for compliance.  Guidance includes Institutional Requirements for NSF (e.g. recipients of funding must maintain workplaces free of discrimination and harassment, and will report to NSF if a violation occurs when the award terms indicate applicability; and for conference awards to provide participants a copy of the institutions code of conduct policy in advance, and to also make it available at the conference itself) and for NIH (e.g. provide assurance upon submission of grant proposals and at award to comply with a number of public policies which include EEO, Civil Rights Protections, Age Discrimination Act, among others; and for all training grants to include appropriate Letter of Support to address the institutions commitment to required areas of compliance).   The topic includes samples for NSF funded conference code-of-conduct policy hand-out, as well as sample language for the required NIH Letter of Support.    

The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration provides a public resource covering this and other topics of significant interest to research administrators – in the Sponsored Programs Procedure Guide (SPPG). This is provided to support our administrators who need a thorough understanding of University policies and procedures and how they interact, enforce, and integrate with government regulations and sponsor requirements. Included in the SPPG are a range of topics, policies, or procedures for submitting proposals, requesting advance spending accounts, recovering F&A, participant support costs, the Fly America Act, and more.  The material included in each topic provides a solid foundation in support of the administration of sponsored projects at the University of Missouri. 

Registration for Fall Certificate Series Sessions Open

This fall, we continue our trek through the Post-Award Track of courses, beginning with a timely session on EVRs, Cost Transfers, and PCEs on August 1. The OPSA Certificate Series for Specialized Grants Training was developed to enhance your technical expertise in sponsored programs administration. Beginning in 2011, the program has been providing education and training that follows both a Pre-Award Track and a Post-Award Track. Topics include Budget Development, Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rate, Proposal Development and Submission, Closeout of Award, and Cost Share among others. During the Regulatory Track, participants hear directly from campus leadership on topics related to Animal Welfare, Export Controls, Human Subjects Research Protections Program, and Conflict of Interest.   180 Certificates have been issued to attendees, with course attendees exceeding 600.  Past attendees who have completed session surveys agree that the training provides a positive benefit - more than 95% agreeing or strongly agreeing that what they have learned will be useful in their job.  Join us for a training session soon to see what the buzz is all about.  For more information and to register visit the grants training page on the OSPA website.   

The current schedule for fall courses: 

EVR, Cost Transfers, and PCEs
Thu, Aug 01, 2019

Subawards and Consulting Agreements
Thu, Sep 12, 2019

Salary Cap, EVR and Effort Tracking*
Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Federal Contracts*

Cost Sharing
Tue, Oct 15, 2019

Thu, Oct 31, 2019

Closeout of Award
Thu, Nov 14, 2019

*advanced course

May 31, 2019

May 2019 Grant Connections Notes

Minutes from the Grant Connections meeting on May 22 are now available.  Please follow the links below to access the materials.

Meeting notes can be found here

Our next meeting will be June 26, 2019.

May 14, 2019

OSPA Staff Participate at NCURA Region IV Spring Meeting

In April, staff members from OSPA traveled to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the Spring Meeting of the National Council of University Research Administrators Region IV.
Nathan Winters, Compliance Manager in OSPA, presented a Concurrent Session titled “Responsible Conduct of Research Training Requirements: Overview and Best Practices.” Hannah Clampitt, Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator in OSPA, presented a session titled “Instruction, Other Sponsored Activity, Research: What Exactly are we Doing Here? Determining the Purpose of Your Work” and served as the Pre-Award Track Leader for the conference. Craig David, OSPA Director, Michelle Leaton, OSPA Assistant Pre-Award Manager, and Brenda Leuenberger, Pre-Award Compliance Manager in OSPA, presented “The Awards Dashboard: Oversight and Communication of Award Acceptance and Negotiation.” Michelle and Brenda also presented “Fast & Furious: Getting a Last-Minute Proposal Submitted on Time.” Nathan, Brenda, and Michelle were funded to attend and present at the conference through a Staff Development Award from the MU Staff Advisory Council.

April 25, 2019

Understanding F&A

As part of its role in ensuring that all sponsored activity at the university is proposed, conducted, and accounted for at the standards set forth by the university and sponsors, the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration is eager to share insight and knowledge about budget preparation and administration of costs whenever possible. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost recovery is critical to the success of an academic research enterprise. Understanding the calculations behind MU’s F&A rate can be a challenge even for a seasoned Research Administrator.  The following video, courtesy of the University of Maryland, explores this important component of managing costs in sponsored research:

Understanding the Facilities and Administration (F&A) Cost Calculation

This video explains all of the ins and outs of why the university must apply a certain negotiated F&A rate and how we arrived at our rate.

April 23, 2019

April 2019 Grant Connections Notes

This month's Grants Connections was focused entirely on ensuring the safety and security of the university's institutional resources in light of federal concerns over foreign influence in U.S. academic research. The presentation for this meeting can be found here.

Not able to attend? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a link to the recording of the session: https://missouri.zoom.us/recording/share/Zy__ffdW9mYAQqkGan2fu2GHjE-LT33pd4b_F-ayCjqwIumekTziMw

Next month's meeting will be on May 22, 2019 from 11am - 12pm. See you there!

April 15, 2019

2019 Fiscal Year End Processes

As the weather starts to get warmer and we look forward to summer vacations, it is also time to start preparing for the fiscal year end fun. Here is a brief overview of all the important things to keep in mind as we approach the end of FY2019.

First, all deficits on overspent projects must be cleared as of June 30. Your Post-Award Team will reach out with a list of overspent projects. Please work with them to clear the deficits by the end of June, which is critical to ensure the accuracy in our Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Award (SEFA) and our system-wide financial statements. 

Next, the Controller’s Office has set the FY2019 Closing Calendar. For future reference the calendar can be found here. Note, as of today, the website does not reflect the updated calendar, but we anticipate all documents to be uploaded this week. Below are the essential dates to put on your calendars now.  

  • PeopleSoft Production Maintenance/Outage: 5PM 6/28 – 6/30
  • Department JE Cut-off 7/15
  • OSPA JE Cut-off 7/19
  • Accounting Services JE Cut-off 7/26

REMEMBER: When you enter a correction to an FY19 transaction (including clearing a deficit on an overspent project), change the journal date in the upper right-hand area to 6/30/2019. This will ensure the correction posts to the appropriate fiscal year.

Finally, state funded projects with an end date of 6/30/2019 often require a final invoice/financial report prior to the end of the project. Your Post-Award Team will contact you in the event an early report is required and request an estimate of final expenses.

That’s all the updates we have for now. We will reach out with any new information as it arises, but don’t hesitate to reach out to your Post-Award Team if you have any questions or need clarification as we close down another fiscal year.