Pre-award Management

Expand all | Collapse all

Flags in addition to forms

  • 1.  Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 11 days ago
    I'm taking Kelly Morgan's suggestion from this reply and running with it. Consider this the new thread on whether or not folks would be interested in keeping flags once we're on the new platform and can design our intake forms to capture all the varieties of information we need or want.

    Speaking for myself, I'd want to keep them, at least assuming they'd work roughly the same way they do now. One big reason for that stance is their visibility on a proposal list or search screen. When there's a flag, I don't have to delve all the way into the IPF to find the piece of information represented by the flag: just click on the flag and there it is. So that could be one way to mark things that are important to know right away, so folks looking for that information don't have to click through to find it.

    Sure, we can ask the relevant questions once we've got smart forms and can build an IPF to capture all the information we need or want - but that comes at an administrative burden cost on the PIs (or whoever is filling out the IPFs - at Oakland, we split that task with the PIs, since we try to keep as much burden off their plates as possible. We could, as we did with our IRB initial submission template (which we built ourselves using the smart forms technology that's about to become available in SP), tailor the form in such a way that certain options are only revealed when the answer to a previous question makes it necessary. (For example, if the PI answers No to the question about human subjects involvement, then we don't need to ask that PI whether there's an IRB-approved protocol in place, or a pending submission.) But we'd still have to build those questions into the form - and there's also no guarantee that the PI will correctly answer the questions. In the context of limited submissions that prompted the original discussion, I'd wager that probably fewer than 30% of our PIs would get that answer correct if we asked it - whereas any of our pre-award staff can answer it in a heartbeat.

    Plus, we've deployed some flags that wouldn't be capturable in an IPF. We have one for projects that had to be terminated because of COVID, for example - there'd be no way that a PI would know that at proposal stage, but it's definitely information we want to be able to report on and track. Similarly, we have flags to indicate when a PI submits their first proposal and receives their first award, as we recognize those individuals at our annual research town hall. Again, not something that would be appropriate to ask in an IPF - and while we could find that information through searches and filters, having the flag there makes it much simpler and easier for us to tally that list every year.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Spires
    Research Development Officer
    Oakland University
    Rochester, MI
    (he/him)
    mspires@oakland.edu
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 11 days ago
    Thinking more about this, I wonder if it would be possible to weave some flags into the rule-based process? For example, we currently flag a number of different special proposal types (NSF CAREER, NSF MRI, CARES Act, SBIR/STTR, NSF GRFP, among others), either because we need to be able to identify quickly relevant proposals (we have to report on awarded MRIs over a five-year window in each new MRI proposal, for example), or because we're interested in tracking how many submissions go in to a particular program, and our success rates. We also have one for proposals with compliance issues (export control, biohazards, cannabis-related research, intellectual property, and so forth). We're very much looking forward to be able to generate notices on those - but I wonder if it would be possible to have those flags activated when the relevant question(s) are answered that trigger the status? That would help make sure that all relevant proposals get marked, which is a little hit-or-miss now, since we have to remember to add the flags separately.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Spires
    Research Development Officer
    Oakland University
    Rochester, MI
    (he/him)
    mspires@oakland.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 10 days ago
    Yes!!  Auto-activation of flags from proposal triggers would be a real QA improvement.  We, too, track info similar to/overlapping with Michael's list, and we don't always remember to assign the flag.  Given the fact that Kelly raised the question whether we still needed flags at all tells me this would be an enhancement request... :-)

    cheers,
    -Lisa

    ------------------------------
    =+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
    Lisa Churchill
    Sr. Grants Information Manager
    The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 9 days ago

    You know me too well, Lisa!

    The short answer is yes, this is something we could potentially include in the product as an enhancement going forward, which is why I'm asking for feedback on it now.  But I do want to make sure that we're centering the question around the Product Management mantra: "What is the problem we're trying to solve?"

    So, in the vein of an administrator needing to add information to a record in the system - what are the problems that Flags are solving for you now?



    ------------------------------
    Kelly Morgan
    Product Manager, Pre-Award
    Cayuse
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 9 days ago
    For us, they're serving a number of different needs:
    1. Helping us quickly  track special-interest competitions. Some, like the CAREER and MRI programs, we could do through other means (those competitions require prefixes to the title, but others do not)
    2. Helping us to identify  projects (and related proposals) that require enhanced review or where just-in-time information is likely to be needed (this is something that we could capture on the IPF, but that also means that an  automatic flag option would help us to ensure that all relevant proposals/awards/projects are so flagged, rather than depending on research development and research administration personnel to remember to flag them)
    3. Helping us to identify post-award issues. These are things that would not be known or included on the IPF. We're not using them for it yet, but it occurs to  me that  maybe we should look at adding  a  flag for no-cost (and for-cost) extensions, since agencies are increasingly looking on them with a  jaundiced eye. We're still small enough that we could probably keep a mental list of such projects (and  PIs), but that might not be feasible for much longer - or for our colleagues at bigger institutions.
    4. Helping us manage internal recognition programs (first proposal, first award - but there could be others)


    ------------------------------
    Michael Spires
    Research Development Officer
    Oakland University
    Rochester, MI
    (he/him)
    mspires@oakland.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 9 days ago
    Gotcha!  :-)

    In at least one of my cases, it allows additional granularity to the type of proposal without having to make additional proposal instrument types.  For instance, Diversity, multi-PI (which would not get captured in the "team" list in the case of subawards), or limited-submission

    Another use case has been in flagging pending proposals that have outgoing subawards, because we don't make a project until there's an award.  We also put the institution and PI name of the outsub in the notes field (in a very specific format so it's mine-able:  OUTSUB: Jones, Andrew @UCSD), so if someone wants to know if we've ever collaborated with Dr. X, our back-end query system can give us the answer.​​

    The latter use may go away with additional smart fields on the IPF.

    cheers,
    -Lisa

    ------------------------------
    =+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
    Lisa Churchill
    Sr. Grants Information Manager
    The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 9 days ago
    In addition to agreeing with what Michael and Lisa have already shared, 
    we use flags to ...
    1) ensure University compliance with federal regulations (Section 117 reporting on foreign influence, E-verify)
    2) assist in annual NSF HERD survey (basic vs developmental vs applied research)
    3) assist auditors (identify that key personnel changes have occurred)
    4) ensure sponsor guidelines re: publications are followed (publication restrictions, or sponsor requires approval of press release)

    I suppose all these could be covered in a form, but we like the flags because they show us at-a-glance what we need to be aware of in the award's management rather than have to scroll down a form, or review a report.

    It'd be interesting to see a full list of the flags customers already have in place because more heads are better than one (especially on a Friday afternoon).
    Terri

    ------------------------------
    Terri Hall
    Director, Research Business Intelligence
    University of Notre Dame
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Flags in addition to forms

    Posted 3 days ago
    Hi everyone,

    I second everything that Terri, Michael, and Lisa state above. We have fully embraced the flag feature and its search functionality. It would be very disappointing to lose this feature.
    Sherrie

    ------------------------------
    Sherrie Hixon
    Director, Strategic Research Initiatives & Innovation
    California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
    ------------------------------