Research Services Office
Welcome to the VCU Department of Internal Medicine Research Services Office (RSO). Our team members have diverse backgrounds and interests and share a common commitment to supporting and improving the research process. We are trained to provide services to a standard of excellence for our faculty and other researchers, including:
- identification of research funding opportunities
- project budget development
- assistance in the preparation and submission of research applications
- review and monitoring of policy compliance issues
- award set-up
- pro-active financial management of sponsored projects
- training, policy guidance and advice
The Department is dedicated to providing training and building teamwork to ensure that our administrators are skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of research administration. In addition, we provide support for professional development with opportunities to stay current in issues relevant to our field. We believe that quality research administration is achieved through a network of collaboration and the sharing of expertise.
Rashmi Pershad, MPhil, CCRP
Associate Administrator for Research
Phone: (804) 828-0404
Alanda Perry Jones
Pre Award Grant and Fiscal Manager
Phone: (804) 828-5939
Post Award Grant and Fiscal Manager
Phone: (804) 828-7781
VCU provides training to educate investigators about the administrative systems used to conduct research as well as policies governing responsible conduct of research.
- Medicine Required Training for Investigators (Required)
Accessed through VCU Blackboard using your eID.
- NIH Submissions to Grants.gov using the VCUeRA (Required to submit NIH applications)
As of November 1, 2013, OSP will no longer offer formal training for VCUeRA. Instead, contact DOIM RSO to request one on one assistance with VCUeRA.
- NIH eRA Commons Primer (Recommended)
Course offering schedule or enrollment may be done at training.vcu.edu (search on keyword “NIH”)
- eCRT (Effort Reporting System) Training
VCU fulfills the federal effort reporting requirement through the use of eCRT, a web-based tool that calculates the distribution of effort for all employees paid from sponsored program funds. Training may be done on-line or instructor-led classroom training.
- Medicine Required Training for Investigators (Recommended)
Accessed through VCU Blackboard using your eID.
- DOIM Research Staff Training
DOIM offers monthly training sessions on topics relevant to research. To view the schedule or enroll, go to training.vcu.edu and search under “Internal Medicine.”
- DOIM Research Services Office Training Group Site
Access through VCU Blackboard using your eID.
The site serves as a resource and repository for training information and materials for Department of Internal Medicine staff involved in the management of research projects and their funding.
To enroll, search for “DOIM” under the “Organization” tab in Blackboard.
- American Association of Laboratory Animal Science
Common Compliance Issues: Required prior to IACUC submission
- Chemical & Biological Safety
- CITI Basic Course
Required prior to IRB submission
- CITI Refresher Course
Recertification required every two years after completion of CITI Basic Course
- CITI - Responsible Conduct in Research
Required by some sponsors - available through CITI
- CITI - Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Basic Course
Recommended for teams conducting clinical trials
There is no one definitive source to use in locating funding information. So we have compiled a list what we think are the most helpful to basic and clinical science researchers. If you have one to recommend, please let us know and we will add it.
Note: For sponsors limiting the number of submissions for the institution, VCU will follow the Limited Submissions Policy, which may be found here.
- COS Pivot (formerly Community of Science):
Pivot combines the most comprehensive, editorially maintained database of funding opportunities worth an estimated $33 billion with a unique database of 3 million pre-populated scholar profiles. Its algorithm compiles pre-populated researcher profiles unique to VCU, and others, and matches them to current funding opportunities in the COS database. We recommend that you create or update your COS profile/account in order to manage your searches.
- Vice President for Research's "Finding Funding" Website
the VPR provides a list of workshops and other outreach activities specifically geared towards those seeking research funding
Lists all current discretionary funding opportunities from 26 agencies of the United States government, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and many others -- in other words, all the most important public funders of research in the United States.
- NIH Commons LIKE THIS (thesaurus-based search tool)
LikeThis is a new search tool to aid Principal Investigators in finding and learning about other research projects that have similar goals and objectives as their own. By entering specific scientific terms or accessing their own grant applications or grants and clicking on LikeThis, investigators will be provided a listing of similar funded projects and/or publications.
