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Dear colleagues,

This weekend we performed a software upgrade to the Research Administration System (RAS) to complete several planned enhancements to various modules (see detail below).

Also attached are either new or updated job aids based on this build’s upgrade. These updates will not be in the current RAS job aids PDF since we are in the process of converting these job aids to an online training system. In the meantime you can reference the attached job aids for this build’s updates and the current RAS job aids PDF for the rest of the system’s functionality. We will keep you posted on the process of the job aids conversion.

As always, please report any technical issues to ras-support@tufts.edu. Thank you!

– The RAS Team

Build Notes – Research Administration System (v 1901.0005 T2.28)
General
Data Changes & New Features

  • New Search Fields:  Activity Type, Award Type, Anticipated Award Type, and DUNS. Activity Type, Anticipated Award Type and Award Type were added as searchable fields on the Proposal Development, Institutional Proposal, and Award module lookup screens. The Activity Type and Anticipated Award Type are in the search results as columns in the Proposal Development module. The Subcontract Organization DUNS was added to the Proposal Development and Award modules as searchable fields.
Proposal Development (and Budget)
Data Changes & New Features

  • Basics Panel:
    • Location of Work. This field was renamed from Location of Foreign Work and is now required for all proposals. If the foreign country of work is not known, ‘TBD’ can be selected, and if the work is being held in the U.S., ‘United States’ must be selected.  ‘TBD’ values should be updated once the proposal is awarded. A back end data update will be made on the day of the build for proposals in route that do not have this field filled in to default to ‘United States.’ IP and Awards will be prompted to select a value for this field.
    • Sponsor Field.  New validation blocks a proposal with ‘To Be Determined’ Sponsor in the Sponsor field from routing until the Sponsor is updated.
    • Original Institutional Proposal ID.  A new field has been added to the Proposal Details screen labeled as ‘The first segment of this project was submitted while the PI was at another institution.’ This check box is unchecked by default. Validation requires an Original Institutional Proposal ID when the proposal type is anything other than New, Pre-Proposal, or Transfer In. If the Original Institutional Proposal ID is not known because the PI submitted the first segment from another institution, then this check box should be checked and the validation for the Original Institutional IP will not trigger a validation.
    • Original Institutional Proposal ID for ‘Pre-Proposal’ Proposal Type.  If the checkbox labeled as ‘Pre-Proposal Previously Submitted’ is checked (located on the Supplemental Info panel), the Original Institutional Proposal ID (for the Pre-Proposal) will be required for submission.

o    Additional Tags. This field is optional to use when the Keywords are not granular enough and want to add additional content to the proposal. To use this field, select the ‘Add New Tag’ button, type in the new text and save, and then select it from the drop down list.

  • Unrecovered F&A Panel. F&A defaults to $0 when there is a negative F&A amount calculated on the budget. RAS will zero out the Unrecovered F&A panel so that there is no negative F&A.
  • Attachments Panel. Attachments and S2S Forms Ordering. The order in which the attachments are added to the Attachments panel will map in the same order to the S2S Forms showing the oldest first. However, in the Attachments panel will show the list of files with the newest on top. This fix prevents the Attachments panel to flip the sort order after the proposal is approved.
  • Sponsor Allowed F&A Rate. ‘Is the Tufts institutional rate allowed by the Sponsor?’ This question was added to the  Questionnaire panel-> Proposal Questions tab as a required field. If the response selected to this question is No, a new question, ‘If no, what is the maximum F&A rate allowed by the Sponsor?’  will be required to enter the allowable F&A rate. The Sponsor Allowed F&A rate will also appear in the Budget Summary on the Summary/Submit panel. These questions/responses will also feed to the Institutional Proposal and Award modules.  A back end data update will be made on the day of the build for proposals in route to default to ‘Yes.’ IP and Awards will not be prompted to select a value for this field.
  • Notifications. Proposal Notification Updates. Updates to Proposal Notifications (primarily removals from standard recipients lists) were made based on feedback from Pre-Award, Post-Award and the Lead Research Administrators. Please see Proposal Notifications Summary job aid for the updates.

Fixed

  • Budget
    • Performance Issues. Fixed an issue where the budget with 18 or more personnel used to cause slow system performance (lengthy processing time during proposal work/save).
    • Number of Participants Error. Fixed an issue where if the number of Participants is completed in the proposal budget on a Participant Support line item but later deleted the database retained memory of that saved value causing a RR Budget validation.
    • Same Person listed twice. Fixed a miscalculation with Requested Salary when a Person is listed twice (or more) with different Salary Effective Dates in the Project Personnel tab.
  • Routing. Delegate Central Admin Roles. Upon approval of a proposal, the proposal status now defaults to the same Approved and Submitted status as a Central Admin role even when a delegate signs.
  • S2S Forms
    • SF424A Form. Once the ‘Submit Cost Sharing’ is turned on from the Budget Settings, the SF424A form is summing the cost share total in the appropriate columns of the form correctly.
    • NIFA Supplemental Info Form. For proposals that requires the NIFA_Supplemental_Info_1_2-V1.2 form, RAS will no longer produce an NIH error when this form is accompanied by only the SF424 form in the S2S Forms panel list. Such proposals can now be submitted S2S.
Award
Data Changes & New Features

