Blogs

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Turning what can be a “muddy” issue into “just foggy” all started when I was asked the following question: "I have worked over the years with our Purchasing Department to ensure they have the standard FAR clauses in their purchase orders (PO), however, I am no expert. Now we are in the midst of buying a $5M laser using DOD funds. Do we need to adjust any PO terms and conditions (T/Cs) because of DFAR (Defense FARS) clauses in the contract?" I thought of (and immediately took the question to) one of our trusted colleagues, FAR expert and NCURA friend Kathy Lorenzi, who is now a consultant on federal and industry grants and contracts for both for-profit ...
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Buying Computers on Awards under the Uniform Guidance Care to comment on the following DRAFT guidelines created by Case Western Reserve University and the University of California, Irvine? Purchasing Computing Devices with Federal Funds (applicable Uniform Guidance Sections 2 CFR Part 200.20 and 200.453) Computing devices are machines used to acquire, store, analyze, process, and publish data and other information electronically and include accessories (or peripherals) for printing, transmitting and receiving, or storing electronic information. Computing devices costing less than $5,000 are not considered equipment and therefore ...
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Within the research administration community the concept of internal controls has garnered increased attention recently especially with the release of the Uniform Guidance (UG) [1] and in particular section §200.303 Internal Controls found in SubPart D-Post Federal Award Requirements, Standards for Financial and Program Management. So, what are internal controls and why are they so important? Let’s start with a definition. COSO 2 and the UG use the same definition for internal controls. The UG states in §200.61 Internal Controls means a process implemented by a non-Federal entity [e.g., institution of higher education], designed to provide ...
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Do you ever stop and think about what “progress” would look like? When asked to write this article, we decided that in research, progress looks a lot like a train. The PI determines what track is used, but it takes many people and a lot of transactions to make the train move down that track. Transactions? Why transactions? Because every minute of our day involves transactions of some sort. Transactions come in many types of packages: payroll, travel, pre-award and post-award processes, and of course, purchasing. Some transactions are carried on the train and some make it go. Each of us deals with some combination of these varied transactions all the time. ...
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Upon joining NCURA in 1993 I could not have imagined the NCURA of today let alone that I would have the honor and privilege to represent us. There have been so many experiences, tasks, events, and outstanding moments. For each, there has been a team of mentors, partners, colleagues, and friends. I will take this unique opportunity to reflect on my term as Vice President and President to send out a few thank-you’s to some who carried the weight right alongside me. I do want to give a big shout out to the federal government, OMB in particular, for choosing 2014 to deliver an update to eight circulars that had not been changed since we dialed rotary ...
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It happens all the time. I’m willing to bet it occurs elsewhere and not just in sponsored research offices. A lengthy process, a fractured procedure, a useless routing, is casually questioned. The response – you’ve heard it a million times: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” The theme of this issue “New Approaches to Long-Standing Issues” is designed to inspire us to re-examine, reconsider, and possibly reorganize. Taking a fresh look at an old method takes time and to map out a long-standing workflow to see where it may break down or get lost is frequently above and beyond our normal duties but taking the “bull” by the horns is worth it and ...
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Many years ago while traveling in Europe as an undergraduate, I attended a party with students from all over Europe. Chatting away in a large group, we each introduced ourselves including our major. On my turn, I stated that I was majoring in English. From beside me, a loud male voice exclaimed in disbelief, “English??!! But you SLAUGHTER the language!!” I had occasion to recall this incident in February at the INORMS (International Network of Research Management Societies) meeting in Washington, DC, when David Lauder, EU Project Manager from the University of York and John Donovan from the Dublin Institute of Technology and President of EARMA (European ...
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Just made it to the airport with Denise. Had many laughs this week and really enjoyed meeting you all! I can't say enough about how fantastic this week has been and how much I learned this week. I look forward to the many more conversations to come and getting together at National!
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These are familiar phrases that motivate us to engage, participate, and volunteer. And while the results of the Regional Leadership Survey suggest that we don’t always respond to a generic call for volunteers, we are more than ready, willing, and able to join, contribute, and share our expertise when personally invited by a colleague. As NCURA President, I would like to strongly encourage those of you who have known the professional satisfaction of active participation in our organization to invite your institutional colleagues to join in. In my role as NCURA President, I have been charged with the task of delegating responsibilities for major events ...
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This issue’s theme Growing the Scholarly and Research Enterprise resonates soundly with me and my institution, the Broad Institute. So many of us work in environments in which the science is extremely high level and fast moving. Often we may be intimidated by words or technologies we may not understand and may be tempted to focus solely on our administrative role as if it were a separate operation. Not only is this not necessary, it is depriving us of a richer experience where we may have a positive impact. How gratifying it can be to align your mission as a research administrator with the research itself! To recognize that the advances made ...
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Change...is good. Living in New England means living with perpetual change. We glide our toes back into snow boots (always too soon) and our seasons melt from one into another – baseball, football, basketball, hockey...and then back again. NCURA is similar; we’ve grown accustomed to our various annual gatherings and, personally and professionally, plan accordingly. As NCURA members, 2014 marks the beginning of another very busy and exciting NCURA year including some first-time-ever’s, some very special events, and of course the long-awaited change to research administration in the form of OMB Circular ...
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San Francisco

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Come Join Us In SAN FRANCISCO for our 2014 FRA and PRA back to back conferences! FRA Registration OR Register to be an Exhibitor! http://www.ncura.edu/content/educational_programs/sites/fra15/index.php PRA Registration OR Register to be an Exhibitor! http://www.ncura.edu/content/educational_programs/sites/pra8/index.php
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AM55 is now behind us. It was a great way to start our new tradition of Annual Meetings in August. I was so excited that we were able to raise over $10,000 at AM55 for this worthy cause. You can read about it in the “green” NCURA Magazine. As I said before, in this time of shrinking budgets at our institutions, imagine what could be accomplished if we all gave something to this Fund. I hope you’ll be inspired to make a contribution as well. We are an organization of about 8,000 people. Imagine what would happen if every person gave $10! The Education Scholarship will complete both a business plan and a marketing plan by the end of this year, so ...
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AM55 was a great Annual Meeting! I certainly think so and I've heard that statement from so many that I'm convinced. The days of the meeting were filled with the energy and enjoyment of meeting new people, learning new things as well as catching up with old friends and getting Updates. Although you always hear that “you can’t please everyone,” our Program Committee tried very hard to meet all the didactic needs of our members, hoping to meet the expectations of each, regardless of their field of research administration or their level. The changes made from prior years were meant to provide clarity in the offerings. Sometimes just the names were changed ...
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Welcome NCURA!

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We are now less than two week away from AM55—our very first Annual Meeting to be held in August. There are many “new beginnings” associated with this meeting, so let me just start with highlighting a few. First, we will be issuing our very first Julia Jacobsen Distinguished Service Award. Julia Jacobsen, one of NCURA’s founding members, passed away late 2012. She truly exemplified volunteerism and service. I am very excited that this year’s winners are my friends and colleagues. Judy Fredenburg, Barbara Gray, Steve Hansen, Norm Hebert, and Dave Richardson are very deserving, but it’s really an honor to be the first recipients of this re-name award. ...
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