Blogs

Note from the Editor | New Year Kick-off Happy New Year 2021! If you are like me, you have already typed or mentioned 2020 a handful of times before correcting to 2021 as I always find myself doing the first few weeks of January. However, I think this year I have had this happen less than usual since I am so looking forward to closing the chapter on last year and seeing what 2021 has ahead of us. With that said, we at the Catalyst are working hard to bring you more articles on a range of topics across research administration and are always looking for new contributors and new ideas if you or someone you know is interested. In fact, if you are still working ...
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View from the Top | 2021 is Here! I bet you thought 2020 would never end! But here we are in 2021 with high hopes that our new US President and his administration will help us all come out from under the chaos created by the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest. I know that many of you have suffered terrible losses – physically, emotionally, and financially, but SRAI is here to help us all cope with issues in our research management roles and responsibilities. We are a committed network of colleagues who create synergy that allows us all to grow and succeed personally and professionally. I want to remind you about some upcoming and exciting ...
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The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | The Accidental Podcaster: Tuning in and Turning up “The Secret Life of a Research Administrator” column is meant to facilitate more personal connections between SRAI members through the Catalyst newsletter. If you would like to share with the community or know of someone who will, please submit your article here . To paraphrase Jane Austen, ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that most solitary researchers, must be in want of an engaged research administrator.’ Like so many other people who have come before me, I fell into this field of research administration and research communications by ...
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Beyond Boundaries: Developing Grant Writing Skills across Higher Education Institutions In a series of articles, we will present the newest in research administration from the Journal of Research Administration, with submissions provided through the JRA Author Fellowship Program. Read the full JRA here . Much of the literature on grant writing does not explicitly identify the skills needed to be an accomplished grant writer, or how these skills are acquired.  This paper reviews literature on grant writing and argues the need to identify key grant writing skills to improve the quality of grant applications.  The ability to persuade, to weave a clear ...
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Background Noise | Working from Home, or Living at Work? Background Noise is a column devoted to conceptual ideas of interest to the research administration community. This month, we want to share with the larger community our thoughts on what both synthesis and work-life balance look like in practice, and how we can define the work-balance to which many aspire but only some seem to achieve. In the fall, the research administration community at Tufts University gathered virtually to discuss whether we should aim for work-life balance—where work and personal time are distinct and given firm boundaries—or accept work-life synthesis—where work bleeds ...
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Monthly Poll | Silver Linings and Resolutions In the November issue of the Catalyst , we asked you to share your silver linings with us.  In a year that has challenged our ability to reframe and revise, it was such an inspiration to read the positive notes that are keeping your spirits bright. Here are some of the silver linings that were shared with us: Working at home means I get to spend all day every day with my cat Barnaby. He has become a very well-known and popular participant on all my Zoom calls; he actually comes running when he hears the voices at the beginning of a call even when he’s fast asleep somewhere in the house. My son graduated ...
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Foreign Influence and its Impact on Research Integrity – A Four-Part Series | Part 1: What is Foreign Influence? In this four-part series, we will discuss Part 1: What is Foreign Influence; Part 2: Federal Agencies Polices on Foreign Influences; Part 3: How to Conduct an Investigation; and Part 4: Lessons Learned from the NIH Survey . What is Foreign Influence? Foreign Influence in accordance with 32CFR147.4 is a concern that a security risk may exist when an individual's family may be subject to duress. Whereas 32CFR147.5 defines Foreign Preference as a concern that an individual may prefer a foreign country over the United States. Federal agencies ...
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Post Award Office New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Doing More, Better, and With Less This article will explore how post-award administrators can help their teams and institutions be most resilient in 2021 as the impact of Covid-19 has forced the need to do more with less, all while also trying to better manage research spend. This year has, in many sad ways, been one like no other. Like many of our personal goals and resolutions, many research administrator process improvement goals were probably put on hold dealing with the myriad of triage needs in the short term. But there’s hope for 2021, and I wanted to share some inspiration and perspectives for those ...
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An Odyssey in an Odyssey Looking at the journey of a mentee and mentor in the Odyssey Mentoring Program. Signing up for the new SRAI Odyssey Program was a journey into the unknown as both Tim (mentor) and I (Katherine-mentee) didn’t know what to expect. When starting the program, we were both asked to fill out a goals sheet to outline how we would spend our meetings. As the mentee, I felt lost, staring at a goals sheet not knowing what my specific goals were or if they would align with what my mentor hoped to get out of the program. Little did I know that Tim was excited to help and give back much as he had experienced in the beginning of his career. ...
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Kudos Korner | Gloria Greene SRA International members rock! As research management and administration professionals, they never stop improving, learning, achieving, or earning new heights of success. We love sharing good news and offering a well-deserved pat on the back for recent personal and/or professional achievement. In keeping with that sentiment, please join us as we congratulate Gloria Greene on her new position! SRA International is a professional networking community of learners. One way to gain knowledge and expertise is to share our stories of successful achievements with our peers and colleagues. Often research managers/administrators ...
