The eRA system is designed to support our researchers and their staff to better manage the administration of research throughout a project lifecycle. The post-awards module follows on from the pre-awards module, assuming the grant application is successful and the contract has been processed and signed by the Research Contracts & Innovation (RC&I) office within the university.
The initiation of a new project award record in the post-awards module on eRA requires no action from the researcher. The project information from the researcher’s pre-award approval request will automatically be pulled into an eRA contract record if the proposal is successful, and from the contract record (initiated by the assigned contracts manager), into the post-awards project record. While the post-awards module offers benefits to the researcher, it differs from the pre-awards module in that it does not necessitate the same active involvement of the PI, but is more of an opt-in tracking and management tool that researchers can engage with to the extent they find helpful. They can, for example, view the various administrative elements of their research project award: such as fund opening, requisition requests, and funding or contractual information.
PIs (or their delegates) can update their project award record with relevant information to assist in their project management, especially as the post-awards module integrates with existing systems such as HR and student systems. This allows you to track contract and award information all in one place. It is therefore a tool that can be used to keep on top of things like which team members or students are linked to which project, funder requirements around reporting and the status of various pieces of regulatory information such as ethics approvals or renewals.
A particular benefit of this module is the financial tracking, which you, as the PI, are not responsible for populating, but which mirrors some of the information or processes actioned in SAP. It allows you to easily keep track of financial activities linked to your research project award; for instance, invoices or receipts issued and budget loading requests. If you are waiting for a fund to be opened or an invoice request to be actioned, you will be able to track the status of that request and process through eRA. This means you will be able to see the overall picture of your research award administrative activities without having to track it all manually.
Phase I of the module will be rolled out in November 2019, affecting only new projects where the contract is signed off through eRA from 1 November.
The eRA analysts are currently working on development of Phase II and are actively seeking researcher input into the system functionality to ensure it works optimally for you, our users. Please contact Deborah O Ajumobi if you wish to be involved in the focus groups for Phase II.
The UCT Research Support Hub is a virtual platform for UCT's researchers offering information about research administration. The information is curated from all research-related sources, by and for researchers.