For the second year in a row, CU Boulder, in fiscal year 2018, received over half-billion dollars in sponsored projects funding and had nearly $500 million in expenditures. Award funding topped $511 million with 2,195 awards. Solid growth in sponsored projects starts with the submission of proposals. This fiscal year saw a record 2,415 proposals submitted ($1.6 billion proposed projects). Leveraging all options for sponsored projects, FY18 was the first full year of capturing and expanding service activities. Service activity accounted for 80 awards worth $5.2 million.
CU Boulder’s robust research and creative works portfolio demonstrates the extensive expertise, quality and innovation of our faculty, staff and students. While federal agency funding is holding strong, projects with industry, other universities and international partners continue to be areas for growth. Keeping with a strong track record of collaboration with other institutions, subawards and subcontracts issued with our partners again increased over the last fiscal year.
With expertise in proposal preparation and submission, negotiations, non-financial award management and award compliance, the professional research administration staff in the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) supports our campus as its sponsored project funding flourishes. We regularly partner with the Campus Controller’s Office (CCO), which oversees the post-award financial administration of sponsored projects, and other units supporting research and creative works in support of continuous improvement.
Research Reporting Platform
Fiscal year 2018 saw significant strides in bringing the Research Reporting Platform to fruition. The mission of this initiative, initially conceptualized through an Innovation Seed Grant, is to create an intuitive, single platform that allows Principal Investigators to access, aggregate and engage with information related to their sponsored projects. Early adopters have been using the platform and providing feedback in preparation for the first release to be available for all of campus in fall 2018. This platform is a joint project involving multiple units, with primary sponsorship coming from the Office of Data Analytics, OCG, CCO and Office of Information Technology.
Level of Budget Detail Aligned with Sponsor Expectations
With the assistance of seven pilot departments and institutes, OCG and CCO modified business processes to align budget detail in our sponsored project award (infoED) and financial management (PeopleSoft) systems with the detail required by the sponsor and University. These modified procedures bring us in alignment with sponsor expectations that the University manage to the awarded budget to achieve the scope of work. The pilot departments included Chemical & Biological Engineering, IBG, INSTAAR, Integrative Physiology, JILA, Psychology & Neuroscience and RASEI.
New Processes and Fund 33 for Service Activities
Substantial progress was made to solidify processes that capture and manage external service activities. A new Fund 33 was established to manage scope-based service projects. This streamlines management of service activities, and provides for stronger compliance support and tracking. External sales and service offerings are a valuable approach to enhance relationships, increase research funding and provide job opportunities for students. Creating solutions for the umbrella of service activities has been the joint effort of OCG, CCO and the Office of Budget & Fiscal Planning.