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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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.

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of the Vice President for Finance & Budget have jointly sponsored the Sponsored Projects Administration Certification Program continuously since 2004/5. The program, usually offered annually, has certified approximately 445 research administrators. The curriculum has grown to five modules and twenty seven units and, as a result, the time is right for an overhaul and recalibration. One major goal of the redesign is to create a standalone Introduction to Research Administration module that will be available online 24/7 with a projected launch of fall/winter 2017. A second goal is to re-work the Compliance, Clinical Trial, Financial, Post-Award, and Project Management modules for a projected launch of spring 2018. Please contact Cathy Short (, Training Manager – G&C/OSP, with any questions.

NCURA Webinar Series – Education at Eleven: The Toolbox for Research Administrators – Bring your lunch and learn from NCURA Research Administration Faculty as well as your VCU colleagues at this six part brown bag webinar series. Sign up for one, two, or all of the sessions which will be held Fridays in February through May on the MCV campus, Biotech One, 3rd Floor, Conference Room 3060, 11am – 1pm. See flyer for descriptions of all six webinars and VCU training registration information.

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).

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.

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.