Facilitating the Research and the Thought Process

ORA recently hosted a one-day workshop entitled “Departmental Research Administration: Facilitating the Research and the Thought Process,” which focused on understanding and applying tests for allowability, allocability, reasonableness and consistency under OMB Circulars A-21 and A-110.

Through interacting and discussing real life examples in research administration, participants gained a better understanding of how to apply the circulars at a transactional level and refine the process for documenting justifications associated with approving expenditures.  These case studies also prompted participants to identify and examine issues in departmental research administration scenarios, and we’ve excerpted a few below.  How would you proceed in each of the following situations?

1.            Should the purchase of a BMW during the course of research studying the effects of airbags in a crash be approved, and, if so, in which expense category should the purchase be booked?

2.            May a laptop purchased on a PI’s award be purchased by the PI upon transferring to a foreign institution?

3.            What do you do when a piece of equipment budgeted at the institutional threshold of $5,000, but subsequently purchased for a total less than the threshold due to an institutional discount with the vendor, is adjusted to a supply object code upon account closeout since it did not meet the institution definition of $5,000?

4.            What departmental discussions need to occur when you have been notified that your proposal has been selected for funding but at a reduced rate?

The event also offered strategies for effective interaction with principle investigators when administrating an award, and focus was given to the thought processes associated with managing federal awards.

“Facilitating the Research and the Thought Process” was the first in a series of Departmental Research Administration workshops that will offered to JHSPH research administrators.  An encore presentation is tentatively scheduled for November 29, 2011, and we encourage all research administrators who missed the first presentation to attend this time around.  For further information, please contact Katie Magrogan at kmagroga@jhsph.edu or 410-614-1856.