RAMP Frequently Asked Questions
What is changing?
Florida State University’s Office of Research is implementing a new system called Research Administration Management Portal (RAMP). This is an exciting change for the university that will create one comprehensive system for the management of grant proposals, ACUC and IRB protocols, contract negotiations, subcontracts, and export control information. It will allow FSU researchers and administrators the ability to obtain grant-related information they need in one system. It will also provide the ability to seamlessly route proposals internally to Sponsored Research Administration as well as electronic proposal submission to sponsors (where available). In addition, the system provides the functionality to submit ACUC and IRB protocols electronically.
Why are we doing this?
Currently, each office responsible for the various research administration functions has its own record keeping processes (via manual and electronic systems). The systems do not interact with each other which creates inefficiencies for the many researchers and department administrators who need to utilize many or all of them. In addition, the current systems have limited functionality with no or minimal electronic capabilities. RAMP will support the administration of research through one integrated system and allow for the electronic submission of grant proposals - internally to Sponsored Research Administration for review and approval and externally to sponsors upon proposal completion (where available by sponsor). It will also provide a comprehensive tool for the management of IRB and ACUC protocols. We believe these changes will result in greater efficiencies for the university and also create a far easier system for principal investigators and staff.
Which processes will be affected by this change?
Management of grant proposals and electronic proposal submission to sponsors (where available), IRB and ACUC protocols, contract negotiations, subcontracts, and export control information will all be part of this new integrated system.
Will the old system still be an option?
RAMP will be phased in over time, and as the systems come online they will replace the current system. This means the old systems will no longer be available one the new system comes live. Be assured that there will be no disruptions to current research projects during this crossover.
What is the timeline for this project? When will my subject area switch to the new system?
This multiyear project is structured so that different research subject areas will go live in a staged process over the next two years. ACUC will be the first module to go live, and that will take place in January 2019. IRB will follow in June 2019. Next will be the non-financial agreements and outgoing sub awards which will go live in August 2019. The final areas will be grants and financial agreements which will go live in July 2020 and finally export controls which will go live in November 2020.
What type of record keeping/processes are currently used?
Currently, the individual areas responsible for these activities use different record-keeping methods. This has created multiple paper and electronic systems which do not communicate. RAMP is designed to provide an integrated electronic framework for research administration, which includes the functionality to submit grant proposals electronically for internal review and external submission to sponsors (where available) upon proposal completion.
Do other institutions use this system? Which ones?
Yes, many other universities have upgraded their research enterprise activities similarly to what we are doing. We are using a product called the Huron Research Suite which we have purchased from the HURON Consulting Group. The system was formerly known as Click Commerce. Both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida use this system, as well as many other research institutions throughout the country. Staff in the Office of Research visited several universities to determine how this system was used, and other systems were considered prior to our decision to choose the Huron Research Suite.
What have other universities who use this system reported as far as impact?
Many other universities have experienced increased efficiencies with this software. Pennsylvania State University reported a 46 percent reduction in the average number of days from submission to approval of IRB protocols, and MD Anderson reported a 10.6 percent reduction in average approval time for new IACUC protocols and a 34.5 percent reduction in average approval time for IACUC amendments. Other schools have consistently noted the benefits of electronic proposal routing and have reported that it has provided them with a streamlined approach to building, tracking, processing and submitting proposals.
How will this affect me as a researcher?
Overall, we believe this will be a time saver for researchers. When the system is fully operational, researchers will use this system to route grant proposals from their department or college to Sponsored Research Administration for review. Once approved, proposals will be electronically submitted to sponsors (where available). RAMP will also allow researchers to easily to obtain the status of proposals and protocols in a more efficient and timely manner, as well as whenever they want as the system can be accessed 24/7. Additionally, protocols for research involving animal and human subjects will be created and routed electronically through the ACUC and IRB modules respectively.
How will this impact active sponsored projects?
As each module is implemented, complete guidance will be provided about impacts on both active and future sponsored projects. Training sessions will also be provided.
Do I use this system to apply for CRC programs?
No, the CRC submission portal remains intact and will continue to be the way in which all CRC applications will be submitted.
Will we be able to log into this system remotely or via an app?
Yes, if you are traveling or working from home, you will be able to access RAMP through your web browser on your PC, tablet, or smart phone.
Will the system know where to route my proposal if it needs additional signatures?
Absolutely. This is one of the big benefits of this system. The routing function will route from PI to required approvals in departments/colleges and to Sponsored Research Administration, as well as Human Subjects and Lab Animal Resources if indicated.
Will researchers or administrators get to weigh in on the changes?
Yes! We have created working groups related to each section so we are getting as much feedback as possible. We will also have testing sessions as we get close to each module going live. These sessions are designed to obtain feedback from users as well as ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Will there be trainings conducted on the new software?
Yes. We will have in-person and web-based training options available.
Will there be a “practice module” that could be utilized for training purposes?
Yes. A “test site” has been developed and it can be accessed during training sessions to allow users to gain familiarity and knowledge of the system.
Should I be doing anything now to prepare for the upcoming change(s)?
Please watch for future announcements about the new system from the Office of Research. Taking a few moments to read the Office of Research’s monthly newsletter will keep you updated. Guidance will be provided prior to each change.
Will “testers” be utilized from the university to ensure the system will function properly?
Yes. In fact, we have already started utilizing university faculty to test the new ACUC module.