REMINDER: Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Updates from the Director

 

We hope everyone is settling into the routine of a new academic year. As the chaos subsides, we encourage your interest in expanding your scholarship through the pursuit of external funding. If you would like to discuss some ideas for how to get started, or if you would like someone from Sponsored Programs to present at a departmental or unit meeting, please contact our office to discuss a convenient time to meet.  You may contact our office at jmu_grants@jmu.edu or at 8/6872.


Good Evaluation Plans Are Critical to Solid Funding Proposals

Submitting an evaluation plan along with a proposal demonstrates to sponsors how their money will be spent as well as how the project's goals will be achieved. "An evaluation should determine the impact and effectiveness of a program. It demonstrates what worked and also what didn't work," said Nichole Albanese, MPA and grant writing consultant. "A thoughtful program evaluation should not only focus on proving that a program works, but also on improving a program’s effectiveness." According to Albanese, "Evaluations can help the organization plan the program, create an objective report detailing the return on investment for a funder, and demonstrate the benefits to the community that the organization serves."
Albanese offers the following advice on how to construct an effective evaluation plan:

  • What it does.
  • How it works
  • When and how to implement.
    • "In designing an evaluation, the organization needs to clarify at the outset what they want to learn and how they are defining success."

Outcomes must be measurable. Metrics should be used to quantify outcomes. Especially for federal sponsors, the evaluation plan is a requirement and integral to the scoring of a funding proposal. Often guidelines will assign up to 20% of the score of a proposal on the evaluation and assessment measures employed in the project design. Federal sponsors demand accountability for expenditure of public funding and all sponsors are following suit. The federal government passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) which aims to improve the confidence of the American people in the capability of the Federal Government, by systematically holding Federal agencies accountable for achieving program results; in turn, federal sponsors have mandated efforts to improve program efficiency and effectiveness, because of insufficient articulation of program goals and inadequate information on program performance. See the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/mgmt-gpra/index-gpra) for more information.

Take away message: The program evaluation and assessment plan should NOT be an after-thought as you formulate your funding proposal. It should be central to the design of the project. You should carefully consider what resources you will need in terms of the budget to produce a compelling evaluation plan. Office of Sponsored Programs staff can help you with the adequate budgeting of resources, whether they be internal or external.

For a copy of the complete interview with Nichole Albanese, visit: http://getyourgranton.com/2012/08/20/evaluationplans-are-you-demonstrating-your-programs-effectiveness/

Reminders About Summer-Related Employment Transactions
As we enter the new academic year, please remember to complete Summer payroll transactions as soon as possible. Agency Transaction Vouchers (ATV's) moving salary from one project or department ID to another and Personnel Action Request (PAR) forms to pay employees for summer work must be completed now so that they will be accurately reflected in the Summer Effort Certification Reports that are released in September. ATVs and PARs submitted after this time will not be correctly reflected on summer Effort Certifications and will also adversely impact Fall Effort Reports by being picked up as payments during that period. Thank you for taking the time to complete these transactions in a timely manner to make effort reporting easier and more accurate.

 
Compliance Corner  

Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Regulations Impact YOU

FCOI Disclosures Required PRIOR to proposal submission:

Please remember, under Public Health Service (PHS) Regulations, you must submit an FCOI disclosure form (FCOI Questionnaire) prior to proposal submission. If you fail to comply with the disclosure requirements, you will be prevented from applying for PHS funds.

Prior to submitting a proposal to PHS on or after August 24, 2012, you must:

  • Have an up-to-date FCOI disclosure using the FCOI Questionnaire (.docx)  on-file in the Office of Research Compliance (disclosure must have been submitted within the last 12 months); and
  • Submit the FCOI Questionnaire (.docx) to buennepd@jmu.edu.  
  • If, after completing the  form, you are reimbursed for travel or have travel paid on your behalf by an entity that engages in activities that could reasonably be perceived by non-experts as being related to your university responsibilities, you must disclose the travel within 30 days of the end of the trip via a  FCOI Questionnaire (.docx).
  • The travel disclosure requirement applies to all entities sponsoring travel other than James Madison University; a grant or contract to James Madison University; a U.S. federal, state, or government agency; other U.S. institution of higher education; an academic teaching hospital; a medical center; or a research institute that is affiliated with a U.S. institution of higher education. 

FCOI Training Required PRIOR to Acceptance of PHS Funding/Awards:
PHS Regulations require disclosure, training, and management of Financial Conflicts of Interest before you can expend funds on a PHS project. JMU will not assign a department ID for your use for a PHS-funded award until you have met these requirements.

You must complete the FCOI Disclosure (FCOI Questionnaire) AND training prior to engaging in PHS-funded research with a Notice of Award date or noncompeting continuation segment beginning on or after August 24, 2012.

You must have also completed the training mandated by PHS. The Office of Research Compliance has adapted the Conflict of Interest online training module offered by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) to meet the training requirement. As many of you are aware, JMU has entered into an agreement with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program to provide training. CITI Program is utilized by JMU Research Compliance to ensure training is received by faculty, staff, and students engaged in a variety of regulated research activities. Individuals will receive an automatic notification upon completion of FCOI training and the program retains a log of all training documentation. Please see the following URL to review the instructions for the required training and select Conflict of Interest: http://www.jmu.edu/sponsprog/research_compliance/conducttraining.html

The training is available for Investigators to take now at the URL above.   

Do not delay in completing your FCOI Disclosure or FCOI Training!

Please contact Pat Buennemeyer at buennepd@jmu.edu, 568-7025, with questions.