Let's Get to YES!

The BioMed Service Improvement Task Force has transitioned to a division-wide process improvement group that will continue its mission to reduce administrative burden and improve BioMed organizational efficiency. 

Is there a process that you think needs improvement? Think BIG! needs your ideas and feedback; we are counting on you to identify opportunities for positive change! Feel free to contact a group member or submit ideas and suggestions to [email protected]. Please be sure to include specific examples and, if possible, accompany feedback with solutions. Let’s Get to YES! 

We value your feedback; however, we may not be able to implement all suggestions due to availability of resources and other limitations. Below is a list of suggestions received to date and a separate table of successes. If you are interested in serving on Think BIG please complete an application and email to [email protected]

Think BIG Members 

  • Heather Carreiro (BMFPO)
  • Kayla Guarino (BioMed Medical Affairs)
  • Michelle O'Brien (BMHR)
  • Samantha Rathbun (BMHR)
  • Brenda Slaney (OGPS)
  • John Umbel (BioMed Medical Affairs)

Past Think Big Members

  • Denise Capoverde, Co-Chair (MMI)
  • Mary Norton, Co-Chair (BMRA)
  • Christine Conway (BMRA)
  • Kathleen Sousa (CARE)
  • Elly Peimer (MPPB)
  • Tracey Cronin (OGPS)
  • Craig Grein (BMRA)
  • Rebecca Martish (BMRA)
  • Adam McGovern (BMFPO)
  • Karen Quinn (BMRA)
  • Diane Raj (MCB)
  • Joseph Rego (Advance-CTR)           








Create proposal checklists for less frequent proposal types. 

Ongoing: Created for Interim and Final RPPR, DOD, T32, NIH Career, and NIH Fellowship


Increase pre-award outreach to coordinators and faculty for unique proposal types.



Do not change the process for paying short -term GRAs as Research Associates.  



Increase research related administrative trainings



Research Administration Certificate: revitalize program offered by OVPR which provided a foundation for those involved with pre and post award in the departments



Improve patent and invention agreement process: more efficient distribution and maintenance with staff access



Create a BioMed Link Directory or FAQ/How do I? A one-stop site to direct administrators to either guidance on a particular topic, program, or form.



Improve the Effort Certificate Report (ECR) format and overall Effort Reporting Process in general. Tie payroll accounting adjustment to the date range of the effort report so ECR is not impacted and a PA can be processed.



Review faculty arrival and departure process

Ongoing: Subcommittee has been created. 


Streamline the current subaward process with OSP



Student support expense data is missing from Sponsored Award(s) Activity - Actuals and Manager Activity Report - Actuals. Other than stipends all other spend categories and ledger accounts in the student support section can't be filtered by student name (employee as worktag) and all come up in blank. The issue could be resolved by modifying the journal entry process to include employee as a worktag and if that's not possible create an "assignee" for every grad student. 



The new supplemental reports in Workday do not allow for a report based on budget period. 

Workday Operations has been working on this but it is unknown when a change will be made.


OSP process ownership: There are several important processes owned by OSP including: invoicing sponsors, A/R award collections, processing subcontracts with the hospitals, setting up budgets in WD, and the closeout award process. There is some frustration from departments that errors left unchecked can be costly to departments. There is a need for better understanding of OSP processes as well as their checks and balances.

Ongoing: A Subcommittee has been created. 


Currently, domestic travel reimbursements are not routed for approval beyond the cost center manager within the department. It was suggested that domestic travel reimbursements be approved by BMRA/OSP. Some items have been missed by the department but could have been caught if it was routed to BMRA/OSP. A possible solution is to have the department cost center manager and grant manager approve the transaction.



Departments are in need of assistance with website development and databases to gather necessary data for reporting. With the announcement of the campus wide website update project the University's existing websites will need to be rebuilt in the latest version of the web content management system Drupel 8. How will this process work in BioMed and what resources are available. 



 There have been some accounts payable (A/P) issues with policy and consistent policy application.  In some cases, A/P is sending back to the department and referencing policies that are suspect. For example, referencing a vague policy was violated but not providing a link or specific policy language.  If application or enforcement of policies change then a communication is required to all FCs. Depending on who is reviewing you could get different answers. All calls go to a general box and you cannot necessarily reach out to an individual directly.  You can reach out to John Hadden and he will respond but it can be frustrating to get someone on the phone to ask a question.



Create a general admin networking group (GANG) would include all administrative staff within all Academic departments (HR, Operations, Grad Student Coordinator, Grants Coordinators, Admin Assts., Admin Coordinators, etc.) so as to include topics that go beyond just BMFA and BMRA.  





Develop training for Training Grant and Grad Program Coordinators

Ongoing: An initial session was held on Oct. 23rd 2019 during OGPS Administrative session. Additional sessions will be held to cover topics such as Xtrain. 


Create a BioMed CIS Subcommittee 

Ongoing: First meeting held on Oct.1st 2019. 


Develop a mechanism to identify medical students receiving funding from a grant. 

The Workday group has a cost code meeting coming up in which they will review the request. 


