Blogs

When Butt-Dialing Actually Works! As with many employers looking for the right talent to hire, I too am in the inevitable race to find that perfect team member that cannot only do the job but also fit right in with the rest of my team. I recently fielded several applicants as part of my interview process. I conducted a phone screening for a couple of minutes to go over the basic history of my organization, job expectations and request the candidates’ interest before deciding to go any further with a formal interview. I often use my cellphone to conduct these screenings into which I would plug in the candidate’s number and wait until I’m on the road to my destination ...
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Time of Change I want to be Secretary of SRAI.  Why? First, let me tell you about myself.  There are different paths a research administrator can take on their professional journey - central or departmental, post-award or pre-award, academia or industry, medical or campus. My 15-year career has taken me through these roles. I started as a research administrator at my alma mater the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I then moved across the country to Maryland where I served in various roles at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and College Park. Next, my life and wife moved me to Miami, and I became a consultant with the Huron Consulting Group.  ...
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Standing at a Crossroads I am seeking election to the office of Secretary. The Secretary plays a unique role on the Board as the official recorder of the Board’s decisions as well as capturing the essence of the discussions leading to those actions. The office holder must be organized, as well as knowledgeable of the Society’s Bylaws, policies, and procedures. In addition to my current role as Secretary, I have been a member of the Governance Committee, which drafts the policies, for the past eight years.  When I joined the Society of Research Administrators International nearly 30 years ago, it was the only US organization providing education for research ...
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Building Connections I’m running for At-Large Board Member to facilitate and support flexible work in our field, help develop a career pipeline for research administration, and hold space and give voice for research administrators not in leadership positions within their organizations.  Our workspace has been changing around us ever since the Covid lockdown. Institutions that were years away from a flexible work policy implemented one overnight and research administrators, already accustomed to managing their complex workloads in a shifting environment, adapted. Post-lockdown, we’ve watched as words like hybrid, remote, and flexible became standard language ...
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A Great Place to Network, Learn, and Grow Like many others in the field of research administration, I sort of just fell into it as a career. My experience has been similar with SRAI over the years. I progressed from doing presentations for Annual/Section meetings to serving as Northeast Section Secretary and then eventually the Northeast Section President. The organization has become instrumental in my professional and personal development and has provided me with an effective way to give back to others trying to learn more in research administration.   During my experience, I had the opportunity to join many vital committees that are critical to helping ...
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The Adventure of Research Administration in a Hybrid and Remote Work Environment I have been very fortunate during the past 25+ years to work in the field of research administration. I am currently the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. My adventure into research administration started when we still sent paper copies of proposals to the sponsors, and it wasn’t uncommon for someone to hop a flight to Washington, DC, in order to deliver a proposal before the sponsor’s deadline. Thankfully, times have changed, and there are very few mad dashes to FedEx at the last minute! The opportunity to work in ...
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Why I Want to Be a Board Member Compared to the number of years many individuals have been with SRAI I am a relative newcomer, having joined SRAI in October 2014. A colleague suggested I attend the SRAI Annual Meeting, so I discussed it with my Chief, and she encouraged me to attend and present. Having never attended a meeting, I was not sure what to expect or even what to do, but when I went to sign in at the registration desk, I was immediately put at ease just by talking with the individuals working the registration desk. I attended the Newcomers Reception and tried to hang out in the back of the room, but other members and HQ staff came and talked to me ...
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Sharing a Fountain of Knowledge I’ve shared a story many times that very early in my professional career a wise mentor said, “In the beginning of our careers, we’re sponges soaking up knowledge and experiences. At some point, however, we need to turn into fountains and share what we soaked up over the years.”  I really took that to heart and have been through a few different sponge/fountain cycles during my career. Serving on the SRAI Board of Directors has been a combination of sponge and fountain time for me, but mostly as a fountain. Kim Carter originally appointed me to the Board as an Ad-Hoc Member representing Sections. That year on the board as a non-voting ...
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Expansion Through International Engagement For more than 20 years, Floris van der Leest was responsible for the development of Research Information Man­agement Systems. Next to ongoing development of data harvesting and reporting rou­tines, he developed web applications to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of research administration activities.  Floris worked at James Cook University in Townsville and Victoria University in Melbourne, both in Australia, and at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At each university, he was responsible for strategic analysis of information needs as well as the accu­racy of data ...
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2022 SRAI Summer Reading List The thermostat is rising in much of the world and summer travel plans are well underway! The Catalyst Committee recently asked SRAI Membership what books would you recommend from your reading lists? Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything By: B.J. Fogg Praised as picking up where Atomic Habits left off, this New York Times bestseller is an easy read, presenting a simple, practical method for quickly building habits. Life changing for me. - Rebecca Claycamp, MS, CRA, Consultant in Research Administration Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World By: David Epstein “The main reason ...
