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Pre-Award Business Processes for Grantee Organizations

In times where Institutions of Higher Education and Research have to compete for grant funds fiercer than ever, more and more of them turn to the SAP Grants Management for Grantee solution to help them manage and report their grant and contract accounting and related activities. The Grants Management for Grantee solution addresses the special needs of sponsored program administration by providing a separate view of the Grantee organization’s data from the sponsor’s perspective.  Currently SAP solution management is planning for the next development cycle of the Grants Management for Grantee solution and collecting requirements for Public Service organization’s pre-award business processes.  The information will be used to confirm our understanding of industry business processes, help define a best practices approach for pre-award processes and determine customer priorities in this area.   If you are part of the user community, (i.e. Researchers, Program Administrators or Support Staff) we want to ask you to share with us information on specific processes and/or complete process overviews of your institutions.  We not only want to understand the current processes but also requirements for optimal pre-award business processes.  Please provide your feedback by responding to this blog and share your ideas with peer Organizations.  In addition, customer requirements meetings will be conducted in the US and EU.  We hope to continue the exchange on this topic in the BPX HER community and will keep you posted on the meeting results and requirements gathered at those meetings.
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  • You may be aware that we are currently developing a pre-award research project costing tool to support our process of preparing grant applications.

    These are the main features we are providing for at this stage:

    A. Project Costing
    - Staff costing and forecasting. With link to SAP HR personnel for existing staff. Support for multiple pay scales, banding, inflation profiles, user-defined pay scales. User has control over increment dates and discretionary spine points.
    - Support for full economic costing (fEC) - overheads, indirects and other directly allocated costs related to the staff on the project
    - Student fees and stipend costing
    - Equipment with fEC recoverable calculation (e.g taking into account cases where a funder will pay 80% for the first £50000 of equipment costs and then 100% for any amount above the threshold).
    - Travel and Consumables
    - Major equipment facilities deriving costs from institution determined usage rates
    - Bio-medical costs derived from fEC price lists
    - Other miscellaneous user-defined costs

    B. Reports
    - Staff Costing Breakdown Institution fEC.
    - Staff Costing Breakdown Funder-recoverable.
    - Full project costing report
    - Internal approval form with cost summary
    - JeS submission report (for applications being fed into the UK Research Councils' JeS system)

    C. Link to SAP Grants Management
    - Once project costings have been approved, a Grant is created in the SAP GM module and linked to the costing. It is possible for a user to access the grant from the costing and vice-versa. Possible to see how the applied for costs were calculated and arived at.

    D. Workflow and status control
    - Costings progress through a simple draft -> awaiting approval -> approved life cycle before being available for producing the internal approval form and creating the Grant in GM.
    - Ability to email costing to other users for input and approval, (using SAP Workflow tools)
    - Only the current 'owner' of the costing is able to modify the costing.
    - Ability to share the costing with select users, so that projects can remain confidential and not visible to other users.

    E. HR Authorisation and confidentiality controls
    - Where actual salaries are retrieved from HR for use on a costing, this is audited in an audit log.
    - Able to exclude certain HR organisation units from staff search helps and in validation, so it is not possible for users to access staff who are not 'research relevant'. e.g. the vice chancellor's salary.

    I hope this gives a 'flavour' of the type of detail and processing we need to cater for within the pre-award area.

    We would be happy to enter into further discussion. We are also willing to demonstrate what we have done with GM and our own inhouse costing system, once our pilot phase has begun in September 2007.

    Paul Abrahamson
    Business Analyst
    Corporate Information Systems
    University of Leicester