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New System Streamlines Research Administration Processes

September 20, 2011 :: Shirley Ross, Information Systems and Computing

It’s the latest example of how ISC contributes to the University’s critical mission of education and research.

As one of the country’s premier research universities, Penn receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year in research grant money. ISC and the Office of the Vice Provost of Research launched a new system this summer for requesting and managing the processing of material transfer and other non-monetary agreements.

Material transfer agreements are agreements governing the transfer of research materials into or out of Penn. Other non-monetary agreements are research agreements that do not bring funding into Penn, such as data use agreements or equipment loan agreements. The new system manages the process associated with MTAs/NMAs from the time a researcher initiates a request through the internal Penn review and approval process, through negotiations if needed, and through the signing of the agreement.

The new Research Inventory application greatly streamlines research administration processes by enabling researchers to make requests on-line, check the status of their agreement, copy old versions of requests in the system to generate new requests, gain access to all agreements generated under the system, obtain automated updates about the progress of processing the MTA/NMA, and more.

Since the rollout on July 25, 106 users have logged onto the application; 75 requests have been created; 27 have been submitted and are under review in the Office of Research Services; and 7 have been completed. For additional information, please contact Stu Benoff at



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