Blog Posts

Faculty Burden

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Faculty burden is always a hot topic in Research Administration.  The Federal Demonstration Partnership has done surveys on the issue (most recently in 2012) and they've posted their results here for the most recent report and a full list of reports is available here.  


I was present when they provided their initial report a little over a year ago and heard the groans in the audience as they reported that the administrative burden was 43.2%.  For most this was a disappointing number as was the exact number, to the decimal, as reported in the 2007 survey and to them showed no improvement.  I may have been the only person who didn't see this as some form of failure.  I tried to remind people that over those 5 years the industry had been inundated with new regulations and had to manage ARRA efforts so from my perspective the fact that the number hadn't risen was in itself a success story. The other difficulty that institions have faced that's increased administrative burden is likely not something they've considered... electronic research administration systems.  


Seems odd that someone who professes the value of eRA and makes his living through their sales would bring this up but if we (the people who sell them) are honest in many ways they've made peoples lives more difficult, especially investigators. We've added pre-proposal processes, workflows, added training, the removal of paper which is far easier to update and correct, and helped to institute new procedures which I'm pretty sure if Latin for burden.


I'm not sure what other vendors are doing to address this but it's been something we've been thinking about a great deal. So the question is can we make a system that at the very least doens't make life harder and is it possible to address some of the issues raised in the FDP report? So here's what we've been working on.


1.  We've created a proposal development tool written for investigators called TurboGrants.  It's a TurboTax™ like interface with simple questions and requires no training to use.  Investigators complete their proposal at their pace and when ready submit it to the office of sponsored programs for review.


2. The number 1 issue reported was "Managing budget to actual expenses" so we developed ReKoncile a tool that integrates expenditures with awards and provides investigators direct access to this information that also provides burn rates based on current burn rate and remaining budget so they can manage their budgets.


3. The number 2 issue was Managing Personnel, not a lot we can do to help with that so we moved on to number 3.


4. Effort Reporting got some bad press from reporters.  The issues were it's hard to complete effort reports for myself, for others, and training was an issue.  We're currently working on complete a simple and easy to use effort reporting tool to address these concerns.  You can see the mock ups here if you'd like to provide your input. We plan to have this available before the fall of this year. 


5. Next on the list was Conflict of Interest which we feel our system already addresses.  Much of the concerns were related to internal COI policies that they felt were overly burdensome.


6. Responsible Conduct of Research.  Since there is already a great solution available, The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), there's no need to reinvent the wheel there.  Instead we decided to create an integration with CITI the pulls your staff's training records into proposal, award, and protocol records so they're at your fingertips. We're working on creating a reporting matrix for each so you will be able to easily see what training is missing for personnel and be able to notify them with a single click that they need to take the training to proceed.


There's more on the report we feel we can provide help with but these are the ones we've prioritized for 2016.  We hope others are looking to do the same as it's clear there's lots of work to be done to make eRA what's been promised.  We're always looking for ways to make things better for administrators and investigators and welcome your thoughts.  Please feel free to comment here of drop us an email at if you have something you'd like to share.

Chris Thompson


Salt Lake Community College Selects FastTrak™

Salt Lake Community College Selects MŌDERAS

FastTrak™ Cloud Solution for Grant Management


Friday, January 15, 2016

MŌDERAS is proud to announce Salt Lake Community College's adoption of FastTrak; our cloud-based, low cost, turnkey eRA solution. 

When Salt Lake Community College initiated their eRA search it was important to find "a viable solution that accommodated our smaller portfolio but offered functionality similar to what a research institution would want," said Ashley R. Riggleman, Grant Technology Officer.

FastTrak is a unique solution; providing a package of affordable and intelligent eRA solutions that can address all your research administration needs.  FastTrak offers everything you need to embrace the most widely adopted electronic research administration (eRA) system available today, without the burden of a traditional implementation.

Riggleman states, "We were looking for an affordable product that would allow us to streamline our processes and would allow us to gather more meaningful data on the work we are doing. MŌDERAS does that and more."

