Forum Tuesday to look at post-award services for researchers

The PRASE Working Group is requesting that all researchers and faculty members attend its upcoming forum, Services for Researchers: Post-Award Process. The group has issued the following invitation:

The PRASE (Process Re-engineering and Service Enhancement) Working Group will hold the second meeting for all researchers and faculty members next week to share their stories and contribute constructively toward the development of solutions regarding the post-award process. This will be a positive step toward continuously improving our culture at York University, and allowing our people to focus on what they do best.

The forum will take place Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 2 to 4pm, at 280 York Lanes, Keele campus.

We are reaching out to you because we have experienced difficulties and frustration when purchasing and paying for goods and services, and/or reconciling our grants to meet reporting requirements in the course of doing work. We know, for example, that interactions between researchers and various University departments can sometimes be challenging. Much of this difficulty stems from unclear and complicated policies and procedures.

We recognize that these challenges are not uncommon across large institutions and certainly not unique to York University. What is unique to York at this time, however, is the opportunity to overcome these challenges, and PRASE (Process Re-engineering and Service Enhancement) is providing this opportunity for us. PRASE was established by the president and is led by the vice-presidents (academic & provost, and finance & administration) to help York University develop more effective services and resource use in support of its core mission of teaching, learning, research and public service. Please visit the PRASE website for more information.

Since research intensification is one of the main priorities of the University, and improving administrative services for researchers is considered an enabler for achieving this significant objective, we have established a PRASE Working Group comprising senior academic and administrative leaders to explore process improvements and remedies for post-award processes and specifically:

  • Procurement of goods and services;
  • Expense claim reimbursements; and
  • Research accounting processing.

As we begin our work, we are broadly consulting our colleagues to understand the scope of the difficulties and begin building solutions. To that end, we have scheduled two open sessions to which you are invited, to share your stories with us and contribute constructively toward the development of solutions. This will be a positive step toward continuously improving our culture at York University, and allowing our people to focus on what they do best.

The agenda for the sessions is as follows:

  • Introductions, purpose and outcomes – 20 minutes
  • Listening to participants – 40 minutes                                
  • Break-out sessions on specific themes – 40 minutes           
  • Report back and next steps – 20 minutes                            

For your information, we will be inviting staff involved in these processes to a similar session in order to get an appreciation of the difficulties they experience in delivering these services to our researchers. We received positive feedback from this group that they too are looking at ways to streamline and improve administrative services in these areas.

We strongly believe that together we can make a difference to the quality of our workplace for all. We are committed to looking at the underlying issues that seem to get in the way of our ability to achieve our goals – be they research, teaching or public service, and to implement positive changes. We trust that you will find value in the work we have undertaken on our collective behalf and look forward to your contributions at one of these sessions.

We strongly encourage you to actively participate in this very important discussion by attending in person. We ask that you please RSVP if you plan to attend, or if you are unable to do so, by clicking here.

The PRASE Working Group consists of Barbara Crow, associate dean, research, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; Renata Faverin, PRASE project director, services for researchers; William Gage, associate dean, research, Faculty of Health; Donna Smith, senior executive officer, Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation; Walter Tholen, associate vice-president, research, Office of Vice-President, Research & Innovation; and Jeff Woods, business process re-engineer, PRASE Office.