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund-Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease
- David and Lucille Packard Foundation-Fellowships for Science and Engineering
- Doris Duke Charitable Foundation-Clinical Scientist Development Awards
- Ellison Medical Foundation-New Scholars in Aging Program
- Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences
- Searle Scholars
- W. M. Keck Foundation-Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research Program
Before submitting your first application, here is a quick list of items you will need to complete beforehand.
- Complete “Medicine Required Training for Investigators”, which is accessed through VCU Blackboad using your eID. This must be completed before a proposal may be submitted to VCU OSP for institutional review.
- Complete/update the Financial Interest Report (FIR) through the VCU Activity and Interest Reporting System (AIRS). FIRs must be updated in accordance with university policy before a proposal may be submitted to VCU OSP for institutional review.
- Obtain an NIH Commons account, NIH’s electronic research administration system, by completing VCU‘s on-line request form, providing your institutional contact information (DOIM falls under the OSP Green Team), providing both your department AND division name. If you already have an NIH Commons account through another institution, you may update your institutional information by using the same link, providing information about prior NIH support received.
- Enroll in “NIH Submissions to Grants.gov using the VCUeRA”. This course is offered at least monthly. To view the course offering schedule or enrollment may be done at training.vcu.edu (search on keyword “NIH”)
- Familiarize yourself with VCU policies regarding the responsible conduct of research that will apply to your project.
- Familiarize yourself with VCU’s resources and facilities for researchers, such as the CCTR Research Incubator, that are potentially available to support your project.
- First time proposal writers can also review “The Proposal Writer’s Guide”, published by the University of Michigan, for helpful advice.
- Make an appointment the DOIM Research Services Office (DOIMResearch@vcuhealth.org) to discuss research plans as well as obtain advice and guidance about the proposal submission process and receive assistance with administrative aspects of the submission.
Again, faculty are always welcome to request an appointment with the Research Services Office (DOIMResearch@vcuhealth.org) to discuss this further.
Faculty who wish to apply for research and training grants or provide research and training services to external organizations - including the federal, state and local governments, private industry, public and private foundations or other entities - are to submit proposals for institutional review and approval PRIOR to submission to any agency or organization.
For VCU, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is authorized to submit research proposals and receive awards from outside sources on behalf of Virginia Commonwealth University. OSP is also the official contact for the University on administrative award-related matters.
As part of the approval process, faculty grant applications are submitted first through the Department and Dean’s office for signatory approval before submission to OSP for institutional approval.
While the information provided below may be a bit overwhelming, particularly to a new investigator, there are a number of VCU resources to assist you with demystifying the process. Faculty are always welcome to request an appointment with the DOIM Research Services Office (DOIMResearch@vcuhealth.org) to discuss their research plans in advance of a planned submission as well as obtain advice and guidance about the proposal submission process and receive assistance with administrative aspects of the submission (e.g. budget development, VCU policy, etc.).
Once you have selected a grant program to which to apply and met all the university requirements for serving as a Principal Investigator, the next step is to assemble the materials and information you will need to begin preparing your application.
- Start by carefully reading the sponsor’s program announcement or guidelines. Read carefully for fit with the sponsor’s needs, matching requirements, eligibility, amounts of funding available, how to apply, criteria for evaluation and deadlines. It is important to follow sponsor instructions correctly and exactly. Otherwise, your proposal may be disqualified, no matter how worthy the science.
- Design the research project. Write a proposal that defines a specific problem that matches the sponsor’s objectives and how your research will provide a solution.
- Consider what resources you will need to carry out the proposed research and begin to construct your budget. VCU provides Budget Worksheets to assist faculty with project calculations and information about VCU’s current fringe benefit and F&A/indirect cost rates.
If matching or cost sharing will be required, it is important for the PI to begin the process of securing those cost-sharing/matching commitments in writing well in advance of the proposal submission.
