Welcome to the
Office of Research Services
ORS provides administrative support to faculty
and departmental managers for all sponsored project activities.
OMB Uniform Guidance
On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in the Federal Register. This Uniform Guidance will take effect December 26, 2014, and will replace the administrative, accounting, audit rules and principles in eight OMB circulars, including A-21 (Cost Principles), A-110 (Administrative Requirements), and A-133 (Audit Requirements). Each agency will be issuing its own implementing regulations for the Uniform Guidance. Click here for more information.
BEN Billing and Receivables Now Live
We are pleased to announce that the new BEN Billing and Receivables modules are now live in BEN Financials. BEN Billing and Receivables links PennERA with BEN Financials, and replaces Penn’s Billing and Receivables Information Management (BRIM) system, which was used by the Office of Research Services to issue invoices and track receivables for sponsored projects.
Key Features and Benefits
BEN Billing and Receivables streamlines and improves invoice creation and billing, and automates reconciliation and collections activities. The new functionality reduces the number of shadow processes and duplicative data entry, as well as reduces overall processing time. The system features automatic notifications and logging of collection activities, better tracking and processing of outstanding receivables, and more flexibility to meet sponsors’ evolving requirements. There is also the capability to handle other University receivables processing (non-grant related), which will be addressed in Phase II of the project. If you are interested in discussing how the system could be adapted for your receivables processing, please contact the project team at BillingAR@lists.upenn.edu.
BEN Billing and Receivables Modules
The new BEN Billing and Receivables modules are accessed through BEN Financials by authorized users:
- Grants/Projects – Used for invoice generation, overhead and revenue recognition, and award and project tracking
- Accounts Receivable – Used for customer setup, processing cash receipts, collections, reporting, and processing receivables transactions
BEN Billing and Receivables will only be used by staff in the Office of Research Services and the Office of Research Support Services involved in sponsored projects billing, receivables, and collections-related operations. Users of the Data Warehouse BRIM collection were automatically given access to the new Billing and Receivables data collection in the Data Warehouse. An effort was made to minimize impact on current BEN Financials users with the introduction of the new modules. There were minor changes to reports, and BEN Financials users received direct communications about these changes.
This project is jointly sponsored by the Division of Finance, the Provost’s Office, and Information Systems and Computing. Please address any questions about the project to the project team at BillingAR@lists.upenn.edu.
Pilot Program for Enhancement of Protection Against Reprisals ( 41 U.S.C. 4712)
The University of Pennsylvania is committed to operating in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and Penn policies in the conduct of grants, contracts, and other sponsored research. Penn relies on individual faculty, staff and students to report to appropriate University offices, in cases where it appears that a member of the university community may not be complying with an applicable law, regulation or Penn policy. This is a reminder that a report of possible noncompliance may be made through Penn’s Compliance Hotline by calling 215-P-COMPLY, or through the web site www.upenn.edu/215pcomply .
Penn also has many policies prohibiting retaliation against any member of the Penn community who in good faith reports a potential compliance issue. As one example, the University’s Human Resources policy against retaliation can be viewed here: https://www.hr.upenn.edu/myhr/resources/policy/other/retaliation . You can view other policies against retaliation at the Office of Audit, Compliance and Privacy web site here:
In addition to Penn’s existing policies, the U.S. government has enacted a pilot program, effective until January 1, 2017, providing protection from retaliation for certain whistleblowing activities related to federal grants and contracts. A written summary of the program terms may be viewed here.
