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PennERA Proposals - Summary of New Features

  • What was called a ‘proposal’ in the Sponsored Projects data collection is called a ‘request’ in the PennERA Proposals data collection.
    A ‘proposal’ in the PennERA Proposals data collection refers to a project period (funding cycle), not a budget period or supplement.


  • The identification number for a proposal is not a ‘smart’ number.
    In the Sponsored Projects data collection, a Proposal ID consisted of a 5-digit project ID, followed by a 2-digit funding segment ID, followed by two zeroes. (The Award ID was the same as the Proposal ID, but used the last two digits as the award account sequence number.) In the PennERA Proposals data collection, a proposal (for a project period) is identified by an Institution Number. The budget period within a proposal is identified by the Period Number. (A proposal with five periods will have Period Numbers 1 through 5.) A request belonging to a proposal is identified by a Request Number, and is assigned to a period. (A proposal with six requests will have Request Numbers 1 through 6.) An award increment belonging to a proposal is identified by an Increment Number, and is assigned to a period. (An award increment is a portion of an award payment assigned to a General Ledger account. If the sponsor has sent three award checks for a proposal, and each check is divided between two General Ledger accounts, the proposal has six award increments, with Increment Numbers 1 through 6.)


  • Summarized data is available for the project period.
    Say a Principal Investigator asks a sponsor to fund a project that will run for five years (five budget periods). The PENNERA_PROPOSAL table has information on what was requested and what was awarded for the five-year project period as a whole (all five budget periods combined). For example, it stores the requested and awarded project period start and end dates, the requested number of budget periods, and the requested and awarded dollar amount from the sponsor (‘sponsor costs’).


  • Summarized data is available for the budget period.
    Say a Principal Investigator asks a sponsor for funding for a budget period, and later asks for supplemental funding for the same budget period. The PENNERA_PERIOD table has information on what was requested for the budget period as a whole (the budget period request and the supplement request combined). Say the award check for the budget period was divided among three General Ledger accounts, and the award check for the supplement was assigned to one General Ledger account. The PENNERA_PERIOD table has information on what was awarded for the budget period as whole (all four award increments combined). The PENNERA_PERIOD table also stores the requested and awarded start and end dates for the budget period.


  • Data is available for ‘out years.’
    Say a Principal Investigator asks a sponsor to fund a project that will run for five years (five budget periods), and that will need just one 22-digit account (CNAC-Org.-Budget Check-Fund-Program-CREF) to track its income and expenses.
    • In PennERA, a proposal record is created for the five-year project, a requested budget period record is created for each of the five years, and a request (with request type 'Budget Period') is created for each of the five years. When the proposal is sent to the sponsor, the status for each request is ‘Pending’. In the PENNERA_PERIOD and PENNERA_REQUEST tables, the records for each of the five budget periods will have a value for REQUESTED_TOT_SPON_COSTS.
    • Say an advance account is authorized. The Office of Research Services (ORS) creates an increment for period 1 with the status 'Advance Account'. In the PENNERA_PERIOD and PENNERA_INCREMENT tables, the records for period 1 will have a value for AWARDED_TOT_SPON_COSTS.
    • Say the sponsor decides to fund the project and sends the first Notice of Award, including information on the funding granted for the first year, and the funding planned for each subsequent year. ORS changes the status of the 'Budget Period' request for period 1 to ‘Awarded’ and the status of the 'Budget Period' requests for periods 2 through 5 to ‘Future.’ ORS changes the status of the increment for period 1 to ‘Awarded’, adjusts the AWARDED_TOT_SPON_COSTS for that increment as needed, and creates an increment with the status 'Future' for each of the other four periods. In the PENNERA_PERIOD and PENNERA_INCREMENT tables, the records for each of the five budget periods will have a value for AWARDED_TOT_SPON_COSTS.
    • When the Principal Investigator submits the non-competing continuation for the second year of the project, the status of the 'Budget Period' request for period 2 is changed to ‘Future Pending.’
    • The sponsor grants funding for the second year and sends the next Notice of Award. ORS changes the status of the of the 'Budget Period' request for period 2 to ‘Awarded’, changes the status of the increment for period 2 to ‘Awarded’, and adjusts the AWARDED_TOT_SPON_COSTS for that increment as needed.

