Pilot Project at Michigan Tech Leads to Federal Regulations Changes

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University participated in a national pilot project that helped the federal government revise its regulations to make a major reduction in the number of federal certification forms and the administrative follow-up paperwork on federal research grants.

Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees were told about the pilot project and the regulations changes at their regular meeting Friday, March 3.Michigan Tech and three other universities — George Mason, the University of California-Irvine and the University of California-Riverside — participated in a pilot project designed to develop an alternative method for certifying labor expended on federally funded projects. Julie Seppala, vice president for finance, and Tammy LaBissioniere, director of sponsored programs accounting, led the pilot program at Tech.

Using the new method, Michigan Tech was able to reduce the number of certification forms from 7,000 to 700 a year and the number of administrative follow-up forms from 3,500 to 35 a year. Based on the results of the pilot, the federal Office of Management and Budget revised federal regulations to allow all institutions to adopt the new method.

Dave Reed, vice president for research, reported that federal funding for research rose nearly 50 percent during the second quarter of the current fiscal year, compared to the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.  Federal research funding in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2016 totaled $21.3 million, compared to $14.5 million the previous year.

The board also heard that funds raised as of Jan. 31 have surpassed the goal for this entire fiscal year, totaling $43.3 million. The goal for the year that ends June 30 was $35 million.

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