Training and Meeting Opportunities

Refer to the events calendar for class availability:

Join the Research Administration Listserve to be kept up-to-date on new policies and regulations and learn of new training opportunities as they arise.

Expand All

Mandatory Training for PIs and Research Administrative Staff

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of Finance and Administration, with the support of VCU’s senior administration, have developed mandatory training programs in sponsored project compliance and effort certification to increase awareness and accountability and to reduce risk to the University. All Principal Investigators (PIs), investigators and VCU staff who are involved in sponsored projects or manage funds in sponsored project accounts are required to complete this training program.

Current PIs must complete the training program prior to the issue of an award. New awards will not be processed until the required training is completed. New PIs will also be required to take the training before an award will be processed by the Office of Research and Innovation. Proposals will continue to be processed without delay.

The training programs are available on Blackboard and should take approximately one (1) hour each to complete. To access the program, go to the VCU home page (, click on Blackboard and log-in using your VCU eID. Once in Blackboard, click on the Courses tab and select "School Required Training for PIs, Researchers and Administrators." Select the tab that best defines your role, i.e., "Investigator Training" or "Administrator Training"

All individuals must score a minimum of 80% on each of the corresponding examinations to successfully complete the training program.

You can self-enroll by searching by course name ("School Required Training for PIs, Researchers and Administrators" or search "School Required Training") and selecting "Self-enroll." If you have any problems registering for the course, please send an email to Access will be granted within 24 hours.

Additionally, administrators that are requesting primary or secondary access to the Effort Reporting system (ECRT) will need to first complete the required training and then submit an ECRT Access Request form to Effort Reporting. Instructions regarding the mandatory Effort Reporting Training are located on the University Controller’s Office website as is the ECRT Access Request form.

VCU has an obligation to preserve public trust in the integrity and quality of its sponsored projects. Ensuring that our faculty and staff are aware of and comply with federal regulations and University policies strengthens that trust. We appreciate your willingness to participate in this program.

VCU Sponsored Projects Administration Certification Program

The Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of the Vice President for Finance & Administration will once again be jointly sponsoring the VCU Sponsored Projects Administration Certification Program. The program is managed and coordinated by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Content is aimed toward individuals with 3-5 years of experience in sponsored projects administration but anyone is welcome to enroll. Registration for the program is $75 (paid through departmental index account). The program will begin in late January 2016 (with the release of on-line content) and end in May 2016. The program will consist of five modules – each focusing on a primary aspect of sponsored projects administration. Each module will have several units posted on Blackboard. Students will be expected to review and complete these units, on their own, by the scheduled completion date. One classroom session will be held for each module; the expectation is that materials are reviewed on-line in advance of the classroom session. Each classroom session will run from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the specified date. Lunch will be provided. Students will be tested on module content via an exam administered through Blackboard following the classroom session. Successful completion of all unit quizzes, all module exams, as well as attendance at all classroom sessions will be required to obtain the course certificate. The Certification Program is an internal, VCU program aimed at fostering and disseminating knowledge about sponsored projects administration. The complete narrative and graphic syllabi are available here:

A basic program outline and timeline is below:


Course: Sponsored Project Administration Certification Program
Duration: January 2016 – May 2016
Program cost: $75.00

Course Outline

Module 1: Pre-Award to include:
Overview, proposal preparation, budget building basics, advanced budget/proposal preparation

Module 2: Compliance to include:
Research protections, research security, administrative principles (2 CFR 200), intellectual property, research integrity

Module 3: Clinical Trials to include:
Clinical trials overview, budgeting for clinical trials, master agreements, WIRB, study termination and closeout

Module 4: Post Award Basics to include:
Cost principles (2 CFR 200), accounting, personnel, purchasing, account management

Module 5: Project Management to include:
Advanced project management, Recordkeeping and Audit principles (2 CFR 200), Special Situations, Case Studies

Each module will consist of on-line material and one live lecture. An on-line exam will follow at the end of each module.

The live sessions are mandatory for completing the program so please review the dates to make sure you are available to participate.

Course Timeline

Registration Period Through January 18, 2016
(pending space availability)
On-line content Open (Module 1) January 25, 2016
Module 1 Live Session February 9, 2016
Module 2 Live Session March 1, 2016
Module 3 Live Session March 22, 2016
Module 4 Live Session April 12, 2016
Module 5 Live Session May 3, 2016
Make Up Session Date* May 17, 2016
End/Certificate Presentation May 24, 2016 at 3:30pm
(Biotech One, Ball Conference Room)

* Note: The Make Up Session Date (May 17, 2016) is to be used only if one of the scheduled live sessions is canceled due to weather. If this were to occur, all scheduled programming would shift.

Note: Live sessions are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in BioTech One Building, Ball Conference (first floor) or Conference Room 3060 (third floor).

We hope you find this material both instructional and useful for your daily work in dealing with sponsored projects. Please contact Cathy Short ( if you have questions regarding the certification program.

Registration will open on January 5, 2016. You can register on-line here.

Other Training

NCURA Instructional DVD Library – This library includes DVD’s on various topics in Research Administration. DVD material is designed for those who are new to research administration as well as those who are experienced. The library includes a wide range of informative topics that are useful to a diverse audience including Research Administrators, Fiscal Administrators, Principal Investigators, etc. Click here for DVD checkout instructions.

Grants & Contracts Accounting Training – This training is offered once a month and is designed for employees with less than one year experience working with sponsored programs. The session provides those who are new to grant administration an overview of Grants & Contracts policies and procedures and commonly used Banner forms. Participants must have completed the Banner Basic Navigation course via blackboard/ or other classroom Banner experience. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Effort Reporting (Basic) – This training is designed for effort coordinators with less than one year experience working with effort and /or ECRT. The session will provide an overview of effort reporting, ECRT, and compliance. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Effort Reporting (Intermediate) – This training is designed for effort coordinators with more than one year experience working with effort and/or ECRT. The session provides a more detailed view of effort reporting, ECRT, and compliance. (Register via VCU training webpage).

Training Materials and Quick Reference Documents

VCU Training Materials

Getting Started in Research Administration Guide
This guide summarizes the many training opportunities and online resources offered by Sponsored Programs and Grants and Contracts Accounting. It is designed to acclimate those new to research administration and provides course descriptions as well as registration instructions.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) Basics
This one page guide provides an overview, relevant contact information, and training opportunities for the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Grants and Contracts Accounting (G&C) Basics
This one page guide provides an overview, relevant contact information, and training opportunities for Grants & Contracts Accounting / Effort Reporting.

From NIH: All About Grants Podcast Service

NIH and the Office of Extramural Research (OER) have made podcasts available which feature conversations with NIH staff members. The podcasts are designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others. The podcasts vary in length (between 10-20 minutes) and relevant subject matter and are updated every other week.

Please visit the "All About Grants" podcast website to download podcasts or to subscribe to this service.