Research Administration Data Reporting | Pulse

By SRAI News posted 12-11-2019 14:32

  

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Research Administration Data Reporting | Pulse

Proposal and award tracking and reporting occurs to some degree at all institutions that apply for and receive sponsored funds. For this issue of the Pulse we were interested in learning more about who is responsible for reporting on that tracked data to senior leaders and others. This anonymous survey was distributed to the subscribers of the RESADM-L listserv.

The survey was open between August 14 and August 28, 2019 and collected 125 responses. It is possible that more than one response came from some of the institutions represented by the survey participants. Below, we describe what we learned from our colleagues.

Who has primary responsibility for reporting on sponsored activity?

Unsurprisingly, responses show that in most institutions offices that perform the tasks related to the reported data are responsible for reporting. For example, an office that submits proposals reports on proposal data, an office that accepts awards reports on awards, and an office tasked with fiscal post-award duties reports on expenditures.

In a small but significant number of institutions, primary reporting on sponsored activity is placed in an Institutional Research Office (7-8%) or in other offices without central proposal submitting authority (8%). Several survey participants noted that in their universities each school does their own reporting, however few institutions report in this manner for all aspects of sponsored activity.

Below, we break down the results by the type of reported sponsored activity and who performs such reporting.

Proposals

As would be expected, at the vast majority (78.4%) of respondents’ institutions a central office that is tasked with submitting proposals is responsible for reporting proposal data, such as the number of proposals submitted, the proposal sponsors, etc. 

Answer

%

Count

A Central Office that is tasked with submitting proposals

78.40%

98

An Institutional Research Office

8.00%

10

Each school/college/unit does their own reporting

4.80%

6

Other (please explain)

8%

10

I am not sure

0.80%

1

Total

100%

125

 

Awards

Similar to proposal data, a combined 73.6% of respondents noted that primary responsibility for reporting on awards (such as the number of awards, dollars awarded, etc) resides in a central office that is tasked with accepting awards (47.2%) or one that is tasked with both pre- and post-award duties (26.4%).

Answer

%

Count

A Central Office that is tasked with accepting awards

47.20%

59

A Central Office that is tasked with fiscal post-award duties

6.40%

8

A combined Central Office that is tasked with both pre- and post-award duties

26.40%

33

Institutional Research Office

7.20%

9

Each school/college/unit does their own reporting

2.40%

3

Other (please explain)

9.60%

12

I am not sure

0.80%

1

Total

100%

125

 

Sponsored Expenditures

Data on sponsored expenditures is most commonly (75.2%) reported by the office that is responsible for fiscal post-award duties.

Answer

%

Count

Central Office that is tasked with fiscal post-award duties

75.20%

94

Institutional Research Office

8.00%

10

Each school/college/unit does their own reporting

3.20%

4

Other (please explain)

9.60%

12

I am not sure

4.00%

5

Total

100%

125

 
Dedicated Individuals or Teams with Primary Role of Sponsored Activity Reporting

The role of sponsored research data in creating the overall picture of an institution has grown, with many institutions creating offices such as a vice provost of chancellor for research in the last two decades. While in the majority (61%) of respondents’ institutions there is not a dedicated individual or team of individuals whose primary role is reporting internal research-related data, a significant number of institutions (34%) have such dedicated individuals or teams to report this data. We hypothesize that the creation of dedicated positions or teams may reflect the complexity and volume of the operations or systems at these institutions, as well as the overall growing importance of data to drive decision-making.

For most survey participants that reported the existence of a dedicated individual or team, there is one individual, and this has been a discreet function for more than three years.

How many individuals perform this function?

Figure_1.jpg

How long has this been a discreet function at your institution?

Figure_2.png

Conclusion

As the desire for clear and accessible sponsored research data grows across institutions, it is likely that reporting demands will increase. At many institutions, reporting rests with the offices that process a given transaction. This works well when simple metrics such as transaction counts and amounts are requested. As more detailed metrics are sought by senior leadership, we expect a growth in positions dedicated to the reporting and evaluation of metrics related to sponsored research. We will continue to periodically check the “pulse” of research administrators on various topics.

Acknowledgment: Thank you to Jamie Szabo at the University of Missouri for inspiring this question.

If you have any topics or questions that you want to see addressed in Pulse in the future, please let us know. Send feedback, ideas, questions, and inquiries to Sarah Marina at sarah.marina@tufts.edu.

Authored by

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Zoya Davis-Hamilton
Associate Vice Provost for Research Administration and Development
Tufts University

Sarah Marina
Associate Director for Research Administration and Development
Tufts University 



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