Emory’s Award Closeout Plan and Roadmap

Author: Patrick Amihere, Associate Director of Closeout, RGC

In recent years, our institution has had significant challenges to ensure proper, timely, and effective award closeouts for all sponsored awards, therefore, it is not a surprise that the immediate improvement of an effective award closeout business process is the university’s No. 1 priority. These improvements also provide a vehicle to contribute to advancing Emory’s research national rankings and better position our future funding opportunities within the higher education industry nationwide.

To accomplish this, ORA’s Research Grants and Contract (RGC) office has established Plans and a Roadmap to enforce effective and proper closeout of all sponsored Awards granted to Emory University, which intends to facilitate closeout delivery and compliance. Listed below are current projects underway, combined with some best practices we currently use to ensure effective business processes internally and compliance with our external partners to improve and streamline the university’s award closeout. We are counting on your support, participation, and contributions to realize these goals as soon as possible.

Award Closeout Plans and Roadmap

  1. Award Closeout Certification Primary Point of Contact

As part of certifying Award Closeouts, the primary point of contact as part of initiating the process begins with each Department’s research support units (also known as Research Administration Services -RAS). The RAS Units serve as our strategic partners who work closely with all the investigators to obtain the required information that facilitates closeouts.

  1. Closeout Certification & Handoff

Emory Department’s research support units reconcile each award that has ended in accordance with Emory’s Financial System of records for compliance and audit. Hence, the RAS is responsible for submitting/approving closeout certification documents for system update.

  1. ORA Communication and Transparency

ORA’s RGC office has automated email notifications, reminding investigators of the upcoming award end dates and their responsibility to close out these awards. We are also working on a new automated email notification to notify investigators of their responsibilities after their sponsored award has elapsed, to ensure timely closeout and submission of all sponsored required deliverables, such as those required within the 120 days for federal NIH Awards. This email will remind investigators to complete all required deliverables for compliance and timely closeout.

  1. Summary of Awards Ended and Reconciled, but not Closed (Cleanup Required to Support Closeout)

The university has sponsored awards that have ended but requiring additional cleanup and your support/participation to properly close them within the financial system of records is critical.

  1. Centralized Award Management Contact List

In collaboration with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Research Administration Services (RAS), and Research Grants and Contract (RGC) units, we are developing a contact list within our financial system of record to aid the research community in identifying the contact resource required for questions or to address any concerns regarding any phase of the sponsored award lifecycle.

  1. New Financial Reporting Compass Grant Form

We are developing a new functionality within our financial system of record to route financial status reports relative to award closeouts from all departments to the central RGC office. Currently, the university is using two separate systems to track submissions and workflow of financial reports due. This project aims to streamline the certification submission within a single system for efficiency.

  1. Refund Processing Redesign

RGC’s Award Closeout team has proposed a streamlined business process to manage how refunds due to sponsoring agencies are initiated, processed, and managed. This proposal would be tied to the reconciliation of the final financial status reporting to external sponsoring entities for compliance with agency requirements.

  1. OnBase System Documentation Automation

RGC Closeout has automated the documentation processes of keeping copies of all the final federal status reports into the OnBase document library system for retrieval. This initiative is currently in effect, and the implementation has significantly reduced the efforts required to upload files manually. In addition, RGC is expanding this automation to document all interim financial reports/invoices for efficiency.

  1. New Award Closeout Dashboard (Metrics Reporting & Tracking)

RGC is developing an award closeout dashboard to provide visibility, communicate, enhance timely reporting, and to facilitate good decision making to support award closeout. This dashboard is also expected to be available to the research community within the institution.

  1. Job-Aid, SOP, Training (Bootcamp)

As part of the award closeout initiative to socialize the business processes, additional training modules are being developed to share the knowledge across the research enterprise to boost implementation.


RGC is committed to streamlining Emory’s closeout business processes, enforcing reconciliation based on the financial system of record, and submitting required deliverables on time for all award types. We are counting on your collaborations and continued support to realize this goal for the entire research community within Emory University.  We look forward to your partnership to be compliant.

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