  • In the Sponsored Projects data collection, to compare what was requested to what was awarded, we compared what was in the Proposal table to what was in the Award table. In the PennERA Proposals data collection, the requested and awarded amounts are available in one table.
    • The PENNERA_PROPOSAL table has information on what was requested and what was awarded for the entire project period.
    • The PENNERA_PERIOD table has information on what was requested and what was awarded for a particular budget period.
    • A given PENNERA_REQUEST record cannot be tied to a PENNERA_INCREMENT record. For example, a period could have two requests and four increments. The first request might have been awarded, and the award check was split among four accounts; the second request might still be pending. Or, the award for the first request might have been assigned to one account, but the award for the second request was split among three accounts. These are just two of the possible explanations for how there came to be four increments for the period. Do not attempt to link a request with an increment.


  • Because a given PENNERA_REQUEST record cannot be tied to a PENNERA_INCREMENT record:
    • SCHOOL_LOG_NUMBER is available only in the PENNERA_REQUEST table.
    • SPONSOR_AWARD_ID is available only in the PENNERA_INCREMENT table.
    • NIH_GRANT_ACTIVITY_CODE, NIH_GRANT_ADMIN_ORG, NIH_GRANT_APPLICATION_TYPE, NIH_GRANT_SERIAL_NUMBER, NIH_GRANT_SUPPLEMENT, and NIH_GRANT_YEAR are available only in the PENNERA_INCREMENT table, and only for awards that are grants from the National Institutes of Health.


  • Submitted date is available for both proposals and requests.
    In the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table, SUBMITTED_DATE is the date when the proposal for the project period (funding cycle) was submitted to the sponsor. In the PENNERA_REQUEST table, REQUEST_SUBMITTED_DATE is the date the request (specific to the budget period) was submitted to the sponsor.


  • ‘Type’ is available for proposals, requests, and increments.
    In the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table, the PROPOSAL_TYPE indicates the reason for requesting funding for the funding cycle, as noted in the 'Type of Proposal' field on the Office of Research Services Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form that was submitted with the first request for funding for this funding cycle. (To give just two examples, the proposal may have been submitted as a ‘New Project’, or it may have been submitted due to a 'Change of Grantee Inst'--a change of grantee institution.) In the PENNERA_REQUEST table, the REQUEST_TYPE indicates whether the record stores the original request for funding for the budget period ('Budget Period') or a request for supplemental funding for the budget period ('Supplement'). In the PENNERA_INCREMENT table, AWARD_TYPE indicates what the increment was created to track (‘New Project’, ‘Cost Sharing’, 'Supplement', etc.).


  • Status history data is available.
    In the Sponsored Projects data collection, only the latest value was stored for the Proposal record’s status. In the PennERA Proposals data collection, the current status and the status history is stored the proposal (project period), for each request, and for each increment. (History is complete only for records created in PennERA.) For example, the status history for a proposal might show when its status was set to ‘Pending’, then to ‘Advance Account’, then to ‘Awarded’.


