Office of Grants and Contracts Administration
Seward Glacierphoto by Maren Boyack

Electronic Research Administration

ERA

Electronic Research Administration (ERA) is the general term to describe a series of new trends associated with: the identification of new funding opportunities; the submission of grant applications; the review of grant proposals; and the management of subsequent grant and contract awards, all conducted via the Internet. ERA is rapidly taking the place of traditional means of correspondence in the research community.

The Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-107) required a collaborative effort of the 26 federal funding agencies to streamline and simplify the award and administration of federal grants.  Planning by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in coordination with federal funding agencies has been ongoing since 1999, although the effects of the implementation have only begun to affect the grant recipients.  In Federal Fiscal Year 2006 Grants.gov became the government-wide portal for proposal submissions. Each funding agency was required to have a percentage of their funding opportunities with required proposal submission through Grants.gov.  We have seen from the implementation of the Act the relocation of A-110 to 2CFR 215 as a step to relocating the circulars as guidance to federal regulation.
Although the Act will sunset at the end of this federal fiscal year, it is believe there will be several additional implementations under the P.L. 106-107 umbrella. The relocation of A-110 is expected to be the first of several as the government intends to move all OMB circulars to 2 CFR.   The simplification initiative’s objectives are: to move all agency regulations that implement the OMB guidance into Subtitle B of Title 2, and to adopt a government-wide guidance to replace the common rules that each agency publishes separately.   Several of our federal agencies are in the process of implementing the new Federal Financial Report in anticipation of OMB’s approval of the form to replace the SF-269 & SF-272.  The federal agencies are also working together to establish a standard award format and standard language for award content. 
Considering the effort of the federal government on pre-award management in the past 7 years, the general conclusion is a government-wide post award initiative next.   The National Science Foundation, in anticipation of coming initiatives, has already begun work on a new post award management system that will allow grantees post award management of grants funded be several agencies.  Currently this partnership is only with USDA CSREES, however the NSF’s intent appears to be that Research.gov becomes the government-wide post award management system much like Grants.gov is the pre-award system.  The movement of UA to a Document Imaging System will be a wonderful complement to the national movement to electronic research administration.

After the initiation of an action by the PI through one of these electronic systems, OGCA handles electronic submissions to sponsors on behalf of the University. If you are ever in doubt regarding an electronic submission system, contact your OGCA Grant Technician. For all electronic submissions, the PI must send a Restricted Fund Request or Notification Form with the endorsement of his or her Departments Fiscal Officer and Dean or Director before the request can be submitted.