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Grants initiative’s release yields rewards for those who manage awards

The Electronic Research and Administration (eRA) system recently gained efficiencies thanks to an overall automation initiative led by University Information Services (UIS).

Over the past several months UIS and external consultants had worked on an initiative to build automation and gain efficiencies in the transfer of information from one department to another within eRA on CU campuses. Recently, changes were made to break this initiative into several releases.  Release 1 created integration that automatically detects changes to an award in InfoEd and parallels the changes in the Grants module, eliminating dual data entry. This release debuted in August 2018 for the CU Boulder campus, following an earlier release to the Anschutz Medical Campus and CU Denver campus.

The automation began by integrating eRA’s research administration system InfoEd into PeopleSoft’s Grants module. InfoEd is an electronic research portal system used to manage the research lifecycle from start to finish. It enables faculty, administrators and staff to efficiently track grant and contract activities. PeopleSoft’s Grants module tracks financial activities once the money is received for payroll, expenses and more.

Throughout the award lifecycle, changes, or modifications are likely to occur. For example, additional funding may be awarded or a project may be extended. These changes are entered into InfoEd and, using the award modification integration, they are reflected into the Grants module. No reentry is needed.

Previously, when an award changed, employees would enter information into InfoEd then reenter it in Grants Management–a time consuming task that increased potential for data entry errors. The new integration reduces duplicate data entry and data entry errors, improving consistency and reliability. This release addresses a subset of simpler modification scenarios that represent the bulk of routine modification of dates and funding. Future releases addressing more integration scenarios and additional automation for all campuses to follow.

This project represented a large, complex effort, with teams across the system office and campuses:

  • UIS: Grants Systems, Financials Systems Development, Electronic Research and Administration, Information Resource Management and Project Management Office
  • Office of University Controller
  • CU Boulder: Office of Contracts and Grants, Campus Controller Office, Office of Information Technology, Research and Innovation Office

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