  • It is possible to store more data on program projects and their subprojects.
    In the Sponsored Projects data collection, there was one Proposal record for a program project, and multiple associated Award records (for the subprojects and their various award accounts). In PennERA, it is possible to store data for a program project in more than one PENNERA_PROPOSAL record. Note: currently, data for program projects is stored in PennERA in one PENNERA_PROPOSAL record per program project; subproject data is stored at the increment level. The PennERA Proposals data collection is designed to accommodate program project data stored in multiple PENNERA_PROPOSAL records per program project if and when it is entered in that form. It is possible to create one PENNERA_PROPOSAL record for the program project as a whole, and one for each sub-project. The PENNERA_PROPOSAL record for the program project as a whole will have a null value for PARENT_INSTITUTION_NO. Its dollar amounts will be the total of the sub-project amounts plus anything specific to the program project as a whole. The PENNERA_PROPOSAL records for the subprojects will have the Institution Number for the program project proposal as their PARENT_INSTITUTION_NO. (The PENNERA_PROPOSAL record for the program project will have no value for PARENT_INSTITUTION_NO, but will have a non-zero value for SUBPROJECT_COUNT.) The Warehouse includes the PENNERA_PROPOSAL_PARENT table to make it easy to retrieve the data for the program project and all its subprojects, via the program project’s Institution Number.

  • More data is available on cost sharing.
    Cost sharing is funding provided for the sponsored project that does not come from the sponsor. For example, the University receives a grant for a project estimated to have a total cost of $100,000. The sponsor agrees to pay 75% ($75,000) and the University agrees to pay 25% ($25,000). The $25,000 is the cost-sharing component.
    • The PENNERA_PROPOSAL table includes both a cost sharing flag and information on the cost sharing type:
      • Mandatory—the sponsor requires that cost sharing be included in the proposal
      • Mandatory and Voluntary Committed—the proposal includes both cost sharing required by the sponsor and cost sharing that the University has voluntarily committed to provide
      • None—the proposal involves no cost sharing
      • Undetermined—data for the proposal was converted from the Research Services system (the system used before October 14, 2003 to track proposals and awards.) It involves cost sharing, but the type of commitment has not been entered into PennERA
      • Voluntary Committed—the proposal includes cost sharing that the University has voluntarily committed to provide
    • The cost sharing amount is called ‘nonsponsor costs.’ ‘Total costs’ is the combination of nonsponsor costs and sponsor costs.
    • Awards involving cost sharing have one or more award increments for the cost sharing, using a 5- fund created to track the cost sharing. Increments for cost sharing have a non-null value for FUND_COST_SHR_PARENT in the PENNERA_INCREMENT table.


  • Other information in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table that was not featured in the Sponsored Projects data collection:
    • CLINICAL_TRIAL_PROTOCOL_ID
    • CONFLICT_OF_INT_FLAG (conflict of interest)
    • CURRENT_PERIOD (current awarded period)
    • CURRENT_PRIME_FUND and PREVIOUS_PRIME_FUND (the fund used to track most of the funding for the proposal)
    • DEADLINE_DATE (the date by which the proposal must be received by the sponsor)
    • FDP_FLAG (Federal Demonstration Partnership)
    • MODULAR_BUDGET_FLAG
    • ORIGINATING_SPONSOR_CODE and ORIG_SPON_FUNDING_SOURCE (populated if the sponsor is covering the sponsor costs of the proposal using funding from another source rather than its own money)
    • PREV_INSTITUTION_NO and FIRST_INSTITUTION_NO (allows for tracking of projects that span funding cycles)
    • PROCESSED_DATE (the date when the Office of Research Services entered the record for the proposal into the PennERA Proposal Tracking system)
    • PROPOSAL_TYPE
    • SNAP_FLAG (Streamlined Non-Competing Award Procedures)
    • SPECIAL_AUDIT_REQRD_FLAG
    • SPONSOR_PROGRAM_ID and PROGRAM_TYPE (this might be an RFP, an RFA, an Announcement, or another program offered by the sponsor)
    • Some of the above data is available only for records created or updated in PennERA.


