Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP): An Overview

Author: Jessica McCann

At a recent RAS Coffee Club meeting, OSP representatives Webb Brightwell, Senior Manager, Sponsored Operations, and Sheila Doyle, Manager of Sponsored Financial Reporting, Billing, and Collection, provided an overview of Harvard’s membership in the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). Below is an overview of some discussion points.

What is the FDP?
The FDP is, in the words of its mission statement, “an association of federal agencies, academic research institutions with administrative, faculty and technical representation, and research policy organizations that work to streamline the administration of federally sponsored research.”

The word “demonstration,” in this context, signifies a cooperative initiative. Demonstrations allow an entity or group working to find a more effective and streamlined way to comply with specific federal regulatory requirements.

Currently, the FDP is comprised of 10 federal agencies and 155 institutional recipients of federal funds. These members work together as partners to solve issues in research administration, present results to the government, and demonstrate more effective ways of streamlining processes and ensuring compliance.

History and Projects
The FDP was founded in 1986 as a way of developing and testing new grants management procedures. It expanded reach and membership over the following years, which are now delineated as the “phases” of its development (see Evolution of the FDP). Harvard University joined the organization in 2002.

Thus far, the FDP has made great strides in streamlining research administration through cooperation. For example, members have assisted the federal agencies in developing core Research Terms and Conditions that led to standard subaward templates and provided feedback to improve Grants.gov.

Among its current initiatives are the development of an IRB practical guide, the creation of a new method for reporting time and effort information, and the expansion of a clearinghouse of institutional data designed to ease the administrative burden surrounding subawards. The FDP is also working to provide substantive feedback on the DATA Act’s implementation, the micropurchase threshold, and other federal programs that affect research administrators across the country.

Further Information
For general information about the FDP and its mission, see the About FDP and FAQs pages. For meeting summaries, agendas, and presentations, see the Meetings section.

For information on future RAS Coffee meetings, consult the RAS Events Calendar.