University of Southern California


TARA Overview

USC TARA (Total Access to Research Administration) is an integrated research administration system that supports the management of research projects from “cradle to grave” across all funding sources, i.e., from the time when a proposal is initially conceived until final reports are submitted and approved by sponsors. The system consists of a set of modules that are unified through a common web-based portal entry. The main components of USC TARA are:

• Pre-award proposal generation, routing and submission
• Post-award for account establishment, management and close-out
• Regulatory and compliance, for human subjects, animal research, lab safety, and conflict of interest
• Business intelligence for reporting and tracking research activity

The detailed requirements for USC TARA are specified in the System Requirements document.

For any questions regarding USC TARA log ins, searches, please contact the TARA help desk at or call 213-740-5857. For any other TARA-related questions, call 213-821-5461.

Kuali Coeus (KC) is the component of USC TARA that supports pre and post award management of research accounts. KC provides a set of tools and modules that make research administration easier and more efficient. KC is an updated version of the MIT developed Coeus software. It is open source software and developed and maintained by a community of universities through the Kuali Foundation.

KC interfaces with the Kuali Financial System (KFS) at USC. KFS replaced the university’s legacy accounting systems, such as general ledger, accounts payable, purchasing, capital asset management, cashiering, purchasing and effort certification. KC and KFS are integrated to facilitate the exchange of data between the two systems.

The Financial Management and Projection system (FIPS) in TARA automates the analysis of budget changes, financial management and expense projections.

Click Commerce products (iStar and diSClose) are used for regulatory components, and SOPHIA from Wellspring is used for intellectual property management.

Cognos has been used for business intelligence, providing the capability to generate reports on overall research activity by school, funding type or faculty member; status of research accounts; status of proposals that have been submitted; and status of awards. Additional reporting capabilities will be added in the future.

Project aims have been to:

• Provide a Cradle to Grave System, from Budget Creation to Account Close Out
• Minimize Data Entry/Pre-population of Field
• Automatically Pull Data: Rates, Salaries, etc.
• Flexibility: Account for Alternative Approval Pathways and Budgeting Approaches
• Appropriate Security and Privacy
• System-to-System Submission
• Real-time Obligation of Expenses
• Portable Web Access, Single Log-in
• Around the Clock Access
• Accommodate Surges at Proposal Deadlines
• Proposal Error Checking
• Track Negotiation Process with Automatic Notifications – Visibility to Proposers
• Simplified Effort Reporting
• Automated Performance Tracking and Activity Reporting

USC TARA has been implemented by USC’s Information Technology Services and reports to an executive steering committee. Input is also provided by USC Research Administration Task Force and User Groups selected from the schools.

TARA Projects Presentations, Documents and Archive