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Before you consider questions specific to querying PennERA Proposals data, make sure you are familiar with the General Guidelines for Executing Queries.

Questions to Ask Before Writing PennERA Proposals Queries

Note: Items in italics refer to data that is not currently entered in PennERA. The PennERA Proposals data collection is designed to accommodate this data once it is entered.

Questions you should ask when developing a query accessing PennERA Proposals data:
  • Do you want codes or English?
    Many data elements, such as for sponsors and organization, are stored as codes. Are you familiar enough with the codes that you want to see them in your report, or do you want to see the associated descriptions?


  • Do you want summarized or detailed information on what was requested or awarded?
    The PENNERA_PROPOSAL and PENNERA_PERIOD tables have summarized information. For detailed information on requests, use the PENNERA_REQUEST table. For detailed information on award increments, use the PENNERA_INCREMENT table.
  • (Note: the awarded amounts stored in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL, PENNERA_PERIOD, and PENNERA_INCREMENT tables reflect the increment amounts regardless of the INCREMENT_STATUS. For example, you might be interested in only the awarded amounts for increments whose INCREMENT_STATUS is 'Awarded'.)

  • When you say, “proposal,” what do you mean?
    • There is one PennERA proposal record per funding cycle or project period. For example, a principal investigator might have a proposal whose project period runs from Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2008. Check the PROPOSAL_STATUS in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table to see whether the proposal has been funded.
    • A proposal can have one or more budget periods that fall within the project period. (A ‘budget period’ is often simply called a ‘period’ in PennERA.) The proposal in the example above might include 5 budget periods (for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008).
    • A request in PennERA is a request for funding for a budget period, or for a supplement to a budget period. Check the REQUEST_STATUS in the PENNERA_REQUEST table to see how the sponsor has responded to the request. Note that, even if the REQUEST_STATUS is 'Awarded', the requested amounts reflect what was requested.
    • Be sure you’re using the correct data element for the proposed amount. The funding requested from the sponsor is the requested sponsor costs amount. The requested total costs amount includes both funding from the sponsor and cost sharing.


  • When you say, “award,” what do you mean?
    • There is one PennERA proposal record per funding cycle or project period. For example, a principal investigator might have a proposal whose project period runs from Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2008. Check the PROPOSAL_STATUS in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table to see whether the proposal has been funded.
    • A proposal can have one or more budget periods that fall within the project period. (A ‘budget period’ is often simply called a ‘period’ in PennERA.) The proposal in the example above might include 5 budget periods (for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008).
    • An award increment in PennERA is the portion of an award payment (or of an advance paid in expectation of an award) that has been assigned to a General Ledger account. For example, say Dr. Doe and Dr. Smith are working on a project, and the University receives an award check for $10,000 for that project. Dr. Doe is assigned $6,000, and Dr. Smith is assigned $4,000. The $6,000 is added to a General Ledger account for Dr. Doe's part of the project, and the $4,000 is added to a separate General Ledger account for Dr. Smith's part of the project. In this scenario, we have two increment records. Check the INCREMENT_STATUS in the PENNERA_INCREMENT table to see whether the awarded amounts reflect 'Advance Account', 'Future', or 'Awarded' funding.
    • The awarded amounts stored in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL, PENNERA_PERIOD, and PENNERA_INCREMENT tables reflect the increment amounts regardless of the INCREMENT_STATUS. For example, you might be interested in only those increments whose INCREMENT_STATUS is 'Awarded'.
    • Be sure you’re using the correct data element for the awarded amount. The funding from the sponsor is the awarded sponsor costs amount. The awarded total costs amount includes both funding from the sponsor and cost sharing.

