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Steering Team Joins Faculty Senate to Talk eRA Project

Contributed by: Jessica Burnette and Jalisa Melton

Earlier this year, seven members of the eRA Steering Team joined a bi-monthly Faculty Senate meeting to talk eRA. The Faculty Senate is a group of representatives from each part of the university whose members act as facilitators of faculty participation in the governance of NC State. The meeting attendees included 28 Senators who were able to contribute. Like most groups, they discussed their thoughts regarding the huge change a new system will bring. The main focus during this portion of the meeting was to identify what eRA requirements were most important to the Faculty Senate and what concerns they had, if any. During the meeting a plethora of topics were discussed, but they all had one theme, how difficult will this change really be?

With this inevitable change coming, the group wanted to know more about how these changes would affect them directly. They broke out into groups to discuss the system changes more in depth. From those in-depth conversations, six main questions seemed to be on everyone’s mind.

  1. Deadlines: Will the guidelines on deadlines be changing with the new eRA?
  2. Change: How moldable will this system be? Will we be able to make changes as sponsors make them?
  3. Data and Transfer: With RADAR and PINS being in use for so many years, what will happen to the tons of data that is already being stored there?
  4. Funding: As we all know everyone wants an account number as quickly as possible. Will this system allow faster transfer to post-award so that people can start spending sooner?
  5. Money: How much is this whole system replacement going to cost the University?
  6. Sponsor Reporting: Because reporting is very important to the research process, how will the new system support this requirement? In addition, will all sponsors be supported by this new system?

These are all valuable and legitimate questions. The short answer is a new eRA system plans to meet the needs of our growing research portfolio at NC State. The replacement of the current homegrown systems will allow the university to continue growing NC State research beyond what these systems can handle. It is expected that the new system will allow for customization, smooth data transfer, streamlined processes, and sponsor compatibility, all within the proposed budget for this endeavor. Each of these requirements addresses the concerns of the Faculty Senate. While we keep this in mind, we appreciate all thoughts and input. Please feel free to share your comments below!