The Open Door: Hard work by many help university through Tri-Agency Financial Monitoring Review
Lorne Babiuk, vice-president (research)
The university has now received the final report from the Tri-Agency Financial Monitoring Review, which took place in October 2010. I am pleased to advise that the review of our financial and administrative framework for the management of research grants and awards had a very positive outcome. The report highlighted the significant progress the university has made in the implementation and use of a decentralized management control framework since the last review in 2005. Several aspects of the framework were noted in the report, including: i) extensive and comprehensive training; ii) clearly defined roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders; iii) Research Services Office grant administration specialists in the Research Facilitation Offices located within the faculties; and iv) multi-faceted oversight processes at all organizational levels involved in the administration of grant funds, including independent assessment by our Internal Audit Services.
This positive outcome is the result of diligent work by hundreds of people across the university over a number of years, and I would like to express my personal thanks to everyone who contributed their time, expertise and energy, which led to this successful review.
Only a sustained effort over a long period of time can make this kind of outcome possible, and the investment in its research administrative infrastructure by the university in the last decade is making a significant contribution towards successfully achieving its goals.
While the overall monitoring review was positive, a number of areas were also identified that need further attention in order to improve our financial and administrative controls related to research. The follow up in these areas is being handled by a number of working groups, coordinated by Michael Walesiak, associate director of RSO. The Research Facilitation Offices, faculty and departmental research administrators, researchers and administrators in central units will be key partners in working to address the areas that need improvement. To assist with this follow up, associate deans (research) and research facilitators have been provided with copies of the final report. The forthcoming PeopleSoft Financials 9.1 upgrade will also enable the university to enhance its administration of research funding.
Many people contributed to the successful review and they are to be congratulated for their efforts, and thanked for their commitment to the ongoing improvement of the management of research funds at the University of Alberta.