Sneak Preview: FDP Repository Pilot Improved IHE Data Sharing

May 24, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) recently touted the benefits of an 18-month pilot program using an online repository of institutional data to enable institutions of higher education (IHEs) participating in the pilot to share information easier, thus reducing administrative burden.

FDP, which began in the mid-1980s to assess methods for improving the federal/university research support relationship, now includes more than 160 research universities and nonprofit centers, federal agencies and affiliate professional organizations. While FDP serves as an exploratory body for making improvements specifically in research grant administration, lessons learned from their collaborations often can be applied to other types of nonfederal entities. FDP’s overall goal is to increase productivity of federally supported research and reduce administrative burden through initiatives related to challenges such as: (1) troublesome award terms and condition clauses; (2) subrecipient monitoring; (3) processes for using Grants.gov; (4) using institutional review boards in human subjects research; and (5) subaward agreements.

In February 2016, FDP member institutions launched a pilot program, called the Expanded Clearinghouse (http://www.fdpclearinghouse.org), in which they used an online repository of institutional data as an alternative to transaction-by-transaction exchange of similar institutional information. The member institutions determined that the online repository enabled them to save more than 17,500 staff hours over the course of a year that is typically required to initiate and oversee research projects among multiple institutions.

“Data in the Expanded Clearinghouse are used to satisfy federal requirements for verifying the financial and compliance adequacy of a research partner institution prior to and during the conduct of multi-institutional research projects,” said Lynette Arias, co-chair of the FDP pilot and assistant vice provost for research at the University of Washington.

Under §200.331(b) of the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform grant guidance, pass-through entities are required to evaluate each subrecipient’s risk of noncompliance with federal statutes, regulations and the terms and conditions of the subaward for purposes of determining the appropriate subrecipient monitoring. FDP members said that the data repository enables one institution to better assess financial or compliance risk prior to issuing a subaward to another institution under a research collaboration.

According to fellow pilot co-chair Pamela Webb, associate vice president for research administration at the University of Minnesota: “Efficiency and timeliness matter; the scientific value of these partnerships can be negatively impacted when research cannot be started due to administrative delays. However, the federal government imposes significant regulatory and compliance obligations on the institution issuing the subaward to make sure that funds are only deployed to compliant partners (i.e., subrecipients), and that the issuing institution actively monitors technical and financial progress.” Webb added that making the oversight process more efficient can also reduce subrecipient monitoring costs.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

As a reminder, we have all of our Federal Funding Training Forums scheduled for 2018. Please let me know if you have questions or can make any of these. We hope to see you there!

  • Wednesday July 25 – Friday July 27 in MINNEAPOLIS

http://www.federalgrantsforum.com/minneapolis/index.html?src=AT

  • Wednesday October 17 – Friday October 19 in ATLANTA

http://www.federalgrantsforum.com/atlanta/index.html?src=AT

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