The Changing Face of Research Administration
Over the span of my career, research administration has remade itself many times. Gone are the days of making dozens of copies of funding proposals to a meet an express main pick-up deadline, or failing to meet the pick-up and driving the proposal to the carrier’s airport shipping office, or, in truly extreme cases, flying to Washington DC to hand-deliver a proposal. Now the click of a few buttons signs the proposal and sends it on its way at something approaching the speed of light. Every change involves something new to learn. Education is a hallmark of everything we do.
Similarly, the faces of my colleagues have changed. Some a bit more furrowed and others fresh and wide-eyed. I think neither group fully appreciates the enormous talent, ability and dedication to quality of the other. The underlying theme is each one is passionate about the service they provide to their customers. Yes, service, and make no mistake about it. We are not in the research business or even the research administration business. We are in the customer service business. The service we provide improves the world we inhabit, brings us closer together and at its best, saves lives.
In this same way, SRAI is in the customer service business. The customers it serves are you and more than 4,000 of your colleagues. Educational programming and networking opportunities organized by SRAI serves you and by extension your customers in the research community. I was fortunate to have stumbled on SRAI early in my career. An interesting story for another time. During the time that I have been a member, my career has flourished in parallel with my engagement in SRAI’s activities. Most of the jobs I’ve held have come through networking. Honing my presentation and public speaking skills opened a lot of doors. Developing leadership skills is valuable for every level of an organization.
If I can pass to my colleagues any parcel of wisdom, it is to get involved. ‘No one is as smart as all of us’ is a popular cliché, but in reality, everyone knows something that would benefit the rest of us. SRAI provides many opportunities to learn, grow, and serve whether it is presenting, committee work, or elected office. Get involved; you’ll be doing us both a favor.
Authored by Bruce Steinert, PhD, CCRA, Clinical Research Regulatory Manager
Medical College of Wisconsin
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