The University of South Carolina Electronic Research Administration System, or USCeRA, is the central, web-based system for research administration at USC. USCeRA is the system through which USC’s researchers and research administrators:
- Create and submit electronic sponsored awards proposals
- Route and obtain internal approvals on proposals
- Set up sponsored award accounts
- Search for proposal and award data
- Maintain faculty research profiles and search for research collaborators throughout the university through the Faculty Expertise Database, a component of USCeRA
Creating a New Proposal in USCeRA
The Proposal/Award Processing Form
Once you are logged into USCeRA, expand the “Proposals” tab in the left-hand navigation bar and select “Create New Proposal.” This step is the same no matter what type of sponsored project proposal you are creating: a brand new project proposal, a competing renewal, a noncompeting renewal/continuation of USC account, a supplemental proposal or a proposal revision.
Complete the Proposal/Award Processing (PAP) form, a questionnaire-style form with basic questions about your proposal, coinvestigators, budget, sponsoring agency, collaborating institutions and other project plans. Your responses to this form will document important information, and help the USCeRA system determine if you need to complete any supplemental forms as part of your proposal package. The SAM Office has created a user guide listing the current PAP form prompts and questions. The PAP form is subject to change; please check this site often to view the most up-to-date version of the PAP form prompts and questions.
Please note that you do need to complete all questions in the PAP form before you can save your proposal. You can go back and change your answers to the PAP form questions after saving them.
Once you have saved your PAP form, you will complete and/or upload the remaining components of your proposal. Based on information you saved in your PAP form, you may be asked to complete additional web-based supplemental forms in USCeRA. Like the PAP form, these are questionnaire-style forms that will capture details needed to fully document your proposal. The forms you may need to complete include:
- Cost Share Form
- Centers/Institutes Association Form
- Financial Disclosure Form
- Collaboration and/or Effort Commitment Form
- Federal Approval Form
- Procurement Exemption Certification Form
- Internal Commitment Form
After creating your proposal in the USCeRA system, upload the remaining required components and documents associated with your proposal. These components include:
- The Proposal/Proposal Summary: This is the narrative portion of your proposal. Make sure you carefully follow sponsor guidelines, and include all required components.
- The Budget/Budget Justification: This is the complete budget and budget justification that documents the direct and indirect costs of your proposed project. For more on budget development and justification, refer to the Budget Preparation section of the SAM website.
- Additional support documents: The project sponsor may require additional supporting documents. Follow sponsor guidelines to ensure these documents are prepared as required.
Submitting Your Proposal to the Approval Process
Once the proposal and the PAP are complete, the proposal is routed by opening the view the Proposal Summary screen and selecting the red “Start Approval Process” button. Once your proposal is submitted for review, it is routed to your chair for approval and continues through the routing process until it has been approved by all necessary university officials (chair, dean, SAM). If one official disapproves your proposal, it will be returned to your USCERA inbox. You will receive an e-mail each time an official approves or disapproves your proposal.
If you need assistance with any USCeRA process, your SAM representative can assist you.