Since 2003 there have been various task forces and committees that have meet to evaluate the research administration (RA) processes at UAB. One recommendation from all of these groups was that UAB look into implementing an electronic research administration software system.
The offices that make up the RA are typically these: Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Conflict of Interest Review Board (CIRB) and Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). Over the years, in order to meet the needs of the various offices, each office developed their own processes and databases in order to manage their daily business practices. This has led to the current state of research at UAB.
Due to the recommendation that UAB should implement an electronic research administration system the idea of the Integrated Research Administration Portal (IRAP) was developed. IRAP is the idea of a single portal where RA units, investigators and departmental individuals will go to access their research information. As part of this IRAP an electronic research administration (eRA) software system was needed.
The institution looked at both developing its own eRA system and at purchasing an eRA system. The pros and cons of both were evaluated and eventually the decision was made to go with purchasing an eRA software package. After evaluating multiple software systems the decision was made to go with InfoEd International, Inc.
As we go through the various stages of implementation, we envision that the burden on investigator, departmental administrators and the RA units will become less, since a single web portal to access all things research will hopefully allow the greater efficiency, less redundancy and more transparency.