AURA Grants Upgrade and Related Downtime

Dear Colleagues, 

University Research Administration has been working with IT services to prepare for a significant AURA Grants system upgrade. This upgrade will move us from Huron Grants 8.4 to Huron Grants 9.2.2. 

In addition to more streamlined integration with AURA Agreements and continued support of system-to-system proposal submissions in AURA Grants, this upgrade will better position URA and the UChicago Research Administration community to continue high-level support and management of our sponsored portfolio. 

This is a significant technical upgrade and will require an estimated six days of total downtime for AURA Grants. After reviewing the University calendar and our sponsor deadlines, we have determined that the only window to perform this upgrade will be between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Please note that AURA Agreements, AURA IRB and AURA IBC and AURA COI will not be directly affected but may be impacted by the upgrade.  

As a result of this system upgrade, University Research Administration will have extremely limited business capacity beginning at noon on Thursday, December 24, 2020 and will resume operations on Monday, January 4, 2021.  In order to prepare for this upgrade, we are advising the following guidelines: 

Pre-Proposals, Proposals and Just-in-Time Requests:   
All pre-proposals (that require URA submission), proposals and JITs with deadlines that fall within the above dates should be submitted to URA no later than 5 p.m. CST on Thursday, December 17, 2020 to allow ample time to address any urgent issues that may arise.  We strongly encourage earlier submissions. All proposals routed after December 17, shall be handled on a case-by-case basis, and may result in the Pre-Award team conducting contingent reviews. If meeting this deadline is not possible, please contact your URA Pre-Award Research Administrator or Anna Jackson, Assistant Director of Sponsored Programs Pre-Award so that we can plan accordingly.    

If you anticipate submitting proposals with early January deadlines, please contact your URA Pre-Award Research Administrator as soon as possible so that they will be prepared to turn your proposal around quickly in the New Year.  Our goal during the next two months is to address as many pending items as possible before the upgrade begins.  Therefore, knowing about pre-proposals, proposals and JITs that may come in during the last two weeks of December and first week of January will allow us to plan more effectively and provide you with better service. 

Agreement Negotiation: 
All new Agreements and Contracts should be routed in AURA Agreements no later than 5 p.m. CST on  Friday, December 18, 2020. We strongly encourage earlier submissions. If meeting this deadline is not possible, please contact Stefan Jellicoe, Assistant Director, Contracts Management so that we can plan accordingly. Further, because all applications that link and/or pull data from Aura Grants may not work as expected, URA is recommending that no new records are created in AURA Agreements during this upgrade process.   

Award and Award Modification Requests: 
All New and Continuing Awards received prior to Thursday, December 17, 2020 will be processed by the URA Post Award Team for review following current guidelines. After that date, any high priority awards which require immediate attention due to sponsor deadlines should be marked urgent and sent to awards@uchicago.edu.  

The URA Post Award Administrators will prioritize all Award Modification Requests so that any urgent requests received at least one week prior to system close are addressed promptly. No-cost extension (NCE) requests should be submitted at least 30 days prior to the award end date. In no event should NCE requests be submitted after Thursday, December 17, 2020 for awards that end in late December and early January.   

New Account Set-Up and Advance Account Requests:
Please complete all ancillary reviews for account set up by 5 p.m. CST on Friday, December 18, 2020.  Regular account set up will resume on Monday, January 4, 2021. Please submit advance account requests for proposals in Pending Sponsor Review by 5 p.m. CST on Friday, December 18, 2020.

Closing Memos: 
Per URA normal process, all closing memos must be sent to URA 20 days prior to the financial report due date. As a result, all closing memos due between December 24th and January 4th should be submitted to URA no later than 5 p.m. CST on Friday, December 4, 2020. The Post-Award team will reach out to administrators who are impacted by the system downtime to assure that all closing memos and financial reports are submitted in a timely manner. 

We understand that this upgrade could be inconvenient. In order to ensure that nothing is disrupted, we are urging everyone to be mindful of these deadlines. Throughout the upgrade period and during normal business hours, URA will be monitoring email and processing unforeseen, deadline dependent requests but our ability to carry-out normal tasks will be severely limited until January 4th.  

Thank you again for your support of this upgrade. URA will continue to communicate these deadlines and provide specific upgrade updates over the next two months. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. 

Best regards, 
Jennifer A. Ponting, JD
Executive Director, Sponsored Programs
ponting@uchicago.edu
p: 773.834.5092 | f: 773.702.2142