Best Tools to Support Grants Management for Faculty

There are lots of tools to assist you in managing your proposals and research projects.  You can find many of them within the Stanford Electronic Research Administration System (SeRA).

The SeRA is an enterprise-wide system that supports research administration at Stanford. SeRA tracks the various stages of the sponsored project lifecycle and is the institutional system of record for sponsored projects.

The major components of SeRA are:

  • Proposal Development and Routing Form (PDRF) — This online form facilitates the administration of all facets of proposal tracking: routing, approval, and submission.
  • Award Processing — The award processing module tracks intake, negotiation, and acceptance of awards.
  • Financial Account Setup — The Sponsored PTA Manager module enables the online creation, extension, and amendment of PTAs for sponsored projects.
  • Management - The OSR Form in SeRA allows you to rebudget and request many prior approvals.
  • Financial Account Closeout — The Account Closeout & Reporting module (ARC) tracks the financial closeout activities related to sponsored projects.
  • Subaward Processing — The subaward processing module tracks the negotiation and acceptance of contracts between Stanford & subrecipients as well as tracking the annual monitoring of subrecipients.

All users with a sponsored SUNet ID can access SeRA. There are various security roles that determine what you can view or do in the system.

If you would like departmental or central office access, please submit an Access Request.


Questions about this topic can be answered by:

John Markley

Assistant Director for Organizational Insights

Office of Sponsored Research Pre Award

(650) 497-2648

Proposal Development Routing Form

The Proposal Development Routing Form (PDRF) captures information necessary for proposal review and endorsement by Stanford University. The PDRF also documents the approvals required for the submission of a proposal.

The Principal Investigator’s approval of the PDRF provides certifications required by government agencies, and an agreement to comply with Stanford and sponsor policies.

Departmental approvals confirm financial commitments made in a proposal, and that stated personnel and facilities are available to carry out the project. Other approvals may be required depending on policies, processes and case-specific circumstances.

Principal Investigators and department administrators are encouraged to initiate the PDRF early in the proposal development process.

For details on using the PDRF click here.

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My Projects

“My Projects” shows all projects for a faculty member is participating in, regardless if they are the lead PI or collaborating in a different role. My project is found in the Stanford Electronic Research Administration System (SeRA).  You can launch My Projects from the SeRA dashboard. 

  1. Action Items - Action Items for the selected PI will be displayed and highlighted
  2. Activities in Progress by Others - Active tasks that are not assigned to the selected PI, but which the project lists the selected PI as the MAIN P
  3. Submitted Proposals Pending Award - Proposals that are in a COMPLETED status but have not yet been awarded
  4. Research Profile - This provides a high level current view of the various types of active sponsored awards, balance remaining, alongside the average monthly spending where the PI is the Task Owner (which pulls from FFIT)
  5. Project Awards Closing - Awarded projects that are in a “Closeout” status
  6. Proposals – Proposals (PDRF’s) which are in the development process
  7. My Accounts – Alongside with the “Research Profile”, you may see further detailed financial information
  8. Active Awarded Department Projects - This provides a quick snapshot of projects that have active awards which names you as an investigator or a mentor
  9. Pipeline – Transactions which you have worked on previously will be displayed here- the defaulted view displays open (active) transactions assigned to someone else, however, you have the ability to change that using the drop down menu
  10. Other Support Report – NIH – This displays current and pending support in the NIH Format
  11. Other Support Report – General - This displays current and pending support in the general format
  12. Initiate New Proposal – You have the ability to start a new proposal transaction here in addition to the left hand navigation

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My Accounts

My Accounts

My Accounts is a new financial tool that makes information about fund balances in all of your unrestricted and sponsored accounts accessible in one place and that provides automatic updates, adding expenditures and any new funding every 24 hours.     

As illustrated in the sample screen shot below, balances are given for each separate account, along with aggregate balances by category. Importantly, the report calculates projections for each account based on known commitments or prior expenditure patterns to provide a Funds Available estimate. This column is intended to help faculty know what’s ahead, instead of reporting what’s already been spent.  

Anticipated funding is also shown. In addition, you can click on each account and get a full record for that account.  A research account that is your project on a grant shared with another faculty member as the primary PI will appear. Funds that you receive for pilot projects or other internally funded research will appear in the ‘University’ category.  

Staff who are authorized to view your accounts can also access this information directly so that they can better assist with managing your academic program resources— please make your team aware of this. Default settings allow you to decide how you would like to have the information shown - click User Guide in blue font at upper right for details.

Look at the Screen Sample. Then access your own fund balances and projections by opening your SeRA dashboard and clicking the tab at the right titled My Accounts.


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Faculty Financial Inquiry Tool (FFIT)

FFIT (Faculty Financial Inquiry Tool)

The online Faculty Financial Inquiry Tool (FFIT) helps you manage your University financial resources by providing balances and drill-down transaction details for all your active accounts and funds – including those you manage on behalf of school or department programs. Current, projected, and forecasted balances are calculated using a combination of budget, revenue, expenditure, and commitment information as appropriate for each account.

Accurate and Timely Data

FFIT data is refreshed on a nightly basis from multiple Stanford financial systems, providing official, up-to-date data that you can trust.

24/7 on Your Schedule

Whether you're at work or at home, you can log into FFIT anytime to view your funds. No more requests for admins to look up your balances or reliance on out-of-date reports!

Visibility into Transaction Data

Want to dig deeper into your transactions? Click on a hyperlink to bring up comprehensive commitment and expenditure details, revenue and transfers, and more. And if you want offline copies, simply export to Excel or PDF.

Easy to Use

FFIT is like an online bank account, with a clean layout and easy-to-read information. It provides balances for all of your active accounts and funds, so you can manage everything on a single screen.

Data to Best Manage Funds

FFIT lets you see how your transactions directly impact your funds. With current information on your fund status, you can optimize your fund management in support of your teaching and research.

Access and Authority to Use FFIT

Access and authority to the tool is automatically granted to faculty researchers for all their accounts, regardless of where the activity occurs.


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