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Project Number Converter


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The Research Foundation is scheduled to “Go-Live” with its new financial reporting and project accounting on September 1st.  The core software for this new reporting system is the Abila MIP Fund Accounting software featuring flexible, table-driven support for Accounting, Human Resources and Grant Administration requirements.  The system is designed for mid-sized nonprofit organizations and government entities that need to track multiple funds from multiple sources.  Our initial steps in designing and set-up of this system required the establishment of a general ledger chart of accounts that led to a thoughtful review of our existing project numbering methodology.   The management and staff of the Research Foundation invested a significant amount of time in developing the chart of accounts that would satisfy external reporting requirements as well as assist faculty researchers in identifying and grouping related projects.  That effort led to the realization that we have outgrown the current project numbering methodology and has provided the opportunity to introduce a new numbering scheme that will support the research community for the foreseeable future.

Realizing that a change in project numbering would impact all users of the Foundation’s systems our objective was to make the change as minimally disruptive as possible.  To accomplish this we built upon current standards that have been used with the existing Foundation systems.  However, in order to provide both flexibility and room for future growth we have expanded the project numbers from a six-digit identifier to ten digits.  A quick review of the existing methodology shows how the six digits were assigned:

                1st digit                                - Agency / Source (Federal, State & Local, Private, Discretionary)
                2nd through 5th digits            - Last four digits from original proposal number assigned
                6th digit                                - Year of award (i.e. 1, 2, 3)

After thirty years and more than ten thousand projects we are reaching the limits of functionality from the current sequencing and need a new methodology to remain effective into the future.   

Going forward, project numbers will utilize a ten-digit identifier consisting of six digits, a dash (“-“) and three digits (999999-999).  Expanding to the ten-digit field provides greater flexibility for identifying agency or source of funds. It will provide for up to 99,999 projects in each source category and allows for grouping projects by year of award, task orders under master agreements, or for grouping single awards that may be divided among separate investigators / co-investigators.  This new methodology utilizes the ten-digit format as follows:

1st digit                                   - Agency / Source (Federal, State & Local, Higher Education, Non-profits, Commercial, Foreign Sponsors, Discretionary, Other Administrative Units)
2nd through 6th digits            - next in numerical sequence under agency category
7th digit                                   - “-“(separator to improve readability of the project #)
8th through 10th digits           - Year of award, or sequence under task order, or sub-project of co-investigator

The agency / source of funds categories for the first position are as follows:

  1. Federal
  2. State & Local Government
  3. Higher Education
  4. Non-profit Organizations
  5. Commercial Sponsors
  6. Foreign Sponsors
  7. Reserved – (for future use)
  8. Discretionary Funds
  9. Other Administrative Units, Cost Centers, Reserves


Positions two through six will simply provide for a numerical sequencing under agency / source of funds category to allow for up to 99,999 individual projects under each category.

Position seven is a dash (“-“) simply to provide for ease in recognition.

The methodology for the final three positions will vary dependent upon end-user needs.  For the majority of sponsored agreements the first two digits of this sequence will represent the year of funding under an award. Under these circumstances, the last position will contain a zero.  The numbering for this sequence will also support identification of related projects for program income or matching funds.  The following will be a typical sequence for a sponsored award:

                010         -               Year 1
                020         -               Year 2
                030         -               Year 3

If this award has related program income and / or matching accounts established for each year, these would be numbered as follows:

                810         -               Program Income Year 1
                820         -               Program Income Year 2
                830         -               Program Income Year 3

                910         -               Matching Funds Year 1
                920         -               Matching Funds Year 2
                930         -               Matching Funds Year 3     

In certain situations, the PI and Co-PI may request that a single sponsored award be divided into separate project accounts in which case the final position will be used to associate the projects.  For example, the first year of an award separated into separate projects would be as follows:            

                010         -               Year 1 - PI account
                011         -               Year 1 - First Co-PI account
                012         -               Year 1 - Second Co-PI account
                013         -               Year 1 - Third Co-PI account

Sponsored awards are sometimes issued by the awarding agency under a master contract or agreement with separate efforts issued under individual task orders.  In those situations all of the final three positions will be utilized as follows:

                000         -               Master Award or Master Contract Account
                001         -               Task Order # 1
                002         -               Task Order # 2
                003         -               Task Order # 3


As indicated above, the Agency / Source of fund indicator for discretionary accounts will be an “8” in the first position followed by a number that corresponds to the various colleges and departments.  The following sequencing will be used as the first two characters of discretionary accounts:

                81           -               Arts & Letters
                82           -               Business & Public Administration
                83           -               College of Education
                84           -               College of Engineering
                85           -               Health Sciences  
                86           -               College of Sciences
                87           -               Other Institutional Units
                88           -               Office of Research
                89           -               Other Affiliated Units


As indicated above, the Agency / Source of fund indicator for other administrative units, cost centers or reserves will be a “9” in the first position.  To facilitate the grouping of accounts for other reporting purposes the following sequence will be used:

                90           -               General Fund
                91           -               Research Foundation Operations
                92           -               Research Foundation Reserves
                93           -               ODU Reserves
                94           -               Reserved – (for future use)
                95           -               Cost Center / Recharge Units

The management team of the Research Foundation fully realizes that this change in the project numbering will take some time for our faculty researchers and department administrators to become familiar with.  To assist in this process during the third and fourth weeks of August we will distribute a cross reference list indicating the current project number along with the newly assigned project number to each PI, Co-PI and administrator that currently has an active project or discretionary account. These new project numbers will be active for use after September 1st.  We will also have a similar cross reference  feature added to the Research Foundation web page with a lookup function that will allow users to enter their existing project number and see the newly assigned project number.

We are making every effort to make this transition convenient to our University customers.  Should you encounter any difficulties or have questions / concerns, please contact any member of the Research Foundation management team or IT staff.  A complete listing of the Research Foundation core staff is located at the following address: http://www.researchfoundation.odu.edu/staff/staff.html