Two children play kick the can

Required use of SAM.gov UEIs postponed

For those of you keeping track, we wanted to let you know that the federal government has postponed the deadline for transitioning away from DUNS numbers. The federal government was supposed to begin using their own unique identifiers for entities registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) by the end of this year, but are now targeting April 2022.

There’s nothing Miami PIs need to do at this time. Whenever Miami is assigned its UEI, we will update the institutional codes and identifiers section of our “Budget Resources” webpage and make the necessary changes to our institutional profile in Cayuse. Proposal consultants will also work with their assigned PIs to ensure the correct data is entered into applications prior to submission, both before and after the UEI rollout.


Kick the can image by Gan Khoon Lay from the Noun Project, used under Creative Commons license.

A hanging file folder labeled "Changes" sits atop a computer keyboard.

Roles and department assignments for RSP staff changing

The addition of CaTia Daniels to the Research & Sponsored Programs (RSP) staff has given us the opportunity to make some improvements to the proposal services we provide, and to update the list of RSP Consultants assigned to each department.

CaTia will now be the primary RSP consultant for the following departments:

  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • College of Education, Health and Society (except Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Health)

All other department assignments remain unchanged.  As always, any of the three RSP consultants — Anne Schauer, Amy Cooper, and CaTia Daniels — can assist any faculty with proposal submission in the absence of the primary department consultant.

We have also expanded Vanessa Gordon’s role in the proposal preparation process. Vanessa will now serve as the “RSP Cayuse Expert” and will be the go-to person for all Cayuse questions. Among her new duties, Vanessa will now be available to provide the following services upon request:

  • Start a Cayuse proposal record: Email Vanessa the following information:
    • Sponsor
    • Prime funding agency (only if we are a subcontractor)
    • Sponsor program name (if applicable)
    • Proposal guidelines URL
    • Project title
    • Project dates
    • Proposal deadline
    • Name(s) of subcontractors (if applicable)
    • Names of co-PIs (if applicable) and % allocation for each (total should be 100%)
  • Add new sponsors: Email Vanessa if your proposal sponsor or one of your subcontractors is not currently in the Cayuse system.
  • Enter detailed budget in Cayuse SP, Cayuse 424, and Fastlane: Email Vanessa your final approved internal budget spreadsheet.
  • Review and approve Cayuse SP record before it is submitted for routing: Email Vanessa once your record is complete and she will review, approve, and submit for routing on your behalf.

Image by Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images, used under Creative Commons license.

Closeup of number keys on an old-fashioned manual calculator.

FY2021 grant budget template available

Fringe benefit rates are set each fiscal year by the university’s budget office. Because these rates change from year to year, our grant budget template — which calculates fringe benefits for personnel on proposed projects — must be updated each fiscal year. The budget template for FY2021 is now available. (Please note that there is now only one budget template for all proposals, including those submitted to NSF.)

Submitted grant budgets must reflect the correct fringe benefits, so no outdated budget templates can be accepted by Research & Sponsored Programs. Please take a minute to download and save the FY2021 template and delete any outdated ones you may have saved.


Photo by George Hodan, via PublicDomainPictures.net.

A plate affixed to a doorway says "Welcome."

Research & Sponsored Programs welcomes CaTia Daniels as new Proposal & Contract Specialist

CaTia Daniels

We are pleased to announce the newest member of the Research & Sponsored Programs team, CaTia Daniels, a Proposal & Contract Specialist.

CaTia has years of background with fundraising and grant writing for nonprofit organizations, as well as research administration from University of Texas at Dallas. She is a Cincinnati native, graduated from Walnut Hills High School and Wright State University. CaTia will be moving to Ohio from Dallas, Texas this fall. But even while she is in Dallas, CaTia is hard at (remote) work, assisting Miami faculty with proposal preparation and submission.

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming CaTia to Miami!


“Welcome” photo by Video Girl via PublicDomainPictures.net, used under Creative Commons license. Photo of CaTia Daniels courtesy of CaTia Daniels.

Tony Smith, of Advanced Mobile Systems, installs a pier to support the FEMA-provided mobile home that the Grice family will temporarily live in while they begin to rebuild their lives.

New Federal guidelines require completion of new form

Screenshot of online form. Text: Miami University. Please provide the following information: Subrecipient/contractor name. Project title. Prime sponsor (i.e., name of funding agency). Miami Principal Investigator. SUBRECIPIENT - All of the characteristics listed might not be present in all cases. In determining whether an entity should be classified as a subrecipient or a contractor, the substance of the relationship is most important. Please check all that apply: Scope of work represents an intellectually significant portion of the overall programmatic effort and is measured against the objectives of the Federal program. There is an identified Principal Investigator for the subrecipient who has responsibility for making programmatic decisions. Proposed work could result in the development of intellectual property. Is expected to author or co-author publications on the results of its work.

