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K-State Today

April 28, 2016

10 things to know about PreAward Services

Submitted by Sarah Hancock

If you've engaged in research, scholarly and creative activity and discovery, or RSCAD, at K-State, you probably already know that PreAward Services is the final destination for review, negotiation, and signature of all externally funded RSCAD activities. Located in the Office of the Vice President for Research and nestled in the garden level of Fairchild Hall, 17 people in PreAward Services aim to serve faculty and staff and to facilitate rather than serve as a roadblock to transactions. Although PreAward Services is responsible for certain regulatory and compliance monitoring, its primary assignment is to deliver a wide range of services to the K-State community that support the pursuit of external funding for a diverse portfolio of RSCAD activities. This is the value proposition that the entire staff is dedicated to delivering.

Here are 10 more things to know about PreAward Services:

1. PreAward Services facilitates more than 5,000 transactions per year, including proposals, awards, modifications, subcontracts, teaming agreements, confidentiality agreements, material transfer agreements, and other types of "zero-dollar" agreements. Yes, even "zero-dollar" agreements related to sponsored project activities should pass through PreAward Services.

2. PreAward Services offers services to ensure timely and successful proposal submissions. Staff members work closely with RSCAD support offered by departments and colleges. If your department or college offers such services, contact them when you know you're planning to submit a proposal. If your units don't employ research administrators, contact the PAS specialist assigned to your college or unit.

3. K-State boasts 15 certified research administrators, some of whom work for PreAward Services. Certification requires applicants to meet educational and experience criteria and to pass an examination. Certified Research Administrators must be recertified every five years by the Research Administrators Certification Council.

4. Many members of PreAward Services staff are involved with the University Industry Demonstration Partnership, the Society of Research Administrators, and/or the National Council of University Research Administrators. Staff also boasts the kind of institutional knowledge that comes from longevity: The office just had its first retirement this spring since 1992.

5. PreAward Services has a staff of trained contract negotiators to review, develop and negotiate all RSCAD agreements with external sponsors. Template agreements are available, and negotiators evaluate sponsor-provided agreements to ensure researchers are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Staff members have training in travel, procurement, compliance, and other relevant areas, and they collaborate closely with the University Research Compliance Office and other units that have a stake in project implementation.

6. PreAward Services can develop and issue subawards or subcontracts as required by your awarded project.

7. PreAward Services works to provide paperless business processes where possible. All proposals are routed using the eSign process in the eProposals system, a homegrown system developed by the College of Engineering.

8. PreAward Services has a large amount of historical data available. If you're unsure of past activities, PreAward Services can help answer questions.

9. Like all of us at the university, PreAward Services staff members can deliver best value and ensure success when given adequate lead time.

10. PreAward Services is prolific in another area besides the number of transactions it reviews: Five babies have been born to PreAward staffers in the last three years. The office is always eager to celebrate births along with successful proposals!

For questions about PreAward Services, visit the website or call 785-532-6804.

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