Create a BioMed Purchasing Subcommittee. 



The current process for expense reports that are over 60 days is cumbersome and inefficient. Once the payroll runs, the expense is charged to the default organizational assignment of the employee and not the worktags of the canceled expense report. Some solutions include: A/P sends the canceled ER worktags to payroll and these tags are used when processing the ER reimbursement via payroll. Another solution would be to keep the existing process but Payroll adds the ER# to the payroll transaction and stops using a payroll program (e.g., PRG900).  



The University is still working on guidance for the delegation of signature authority. A flow chart would be helpful for BioMed of who is allowed to sign contracts. 

Think BIG is getting clarification on terms used in the guidance and which positions have signature authority. 




Implementation Date 

Implemented Suggestions



Eliminated pre review hire for new staff and post doc by BioMed Business offices.

Funding Verification Process for Research Positions


Created a Review/Approve Action table for decentralized departments by OSP or BMRA approver.

Decentralized Department Routing of UPAS and Other Agency Requests


Updated process of forwarding new award information to BMRA for inclusion in monthly Biomed Communications Kudos. Co-PIs are now acknowledged in KUDOS. 



Created secure Google Drive folders for Effort Reports eliminating pw protected emails during the effort certification (ECR) process.

Departments have access to a google folder for uploading ECRs. 


Streamline Effort Reporting

Eliminated undergraduate’s certifying their own effort certification report (ECR) and replaced with PI. 


The currently active report sent to departments monthly does not properly categorize T32 grants as training grants. Departments have to edit the report with the correct award type. 

RAIS updated Currently Active Monthly Report to include award type for T32 Institutional Training grants eliminating the need to edit the report locally in order to capture this data. 


Created a fillable PDF Fellowship Questionnaire for departments use for the Fellowship proposals process. Questionnaire is on BMRA webpage.

Centralized NRSA F-series Fellowship information on BMRA website: Application Guidance, Departmental Contact Information, Fellowship Questionnaire, link to sample applications and relevant resources.


A fellowship-subcommittee has established a Fellowship Website and fillable fellowship questionnaire. 


Streamlined the process for BioMed computer purchases. BMCSO created guidance and checklist for faculty and departments available on its website. 

Biomed Computer Services has published details on computer purchasing and deployment. How to Purchase a Computer or Printer. Google doc of details


BMRA has increased outreach to departments. 

This process is ongoing. Below are outreach events held to date.

  • August 30, 2017 – NIH RPPR Update
  • October 18, 2017 – BMRA Pizza Luncheon
  • October 26, 2017- NIH Clinical Trials- Interpretation and Application of the Expanded Definition
  • January 16, 2018 -NCURA Webinar -Practical Ways to Assist Faculty to Comply with Public Access Policies.
  • January 31, 2018 – Financial Coordinators' Breakfast Meeting
  • February 7th 2018 – NIH Forms E Clinical Trial Study Record training for Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. 


The Financial Reporting Worklet in Workday is scheduled to be disabled in March 2018. What reports does Biomed need?

Prior to disabling Financial Worklet, WD Operations met with BioMed departments to review available reports before elimination and to test new reports before to launching.


Grad students’ organizational assignments were changed to graduate program cost center and as a result department Cost Center Managers have access to update costing and payroll reporting in Workday.



BMRA partnered with OSP and Controller to develop a Subaward Advance Payment option for sub awardees without sufficient working capital.



Communication: can departments receive emails from BMRA for proposals that did not receive comments and were marked as complete, to confirm the proposal can be submitted to the agency.

Confirmation email created by BMRA Pre award that proposals reviewed with no comments are indeed ready for submission to the agency.


Facilitated OISSS presentation of the VISA process and employment to BioMed leadership group 



Created a comprehensive list of Cognos and Workday Reports with description of its use and posted on the BMRA website.

For a list of reports: Overview of Reports Available to Departments.


Developed FY Faculty Salary Bonus Criteria for Cost Center Managers as a reference when discussing bonus process with faculty.

Guidance has been finalized and distributed to department managers. 

June 2018

Clarified Faculty salary increase process. Annually in May, BMFA will communicate to chairs that salary information is available, and copy the Cost Center Managers to insure FY salary is received for timely WD summer salary



Created Travel guidance documents for administrative staff, including Graduate Program Coordinators, incorporating travel information from various offices. The Guidance was distributed in NewsPhage. 

General Travel Guidance 

Graduate Student Travel Funding 


Developed electronic Adobe Sign Cost Share form for pre review and approval of proposal cost share.


Provided examples of acceptable and unacceptable language for PAA justifications.

PAA Justification Examples

Formed the BioMed Workday Users group hosted by BMFP. The first meeting was held in December 2018.


Eliminated OSP review of Workday Costing Allocation Business Process (BP). OSP Grant/Contract Accountant approval only required when Costing includes an attachment for personnel over NIH cap and Summer Salary costing. 


Departments are able to make graduate student costing updates for monthly changes. In addition, graduate program coordinators will update graduate student appointment type and financial information in GSIM. This improvement will decrease processing times in GSIM and WorkDay.