The new Uniform Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly referred to as Uniform Guidance) mandates that recipients of Federal funds document their process of classifying third parties included in grant proposals as either subrecipients or contractors. In order to meet this requirement, OARS and Grants & Contracts have developed an online form that must be completed, saved as a PDF, and attached to your eSPA proposal record for all proposals that include funds going to a third party.

A separate form is required for each entity to be included in your proposal budget. Although this requirement is for funds from Federal sources, consistency principles dictate that we apply this same scrutiny to all proposals, whether the sponsor is Federal or non-Federal. Nothing is new in the criteria for determining whether a third party is classified as a subrecipient or a contractor — the only thing new is the requirement to document our process for making the determination.

A link to the online form can be found in the Proposal Preparation Resources section of the OARS website, as well as on the Budget and Subcontract pages in eSPA. If you have any questions about this new form, please contact your OARS representative. Use of this form will begin immediately.


Photo of contractor by Amanda Bicknell, from the FEMA Photo Library, via Wikimedia Commons, used under public domain.

Close up of parts of a Galileo thermometer. Tags on two of the globes read 23 degrees and 24 degrees, respectively.

Director of Research & Sponsored Programs shares eSPA survey results

Bar chart showing survey results. About 6% of respondents find it "very easy" to build a Cayuse SP proposal record and submit it for routing. About 35% find it "easy," about 23% find it "neutral," about 20% find it "difficult," about 3% find it "very difficult," and about 13% responded indicated the question was not applicable.
How easy is it to build a Cayuse SP proposal record and submit it for routing?

Thanks to all who completed our eSPA satisfaction survey. We received a total of 133 responses. Twenty percent of respondent had not used the system and no additional data was collected from those respondents. Sixty-five percent of respondents find the Cayuse system easy or “neutral” to use with only 3% saying it is very difficult.

Bar chart showing survey results. About 9% of respondents find it "very easy" to build a proposal in Cayuse 424. About 20% find it "easy," about 21% find it "neutral," about 10% find it "difficult," about 3% find it "very difficult," and about 37% responded indicated the question was not applicable.
How easy is it to build a proposal in Cayuse 424?

In terms of training and support resources, more respondents had participated in group training, but as would be expected, one-on-one training was rated as the most helpful. There was no interest in follow-up training. There was a great deal of positive feedback about the ease of use, ability to track all phases of proposal routing, ability to have all pieces of a proposal in one place, and the speed and ease of paperless routing. About a dozen users felt that the system was too time consuming, difficult and required too much work. Of the handful of respondents expressing frustration about the need to enter budgets on multiple forms, one actually noted that “having to do it both ways has helped me to catch errors, so I should probably get over it!” There was also frustration with the number of compliance questions and seemingly irrelevant questions, particularly in the “Community Benefits” section.

I am still irritated about having to do a budget spreadsheet for OARS’ approval and then re-do the budget in eSPA. HOWEVER, having to do it both ways has helped me to catch errors, so I should probably get over it.    — eSPA survey respondent

In response to your comments, OARS has taken several steps to address some of the concerns expressed. We have reworded the questions in the Community Benefits section to clarify what we are looking for and provided examples for each. For approvers, we eliminated the so-called entity email accounts, which were a great source of frustration, so all automated emails notifications from this system now go to approvers’ personal email addresses. We also continue to work with new eSPA users to provide one-on-one training as time allows and when we have no upcoming group trainings scheduled. However, because of limited staffing, this is not something we can do for every new user on a continuing basis.

Bar graph showing respondents' opinions of the usefulness of each of three training resources. For group training, results are as follows: 15% very helpful, 40% somewhat helpful, 5% helpful, and 40% not applicable. For one-on-one training: 20% very helpful, 8% somewhat helpful, and 72% not applicable. For quick start guide: 10% very helpful, 20% somewhat helpful, 7% not at all helpful, and 63% not applicable.
How helpful were training resources?

Regarding the need to complete OARS’ internal budget spreadsheet and enter a detailed budget on the budget tab in SP, and — in the case of NSF proposals — also enter a detailed budget in Fastlane, let me provide some explanation that might facilitate a better understanding of this requirement. The first point is that our internal business practices have not changed with the initiation of the eSPA system; we previously used the internal budget template as a mechanism for PIs to draft their budgets and for OARS to provide feedback before the final budget is entered into the funding agency’s budget form, so this is not new. What is new is the need to enter the detailed budget on the budget page in Cayuse SP. This is actually one of the Lean outcomes of this system. Cayuse SP is able to interface with our Banner post-award accounting system, so the detailed budget can be transferred from SP to the Banner grant award account, eliminating the need for double entry of the budget. While this does put a slight additional burden on individual PIs at proposal submission, the cumulative time saved at the central office level is significant, and allows both Grants and Contracts and OARS staff to focus on more proactive initiatives and to better serve the needs of our PIs.