FastTrak is a fully functional solution that provides our partners the opportunity to be more effective, efficient, and to excel in their areas of expertise.
What's included?  
  • FastTrak: "Out of the box" delivers a hosted system eliminating the need for technical resources or staff.  Includes Configuration, Training, Documentation, and Support.    
  • SynKronize: Data on demand: transfer your data from your general ledger and human resources systems seamlessly into your new eRA solution.
  • Insight Light: provides "canned" reports.
  • TurboGrants: our interview-based proposal creation tool that allows investigators to easily create proposals with little to no training.  *Institutions who do less than $10M in research per year get TurboGrants for free with FastTrak!
  • User Interface & Proposal Development Enhancements Included
Available Add On's :
  • System to System Submission:  Allows your FastTrak environment to communicate with Grants.Gov and/or Research.Gov.
  • Single Sign-On:  Allows your FastTrak environment to validate using your standard SSO authentication for your institution. 
  • Kwest:  Free opportunity search tool
  • Kwest Connector: Funding opportunities with the ability to create a proposal with a single click.
  • InSight Ad Hoc Reporting: FastTrak provides "canned" reports the full InSight package includes the ability to create your own ad hoc and detailed reports, to schedule them to run, distribute them through email, and share them with colleagues. 
  • Banner Package: Speed the process of getting your Banner data into FastTrak with the Banner Package from MŌDERAS. This package creates the files for import into FastTrak one time or for regular updates (nightly, weekly, monthly) as you desire.
  • CitiConnect: Connect your CITI training records with FastTrak making training information available to your proposals, awards, and protocols.
  • ReKoncile: Tie your expenditures to awarded budgets, allows budget projections, burn rates, and tracking more detail on general ledger expenditure records.
Riggleman concludes, "So far, we have been very pleased with MŌDERAS. They have been extremely helpful, friendly, and timely in their responses to our needs and questions. We are pleased to be working with them."

"We are so proud to have Salt Lake Community College as a part of the MŌDERAS family.  Being able to provide an eRA solution is a real testament to the work we're dedicated to; you have to remember that implementation opportunities like this simply did not exist previously for organizations with smaller grant portfolios!  FastTrak is a solution that, regardless of size or research dollars, organizations can start small and grow into without shattering their budget," said Chris Thompson, President of MŌDERAS.
To learn more about FastTrak, click here.

Proposal Deadline Strategies

We've attached a document that provides input from a number of universities on their proposal deadline strategies for your review. Special thanks to David Hollingsworth from Texas A&M for compiling this information and to those who were willing to share their stories. Click here to view the document.
If you'd like to add your approach to this list please email and we will update the document to reflect your process and please feel free to comment here to share your thoughts.

Moderas Contributes to Research Administration Community


Moderas is pleased to say that we are doing our fair share...

In an effort to uphold our commitment to truly open source software we have offered to share a significant amount of our intellectual property with both the Kuali Foundation™ and theAriah Group™ to enhance their Kuali Coeus and Research offerings respectively. These contributions include enhancements to the user interface and modules as well as a large number of bug fixes.


Chris Thompson, president of MODERAS stated, "We remain committed to the open source community and this is our way of putting our money where our mouth is.  This contribution takes the research product well past any other current release and reflects countless hours of development efforts made by both MODERAS and our partners."


When organizations work together they become a powerful engine for innovation and growth.  Adopting our contributions will enhance the current research platforms and help us achieve our goal of bringing fresh new ideas to the community through the open source approach.


Working towards a common goal!


Jen Cohen

About Us:

Moderas specializes in web based electronic research administration (eRA) solutions developed on the open source Kuali Coeus™ (KC) platform. To find out more about us click here.

Kwest ReBrand

February 27, 2015

MŌDERAS is proud to announce Kwest now has a fetching new look!


Don't worry, just becasue we've changed the look doesn't mean you won't still get the relevent results you expect from Kwest.  So if you're tired of wasting time sorting through irrelevant funding opportunities--sign up for your free Kwest account today! Sign Up Here.

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