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A (Perfect) Day in the Work-Life of a Research Administrator

By SRAI News posted 05-02-2019 03:39 PM

Kimberly Pratt

Authored by: Kimberly Pratt
Sponsored Projects Officer
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Wednesday, 5/1:

7:47am: I woke up before my alarm, and arrived at work early this morning.  There was no traffic so my commute only took ten minutes and there were a lot of open parking spaces right next to my office building – It’s going to be a great day!

8:02am: Most days, I like to grab a coffee from the cafeteria in the hospital early in the morning, before I sit down to check email.  It’s a great opportunity to remember why we do the work we do, and besides, hospital coffee is the best!

8:16am: I log into my computer, and there are no emails waiting for me this morning!  Having crossed everything off my to-do list yesterday, I’m at inbox zero again.

8:23am: Since I have 10 submissions due today (it’s a light day!), I settle down to review the applications.  Our PIs are so well prepared! They’ve submitted everything we needed 24 hours before the deadline, according to our FSP office policy.  I know they’re glad we finalized that policy last week, since they’ve been asking for internal deadlines to help them plan better. 

11:55am: Well, that was easy!  Each proposal was compliant with the RFA, perfectly formatted (11 pt. Arial with 0.5” margins, thank you very much), and their budgets were right on target and approved!  They even included the correct fringe and indirect rates.  I’ll easily submit all 10 proposals by noon.

12:04pm: All 10 submissions went in without a hitch – no errors or warnings!  Our new computer system makes everything so easy – I’m really glad we switched systems last year, and it was such an easy transition, too! 

12:31pm: On busy submission days, our team has lunch together, so I head across the lobby to the conference room to grab some pizza.  Despite being thirty minutes late, there is plenty of vegetarian-keto friendly pizza left, so I take two pieces and join my colleagues for some friendly sportsball banter. 

1:02pm: After a while away, I’m itching to get back to work, so I hurry back to my desk so I’m available for any questions.  I love hearing from my PIs, and today is no exception.  My phone rings, and it’s one of my favorite PIs – he always calls right after he sends an email.  I’m glad we can talk through a complicated post-award issue on the phone instead of keeping notes for future reference in my email.

1:13pm: I work through the rest of my emails, although there aren’t that many, just a subaward request for a P01 due by the end of the day.  Easy peasy!  The SPO at the prime site sent all the information I need to put together the budget and my PI already gave me a head’s up, so we’re able to get the subrecipient commitment form signed and all the documents returned within the hour. 

3:46pm: I check email one more time and there’s a coupon for a free coffee from one of my PIs – he’s thankful for my help with a submission last week.  It’s always nice to be appreciated, but it was no trouble.  I love submitting at 4:55pm – the adrenaline rush is better than a work-out!

4:37pm: It’s a beautiful Ohio day, sunny and 75 degrees, and since I’ve finished my work for the day, I check with my team to see if they need anything.  Everyone is caught up with their work as well, so we decide to head across the street for happy hour before heading home for a good night’s sleep, and eager to be back at work tomorrow.  

It was truly a perfect day in research administration! 

Reliving April Fool’s day in May!




05-09-2019 10:47 PM

I like the thought that this type of day can exist, even if only in the imagination!

05-09-2019 03:20 PM

HIlarious!  Yes, that happens - NOT!