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Almost a Year Into the Pandemic | Allegheny Chapter Chat As we near the one-year mark of remote work due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with continued uncertainty as to when we might return the office fully, it is more important than ever for us to continue to evaluate the impact on our work and home lives. On Friday, January 29, the Allegheny Chapter will be hosting a Chapter Chat, Almost a Year Into the Pandemic: Lessons Learned, Tips and Tricks , to help address these topics. This panel discussion will look at three areas: maintaining a work/home life balance; the importance of prioritizing your own health and wellness; and sustaining your working ...
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Exciting Podcast Announcement and Member Competition – Deadline Extended An exciting new initiative will be launched in early 2021 when SRAI unveils its podcast series. The podcasts will be a new addition to our ever-expanding list of membership benefits and will provide thought-provoking and timely content about research administration and management as well as hot topics and current events in the field. The Podcast group, led by Carla Demarco, Research Communications and Grant Manager at the University of Toronto Mississauga, is one of four committees under the auspices of the SRAI Communications Committee.  The other three committees and their chairs ...
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Special Issue on Inclusion and Diversity | SRAI Journal of Research Administration SRAI members are invited to submit a manuscript for a special issue of the Journal of Research Administration .  The focus of this issue is to highlight the essential role research administrators – either through their own efforts or as partners with other administrative and academic units - execute to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion among faculty, administrators, and staff.  Our hope is to receive submissions that provide a representative sampling of the effective ways research offices, research administrators, and others have improved and enhanced the recruitment, ...
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Preview the Online Program for the iSRA Financial Management Conference: A Virtual Academy Don't miss out on the upcoming iSRA Financial Management Conference and see what sessions this meeting has to offer ! This new online training event will highlight the fiduciary responsibilities, approaches, processes, and strategies for effective financial research administration - giving you the effective tools and knowledge you need to keep up on the latest trends and insights regarding financial management. Throughout three days, February 22-24 , you will experience a Keynote Panel, intimate roundtable discussions, and a selection of over 30 sessions ...
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Submit Your Proposal Today for the SRAI 2021 Annual Meeting Are you or a colleague interested in speaking at the 2021 SRAI Annual Meeting ?  Submit a proposal today to demonstrate that you are at the cutting edge of research administration and move the profession forward. This meeting offers an opportunity to show your experience, knowledge, and global view on all things research administration. Tracks offered at this meeting include: Financial & Post-award Administration (FA) Management & Operations (MO) Professional Development (PD) Research Impact & Communications (RC) Research Ethics & Compliance (RE) Research ...
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Joint Section Meeting Call for Proposals – Submit Today SRA International and the 2021 Joint Section Meeting planning committee is currently looking for informed subject experts to speak. On SRAI Certificate programs : please refer to the link for more information on requirements   Leadership (LD) National Institutes of Health Grants Fundamentals (NIH) On workshops/concurrent sessions in the following tracks: Clinical Research (CR) Management and Operations (MO) Professional Development (PD) Research Ethics and Compliance (RE) Sponsors & Agencies (SA) Sponsored Programs, Planning and Deliveries (SPP) Speaking ...
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Reflections on 2020 As I reflect on 2020, I can’t help but be amazed by all we have been through this year. The world as we knew it shifted and we had to find the flexibility and resiliency within ourselves and our institutions to continue moving forward. As research administrators, I feel this is something in which we excel, but this year was a true stress test as many of us switched from working in an office to working from home while navigating the changing landscape of restrictions, allowances, and new information. We at The Catalyst hope that we have helped in some small way to ease the challenges of 2020 and to continue to do so through 2021. This ...
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View from the Top | Looking Forward to 2021 I imagine that if you are anything like me, you are very relieved to see 2020 come to an end. While we are far from being back to whatever “normal” means, I look towards 2021 with high hopes and aspirations. Our committees are already hard at work planning educational experiences and services to enhance the SRAI member experience. We have formed a new Strategic Planning working group which will consist of members from our Executive Committee and representatives from our major committees: Governance, Membership, Education and Professional Development (EPDC), and Communication. As a group we will assess where ...
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Getting (a) Shot for Science About ten years ago, I decided I could be a more effective research administrator if I experienced another side of the clinical trial process. I had been negotiating contracts and budgets, paying subjects for their travel, and approving incentive payments for a while, but I thought if I enrolled as a research subject in a clinal trial myself, then I would learn something and get paid for doing it. Oh, and I’d help further research and our mission of improving child health, too. I signed up as a ‘healthy subject’ for an experimental pneumonia vaccine. It truly did help me see the other side of informed consent, interactions ...
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WFH Tips & Tricks | Dual Monitors In the current COVID-19 world of Work From Home (WFH), Remotely Working offers tips and tricks to make WFH easier. If you have an issue you would like discussed or a favorite trick you’d like to share, let us know and we may feature it in an upcoming column. You can submit an article here . Last month Gloria Greene provided guidance on filtering your emails in Gmail. This month, Paul Brouillette gives some tips for remote workers who are working on two or more monitors for the first time. I’m reluctant to admit this, but until the pandemic, I had never worked on dual monitors before!  My desk in the office ...
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