Duke trains Faculty and Research Administrators on New Tools and Resources for Effective Research Proposal and Management

Emilia Chiscop Head, PhD

About 190 faculty and staff engaged in research at Duke attended the research town hall hosted on March 15 by the Duke Office of Scientific Integrity. Representatives of Duke Research support offices came together to present new tools and resources that would help researchers to be “Getting Ahead of Problems before They Arise”, as the event title announced. The attendees learned about new content in myRESEARCHsuite, new Intent to Submit and other support tools in myRESEARCHhome and had the opportunity to review fundamental concepts, such as prior approvals, research security and communication with sponsors.

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Derek Jones, Associate Director for IT Engagement and Jamie Wylie, Associate Director for Research Operations with the Duke Office of Research Initiatives presented the new “Intent to Submit” Process at Duke – abbreviated as “I2S”. Starting April 1, 2022, all units will be required to submit the new I2S “form” for all new and competing sponsored research applications, at least 15 business days before the intended submission date. The Research Navigators in the Duke Office of Research Initiatives will review the submissions and make recommendations for improving the proposals by either using new tools, templates, policies or connecting with other relevant resources. “The main goal of the I2S process is to make  proposal submission more efficient, and to increase the chances of a high quality and compliant application.”, Jones and Wylie concluded.

Learn more about the new I2S tools and process here.

Prior approvals slide

Laurianne Torres, Associate Dean for Research Administration, updated the audience on the efforts to streamline the proposal review and submission process, specifically by creating the following tools in myRESEARCHpath:

  • New myRESEARCHpath content - Common Errors and How to Avoid Them
  • New NIH error validations available to unit-level grants administrators to detect and correct system errors before routing the proposal for internal review

All these new updates were also incorporated into a 5 part communications series. The most recent release in series focused on how to manage collaborations effectively by budgeting collaborators appropriately in research proposals, engaging visiting scholars, and establishing agreements and including international components in research. A new decision tool was also made available in myRESEARCHpath to help managers determine the best way to engage a collaborator - as an employee, consultant/independent contractor, sub award, or vendor.

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Broderick Grady, Director for Research Administration and Keith Hurka-Owen, Executive Director at the Office of Research Support (ORS) presented the new requirements on prior approval. Specifically, research units and projects must submit a request to the authorized sponsor official in order to obtain approval for undertaking certain activities or incurring certain costs. Most importantly, the ORS speakers emphasized the responsibility of principal investigators to learn and understand the prior approval requirements. “Requests for prior approval must be initiated by a unit research administrator who makes the request of the Office of Research Administration (ORA) or Office of Research Support (ORS). Only an authorized organizational representative (AOR) in ORA or ORS can make the request to an external sponsor”, Keith Hurka-Owen announced.

Lindsey Spangler, JD, Associate Dean for Research Integrity at the Duke School of Medicine presented on expected upcoming research security regulations related to NSPM-33, including the requirement for academic institutions to “implement research security programs which include research security and export control training, cybersecurity, and foreign travel security”.  Attendees were encouraged to review existing sponsor resources such as tables and FAQs from NIH and NSF related to disclosure requirements.

Jennifer McCallister, Assistant Dean, Research Administration reviewed the communication process between the University and external sponsors on administrative issues, such as funding, no-cost extensions, adding a foreign component, project personnel changes or budget approvals. “All the communication on these matters must flow through an authorized Duke official”, McCallister said.


View the recording of the March 15 town hall

View the town hall slides

We would like to thank all speakers who participated in this event:

Broderick Grady, Director, Research Administration

Keith Hurka-Owen, Executive Director, Office of Research Support

Derek Jones, Associate Director, Research Initiatives, IT Engagement

Jennifer McCallister, Assistant Dean, Research Administration

Lindsey Spangler, Associate Dean, Research Integrity

Geeta Swamy, Associate VP for Research and Vice Dean for Scientific Integrity

Laurianne Torres, Associate Dean, Research Administration

Jamie Wylie, Associate Director, Research Operations