- Determine if your proposal will require special compliance approvals and plan accordingly in relation to deadlines:
- Human Subjects Research
- Animal Use
- HIPAA Covered Data
- Radioactive Materials
- Recombinant DNA
- Clinical Trial or Clinical Research with VCUHS Billing
Post Award Administration involves a broad set of activities regarding the management of sponsored funds, compliance with federal regulations and adherence to VCU policies and procedures. At VCU, these processes are overseen by Grants and Contracts Accounting (G&CA). Specifically, G&CA provides financial reports to sponsors, interprets rules and regulations of the financial operation for the research community, acts as a depositor of federal and nonfederal funds and operates VCU’s Effort Reporting System.
The Grants and Contracts Accounting is responsible for maintaining the official accounting records of all sponsored programs held by VCU and for preparing all financial reports for submission to the sponsor. The VCU Banner System constitutes the official accounting records of the University. However, it is the PI’s responsibility to review the appropriate monthly financial reports and work with the appropriate department/division personnel to ensure appropriate use of funds, as well as identify and correct any errors or omissions in the award expenditures.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of responsibilities but rather an overview of the most important aspects of managing a newly awarded grant or contract.
- Research Compliance Matrix Policies
Resource developed to facilitate the responsible conduct of research at VCU by providing VCU investigators with a single point of access for policy information, education & training programs, forms & submission processes, and more.
- Research Data Ownership, Retention and Access
Information on research data and records
- Records Management
Information on financial and administrative data and records
Of paramount importance is the Principal Investigator’s (PI) freedom to choose the nature and direction of research program and to disseminate the results of that research to the public, within any constraints placed by the funding agency. To ensure compliance with many complex federal and VCU policies and responsible conduct in research, it is important for the PI to understand his/her role in managing the research project and the roles and responsibilities for all personnel working on the project.
- Understanding and complying with the award’s terms and conditions as specified in the Notice of Grant Award
- Ensure expenditures are in accordance with sponsor and university regulations, policies, and procedures (soon to be available via the Research Dashboard)
- Coordinate approvals for restricted expenditures with division/department fiscal administrator
- Maintain knowledge of and compliance with University policies and procedures related to sponsored research, including disclosure of financial conflicts, prior disbarment/suspension, etc.
- Certify effort reports for all staff working on the project. For first time PIs, effort reporting information and training is available on the G&CA Effort Reporting website
- Obtain and maintain applicable IACUC, IRB, IBC, and EHS approvals before initiating a research project
- Ensure that all other personnel employed by the project understand their roles and responsibilities related to the research project and have received required training to carry out those responsibilities
- Preparation and submission of all technical/progress reports required by the sponsor
Postdocs and graduate students are to:
- Seek and follow faculty guidance on scientific and other procedures (e.g., allowable uses of grant funds)
- Maintain knowledge of and compliance with University procedures and policies related to sponsored research
- Disclose financial conflicts of interest related to the research
- Obtain applicable training in and practice responsible conduct of research
- Obtain applicable IACUC, IRB, IBC, and EHS approvals/training
- Manage all aspects of conducting clinical trials under the direction of the PI
- Maintain in-depth knowledge of protocol requirements and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) as set described in FDA regulations
- Provide sound conduct of the clinical trial (including recruitment, screening, enrollment, and follow-up of eligible subjects per protocol)
- Maintain accurate and complete documentation (e.g., regulatory documents, signed consent forms, IRB approvals, source documents, drug dispensing and subject logs, and study-related communication)
- Provide organizational management of all aspects of the trial (e.g., timeliness in completing case report forms, data entry, reporting adverse drug experiences [ADEs], and managing caseload and study files)
- Communicate protocol-related problems to the management staff (e.g., questions regarding the conduct of the clinical trial, possible ADEs, or subject compliance)
- Maintain professional conduct in the presence of subjects, research staff, sponsors, monitors, auditors, etc.
- For industry sponsored clinical trials, report CRF/billing milestones to the index fiscal administrator to ensure timely collection of funds from the study sponsor
- Support project investigators in the development of proposals and related financial narratives and budgets
- Thoroughly understand unallowable, direct, and facilities and administrative (F&A) costs.