  • Other information in the PENNERA_PERIOD table that was not featured in the Sponsored Projects data collection:
    • REQUEST_COUNT
    • INCREMENT_COUNT


  • Other information in the PENNERA_INCREMENT table that was not featured in the Sponsored Projects data collection:
    • AWARD_OBJECT (Object code in the General Ledger account; set to ‘3000’)
    • FED_FY_AWD_APPROPRIATION (if applicable, the U.S. federal fiscal year whose budget includes the appropriation of funding for the award increment)
    • FOREIGN_CURRENCY_FLAG, FOREIGN_CURRENCY_AMT, and FOREIGN_CURRENCY_UNIT (for awards paid in foreign currency)
    • FUND_COST_SHR_PARENT (used if the fund for the award increment is a cost sharing fund)
    • FUND_INT_BEAR_PARENT (used if the fund for the award increment is for an interest-bearing account)
    • FUND_OVERHEAD_PARENT (used if the award increment includes indirect costs)
    • FUND_REVENUE_PARENT (used if the fund tracks money provided by the sponsor)


  • An investigator is identified by his or her PennID.
    Social Security numbers are not stored in PennERA. If the investigator is taking a job at the University, but is not here yet, he or she must be added to Penn Community so a PennID is assigned. No data will be entered into PennERA for anyone who does not have a PennID. For records dating from before time that the PennID has been in use, if the investigator’s PennID could not be determined, a PennID beginning with a ‘P’ was assigned to the investigator.


  • Records created or updated in PennERA include information on all co-investigators.
    The Sponsored Projects data collection could store information only for the principal investigator and one co-investigator.


  • Records created or updated in PennERA may include information on co-investigators who are not University employees.
    All investigators, whether or not they are University employees, will have PennIDs. Information on all investigators is available in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR table (information as it was at the time of the proposal) and in the PENNERA_PEOPLE table (current information).


  • Investigators have an ERA primary organization.
    The ERA primary org. is the org. used as the person’s default affiliation (investigator org.) in PennERA. For staff, the ERA primary org. is the primary (job) appointment org. For faculty, it is the primary academic (job) appointment org., which might not be the same as primary appointment org. for those faculty holding administrative positions. For University employees whose job appointments are all on the executive payroll, ERA primary org. is ‘8000’. For students, the ERA primary org. is the organizational equivalent of their home Division (for example, ‘0200’, School of Arts and Sciences.) For investigators from the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), the ERA primary org. is ‘2100’.
  • For members of the research community who are otherwise not affiliated with Penn, the ERA primary org. is ‘8760' ('Research Services').

  • Investigators with one or more academic appointments have a primary academic organization.
    The primary academic org. is the one where the investigator has his or her highest-ranking academic appointment.


  • Investigators have an investigator organization.
    The investigator org. is the org. with which the investigator is affiliated for the purposes of the proposal. Although it is used to secure certain data elements in the Data Warehouse, the investigator org. is not used by the University’s business processes. For a given investigator associated with a proposal, the investigator org. is the org. specified (on the Office of Research Services Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form) as the 'Dept. Administering Project' (the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE). An exception to this rule is that, if the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE is neither the investigator's ERA primary org. nor an org. where the investigator has a job appointment, when the investigator's data is entered for the proposal in PennERA, the investigator org. is chosen from among those orgs., based on its being the one that is most closely related to the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE. In other words:
    • if the investigator has only one org, then that org. is chosen. Otherwise,
    • if the investigator has an org. that is the same as the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE, then that org. is chosen. Otherwise,
    • the investigator's orgs. are examined in ascending order, and the first org. whose org. code is greater than or equal to the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE is chosen. Otherwise,
    • if the investigator has no org. whose org. code is greater than or equal to the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE, the investigator's ERA primary org. is chosen.

  • Information about changes to records is stored at the proposal level.
    The Sponsored Projects data collection stored the CREATE_DATE (the date the budget period-specific request record was created in the Research Services System) and the MODIFY_DATE (the date of the latest change to the budget period-specific request record in the Research Services System). It did not store information on who created or modified the record. PennERA stores only the MODIFY_DATE, and only at the proposal level (project period or funding cycle). MODIFY_DATE in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table reflects the date of the latest change to any information related to the proposal—including investigators, budget periods, requests, increments, etc. PENNERA_PROPOSAL also stores MODIFIED_BY, which identifies the PennERA user who last modified the data.

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