Blogs

Hot Topics in Research Law | AI in Research – Impacts of the Legal/Regulatory Framework The Spotlight continues its series on the implications of emerging legal issues when using artificial intelligence (AI) in the research arena. This month, possible compliance concerns due to an increasing regulatory framework are discussed. Artificial intelligence (AI) is causing ripples in the legal regime and court system as well as generating a new regulatory framework. AI Impacts the Court System The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently developed materials ...
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Note from the Editor | Summertime What do you think of as the official start of Summer? Some wait for the calendar to say it’s officially summer, which happens on June 20 this year. Some feel like every moment between the end of May through August should be treasured with the light-hearted joy that summer brings to many. Others still have their nose to the grindstone and forget what time of year it is entirely. Take this is your official reminder to take a break, read the Catalyst, nominate someone for the Board of Directors, and maybe slather on some sunscreen so you can spend some time outside. Grab your sunglasses and your favorite digital reading device. ...
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View from the Top | Welcoming New US Section Presidents and Expressing Gratitude to Immediate Past Presidents As we embark on a new chapter in our journey, I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to the newly elected US Section Presidents of SRAI: Midwest-Meaghan Ventura; Northeast-Debra Sokalczuk; Southern-Amanda Seymour; and Western-Linda Dement. Your dedication, expertise, and vision are vital as we continue to advance the field of research administration. We are confident that our sections will flourish under your leadership, fostering collaboration, innovation, and professional growth among our members. At this juncture, we must acknowledge and express ...
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Tactical and Strategic View on the Impact of AI for Research Administrators Two views on how Artificial Intelligence technology can help to make research administration more efficient in the near-term and more strategic in the future . In the domain of grant management, there is significant concern over the impact that broad access to Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools will have on the quality and quantity of grant submissions. There will certainly be a period of adjustment where grant submission requirements will adapt to the new reality. The same technologies will also impact the research administrators (RA) role. To better understand how the technology ...
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Seamless Automation: Streamlining Workflows for the Research Administrator Research administrators balance a multitude of responsibilities, all while adapting to the dynamic funding landscape, ever-evolving federal policies, institutional shifts, and daily operational challenges. Growing workloads can easily overwhelm and lead to increased errors. To address this, Michigan State University (MSU) employs Microsoft 365 tools to automate tasks such as updates, emails, and approvals so administrators can focus on supporting the investigators and teams that drive research growth. Leveraging Automation for Efficiency In MSU’s College of Human Medicine’s (CHM) ...
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Considerations in Issuing International Subawards What makes an international subaward different from a U.S. domestic subaward? What must organizations take into account before moving forward with an international subsite? Let’s review common questions and considerations to explore when issuing an international subaward . As many of the U.S. funding agencies push for global collaborative research, Research Administrators are bearing the burden of ensuring compliance with the plethora of rules and regulations which are required of projects with international subawards. The National Institutes of Health recently issued NOT-OD-23-182, which mandates that foreign ...
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Managing Portfolios from Different Ends of the Spectrum | Part 3: Managing Overfunded Principal Investigators This three-part series delves into best practices for managing principal investigators (PIs) with either too little or too much contract and grant funding. In Part I, we learned the 5-step process to determine the root causes of under- and over-funding . Part II put those skills to use in managing underfunded principal investigators (PIs). This final part addresses overfunded scenarios . For these scenarios, we’ve applied step 1. Realize the Problem, and now we have our detective’s cap on for step 2. Gathering Data. For overfunded PIs (like the ...
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Career Development and Trajectory: How to Excel in Any Research Administration Role As an early career research administrator who has experienced exponential career growth, I believe my professional experience could help fellow neophytes in the research administration profession to excel in their current or future roles. I started my career in research administration as a research outputs officer in 2019. Ever since, I have accepted and excelled in two other roles working as a research administration officer (or grant officer) and as a research integrity coordinator. Having been successfully employed in three different roles within the research administration ...
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The Grass is Always Greener: Consulting in Research Administration Consultants in the field of Research Administration (RA) are not a new concept. They have been around almost as long as the profession itself. But what it means to be an RA consultant has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, to be an RA consultant meant you had to be a “road warrior” spending two or three days a week traveling. While many looked at the positions with envy due to the higher level of pay, higher level of work, and higher level of influence, the travel requirement kept the RA consultant ranks lean. During the lockdown, our profession demonstrated without ...
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Your Questions Answered | I Wish Faculty/PI’s Understood… Each month, the Catalyst will feature a question posed to our panel of SRAI Distinguished Faculty members to get their take on all sorts of topics encompassing research administration. Do you have a research administration question for our experts? Send your questions to catalyst@srainternational.org ! This month, we asked our experts: I wish faculty/Principal Investigators (PIs) understood… Sandra M. Nordahl, CRA, Director, Sr. Contracting and Compliance and Security Officer, SDSU Research Foundation, SRAI Distinguished Faculty . ..the time that it takes to move a proposal/project from ...