- Thoroughly understand and properly follow Cost Accounting Standards
- Show consistency in charging sponsored award costs
- Work with division personnel to ensure monthly review of project costs and obtain PI approval of same in a timely manner
Any individual who holds one of the following positions on a full-time basis (unless otherwise specified), or has accepted, in writing, an offer of full-time employment, can be identified as a PI for a sponsored program and submit proposals to external sponsors. This may include:
- Provost or Vice president
- Teaching and research faculty o Term (non-tenure track) faculty o Administrative and professional faculty (through 6/30/2018)
- University and academic professional (with the support of their chair and dean OR divisional head when there is not an academic home)
- Predoctoral trainee, postdoctoral scholar, or postdoctoral trainee on a training or fellowship opportunity when required by the sponsor
- Teaching and research faculty (who hold a paid VCU appointment that is less than full time) with an active dual appointment
For more information, see the Office of Sponsored Programs PI Eligibility Policy.
You may begin routing your proposal for institutional review while still if a draft format if you require additional time to refine the contents of your research plan. However, it is necessary to submit enough of the application to judge what overall techniques are being proposed, what experimental subjects will be used and what general idea is being addressed.
At a minimum, the proposal should include:
- Statement of Work
- Budget Justification
- CV/biosketch for key personnel
- Draft version of all documents required by the sponsor
Primarily the reviewer is looking to see that you are proposing to do something that meets all ethical research standards and complies with VCU policies with regard to sponsored programs as well as sponsor requirements. The reviewer may make suggestions but will not make a judgment as to the scientific quality of the proposed research.
The term “investigator describes any individual, regardless of title, role or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of research. Individuals with such research responsibilities may be, but are not limited to, senior/key personnel, sub/co-investigator or sub-recipient investigator, medical investigator, collaborator, consultant, student, trainee or research coordinator. Exceptions include those personnel whose research activities are directly supervised. By considering an individual’s degree of independence relative to the research, the Principal Investigator (PI) on the proposal or protocol designates the individuals who meet the definition of “Investigator” for the purposes of conflict of interest reporting.
All organizations that receive PHS funding must have a financial conflict of interest policy that fully complies with the PHS Final Rule – Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service Funding is Sought.
- If a collaborator’s organization can certify they have such a policy, VCU will accept that assurance.
- If a collaborator’s organization (e.g. US small business, foreign university) does not have a conflict of interest policy, the organization may contractually agree to abide by VCU’s policy.
- If the collaborator’s organization will not agree to follow the VCU Conflict of Interest policy, we have the option of pursuing an affiliate appointment for the collaborator through DOIM Human Resources. Such an appointment, if approved by DOIM HR, would be conditional upon the affiliate abiding by VCU policies and regulations, including filing the required Financial Interest Report through the VCU Activity and Interest Reporting System.
The Federal Demonstration Partnership’s Clearinghouse maintains a list of educational institutions and other entities to document that they are in compliance with the PHS Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) rules and regulations. This site is expected to be used by PHS recipients to verify the compliance of their potential sub-recipients with these regulations. As the regulation went into effect on August 24, 2012, some institutions may still be entering their certification data.
What does VCU require when submitting a grant that includes a sub-contract to another institution?
When including a sub-award, the following documents should be assembled, submitted as a package, and included as part of the primary grant application package:
- Sub-recipient Commitment Form, completed and signed by the recipient organization’s institutional representative
- Sub-recipient’s F&A Rate Agreement
- Statement of Work specific to the sub-recipient’s site
- Budget pages with justifications (direct and indirect costs)
- Biosketches for key personnel (NTE 4 pages each)
- Facilities/Resources statement (for NIH proposals)
- Any letters of support related to the sub-recipient’s site
- Any other documents as requested by the grant program’s guidelines.
Because of the information required before submitting a proposal for institutional review, PIs are advised to contact their sub-recipient collaborators well in advance of the proposal submission deadline.