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OSP/GFA Working Group Update

The mission of the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) and Grants Fiscal Administration (GFA) Working Group is to develop and promote clearly defined policies and procedures that facilitate and support faculty and staff external funding endeavors while maintaining integrity and compliance for all sponsored programs at Northern Illinois University. The Working Group includes representatives from OSP and GFA and is led by OSP Director Dara Little and GFA Director Linda Blair. Representatives include: Cindy Barnes, Kristin Duffy, Lelonie Sanders, and Rachael Andel.

Currently, the Group is working on the following three initiatives to streamline the research administration process:

Electronic Institutional Prior Approval System or eIPAS

In the interest of streamlining grant administration for researchers, funding agencies have delegated expanded authority to approve certain types of administrative actions on grant awards to universities. NIU is looking to streamline that process even further by developing an electronic routing and approval process for project changes that must be made via their Institutional Prior Approval System (IPAS). The pilot is currently underway for PIs in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) who have active awards. The Working Group expects to roll the electronic process out to the entire campus during Spring, 2013. The policy that guides project changes, Managing Project Changes on Federally Funded Extramural Awards, is available at: http://www.osp.niu.edu/osp/_pdf/managingprojectchangesNew.pdf

Subaward Process Improvement

The Working Group has been collaborating with the NIU Office of General Counsel and the Procurement Office to identify best practices in the development of subaward agreements that are part of an NIU grant or contract award. The goal is to develop a streamlined process for executing subawards with collaborating institutions. The Group is currently piloting these new processes and will continue to do so through Summer, 2013. GFA Administrators will notify PIs if a subaward on their project has been selected to pilot the new process.

Roles-Responsibilities Matrix

The Working Group is developing a matrix to outline the roles and responsibilities of the preaward (OSP) and postaward (GFA) offices. With the matrix, PIs can better identify which office and personnel to contact for a particular activity related to a sponsored project. The Group expects to release the matrix in the Spring 2013.