Update on research award management transformation

From: Jessica Johnson Webb, Associate Director of Award Management; Alicia Reed, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2021, 1:34 p.m.
To: KU Lawrence faculty and staff

KU Research Community,

We are moving forward in our Award Management Transformation Project and want to update you on progress.

Staff have completed mapping the current workflows for all processes to be undertaken by the new unit. During the month of July, their work groups will design updated processes to merge activities currently completed partly by SSC Research staff and partly by Office of Research Post-Award grant managers. During this “future state mapping,” work groups will propose new workflows that leverage technology and increase efficiencies.

We’ve added additional milestones to the project timeline, including our planned finalization of staff assignments. The Award Management leadership team — Alicia Reed, Amy Carlson and Jessica Johnson Webb — is assessing workload metrics in order to finalize staff portfolio assignments for the new unit. As mentioned previously, we envision these positions as responsible for all tasks within a specific portfolio after an award is set up through closeout, apart from invoicing. Assignments will likely be by principal investigator or by department. We plan to leverage current relationships and assignments whenever possible to build upon prior knowledge and trust, but we do anticipate that new roles will require some changes. We plan to announce assignments to campus by Aug. 30.

The timeline originally included milestones for an Office of Research Service Level Agreement (SLA). Based on feedback from the Office of Research Advisory Council, this SLA will focus on other high-impact areas in post-award and is expected to be shared with campus in Fall 2021. Clear roles and expectations for the award management unit will be added to the KU Research SLA in Spring 2022 after the initial stabilization period.

We’ve tentatively determined a unit structure with four teams led by grant managers who report to the associate director. Each team would be focused on a collection of disciplines. Within each team, we envision grant coordinators with full portfolio assignments, and grant officers with a lighter portfolio and additional duties in functional areas or supervision.

We continue to make good progress on this project and welcome all feedback. You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the project webpage, and we will continue to provide monthly updates throughout the duration of the transformation.

Jessica and Alicia 

Jessica Johnson Webb 
Associate Director, Award Management  

Alicia Reed 
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research