Research Notes: Thoughts from VPR Karen Burg
Karen Burg was appointed as University of Georgia’s Vice President for Research in July 2021. Focusing on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, her work has been supported by more than $20 million in grants from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, as well as organizations such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Burg is the author of nearly 120 peer-reviewed journal publications and the co-author of four books and nearly 40 book chapters, and she holds nine U.S. patents. She also serves as the Harbor Lights Chair in Biomedical Research in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2022, Burg received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Joe Biden.
Standardizing sponsored project reporting utilizing Collaborator Contribution
Following the recommendations made by multi-year working groups comprising college, school and other unit representatives, this summer the University of Georgia will move from Academic Credit to Collaborator Contribution as a new method for designating investigator contributions to sponsored projects. The change will become effective July 1.
Collaborator Contribution combines indirect cost (IDC) distribution with credit distribution to create a new, simplified way of tracking contributions. There are several benefits to this new method, including the ability to view proposal, award and expenditure trends at the college, department and investigator levels—and to know that the data is consistent and reliable. Accordingly, we are developing a new suite of reporting tools that will allow investigators and administrators to easily view the data in numerical and graphical form. The resulting reports all will rely on the same Collaborator Contribution methodology.
The investigator version of this report will be available this summer, followed by the college and department versions. Next, center and institute (C&I) reporting tools will be developed.
From now until July 1, we will provide a period of review and comment regarding how allocations will change. One of the many discussion meetings that we’ve held was on April 12, with chief business officers from academic units as well as staff members with decentralized limited signatory authority (DLSAs). These staff in your units are already reviewing these changes and recommending edits where needed.
Some aspects of documenting sponsored project contributions will remain unchanged. For example, you will still be able to log into the Grants Portal and update collaborators, financial department IDs and contributor percentages as the circumstances around your sponsored project change. The IDC distribution process will also not be affected by this change.
No doubt, you have (or will have) questions about this change. We’ve created an informational page (UGA authentication required) about Collaborator Contribution, complete with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list, to help explain the new methodology. There is also an email link in case you have additional questions; however, please be sure to review the FAQ as you will likely find that your questions have already been addressed.
We also recently held a Research Live webinar about the transition to Collaborator Contribution, and I encourage you to view the recorded video of this event, which features answers to many of the same questions you likely have.
The transition to Collaborator Contribution is based on recommendations from working groups of faculty, staff and administrators—a very big thank you to everyone who took the time to offer feedback, evaluate recommendations and provide final input to help us fine-tune this new process. Special thanks to Jill Tincher from the Sponsored Projects Administration, Shawn Hill from the Office of Research/Finance Division, Chad Cleveland from Finance and Allan Aycock from the Office of Institutional Research, as well as their teams, for the detailed work that went into implementing the Collaborator Contribution model and the corresponding reporting tools.
I am confident that you will find this process an upgrade from Academic Credit, and I look forward to working with you to ensure that this new method is applied consistently and fairly.
I hope your summers are off to a great start! Thank you for all you do in support of UGA research and innovation.
Karen J. L. Burg
Vice President for Research
Harbor Lights Chair in Biomedical Research