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Research

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PreAward Services business process review update

The Office of PreAward Services has initiated a total business process review exercise. Our aim is to identify all of the K-State preaward business processes associated with the pursuit and capture of external funding for research and scholarly activities. Current processes span a broad spectrum of activities, including:

  • Proposal routing, review, and submission;

  • Award capture, review, and negotiation;

  • Subcontracting with both domestic and international collaborators;

  • Activity data capture and reporting; and

  • Certain stewardship and oversight responsibilities that K-State assumes when accepting outside funding, such as obtaining prior clearance for proposed project modifications. 

PreAward Services personnel have engaged in the initial mapping of all processes that we are responsible for or that we touch in conjunction with collaborating units. Next, we will conduct a gap analysis and identify redundancies and opportunities for increased efficiencies with the goal of automating as many of these processes as possible while maintaining compatibility with automated research administration solutions, otherwise known as eRA systems. 

A typical mapping of one process — in this case, awards — illustrates just a few of the related sub-processes we must consider. 

 process

A few of the processes we have already examined and improved are the Export Control review process, the capture process for identifying activities requiring Responsible Conduct of Research training requirements, the Compliance Training Log, and the Subrecipient Commitment Form.  

The Compliance Training Log and the updated Subrecipient Commitment Form are examples of updated processes presented at a K-State Research Administrations Council (RAC) meeting. The updated Subrecipient Commitment Form reflects well-established processes at K-State, along with some “best-in-breed” processes discerned from leading universities when engaging with collaborating entities. The Compliance Training Log greatly reduces the time it takes for research administrators across the academy to determine regulatory training compliance for researchers.

The total immersion into the business process review by the PreAward Services staff has involved substantial research and comparison with peer and aspirational peer processes that results in the implementation of only the most efficient and streamlined processes with a view toward preparing K-State for the next surge in sponsored funding activity success.

We have many more processes to evaluate, but the work has been gratifying, especially as I observe PreAward Services personnel vigorously engaging to identify best practices and better practices and working hard to find ways to streamline, work more efficiently, and continue to deliver on our value proposition to the K-State research and scholarly activity community.   

We will continue to announce process updates and progress through RAC and other communication forums as appropriate. PreAward Services personnel will also be reaching out for specific training opportunities with units across the academy.

We wish you all the best as we work together to advance K-State’s 2025 goals.

—   Paul Lowe, associate vice president for research and director, PreAward Services