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Note from the Editor | Summer Reading As I sit here writing this latest Note from the Editor, it’s raining outside – finally. We’ve had a record heat wave lately along with dry conditions, so I spend more time looking out the window than being on the other side of it. With that said, the Catalyst has decided to repeat our Summer Reading List in this issue so you too can hunker down in the air conditioning with a book or read outside if your climate is currently more favorable than mine.  However, if you are looking for reading something a bit shorter, we have plenty of articles in this month’s issue for your perusal. In particular, I’d like to draw your attention ...
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Monthly Poll | Summer Submissions Last month we asked a series of questions to learn more about how your institutions support your training. The first question probably seemed like “yes” was the only answer to many of you. But in fact, there was one respondent who said “no,” their institution did not offer initial onboarding training. And while I don’t know who you are, I can imagine your situation. My first job in Research Administration was at a small private university that had just received their first federal grant. I didn’t receive onboarding in RA either. It was a huge part of my job, and I was fortunate that my supervisor was willing to send me to my ...
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View from the Top | Ready to Take Your Chance on SRAI? As we move full steam ahead (pun intended) into summer, it’s hard to believe that there are only three months left to my term as SRAI President! Despite the chaos of the last couple of years, the time has flown by with many difficult decisions and positive changes along the way. I am extremely proud of our volunteer members and headquarters staff. To a person, they have come together to create and deliver educational excellence.  Summer also means that the 2022 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas is only three months away! The program is posted, and registration is open. Caesars Palace Las Vegas is an amazing ...
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Research Administration Careers| Counting to 10: Training Methodologies Training is not a “one-size fits all” methodology. There are a variety of different types of training, each designed to fit a different topic, audience, program, or framework. None are necessarily “good” or “bad” but should be tailored to the specific needs of the topic or individual and utilized at the appropriate time of learning.  We offer below ten training techniques for your edification.  Didactic Training . Often referred to as “instructor-led training,” it is the most common avenue, featuring a seasoned lecturer who will teach multiple individuals in a classroom format setting. ...
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Developing a Proactive Research Security Program in an Era of Heightened Foreign Influence As the U.S. Government works to provide uniform research security requirements to address malign foreign influence, you should already be thinking about what comes next.    Since NIH Director Francis Collins delivered his “Dear Colleagues” letter to universities in August 2018 warning us of foreign security threats, we have been struggling to balance our open and collaborative research environments with the obligation to protect our valuable research and development against those who seek to exploit it. As research administrators in pre-award and compliance offices, ...
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ICYMI: What is Research Development? Although relatively “new” as a formal discipline in the Research Administration world, Research Development (RD) has been around in varying forms and functions for a long time. Summarized from a recent SRAI Coffee Talk, this article answers a few key questions about this rising area of expertise.   In case you missed it, SRAI recently hosted a Coffee Talk with a panel of experts to discuss “What is Research Development?” RD functions tend to be much more varied than other more consistent areas of research administration, such as pre-award or post-award. Some correlate Research Development with finding funding opportunities ...
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Value in the International Space: Examining the Challenges and Barriers on Research Administration International Research Teams In a series of articles, we will present the newest in research administration from the Journal of Research Administration. To read the full JRA, please see here .   Author: Angela White-Jones, PhD , University of Central Florida   Introduction Research administrators are increasingly making significant contributions to development and delivery of complex research projects across the globe. While many research administrators contribute immense value when managing a research project in their home country, the introduction ...
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North of 49: Research Security and Foreign Partners Jurisdictions around the world are grappling with how to support international science in light of research security and foreign influence concerns. The U.S. has tackled this issue with extensive disclosure requirements and repercussions while north of the 49 th parallel, Canada is taking a more moderate approach with its National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships.  On June 22, the SRAI Canadian Section hosted a panel of experts from universities, the federal government and research funders to discuss how the recent developments of the Guidelines for Research Partnerships impact the research ...
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To Be or Not to Be in Person…There is no Question While many universities, research institutions, and businesses figure out whether and how to be back on campus or in the office in person, when it comes to holding conferences there is no question. Holding conferences and meetings in person wins!  As the world transitioned to the digital space during the last two years, telework and on-line conferences became the norm. As the pandemic turned endemic, the debate about the role and scope of telework and the in-person office continues. It is now common for jobs and positions to be advertised as 100% virtual, so telework is here to stay. Conferences, however, ...
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The Power of the Panel The Alabama-Mississippi Chapter gathered for our annual chapter meeting on June 10 after a two-year hiatus due to Covid. Hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), our group was welcomed to the Gulf Coast campus in Long Beach, Mississippi. Once a women’s college from 1921-1971, the property was eventually incorporated into USM. This sprawling beach-accessible campus dotted with shady oaks was the perfect place to escape the day-to-day settings of our own institutions and immerse ourselves in some much needed face-to-face professional development. After an enjoyable and lavish networking lunch, we started the afternoon with ...
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