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Penn ERA

Penn Research

Previous Announcements From
The Office of Research Services

ORS provides administrative support to faculty and departmental managers for all sponsored project activities.

Revised Direct Cost Transfer Policy

In an effort to improve monitoring, tracking and compliance of sponsored program cost transfers, Penn’s Cost Transfer Policy #2113 has been revised.  The BEN Financials Journal Entry Responsibility Journal Entry – G&C Cost Transfers for Expense will be revised to align with the policy changes and will be available in BEN Financials starting September 1, 2017.  Existing users with the Journal Entry – G&C Cost Transfers for Expense responsibility will be required to complete a web-based training course to maintain access to the revised responsibility.

Revised Policy:
The revised policy introduces a new Category and all Grant & Contract cost transfers processed within the Journal Entry – G&C Cost Transfers for Expense responsibility will fall under one of three categories:

  • 14 ADJUST is for adjustments under $1,000 and within 90 days of the month end of the original transaction date.  Also, 14 ADJUST can be used for certain adjustments greater than $1,000 and/or over 90 days that are not categorized as cost transfers.  Note:  G&C Cost Transfer journals in this category will post nightly.


  • 15 G&C UN90 is for cost transfers that are within 90 days of the month end of the original transaction date.  Note:  G&C Cost Transfer journals in this category will post nightly.
  • 16 G&C OV90 is for cost transfers that exceed 90 days of the month end of the original transaction date.  Note:  ORS review and approval will be required for this category prior to posting.


Training for this revised responsibility will be web-based and made available in Knowledge Link on August 14, 2017.  If the training is completed by August 31, 2017, an existing user with Journal Entry – G&C Cost Transfer user will automatically retain access to the revised responsibility on September 1, 2017.  If, however, training is not completed by this date, the existing user will no longer have access to the G&C Cost Transfer responsibility.  To regain access to the responsibility users will be required to complete both the on-line training and submit an eForm.  New users will need to complete the appropriate BEN Financials Manual Journal Entry training and complete an eForm. Contact ORS if you have any questions.

Guidelines for the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the University of Pennsylvania

Final UAS Guidelines for University of Pennsylvania

Drone Area Map

Research Space Survey for F&A Cost Proposal

The FY16 Space Survey for research lab space to support the F&A cost proposal is now open. Department administrators completing the surveys have already been notified and have access to the WebSpace online tool. How-to guides can be found in WebSpace.

The deadline to complete surveys is May 1, 2016.


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

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

Affected Users

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



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 .

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: .  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)



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

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




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 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:
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A21- (allowable cost) Section J. 53:
Revised Travel and Entertainment Justification Form:



NIH has announced a new salary cap, which is now tied to Executive Level II of the Federal Pay Scale. The Executive Level II salary is $179,700. This new cap will apply to all sponsors under the Department of Health and Human Services. Our office is currently reviewing the notice and will issue further guidance on the implementation of the salary limitation.  See link below to the NIH notice:



The Financial Interest Disclosure Electronic System (FIDES), is a web-based application to be used as the sole means for disclosure of financial interests and relationships related to participation in specific research projects. The requirement to disclose in FIDES is separate and distinct from required, school-based annual extramural activities reporting. Paper disclosures will no longer be accepted by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

Individuals required to disclose any time after February 1 may access FIDES at using their PennKey and Password and a Penn-supported web browser. 

It is important that the specific research project that is the subject of the eDisclosure is accurately identified as it appears in PennERA or HS-ERA, as applicable. For example, if the eDisclosure involves an IRB protocol, the individual will be asked to identify both the protocol (by title and IRB number) as it appears in HS-ERA and all sources of external funding for that protocol (e.g., grant, sponsored research agreement, clinical trial agreement) as they appear in PennERA (by title and institution number).  Individuals should have this information available prior to logging in to FIDES.

We offer individual training in FIDES. OVPR staff will be happy to provide individual guidance to any individual required to submit an electronic disclosure in FIDES.  Individuals who wish to receive this individual instruction should contact our office. 