  • Do you want to compare what was requested to what was awarded?
    • The PENNERA_PROPOSAL table has information on what was requested and what was awarded for the entire project period.
    • The PENNERA_PERIOD table has information on what was requested and what was awarded for a particular budget period.
    • The awarded amounts stored in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL and PENNERA_PERIOD tables reflect the increment amounts regardless of the INCREMENT_STATUS. For example, you might want to summarize the awarded amounts for increments whose INCREMENT_STATUS is 'Awarded'.
    • A given PENNERA_REQUEST record cannot be tied to a PENNERA_INCREMENT record. For example, a period could have two requests and four increments. The first request might have been awarded, and the award check was split among four accounts; the second request might still be pending. Or, the award for the first request might have been assigned to one account, but the award for the second request was split among three accounts. These are just two of the possible explanations for how there came to be four increments for the period. Do not attempt to link a request with an increment.
    • Business Objects users can retrieve summarized PENNERA_REQUEST data and summarized PENNERA_INCREMENT data separately, and link the results. For example, you could include the PENNERA_PROPOSAL.PROPOSAL_TYPE in the PENNERA_REQUEST results, and create a variable, "Link Type": if PERIOD_NUMBER = 1 then PROPOSAL_TYPE else if REQUEST_TYPE = 'Budget Period' then 'Non-Competing Continuation' else REQUEST_TYPE. Link the summarized PENNERA_REQUEST query to the summarized PENNERA_INCREMENT query (linking INSTITUTION_NO to INSTITUTION_NO, PERIOD_NUMBER to PERIOD_NUMBER, Link Type to AWARD_TYPE, and REQUEST_STATUS to INCREMENT_STATUS). This is a rough sketch--in reality, the Business Objects report would need to take into account the following points:
      • some PROPOSAL_TYPE values vary slightly from their corresponding AWARD_TYPE values (for example, 'Change of Grantee Inst' vs. 'Change of Grantee Institution')
      • some AWARD_TYPE values (such as 'Cost Sharing') have no corresponding Link Type value,
      • there is an INCREMENT_STATUS ('Advance Account') that is not a REQUEST_STATUS, and
      • there are REQUEST_STATUS values that are not INCREMENT_STATUS values. REQUEST_STATUS 'Future Pending' implies that there is at least one increment for the period with INCREMENT_STATUS 'Future'. REQUEST_STATUS values 'Pending', 'Revised Budget Requested', 'Unfunded', and 'Withdrawn' are not related to any INCREMENT_STATUS.

  • How do you want to handle program projects? (See Note, above.)
    A program project will have more than one PENNERA_PROPOSAL record. There will be one for the program project as a whole, and one for each sub-project. The PENNERA_PROPOSAL record for the program project as a whole will have a null value for PARENT_PROP_NO. Its dollar amounts will be the total of the sub-project amounts plus anything specific to the program project as a whole.
    • To retrieve the proposal for the program project as a whole, but omit the proposals for the subprojects, set the condition that PARENT_PROP_NO is null. (Note that it will also be null for ‘freestanding’ proposals—proposals that are neither for program projects nor for sub-projects. To retrieve only parent proposals, set the condition that SUBPROJECT_COUNT is greater than 0.)
    • To retrieve the proposal for the program project as a whole as well as the proposals for its subprojects, specify that the PARENT_INSTITUTION_NO in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL_PARENT table must be the institution number of the proposal for the program project as a whole.


  • Do you want all the records, or are you interested in a particular time frame?
    • For the following time frames, there’s the requested version and the awarded version.
      • The project start and end dates refer to the proposal (funding cycle).
      • The period start and end dates refer to a budget period for a proposal.
    • For a request, the request submitted date refers to the date when the request was approved to be submitted to the sponsor.
    • For an 'Awarded' or 'Future' increment, the award date refers to the date on the Notice of Award (NOA)--or, if there is no NOA, the date on the award check. For an 'Advance Account' increment, the award date refers to the date the increment's 'Advance Account' status became effective.
  • When you say, “account,” do you mean the 26-digit General Ledger account, or the 6-digit account used in the legacy accounting system?
    AWARD_GL_ACCOUNT stores the 26-position (seven-segment) Accounting Flexfield used in the present General Ledger accounting structure. AWARD_LEGACY_ACCOUNT stores AWARD_GL_ACCOUNT's counterpart, the legacy account number in the 6-digit format used in SUBLED (the subledger system used at Penn before July 1, 1996). (Legacy accounts in the 6-digit format are still used for grants and contracts in the Bursar system.)


  • When you say, “project,” what do you mean?
    • If you mean “a piece of research planned to be funded for a particular funding cycle,” a project is stored in PennERA as a proposal, and is identified by the INSTITUTION_NO.
    • If you mean “a piece of research that spans funding cycles,” a project includes multiple proposals, and is identified by the FIRST_INSTITUTION_NO.
    • If you mean a “program project” or a set of projects proposed as a group, its PENNERA_PROPOSAL record will have a SUBPROJECT_COUNT that is greater than 0. (See Note, above.)
    • If you mean a “sub-project” or a member of a set of projects proposed as a group, its PENNERA_PROPOSAL record will have a PARENT_PROP_NO that is not null. (See Note, above.)

  • When you say, “investigator” or “principal investigator,” what do you mean?
    • A proposal may have more than one associated PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR record. Each proposal ought to have exactly one PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR record with information on the Principal Investigator, or PI (PI_FLAG='Y'). A proposal may have any number of PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR records (including zero records) with information on the co-investigator(s), if any (PI_FLAG='N').
    • When including PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR information in reports, note that multiple records will be returned for a given proposal if there are any co-investigators for the proposal. To avoid having multiple records returned, ask for information for only one of the following:
      • the PI (the Principal Investigator for the proposal)
      • the request responsible investigator (the one responsible for a particular request; it may or may not be the proposal PI)
      • the fund responsible investigator (the one responsible for managing the entire 5- fund (AWARD_FUND); it may or may not be the proposal PI)
      • the account responsible investigator (the one responsible for managing a portion of an award payment that is being tracked by the AWARD_GL_ACCOUNT; it may or may not be the proposal PI)
      • the parent PI, if any (the Principal Investigator for the parent proposal--for example, the PI for the program project proposal). See Note, above.

