Research Administration Workflow (RAW) Project

Live as of June 16, 2019

Note: This page will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.


The purpose of this project is to implement automated workflow (online approvals) to replace physical signatures for a number of research administration processes or forms. Our overall objective is to simplify and streamline these processes. Moving to an online approval system will save time, ensure consistency, and make approvals, required under University of Alberta policies and procedures (UAPPOL), easy to track.


Please follow the updated Quick Reference Guide - Request for New Application/Proposal/Project.

To set Gmail filters see Using Gmail Filters with Online Approvals .

To maintain approver groups, see Approver Group Set Up and Maintenance Procedure .

For common questions, see FAQs for Online Approvals .

We will continue to add new procedures as they become available. Contact your research facilitator with any questions.


We currently gather over 31,000 approvals per year from researchers (PIs and CoPIs), chairs/directors, deans, vice presidents, and RSO staff. Collecting these physical signatures requires time spent moving paper around.

When PeopleSoft Grants 3.0 (i.e., the introduction of the Researcher Home Page) was implemented, a future roll-out of electronic approvals was considered in the design of the research administration pages (forms). Electronic approvals for these forms were also one of four main recommendations in the Research Services Office Consultation Review conducted by the Vice-President (Research) and completed in June 2016.

Phase 1 (Discovery Phase) - January to March 2018

  • During the Discovery phase, consultation meetings were held with five faculties or groups of faculties: Arts (with invitees from other faculties), Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES), Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry, and Science.
  • A cross-section of chairs (department approvers), deans (faculty approvers), researchers and administrators participated.
  • Over 80 requirements were identified and analyzed leading to the initial design plan for the project.
  • Approval to move forward with the project was obtained in late spring 2018.

Phase 2 (Implementation Phase) - June 2018 to present
Please see below for details tied to the implementation phase of this project.

Which Forms No Longer Require a Physical Signature?

When we move to the online system, principal investigators will no longer need to print the following forms and collect physical signatures:

  1. New Research Application/Proposal/Project Request
  2. Project Amendment Request
  3. Over Expenditure Authorization Request
  4. Subgrant Request
  5. Agreement Acknowledgement Report

How it Will Work

When we begin to collect signatures online, each form will move through an approval chain in our online grants management system, accessible through the Researcher Home Page.

The illustration above shows how a New Research Application/Proposal/Project Request will move through the approval chain.

The first person submits the transaction and then it goes to:

  1. Principal Investigator (PI) - it will come to the PI first if they weren't the first person to submit the transaction, otherwise, it will automatically go to the next person in the chain if submitted by the PI
  2. Department Reviewers (optional)
  3. Department Approvers (Chair)
  4. Faculty Reviewers (optional)
  5. Faculty Approver (Dean)
  6. RSO

How to Prepare

Procedure resources are being developed. Training sessions will be offered. We will provide more details once they become available.




January to March 2018

Discovery phase, including consultation with five faculty groups

June 2018

Implementation began

June to August 2018

Planning and analysis

July to October 2018

Design finalized with additional input from 5 faculty groups involved in Discovery Phase. The bulk of the design was completed by the end of October 2018.

September 2018 to present

Technical (system) development

September 2018 to present

Initial system testing conducted by IST and RSO

December 2018 to end of January 2019

RSO held 39 face-to-face meetings, at the central unit, faculty and/or department level to walk through the online approval process, answer any questions they had, and provide the groups with the information they need to populate their approver groups.

Mid-April 2019

Development scheduled to be complete

May 2019

User acceptance testing (UAT) involving IST and RSO staff and members of the campus community who will be regular users of the online approval process

May/June 2019

Training and procedure finalization

Mid-June 2019

Go-Live currently scheduled for mid-June


Please contact your Research Partner with any questions about this change.