  • New Activity Types. ‘Equipment’ and ‘Equipment Transfer’ added.
    • ‘Equipment Transfer’ should always be set up with $0 Time and Money, and will not be processed in the Award Budget Tool. Award actions on such awards are wholly owned by Pre-Award and are excluded from Award notifications.
    • ‘Equipment’ is expected to have Time and Money and will be processed in the Award Budget Tool.
  • Comments, Notes and Attachments Panel. Award Attachments. A new enhancement allows users to sort and search by headers within the Attachment panel. The feature also allows to edit an attachment type of an existing attachment without having to delete and re-add the same attachment.
  • Medusa Panel. Children proposals in a Proposal Hierarchy display in the Medusa panel. When a new award is linked to a proposal from a  Proposal Hierarchy from the Proposal Development module, the children proposals will display in the Medusa panel of the Award. This enhancement makes the information more readily accessible.
  • New Award Transaction Types. Cancelled and Close-Out in Progress added. These new Award Transaction Types were added to match the same Award Statuses.
  • Award Search Screen. New Sponsor SubAgencies Field:  ‘Include Subagencies’ check box.  This new check box, ‘Include Subagencies’ under the Sponsor search field was added to pull up an award that has a sponsor value entered in the Sponsor search field from either the Sponsor, Originating Sponsor, Subagency AND/ OR Subagency 2 fields from an award.
  • Notifications. Service Center Agreement types. These types have been removed from Award Notifications since these are types of contracts that do not receive a Grant ID.
  • Award Panel. New Sponsor Award Templates. The following additional Sponsor Award Templates have been created to default the terms and conditions of an award when applied to the award for these applicable sponsors: NSF, NIH with or without Automatic Carryforward, Service Center Agreement, Research Service Agreement, and ONR.

Fixed

  • Grand Challenges STE Error. Fixed an issue where an Institutional Proposal linked to an award would sometimes cause an error and prevent the award being created.
Additional Resources
Please be sure to use official channels for contacting technical support so we can address your request most efficiently.

  • RAS Route Paths – Preview all current route paths established for your departments in RAS. Separate tables are displayed for:
    • PD Route Path (Proposal & PD Budget)
    • Award Budget Route Path

You can filter by school or department and/or hover over the final column to see all roles summarized, including delegate assignments for each stop. Going forward, please use these views as your baseline for requesting additional updates and submit all update requests through the tool by clicking in the grid and selecting the appropriate role against which to complete the request form.

  • Keywords – A complete list of currently available keywords that can be applied in PD (or, later in IP/Award)
  • Known Issues – Open, known issues in the system (with instructions/workaround recommendations) can now additionally be found via a link on the home page of RAS (post-login), under Quick Links
  • More on how to use features and functions of the RAS application in the RAS Job Aids. If you cannot find the answer in this guide, please review the Known Issues list or contact:
    • your Pre Award Portfolio Manager (Proposal Development (PD), Institutional Proposal (IP) – functional questions)
    • your Post Award Specialist (Award, Award Budget – functional questions)
    • ras-support@tufts.edu  617-627-3376* (system errors or for other technical support)
      *For urgent issues, calling the above phone number will guarantee the most immediate response.
    • Please do not call or email the RAS Team directly with questions as we cannot guarantee the same turnarounds
  • Support Tickets/Emails: Key contextual information—like RAS Proposal #/Award #, Opportunity ID, steps taken to produce the error/issue, screen shots (if applicable), and submission deadline date—should be included along with a clear summary of your question for best results.
  • Please note that Subcontractor/Site and Sponsor Requests are managed by Jordan Wilkinson in OVPR, with backup contacts: Brandon Milby (Brandon.Milby@tufts.edu) and Jeff Cosier (jeffrey.cosier@tufts.edu) in case of out-of-office. Please continue to direct all such requests to Jordan.
  • RAS Users Distribution: if you know of anyone on your team who is currently not receiving the Build Notes (this message), please forward along and send us a request to ras-support@tufts.edu to get that person/those people added.
— GENERAL REMINDERS –

Proposal Development

  • Please remember to enter at least one Keyword from the available menu for each PD proposal in addition to a Grand Challenge. Keywords are essential for university trend reporting to better inform future submission strategy.
  • Reminder: PLEASE DO NOT USE THE “SALARY EFFECTIVE DATE” FIELD IN PROPOSAL BUDGET. This date should default to the Project Start date and should NOT be changed except in the specific scenario of adding the same employee twice to budget for variable base salary by period. When used in variance from the period start date, it can affect the accurate calculation of your budget. Instead, apply specific date ranges in the Apply Personnel to Periods panel per the job aids. Note: This is distinct from the Salary Anniversary Date, which may be used to set a 9/1 inflation date, for example.

Award

  • Please remember to ALWAYS use the start date of the increment of funding in the Obligated Start field and NOT the Project Start date, unless shared.

Award Budget

  • Please remember to ALWAYS edit and finalize the Award PRIOR to transmitting a first Award Budget transaction.
  • Please be sure to review outstanding data validations (via report) BEFORE submitting an Award Budget for best results.
  • Please note that Award closeout procedure using Award Budget requires two sequential transactions through the Award Budget Tool – financial amount closeout (drawing all remaining Anticipated funds to zero) and a separate status change closeout. If processed together, the grant will be inactivated before money can be updated.