Reminder of ORS Deadlines for Grant Submissions
The Office of Research Services (ORS) requires that proposals be submitted to ORS in final form
at least three (3) business days prior to the sponsor deadline. While ORS has always had such a requirement,
strictly adhering to this deadline is essential when processing the large number of stimulus-related electronic
grant proposals expected in order to ensure confirmation of error-free receipt from the sponsor prior to the
published deadline. Late submissions will jeopardize the ability to successfully submit all proposals. For more
information please refer to the June 2nd letter from the Vice Provost for Research, Vice President for Finance
and the Associate Vice Provost for Research (Click to Read Letter)
New Resource Available: Strategies for Planning, Developing, and Writing Large Team Grants (PennKey login required)
Consistent with our commitment to streamline research administration processes, we are introducing a new process for requesting and managing outgoing Subaward Agreements. Effective immediately all request to issue a new subaward should be made via the Research Inventory System (RIS) under the “My Subaward Requests” module. The system features:
- The capability to make requests on-line;
- Ability for the Subrecipient to log-in and provide their information and upload documents;
- On-line access to the status of and the ORS professional responsible for your agreement;
- Functionality to copy old versions of requests made in the system to generate new requests;
- Auto generation of the Subaward Agreement;
- Access to all agreements generated under the system;
- Automated updates regarding the progress of processing the Subaward;
- Other features for assignment, management and reporting that will enable enhanced efficiency in the management of Subawards.
The system is currently available for immediate use with the following caveats.
- RIS should only be used to request a new subaward and subsequent modifications to that subaward;
- Modifications to existing subaward agreements should continue to be made via paper and sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We look forward to working with you to make the launch of this system successful. Attached please find a user guide, a simplified version will be available shortly. If you missed any of our Brown Bag sessions on how to use RIS please feel free to contact me and I’ll gladly arrange a tutorial. If you have any questions about the process please email us at email@example.com
CHANGE IN THE PROCESS FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF REIMBURSEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ON FEDERALLY SPONSORED PROGRAM AWARDS
Effective 7/1/12, the Office of Research Services (ORS) will no longer review and approve international travel reimbursement request on federally sponsored program awards. We expect that this change will reduce administrative burden and improve processing time for reimbursement of foreign travel expenses.
The review and approval of international travel reimbursement requests on federal awards was taken on by the Office of Research Services (ORS) primarily to ensure that University and federal policies and procedures were followed, particularly complying with sponsor’s prior approval requirements and restrictions, allowability of cost, receipt documentation and complying with the federal requirement to use to use a U.S. air carrier on programs funded by the Federal government.
Beginning July 1, 2012, requests for reimbursement of international travel on federally sponsored program awards should be routed directly to the Individual Disbursement Services for processing. As required for all sponsored program activity, departments, schools and centers are expected to ensure that expenses incurred for international travel is justified, well documented and in compliance with the sponsor and University policies. Expenses incurred for international travel must also be appropriate to and specifically benefit the intent and purpose of the award and be incurred within the period of the performance or any authorized extension. As a reminder, in conjunction with business administrators, higher level approvers are responsible for ensuring the following:
- the PI & Sponsor have approved the foreign travel;
- the traveler is aware of the University Travel Policy in advance of the travel;
- the traveler is aware of Fly America Act and “open-airline” skies agreement
- travel expenses were incurred while conducting authorized University business;
- travel expenses were allocable, necessary, reasonable and consistent with University policies and the stated business purpose;
- an expense report includes the required documentation;
- travel expenses meet any and all sponsored Program guidelines, if applicable.
- report documentation and related justifications are maintained in the departmental records per the University record retention policy;
- traveler is aware that travel expenses are subject to University and sponsor audit and disallowances.
If you have any questions regarding this communication, please contact the Office of Research Services Post Award Director, Kim Garrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-898-2344.
Please visit the following links for more information on University Sponsored Projects Expense Documentation Requirements and International Travel Policies:
For more information on international travel on federal awards, please visit the following links:
The National Institutes of Health Grants Policy Statement (GPS) Section 4.1.11 & 8.1.2:
U.S. General Services Administration: http://www.gsa.gov/openskies
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A21- (allowable cost) Section J. 53: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a021_2004#j
Revised Travel and Entertainment Justification Form:
PennERA Electronic Submissions Reference Materials
Information on 2013 Sequestration
Information and resources related to Electronic
Submissions and Grants.gov.
Sponsored Projects Handbook
This handbook was designed to assist the faculty
and staff of the University of Pennsylvania in the administration
of research awards.
Information and resources related to the proposal
Information on the appropriate administration
of sponsored projects.
Links to Sponsors' websites and regulations.
Other offices involved in the management of sponsored
Resources and information
and email alerts available to the Penn community.
of the Vice Provost for Research
of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
Conduct of Research
of Responsible Conduct