Electronic Research Administration (ERA) Systems and Pre-Award Grants Management: A Review of MU-JHU Care Limited Pre-Award Processes and Management
Mbanza Bumpenje, Judith
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Research Administration is a huge endeavor with several processes to manage and many regulations to follow. A common challenge with research administration is the broad scope of work required to maintain compliance and transparency in the processes. This is further encumbered by the onerous agency regulations specifically for federally funded projects. The Makerere University (MU)-Johns Hopkins University (MU-JHU) Care Limited receives majority of financial support for its research projects from U.S. federal funds. MU-JHU receives most of its funding support as subawardees with a few prime awards and there is a growing need to increase the number of prime awards at the institution. The need to increase prime awards and the lack of an Electronic Research Administration (eRA) system at MU-JHU to support pre-award grants management were the key stimuli for the capstone project. The pre-award processes at MU-JHU are manually managed which lengthens time requirements. Additionally, the lack of an integrated eRA system makes continuous improvement complicated due to the related administrative burden of managing these processes in silos. Deploying an integrated grants management solution will enable MU-JHU to improve the proposal preparation processes, reduce duplicative efforts and ultimately reduce administrative burden. The project examined the pre-award research administration processes at MU-JHU and made recommendations to implement an integrated eRA system to manage pre-award processes. If phase 1 (solution for pre-award management) is successful, it lays the foundation for recommendations to fully implement a solution that encompasses functions for the entire grants life cycle – cradle to grave grants management solution.