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SRA Transformation Program Updates

Recent Updates

April 24, 2023

CERES has arrived!

We are excited to announce that CERES went live on Monday (4/24) morning as Northwestern’s new Grants and Agreements administration management system. Congratulations to the project teams and change agents who put in an impressive effort to make this implementation a success.

Previous Updates

March 30, 2023: Preparing for April 24 CERES Go Live

Our research community is about six weeks away from the InfoEd to CERES transition. Please note the cutover dates and deadlines and take the CERES 101 class in myHR Learn to familiarize yourself with the new system. Training for RAs will begin later this month; watch for scheduling information from your unit. Upcoming faculty communications will focus on the new system changes that are relevant for researchers.

February 8, 2023: CERES Testing Underway, Training Coming Soon

CERES End-to-End Testing is in full swing, as participants test a variety of scenarios in the system to ensure CERES is ready for Go-Live in April. The FAQs page is being regularly updated with feedback received during testing. New agreements and subawards concepts overviews have been released, and CERES Training Materials will be available shortly.

January 5, 2023: CERES testing and learning opportunities

The next phase of the CERES Implementation, end-to-end testing, will take place mid-January through February. Our testers will play an important role in ensuring CERES is ready for the wider Northwestern community prior to the April go-live date.  As we move closer to go live, we will continue to update CERES FAQs, faculty resources, and the recently added CERES Training Preview page, which provides overviews of the CERES components.

November 15, 2022: CERES Change Network Established

To ensure that the research community is adequately prepared for the CERES Go-Live in Spring 2023, the SRA Transformation Program has established a Change Network comprised of representatives from across the university.  The Change Network is a critical piece of the overall CERES implementation strategy as it allows individuals who are already embedded within Northwestern units to become local CERES experts and champions for change. On Thursday, November 10, the CERES Change Network officially kicked off and welcomed 39 Change Agents from 11 units. Change Agents had the opportunity to preview a CERES explainer video and learned how their involvement will benefit the Northwestern research community. Throughout the next five months, Change Agents will be participating in learning opportunities and feedback sessions to help them become familiar with the new system so that they can help their units feel confident in the change. View the list of CERES Change Agents.

[Note: Additional Change Agents have joined the Change Network since the original publication of this update.]

October 14, 2022: CLEAR Highlights: CERES Funding Proposals & Common Disclosure Forms

The October CLEAR Meeting offered a first look at the CERES funding proposal workspace, including navigation and workflow, and featured a system walk-through. The meeting also included a preview of forthcoming NSF PAPPG updates and a discussion of the “For Comment” Common Disclosure forms being developed in response to NSPM-33 implementation guidance. Visit the 2022 Presentations page to access the webinar recording and presentation slides and to register for the December CLEAR Meeting, which will include an overview of agreements in CERES.

August 15, 2022: CERES Basic Concepts & Navigation

CERES core concepts were covered at the August CLEAR Meeting. Presenters discussed how proposals, awards, and agreements have unique but procedurally related identifiers and how workflow progress will be transparent and easy to view. Between now and go-live in Spring 2023, CERES concepts will be covered in each CLEAR meeting and in a new Core Concepts Series held in alternating months. You can find slides and webinar recordings on the 2022 Presentations page. 

June 10, 2022: Accomplishments and Activities in Progress

Key Accomplishments

Grants and Agreements Implementation

  • The implementation team completed Agreements design sessions, completed IRB and IACUC integration development (two weeks early), and completed 95% of HR integration preliminary testing.
  • The name of the Grants and Agreements module was selected and announced: Central Electronic REsearch System (CERES).

Research Datamart Redesign

  • The team was focused on finalizing canned report requirements, solidifying data model design for Award, and staging tasks for the development environment

Key Activities in Progress

 Grants and Agreements Implementation

  • Development on agreements
  • COI integration design sessions

Research Datamart Redesign

  • Evaluating schedule and staffing impact

April 18, 2022: Accomplishments and Activities in Progress

Key Accomplishments

Change management approach approved.

The executive sponsors have aligned on dual-phase approach for the program’s change management strategy and implementation.

Program Steering Committee has begun convening.

The Program Steering Committee comprised of leaders from Sponsored Research, Office for Research, NUIT, and various schools, held its first meeting in early March. The governance committee will meet regularly to review project status and provide guidance to the project team should issues be identified.

The onboarding phase for the Huron Grants & Agreements implementation project has concluded.

Huron Project team members guided Northwestern core project teams and Subject Matter Experts in Sponsored Research through the Grants & Agreements modules. Along with in-depth and hands-on training on system functionality and configuration capabilities, this phase included definition and prioritization of high-level scope requirements and outlining Huron work estimates including a detailed schedule.

Key Activities in Progress

Execution phase: Design, build, and test iterations have started.

The Huron Implementation project team along with subject matter experts in Sponsored Research are participating in various design sessions from March through October, starting with awards and award modifications. Development for various integrations is scheduled to start in April and continue through January 2023.  Some testing will also occur during this phase prior to the final end-to-end system testing slated for January/February 2023.

In April, the Research Datamart Redesign project team will wrap-up requirements documentation and shift efforts to design the reporting solutions.  The initial design phase is scheduled to be completed in August and will permit development to begin.

Project working groups are meeting regularly.

Working groups made up of business and IT project leaders from the Huron Grants & Agreements Implementation project and the Research Datamart Redesign project have started meeting on a regular basis to discuss and monitor inter-project dependencies and issues that need escalation to the Program Steering Committee.

Project Team Changes

Huron Grants & Agreements

In February, Kristine Kracker replaced Perla Ledesma as project manager.

Research Datamart Redesign

In April, Kathy Carbonell joined the project team as interim project manager, replacing Dale Rotrekl.

January 18, 2022: Accomplishments and Activities in Progress

Key Accomplishments

The Onboarding Phase for the Huron Grants & Agreements Implementation Project has started.

The Huron Project team members have been guiding the Northwestern core project teams and Subject Matter Experts in Sponsored Research through the Grants & Agreements modules. This phase includes in-depth and hands-on training on system functionality and configuration capabilities.

The Project Advisory Committees for the program have been established.

The Huron Implementation Project Advisory and Research Datamart Redesign Project Advisory Committee meetings kicked off in mid-December. The Huron Implementation Project Advisory Committee will provide oversight for the implementation effort and help ensure the project meets the needs of the broader research community.  The Research Datamart Redesign Project Advisory Committee will provide oversight for the Research Datamart Redesign Project and help ensure the datamart is structured in such a way to provide the data necessary to support the continued growth of research.

Key Activities in Progress

Onboarding sessions on system functionality and capabilities continue.

The Huron Implementation project team along with Subject Matter Experts in Sponsored Research are participating in various sessions through March. The remaining sessions will cover Agreements, Reporting, data conversion and system integrations. 

Requirements gathering and planning activities are in progress. 

The Huron Implementation and Datamart Research Redesign project teams have been identifying, collecting, and confirming requirements with their corresponding advisory committees. In addition, the project teams are planning communication, training and rollout activities through the end of March.