Reengineering the Research Administration Process

As John Fry described in his recent article, "Restructuring at Penn: Four Basic Questions and Some Interlocking Goals" (Almanac October 17), Penn has begun to redesign the administrative processes that support research. Sponsored research amounted to almost $300 million last fiscal year, roughly 30% of the University's non-health care budget. An enterprise of this magnitude needs to be managed efficiently, and Penn's current infrastructure supporting research is old and often cumbersome to use. With the introduction of the new Financial Management System* and purchasing procedures, we have the opportunity to design new administrative processes and systems that will work synergistically to support research.

The goal of the redesign project is to develop a design and model for process, organizational and technical improvements to Penn's research infrastructure that will enable the University to provide cost effective, high quality service to its faculty and sponsoring agencies. It will examine all components of the process for obtaining and managing sponsored research support from funding source identification to project close-out. More specifically this project will involve.:

Two groups will provide the leadership and hard work necessary to ensure that the project will be successful. A Steering Committee will establish and oversee the general direction of the project. This group will also provide required resources, resolve high-level policy and organizational issues, provide feedback on redesign concepts, and communicate to the Penn community on the importance of the project's objectives.

The Steering Committee will be led by Executive Vice President John Fry and Provost Stanley Chodorow, and includes Acting Vice Provost Ralph Amado, David Balamuth, Physics and Astronomy; Robin Beck, UMIS; Comptroller Alfred Beers, Dean Raymond Fonseca, Dental Medicine, Vice President Steven Golding, Finance; Janet Gordon, EVP Office; Michael Hindery, Medical Center Finance; Dwight Jaggard, Electrical Engineering; Dean Alan Kelly, Veterinary Medicine; Anthony Merritt, ORA; and Richard Tannen, Medicine.

The data-gathering and analysis of the reengineering effort will be carried out by a Redesign Team which will be led by Ralph Amado and Anthony Merritt. Other members of the team are Berenice Saxon, ORA; Kristine Briggs, Office of the EVP; Elizabeth Garlatti, School of Medicine; Robert McCann, Comptroller; George Palladino, Department of Chemistry; Edward Read, UMIS; Denise Scala, School of Nursing; Paul Weidner, School of Medicine; and Audrey Masciocchi, Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The Redesign Team will carry out its initial assessment of the current process through the use of four tools:

The information-gathering activity is the most critical element of the Redesign Team's work. The success of the project will, in large part, depend on active participation in these survey activities. Should you receive a survey, we urge you to respond as candidly and thoughtfully as possible. We need everyone's ideas on how to make the process as effective and user-friendly as possible. Therefore, in addition to the survey, we have established an e-mail address for this project at evpproj@pobox. Please send us your comments and suggestions.

-- Ralph Amado, Acting Vice Provost for Research

-- Anthony Merritt, Executive Director for Sponsored Projects

* See Mr. Fry's "Innovation Corner," a Compass feature in Almanac October 10.


Tuesday, October 31, 1995
Volume 42 Number 10

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