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SRAI in Your Country: Up Close and Personal | Australia Thanks to SRAI’s extensive international scope (over 40 countries around the world), SRAI members literally have the world at their fingertips. Wouldn’t it be great to spend a few days or months, submerged in the life of a fellow research administrator in another part of the world, to walk in their shoes, and to expand your international view of research administration? To whet your appetite, this four-part series will take you on a virtual, imaginary tour of the daily life of an individual research administrator on four different continents or geographic regions – Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Middle ...
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Note from the Editor | "It’s Gonna be May" To start with a pun popularized from boy band *NSYNC, this issue…” it’s gonna be May .” Jokes aside, it really is our May issue, and we have some excellent articles that I’m happy to share with you. This month’s spotlight, the second exploring Hot Topics in Research Law , was written in part by Gemini, the current Google AI, along with SRAI members David King and Michael Slocum. We asked our copy editors to refrain from editing the AI’s text which I think is worth keeping in mind as you read. Don’t miss the second part of Managing Portfolios from Different Ends of the Spectrum , in which we get a chance to work ...
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Spotlight: Hot Topics in Research Law | The Legal Labyrinth: AI in Research and its Unforeseen Challenges This month the Spotlight continues exploring the implications of emerging legal issues when using artificial intelligence (AI) in the research arena. To illustrate this dilemma, an AI-generated article is presented here first, followed by an author-generated piece that offers observations on how AI technology brings challenges and risks. FULL DISCLOSURE: THIS ARTICLE WAS GENERATED BY GEMINI, THE CURRENT GOOGLE AI ENGINE, IN A FEW SECONDS. Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the research landscape. From accelerating drug discovery to ...
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View from the Top | Fostering Collaboration and Growth: The Role of Research Administrators in Building Supportive Environments As Research Administrators, our role is not just about managing research projects. We are the architects of an environment that fosters collaboration, networking, discussion, sharing, and training. These elements are not mere add-ons to our profession, but the very foundation on which innovative research thrives. Our active contribution to the development of this environment is not just critical, but pivotal. Interactions and networking are the lifeblood of any field's progression. As Research Administrators, we are the catalysts ...
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Managing Portfolios from Different Ends of the Spectrum | Part 2: Managing Underfunded Principal Investigators This three-part series delves into best practices for managing principal investigators (PI’s) with either too little or too much contract and grant funding. In Part I we learned the 5-step process to determine the root causes of under- and over-funding . Now let’s apply those skills to some sample underfunded scenarios. Let’s assume we’ve already completed step 1. Realize the problem, and we’re going to grab our magnifying glass and move to step 2. Gathering data. A great place to start is to look at outgoing proposals and success rates. ...
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Research Administration: Early Career and Key Skills to Development There are key skills found in many research administrators, critical to success in the field. These skills centre around a passion for self-development, a desire for process improvement, and teamwork. Passion and Self-Development Passion is important in whatever role we are in. You may not be completely satisfied with the responsibilities of the role, but you can maximize the inherent potential in the role. This could only happen through passion. Passion is fuelled by the impact that you intend to have in the organization. Always ask what will I be remembered for in the role? Another way ...
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Your Questions Answered | Preventing Communication Failures Each month, the Catalyst will feature a question posed to our panel of SRAI Distinguished Faculty members to get their take on all sorts of topics encompassing research administration. Do you have a research administration question for our experts? Send your questions to catalyst@srainternational.org ! This month, we asked our experts: At your organization, how do you prevent egregious failures in communication between PIs and fellow research administrators? What kind of policies or procedures do you have in place? Domenica G. Pappas, CRA, Associate Vice Provost for Research, Office of Research, ...
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VICRA Experience 2024 Attending the Virtual International Convention for Research Administrators (VICRA) conference organized by the Society for Research Administrators International (SRAI) was an enriching experience that provided a deep dive into the evolving landscape of research management and administration. The conference equipped me with fresh perspectives especially in the areas of research, team management (in both research and project management), as well as general career development. As a fervent seeker of insight into the intricate world of research management, I embarked on this journey with anticipation and curiosity. Little did I know that the ...
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My Journey in the Research Administration “Game of Life” | Part 2 At a crossroads in my career, I rolled the dice and entered into a new game of life – the research administration version! Last month I shared how I started playing the game of research administration . Jump back in the car with me as I start to ease the car back on the highway of research administration and take the exit for my next career move – a new university! After many years at my first university, where my car hit the initial and many subsequent laps around the research administration profession, I navigated the car to a rest stop and reviewed the research admin landscape. I rolled ...
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Schooled by Pre-Schoolers Before joining the pre-award team at Virginia Tech, I spent nine years as the office manager for a prek-8 private school in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because it was a small school, we all pitched in where needed and it wasn’t unusual to find me helping with nap time or out on the playground for recess duty. When COVID temporarily closed the school, I decided to return to my former occupation as a research administrator. I worried about the challenge of going from working with young children back to working with highly-educated and successful adults. I worried for nothing because it turns out that, in many ways, being a research administrator ...
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