  • If you want information on an investigator, do you want it as it was at the time of the proposal, or do you want the latest available information?
    PENNERA_PROPOSAL_INVESTIGATOR stores the investigator's name, primary job appointment, and department (org.) data as it was at the time of the proposal (funding cycle). For the current information about an investigator, see the PENNERA_PEOPLE table where the PennID of the desired investigator matches the PENN_ID in the PENNERA_PEOPLE table. For investigators who are employees, EMPLOYEE_GENERAL can also be used to retrieve current information.


  • When you say, “organization,” which one do you mean?
    • Organizations for investigators: The home org. is the one that owns the investigator's employee record and is responsible for its maintenance. The primary appointment org. is the one where the investigator has his or her primary job appointment--roughly speaking, the one with the highest pay. The primary academic appointment org. is the one where the investigator has his or her primary academic job appointment—the highest-ranking faculty job appointment. The ERA primary org. is the one used by default for the investigator in PennERA. The investigator org. is the one with which he or she is affiliated for the purposes of the proposal.
    • Organizations for the proposal (funding cycle): The PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE identifies the org. responsible for the proposal at the time of the proposal. If the proposal is for a sub-project, its PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE may differ from the PROPOSAL_RESP_ORG_CODE of its parent proposal. To support organization-based security, the orgs. for the PI and the parent PI are also stored at the proposal level. (See Note, above)
    • Organizations for the request (under a budget period): The REQUEST_RESP_ORG_CODE identifies the org. responsible for the request at the time of the request. To support organization-based security, the orgs. for the PI, the parent PI, and the request responsible investigator are also stored at the request level. (See Note, above)
    • Organizations for the increment (under a budget period): The INCREMENT_RESP_ORG_CODE identifies the org. responsible for managing the science and the money for the award increment at the time of the increment. The FUND_RESPONSIBLE_ORG identifies the org. responsible for managing the General Ledger fund (the increment's AWARD_FUND). The AWARD_ORG is the org. segment of the increment's AWARD_GL_ACCOUNT, the 26-position (seven-segment) Accounting Flexfield used in the present General Ledger accounting structure (in use at Penn since July 1, 1996). To support organization-based security, the orgs. for the PI, the parent PI, and the account responsible investigator are also stored at the increment level. (See Note, above)
    • For every org. code, the PennERA Proposals data collection stores the associated school/center code. In some cases, it might be easier to query by school/center rather than by org
    • .

  • When you say, “status,” what do you mean?
    • The PENNERA_PROPOSAL table stores the PROPOSAL_STATUS—the current status of the proposal (for the funding cycle or project period). For example, a proposal that had a status of 'In Process' yesterday might have a status of 'Pending' today.
    • The PENNERA_PROP_STAT_HIST table stores information on how the proposal’s status has changed over time.
    • The PENNERA_REQUEST table stores the REQUEST_STATUS—the current status of the request. For example, a request that had a status of 'Future' yesterday might have a status of 'Future Pending' today.
    • The PENNERA_REQ_STAT_HIST table stores information on how the request’s status has changed over time.
    • The PENNERA_INCREMENT table stores the INCREMENT_STATUS—the current status of the increment. For example, a request that had a status of 'Advance Account' yesterday might have a status of 'Awarded' today.
    • The PENNERA_INCR_STAT_HIST table stores information on how the increment’s status has changed over time.
    • You might be interested in the PROPOSAL_TYPE ('New Project', 'Change of Grantee Inst', etc.), the REQUEST_TYPE ('Budget Period' or 'Supplement'), or the AWARD_TYPE ('New Project', 'Supplement'', 'Cost Sharing', etc.).


  • When you say, “sponsor,” what do you mean?
    • The SPONSOR_CODE identifies the agency that was asked to fund the proposal.
    • If the proposal sponsor is covering the sponsor costs using funding from another source, the ORIGINATING_SPONSOR_CODE in the PENNERA_PROPOSAL table identifies the sponsor that is the source of the funding.


  • How do you want the query results sorted?
    It is more efficient to sort in the Business Objects report than in the query, when possible. If you must sort in the query, it can be more efficient to sort on an indexed data element.


  • How will I know if the query results are correct?
    • Sometimes, just looking at the query results can help you spot glaring errors. (“Why am I getting so many lines per proposal? Oops—I forgot to ask for information about the principal investigator only!”)
    • If you have access to the Proposal Tracking module of PennERA, you can use it to check some query results.


  • When do you want the report?

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