For additional information, please visit the OVPR website at or contact the OVPR at 215-898-3603 or email at



The Office of Research Services (ORS) is pleased to announce that the new Subaward Webpage is up and and can be accessed at: Please note that the Webpage is still a work in progress and we expect that the site will grow gradually and become a useful tool, which will contain pertinent information as it relates to subawards.  

The REVISED SUBAWARD REQUEST FORM (with instructions) can be found on the new webpage and EFFECTIVE:  April 1, 2011, the revised subaward request will be the only form accepted by ORS when making a request for a subaward.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the form and instructions.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office directly. 

Note:  please be advised that the revised Subaward Request Form can also be accessed via the “Forms and Agreements” page as well.


NIH eRA Information: Sponsors Required to Approve and Route Fellowship Termination Notices in xTrain; Need to be Assigned eRA Commons Sponsor Role

This information is for recipients of all active Ruth L. Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship awards (i.e., F30, F31, F32 and/or F33 grants):

Principal Investigators who apply to these grant programs (i.e., fellows) must identify a Sponsor who will supervise their research training experience.

NIH reminds you that before you submit a fellow’s termination notice to the agency, the fellow’s Sponsor is required to review and approve the notice and route it to you (or another BO at your institution) for submission. This business process applies to fellowships completed at U.S. universities, research institutions, and hospitals. (For federal or foreign fellowships, the PD/PI (fellow) or the Sponsor can submit the termination notice directly to the agency.)

In order to perform these duties within xTrain, the Sponsor needs to be assigned the eRA Commons Sponsor role. The Sponsor institution’s Signing Official (SO), Account Administrator (AA), or Administrative Official (AO) can add this role to the Sponsor’s existing Commons account, or create a new account for the Sponsor if he or she is not already registered in eRA Commons.

PennERA Electronic Submissions Reference Materials

Electronic Submissions and
Information and resources related to Electronic Submissions and

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 process.

Award Management
Information on the appropriate administration of sponsored projects.

Sponsors & Agencies
Links to Sponsors' websites and regulations.

Penn Offices
Other offices involved in the management of sponsored projects.

Principal Investigators
Resources and information for PI's.

Funding Opportunities
Searchable databases and email alerts available to the Penn community.

Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Office of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

Research Compliance

Responsible Conduct of Research

Principles of Responsible Conduct


Previous Spotlights

Updated NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS)

Financial Conflict of Interest Information

DOD F&A Cap Update

ORS Brown Bag Schedule with Handouts

xTrain FAQs

xTrain Termination of Fellowships Quick Reference Guide for Institution Users

eRA Help Desk (For xTrain Policy-related Questions)

Announcement: Change in University's F&A Rates for Clinical Trials, effective July 1, 2011

New AIS Guide

Updated NSF Proposal & Policy & Award Procedures (PPAP)

NIH eFFR (SF425) Implementation Notice

FFR Schedule

FFR Implementation Notice

FFR Pilot--- Late FFR Submission Approval Ltr

Procedural Guidelines for Principal Investigators (“PIs”) Leaving the University of Pennsylvania: Handling Awards, Research Materials, Equipment and/or Other Research-Related Issues

New for FY11: New BEN Cost Transfer Categories

August 20th, 2008 Letter from Associate Vice Provost for Research

For More Information on the Stimulus Package

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009:
Stimulus Information Site

Solution to Common PD Questions

ORS Brown Bag Session, Apr 9, 2009:
Slide Presentation

NIH Public Access Policy This new policy now mandates the deposit of peer-reviewed manuscripts from all NIH funded research to an open access archive, PubMedCentral

Information related to the FY08 Department of Defense appropriation signed November 17, 2007.  

NIH Salary Cap
Information on the past and current caps.

For up to date news regarding research administration, take a look at our most recent newsletter or click here to get instruction on how to subscribe to our email list serv.

Sponsored Programs

New to Sponsored Projects Administration at Penn?
Click here for information on what you need to know and where to find it.

NIH eSNAP Process and Procedures

Research Compliance

Proposal Transmittal and Approval Form

Sponsored Programs Subaccount Worksheet

Accounting Procedures of Non-Federal Sponsors


Research Administration Quizzes and FAQ'S

Salary Cap Cost Sharing Estimator



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