KU's new award management unit launches on Monday, Nov. 1

From: Jessica Johnson Webb, Associate Director of Award Management; Alicia Reed, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, 11:39 a.m.
To: KU Lawrence faculty and staff

KU research community,

After much hard work and planning, the Award Management Services (AMS) unit is set to go live on Monday, Nov. 1, creating a single, centralized service unit — housed in the Office of Research — that provides award management support for the KU-Lawrence campus.

We’re excited and optimistic about this project and look forward to meeting our two project goals:

  • Improving service to campus partners and reducing administrative burden for researchers.
  • Creating an organizational structure to support autonomous work and job satisfaction for research support staff.

What changes

In order to better serve all investigators and departments, AMS leadership realigned staff portfolios based on investigators. Individual PIs will work with their AMS contact throughout the post-award cycle, starting after the award is set up and continuing through closeout. Invoicing will still occur separately.

  • Though most investigators will continue working with the person who was their SSC Research contact, some will have a new AMS contact. We provided an initial portfolio assignment in August. New projects, new PIs, and new hires within the AMS unit have precipitated some additional changes. Those individuals who will be working with someone new are receiving a separate notification.
  • AMS work groups reviewed all processes associated with the new unit and have proposed improvements and updates. Most of these changes are internal to the unit, but a few will be visible to campus. Those units that would see a substantial change in process have been alerted.

    Changes for PIs and units may include:
    • Reporting on KURES non-sponsored funds: Contact may change; AMS will not be doing this for projects.
    • 3G: Forms will be initiated by department.
    • Reporting/forecasting on sponsored project funds: Format might change; aggregating multiple forms for consistency of support and to ensure continuity of support should primary contact be unable to assist
    • Non-payroll cost transfers: Simplifying form; approval via email with removal of signature requirements.
    • Award action (award/project): Implementing approval form to ensure transparency.
  • high-level summary of impacts to PIs is available online, and a detailed summary and the supporting process maps are available on the Office of Research Forms and Documents site. We will continue to seek feedback on these changes during the stabilization period; you can provide that directly to any AMS staff member, to Alicia Reed, or via anonymous submission of the Award Management Feedback Form.

What stays the same

  • For most investigators and units, the point of contact will remain the same, with more tools, resources and authorizations to be able to take action and complete processes as needed.
  • All SSC Finance and SSC HR staff will continue their current roles and duties. PIs and departments can continue to work with those contacts to pay bills, order supplies, and hire staff and students.
  • The Office of Research Award Processing & Setup team will continue to coordinate and set up all projects, and the Sponsored Project Accounts Receivables team will continue to manage most sponsored project billing. AMS staff can help coordinate communication but will not manage these functions.


November and December have been designated as a dedicated stabilization period, with ongoing iterative improvements to process and services occurring throughout the Spring 2022 semester. As staff take their first steps completing these new duties — and as we utilize the new processes for the first time — we expect to identify  places for improvement. We ask for your patience as we take on new roles and responsibilities, and for your feedback if you see areas that could benefit from adjustments.

Contacting AMS

From Nov. 1 forward, AMS assignments are available on the Office of Research website, searchable by PI name. Additionally, if you need to communicate with the AMS staff but aren’t sure who to ask, you can always email awardmanagement@ku.edu and the correct person will join the conversation.

Life Span Institute + Institute for Policy & Social Research

The Life Span Institute and the Institute for Policy & Social Research have both been granted delegated authority and will take on the full range of responsibilities for most post-award processes for PIs with projects running through those centers. All LSI and IPSR investigators should continue working with their contacts in those units, as designated.

AMS staff

We want to thank the AMS team for their patience, perseverance, and countless hours of hard work during this process. We are thrilled to be working with this highly skilled group of people. The excitement and optimism we feel about this project is due in large part to the outstanding AMS staff.
Our group is divided into four teams, detailed in the Office of Research organizational chart:

  • Education & Social Improvement Team, Aletha Beard, manager
  • Engineering & Earth Sciences Team, Tim Spencer, manager
  • Biologies & Pharmacy Team, Jennifer Holladay, manager
  • Humanities & Cross-Disciplinary Team, Jessica Chilcoat, manager

Additionally, we want to thank those of you who have pitched in along the way with feedback, ideas, words of encouragement and the heavy lifting of making the changes we have requested. Your support has brought us to the brink of implementation in an excellent position.

As always, you can contact Jessica and Alicia directly, or utilize the anonymous Award Management Feedback Form for input.

Jessica and Alicia 

Jessica Johnson Webb 
Associate Director, Award Management  

Alicia Reed 
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research