Baylor's New Research Administration System
What is an eRA?
An Electronic Research Administration (eRA) system automates the processes the university uses to apply for and manage research grants and other funding. eRA systems can vary in scope, from pre-award administration only, to post-award administrative and regulatory aspects of grants, contract and subcontract management, protocols, compliance committee management, conflicts of interest, and effort reporting. After a formal RFP and lengthy evaluation process, Huron Research Suite was chosen as Baylor's next-gen research administration platform.
CARA stands for Compliance and Research Administration, and is Baylor's branded name for the new eRA system.
Our decision was based on Huron’s:
- Well-defined implementation support and knowledge of Baylor’s current research infrastructure
- Availability of full product line, including effort reporting
- Delivered functionality specific to best practice internal controls
Why are we doing this?
Reduce Administrative Burdens
Increase the time that investigators spend on research and decrease the time spent on the administration of their grants. An eRA system will also integrate business offices and existing systems (Ignite), creating efficiencies and streamlining processes. It provides the research community with better, more unified technology to manage research portfolios.
Improve Accountability and Compliance
Increased federal regulatory and auditor oversight of university systems will require consistent practices, adherence to regulatory guidelines and proper stewardship of funds at the institution level.
Enhance Competitiveness for Funding
Many peer research institutions are addressing eRA. These universities have invested heavily in both research infrastructure and electronic research administration. To compete for research funds, Baylor must similarly enhance its abilities in this technology space.
Provide Accessibility of Information
As our volume of research grows, data demands increase to assist with decision-making at all levels within the university, including trend analysis, ROI, and other productivity metrics. Additionally, basic operational reporting and other detailed analyses of pre-award data points must be streamlined and made more easily accessible.
What is the initial scope for Baylor’s implementation?
The primary functions we will consider in the initial phase include:
- Proposal Development and Routing, including Budgeting
- Subaward and Subcontract Generation and Tracking
- Award receipt and establishment of funded status
- Non-financial Post-Award transaction workflow
- Post Award financial integration with Oracle PPM (Ignite)
- Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Management (Institutional and Research)
Okay, but how does all this benefit ME?
- Grant Proposals more easily routed, approved, and tracked online
- Track and report your research proposal activity in a single system
- Supports more collaborative research across university departments
- Disclose conflicts of interest and commitment from a single profile
- Provides a university-wide, standardized data source for proposals
- Enhanced reporting
- Improves overall management and delivery of the administrative portions of sponsored research
- Track, manage and report all disclosed conflicts of interest and commitment from a single system
- Integrates research-related COI disclosures with Grant portfolio
When is this happening?
Initial project planning and needs assessments began during summer 2021. These assessments informed the eventual call for vendor proposals in September 2021 as well as the evaluation criteria for proposals received. The three vendor finalists demonstrated their software's capabilities in December 2021 for faculty and OVPR staff.
After additional testing, reference checking, and follow up questions, Huron Research Suite was chosen in January, 2022, and project kick-off began in late August, 2022. We began piloting of the new system on June 26, 2023. Training opportunities are currently in progress and will continue throughout summer and fall.
Additionally, an assessment of COI practices and policy at Baylor began in June, 2022 in order to align system design with policy decisions and to consolidate institutional and research disclosures into a single system. The COI system will officially go online as of September 12, 2023.
Who do I contact if I have questions or comments regarding this process?
We encourage your feedback! Please send project-related questions or comments to Luke Whiting at Luke_Whiting@baylor.edu or Susan Stearsman at Susan_Stearsman@baylor.edu. System questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.