Written by Anne Schauer, Director of Research & Sponsored Programs, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Galileo thermometer image by Steve Johnson, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

 

A yellow stripe on a road is stamped with the word "E-MAIL."

eSPA entity accounts retired

A clock, with the word "RETIRE" in place of the number 3. The small hand is on "RETIRE" and the big hand is on 12, indicating it is time to retire.

OARS heard frustrations about the entity accounts we originally established for eSPA notifications, and we’ve taken action to make things better. Last month we began changing the email addresses associated with approver accounts in eSPA to each approver’s personal Miami account. That process is now complete, and from this point forward, all notifications that a proposal record or advanced account request is waiting for approval will be sent to approvers’ personal Miami email inbox.

When we launched eSPA, we initially thought that having to change email addresses every time a chair, dean, or director changed would be too labor-intensive for our small staff. However, now that the system has been up and running for nearly a year, we have learned that changing approvers in departments and colleges requires other manual changes in eSPA, and that changing email addresses at the same time takes little additional effort.

We thank approvers for their feedback and hope they continue to let us know how the system works for for them as we go forward. To that end, OARS will distribute a short survey in the coming month. We ask all approvers to be on the lookout for this survey and to encourage their grant-active faculty who have experience with eSPA to complete it as well.


Retirement clock photo by American Advisors Group via Flickr. Email road photo by sophie & cie via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license.

 

Image is a long shot of a red brick building. The building has two wings, between which is an entrance surrounded with grey stone. Grass, sidewalks and trees with fall leaves are visible in the foreground.

eSPA training sessions offered

Beginning January 1, 2014 all proposals at Miami University must be routed through the eSPA system (Cayuse Research Suite).
Beginning January 1, 2014 all proposals at Miami University must be routed through the eSPA system (Cayuse Research Suite).

The OARS staff has been hard at work getting our new electronic sponsored programs administration, or eSPA, system (Evisions Cayuse 424/SP) ready to roll out to the Miami community. Our campus-wide training sessions began on October 29 and will continue to be offered on numerous dates at various times through January 2015.

Online registration is required for these 90 minute sessions, which will provide an overview of the on-line system, and a walk-through of the steps involved in creating a proposal record, building a proposal, routing the proposal for approvals, and monitoring proposal and award activity.

Implementation of the new on-line system will begin on January 1, 2015, at which point paper routing forms will no longer be accepted.  All faculty and staff will be required to use the new eSPA system for the submission of all external grant proposals beginning January 1, 2015.

If you are involved in submitting proposals for external funding, we strongly encourage you to attend one or more of the following sessions (click on the date to register).  All sessions are in the B.E.S.T. Library instructional space, 116 Laws Hall.

Thu 11/6, 11:30-1:00

Wed 11/12, 12:00-1:30

Wed 11/12, 3:00-4:30

Wed 11/19, 3:30-5:00

Thu 11/20 11:00-12:30

Wed 12/10, 12:00-1:30

Wed 12/10, 3:30-5:00

Thu 12/11, 12:00-1:30

Tue 12/16, 1:00-2:30

Wed 12/17, 10:00-11:30

Red, orange and yellow digital ones and zeros stream from front to back across the frame. The numbers are clear in the foreground, blurry in the background, giving the image a sense of motion.

eSPA training is on the horizon

Photograph of the unibody iMac. The screensaver is an image of space -- swirling matter and stars.

“eSPA?” you ask. In case you have missed our previous announcements, OARS is in the process of implementing a new Electronic Sponsored Programs Administration (eSPA) software tool — Evisions Cayuse Research Suite — that will officially launch on January 1, 2015.

This system will provide for system-to-system electronic submission of all Federal proposals formerly submitted through grants.gov and Fastlane, and will replace our paper Proposal Approval Form (PAF) with electronic routing. In addition, the new system’s robust features will allow faculty and administrators to generate grant-activity reports on their own at any time.

We will launch training for this new system on October 6-8, when Evisions staff will be onsite at the Oxford campus. OARS will lead additional training sessions throughout the remainder of fall semester, with multiple sessions every two weeks, to accommodate as many schedules as possible. Be on the look out — here on the blog, on Twitter @MiamiOH_OARS, on the OARS website, and on 25Live — for the training schedule for specific dates and times.

For more information about eSPA, read the FAQs on the OARS website or contact me.

Featured image (left) by freeimages.com user flavioloka, used with permission. Image above by Matthieu Riegler (user:Kyro) via Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license.