Planning starts for next phase of faculty online tool for sponsored activities
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Phase II of the myinvestiGator application, the online tool designed for University of Florida faculty to increase accountability and efficiency in sponsored activities, is now under way.
UF faculty are responsible for bringing in approximately $640 million in annual research funding to the university. The myinvestiGator project was conceived to ease the burden of tracking the many funding sources that principal investigators must manage.
“After Phase I deployed, faculty who saw its immediate benefits offered to participate in planning and testing for Phase II,” said Nigel Chong-You, business relationship manager in UFIT’s Enterprise Systems. “The feedback received from principal investigators was that they’d realize a lot of value if the myinvestiGator tool could provide insight into personnel management, like pay and effort commitments. So that’s our focus for Phase II.”
Work has begun on incorporating views of personnel pay, including grant and non-grant funding sources, and who is funded on each project. Features also include general demographic information such as FTE and fringe rates, base salaries, and home departments. Having this information all in one place is a time-savings boon not only to PIs but administrators as well.
“Now all of the personnel information will be in one place, presented in a visually pleasing, user-friendly way,” Chong-You said.
A principal investigator wants to focus on his or her research and not on administrative tasks. With myinvestiGator, the time needed for administrative tasks is less taxing.
“Researchers have many funding sources, all with different rules and reporting deadlines,” said Stephanie Gray, director of sponsored programs. “We asked them what would be most helpful to them, and they said something that looked and worked like online banking, but for research dollars.”
MyinvestiGator was such an immediate hit when it launched that some of the faculty involved in the initial project volunteered for Phase II. Gray noted that faculty participation was the key, not only to the success of Phase I but to how quickly Phase II is progressing.
“The updates included in Phase II are based on the willingness of faculty to communicate their needs to the Division of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Contracts & Grants,” Gray said. “We are grateful for their feedback and continued engagement in helping develop useful tools. Faculty members have told us that managing personnel is their biggest concern. Our goal is to provide them tools to support this need.”
Through a series of interviews and presentations, the Office of Research, C&G, the CFO’s Office, and UFIT are obtaining feedback on mock-ups of the new features. Phase II of myinvestiGator, which also includes enhancements to Phase I, is scheduled to deploy in spring 2014.
For additional information contact Gray.