Longwood Focused Topics

Focused Topics are one to one-and-a-half hour sessions on a specific topic.  Topics have been chosen based on requests from departments, areas of risk or a new policy or procedure.  For all Focused Topic sessions:  Please register on the OFS/iSite/Training Sign up page.  Look for the next round of topics this fall.

Action Memos

Next Session:  Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitators:  Elaine Kiley, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Administration and Nicole Bourne, Sponsored Research Administrator

Description: GMAS Action Memos summarize pertinent details about awards in a standard format across the University.  An Action Memo provides the blueprint for recording and maintaining award data for all Harvard sponsored projects.  During this focused topic, we will examine the components of Action Memos.

Audience: Action Memo Recipients and anyone with a financial role interested in learning more about Action Memos.

Risk Management: Assessing, Prioritizing and Mitigating

Next Session:  Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitator:  Michael Monaghan, Director-Financial, Operations and Compliance Audit, RMAS

By popular request!  This session was one of the offerings at the Harvard University Institutional Risk Management (IRM) Symposium this past June.  If you missed the session then now’s your chance to catch it!

Description: Attendees should walk away from this session with an understanding of risk management concepts,  including risk assessment, statements and register;  inherent and residual risk including impact, likelihood, velocity, and existing management controls;  risk ranking and heat maps;  risk treatment and mitigation planning and the value-add of the IRM discipline; and the structure of the Harvard’s IRM Program.

Audience:  Anyone interested in learning about the important role we each play in risk management.

Payroll Journals: Crossing Fiscal Quarters

Next Session:  Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitator:  Judy Lo, Manager of Cost Accounting

Description: The new eCrt requirements changed the way in which we process payroll journals that cross quarterly periods.  Find out how to process payroll journals that fall into this category and learn what to consider or watch for when managing salary effort on sponsored accounts.

Audience: HSPH financial administrators responsible for creating and approving payroll journals for personnel working on sponsored programs.


Next Session: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitators:  Elaine Kiley, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Administration and Patrick O’Neill, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Administration.

Description:  In the current economic environment federal agencies, particularly NIH, are carefully scrutinizing unobligated balances.   During this focused topic, we will discuss the importance of monitoring the “burn rate” for a project, how to best report on large unobligated balances in NIH progress reports and how to submit prior approval carryover requests.

Audience: Anyone involved in the financial management of a project (GMs, ADFs, Program Staff)

Budget Justification

Next Session:  Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitators:  Melissa Francis, Associate Director of Research Administration 

Description: The Budget Narrative is the justification of “how and/or “why a line item helps to meet the program deliverables. This topic explains the best way to identify the important components of the budget narrative.

Audience: Grant Managers who work with Principal Investigators on budget narrative composition and development.

Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR)

Next Session: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., FXB-G10
Facilitators:  Vanessa Barton, Senior Sponsored Research Administrator and Caitlin Alfaro, Senior Grant Manager, Genetics & Complex Diseases

Description: Progress reports are required annually to document grantee accomplishments and compliance with terms of award. They describe scientific progress, identify significant changes, report on personnel, and describe plans for the subsequent budget period or year.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has mandated that federal agencies implement a federal-wide research performance progress report (RPPR) to standardize recipient reporting on federally-funded research projects.

NIH has begun transitioning progress reports to RPPR, beginning with eSNAP.  Traditional paper submissions will follow.  The format of this focused topic will be an open discussion to give participants an opportunity to share their transition from eSNAP to RPPR experiences.

Audience: Anyone involved in RPPR submissions

Other Support

Next Session: Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Kresge 202
Facilitators:   Vanessa Barton, Senior Sponsored Research Administrator

Description: Questions often arise as to what to include in Other Support.   In particular how to handle dual appointments of senior/key personnel, what is meant by measurable effort, and what to include in an effort or scientific overlap statement.   In this session you will learn how to handle these situations and apply what you learn to a case example.

Audience: Research Administrators responsible for putting together Other Support Documentation.

System Tools – Access, Use and Interfaces

Next Session: To be scheduled
Facilitator:  Diane Standring, Administrative Training and Support Specialist

Description:  There are many systems at Harvard to help research administrators and financial staff do their jobs.  Do they talk to each other? How does one get access to them? Which systems are used for what tasks? This focused topic answers these questions and more about the systems that we use at HSPH when managing sponsored programs.  You will leave the session with information about getting access to systems, how they interface with each other and system resources and training.

Audience: Staff who work with Harvard’s financial systems and/or manage sponsored programs and want a better idea of how the various systems interface.

Terms and Conditions

Next Session: To be Scheduled
Facilitator:  Elaine Kiley, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Administration and Patrick O’Neill, Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Administration

Description: In this session the participants will examine both a typical federal and non-federal award notice. The importance of the award notice and its role as the bridge between pre-award and post-award will be explored. The participants will also practice establishing the relevant policies, best practices, and explanations pertinent to managing a sponsored project.

Audience: This class is intended for anyone who manages or participants in sponsored projects, with a specific focus on those who are responsible for implementing and/or adhering to the award notice.

Public Access Compliance Nuts and Bolts

Next Session:  To Be Scheduled
Facilitators: Scott Lapinski, Digital Resources and Services Librarian, Countway Library

Description: Public Access shares research results broadly and quickly so they can impact research and practice.  The NIH Public Access Policy affects progress reports, biosketches, and awards.  HSPH’s Public Access policy affects journal submissions.  Learn how to help your PIs comply proactively and efficiently with both policies, and what to do when noncompliance affects grants management.

Audience: Grant Managers, Faculty Assistants, ADFs, DAs

Guidelines for Federal Sponsored Expenditures

Next Session:  To Be Scheduled
Facilitator:  Eileen Nielsen, Director Research Administration Education

Description: Indirect costs may seem intangible, but they are real costs and cannot be direct charged to federally sponsored research.  Indirect costs include items such as administrative salaries, communications costs, office supplies, photocopying, proposal preparation, subscriptions, general purpose equipment, computers and data storage devices. So, if asked to direct charge these expenses to a sponsored award what should you do?

In this session we will talk about the costs that are included in the F&A rate, where to find this information, and how to explain why F&A costs cannot be direct charged to a sponsored project.   You will also learn about situations where costs that are normally considered indirect can be direct charged to a sponsored project.   

Audience: HSPH researchers and administrators who charge items directly to federal sponsored projects.