Training and Meeting Opportunities

Refer to the events calendar for class availability:

Join the Research Administration Listserve to be kept up-to-date on new policies and regulations and learn of new training opportunities as they arise.

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Mandatory Training for PIs and Research Administrative Staff

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Vice President for Finance & Budget, with the support of VCU’s senior administration, have updated mandatory training programs in sponsored project compliance and effort certification to increase awareness and accountability and to reduce risk to the University. The inaugural training program began in 2012. New regulations and requirements are addressed in the updated training.

All Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to complete this training program prior to December 31, 2016. Co-investigators are encouraged to complete the program as well. The training program is available on Blackboard and should take approximately one (1) hour to complete. To access the program, go to the VCU home page (, click on Blackboard and log-in using your VCU eID. Once in Blackboard, click on the Courses tab and select "Mandatory Sponsored Project and Effort Reporting Training." After enrolling, you will need to review the Course Instructions tab and then review the two slide shows, "Managing Your Project" and "ECRT Training for Investigators." Once you've reviewed, you'll need to take the two associated exams. Scoring 80 on each is passing. If you have any problems registering for the course, please send an email to Access will be granted within 24 hours.

A separate training will be issued shortly for VCU staff involved in sponsored projects or manage funds in sponsored projects accounts. A separate email notice will be sent to the Research Administrators List Serve when it is available.

Additionally, administrators that are requesting primary or secondary access to the Effort Reporting system (ECRT) will need to first complete the required training and then submit an ECRT Access Request form to Effort Reporting. Instructions regarding the mandatory Effort Reporting Training are located on the University Controller’s Office website as is the ECRT Access Request form.

VCU has an obligation to preserve public trust in the integrity and quality of its sponsored projects. Ensuring that our faculty and staff are aware of and comply with federal regulations and University policies strengthens that trust. We appreciate your willingness to participate in this program.

Use the Mandatory Sponsored Project and Effort Reporting Training Get Started Guide to assist with locating and self enrolling in the Blackboard training course in addition to confirming completion.

Please contact Cathy Short, Training Manager, (, 628-2653) with any questions.

VCU Sponsored Projects Administration Certification Program

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of the Vice President for Finance & Budget will once again be jointly sponsoring the VCU Sponsored Projects Administration Certification Program. The program is managed and coordinated by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Content is aimed toward individuals with 3-5 years of experience in sponsored projects administration but anyone is welcome to enroll. Registration for the program is $75 (paid through departmental index account). The program will begin in late August 2016 (with the release of on-line content) and end in February 2017. The program will consist of five modules – each focusing on a primary aspect of sponsored projects administration. Each module will have several units posted on Blackboard. Students will be expected to review and complete these units, on their own, by the scheduled completion date. One classroom session will be held for each module; the expectation is that materials are reviewed on-line in advance of the classroom session. Each classroom session will run from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the specified date. Lunch will be provided. Students will be tested on module content via an exam administered through Blackboard following the classroom session. Successful completion of all unit quizzes, all module exams, as well as attendance at all classroom sessions will be required to obtain the course certificate. The Certification Program is an internal, VCU program aimed at fostering and disseminating knowledge about sponsored projects administration. The complete narrative and graphic syllabi are available here:

A basic program outline and timeline is below:


Course: Sponsored Project Administration Certification Program
Duration: September 2016 – February 2017
Program cost: $75.00

Course Outline

Module 1: Pre-Award to include:
Overview, proposal preparation, budget building basics, advanced budget/proposal preparation

Module 2: Compliance to include:
Research protections, research security, administrative principles (2 CFR 200), intellectual property, research integrity

Module 3: Clinical Trials to include:
Clinical trials overview, budgeting for clinical trials, master agreements, WIRB, study termination and closeout

Module 4: Post Award Basics to include:
Cost principles (2 CFR 200), accounting, personnel, purchasing, account management

Module 5: Project Management to include:
Advanced project management, Recordkeeping and Audit principles (2 CFR 200), Special Situations, Case Studies

Each module will consist of on-line material and one live lecture. An on-line exam will follow at the end of each module.

The live sessions are mandatory for completing the program so please review the dates to make sure you are available to participate.

Course Timeline

Registration Period Through August 22, 2016
(pending space availability)
On-line content Open (Module 1) August 29, 2016
Module 1 Live Session September 13, 2016
Module 2 Live Session October 4, 2016
Module 3 Live Session November 1, 2016
Module 4 Live Session January 17, 2017
Module 5 Live Session February 7, 2017
Make Up Session Date* February 14, 2017
End/Certificate Presentation February 21, 2017 at 3:30pm
(Biotech One, Ball Conference Room)

* Note: The Make Up Session Date (February 14, 2017) is to be used only if one of the scheduled live sessions is canceled due to weather. If this were to occur, all scheduled programming would shift.

Note: Live sessions are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in BioTech One Building, Ball Conference (first floor) or Conference Room 3060 (third floor).

We hope you find this material both instructional and useful for your daily work in dealing with sponsored projects. Please contact Cathy Short ( if you have questions regarding the certification program.

Registration will open on August 1, 2016. You can register on-line here. An announcement with a link directly to the program registration will be sent via the RES-ADM list serve.

Other Training

NCURA Instructional DVD Library – This library includes DVD’s on various topics in Research Administration. DVD material is designed for those who are new to research administration as well as those who are experienced. The library includes a wide range of informative topics that are useful to a diverse audience including Research Administrators, Fiscal Administrators, Principal Investigators, etc. Click here for DVD checkout instructions.

Grants & Contracts Accounting Training – This training is offered once a month and is designed for employees with less than one year experience working with sponsored programs. The session provides those who are new to grant administration an overview of Grants & Contracts policies and procedures and commonly used Banner forms. Participants must have completed the Banner Basic Navigation course via blackboard/ or other classroom Banner experience. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Effort Reporting (Basic) – This training is designed for effort coordinators with less than one year experience working with effort and /or ECRT. The session will provide an overview of effort reporting, ECRT, and compliance. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Effort Reporting (Intermediate) – This training is designed for effort coordinators with more than one year experience working with effort and/or ECRT. The session provides a more detailed view of effort reporting, ECRT, and compliance. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Training Materials and Quick Reference Documents

VCU Training Materials

Getting Started in Research Administration Guide
This guide summarizes the many training opportunities and online resources offered by Sponsored Programs and Grants and Contracts Accounting. It is designed to acclimate those new to research administration and provides course descriptions as well as registration instructions.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) Basics
This one page guide provides an overview, relevant contact information, and training opportunities for the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Grants and Contracts Accounting (G&C) Basics
This one page guide provides an overview, relevant contact information, and training opportunities for Grants & Contracts Accounting / Effort Reporting.

From NIH: All About Grants Podcast Service

NIH and the Office of Extramural Research (OER) have made podcasts available which feature conversations with NIH staff members. The podcasts are designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others. The podcasts vary in length (between 10-20 minutes) and relevant subject matter and are updated every other week.

Please visit the "All About Grants" podcast website to download podcasts or to subscribe to this service.