iSRA Pre-Award Intensive - Program

Program Objective

Pre-Award: The First Step in the Journey of Research Administration. “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” (Lao Tzu). This intensive training program is designed to help you, as a research administrator, navigate this journey with confidence. As Pre-Award is the foundation for the grant lifecycle, pre-award research administrators play a critical role in setting a grant off to a good start. You’ve probably heard this adage a time or two, but the sentence before offers more context for why we are taking this journey, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small” (Lao Tzu). What you’ve set out to accomplish as a research administrator is a great thing. You provide the framework for programs that improve our communities, identify new sources of energy, treat and cure disease, and patronize music and art. As a community, we can accomplish these difficult and important things with care throughout the journey of research administration. These first steps are essential in successful pre-award management, so in this intensive training program, we will lay out the trail of these first steps leading from the basics to more complex understandings in the areas of organizational structures, funding sources, proposal/budget development, submission, and award acceptance actions. We encourage and expect active participation from the attendees via case studies, discussions, and class projects.

At the end of the course, participants will receive a total of 12.5 CEU credits. Participants will have access to 5 additional hours of webinars related to the intensive training.

Program Description

This six week training program is designed to help research administrators take the first steps in understanding Pre-Award. The program will cover organizational structures and funding sources. Participants will have the opportunity to explore proposal and budget development as well as submission processes and award acceptance actions.

Topics Include:

  • Understanding Institutional Structures and Timelines
  • Funding Development
  • Proposal Development
  • Budget Development
  • The Submission Process
  • Next Steps after Submission

Expected Outcomes

  • Analyze organizational structures, staff roles, and institutional commitments for pre-award administration.
  • Identify funding opportunities and align program development with agency goals.
  • Review a request for applications (RFA) and identify key components within submission guidelines.
  • Develop a proposal budget within the strictures of law and institutional policy.
  • Discuss proposal submission processes and interact with proposal submission systems. 
  • Evaluate and negotiate award notifications.
  • Set goals for their professional development.

Intended Audience 

This session is intended for mid-level research administrators but will also provide sufficient basic information to help those who are new to pre-award. This intensive program is also an opportunity for research administrators who are changing to a pre-award role within a research enterprise or perhaps transferring to a different type of institution. Research faculty may also benefit from these workshops in gaining an understanding of differing aspects of the pre-award processes. We also encourage financial staff to take this opportunity to gain a system-wide view of proposal development. Content will include presentations, case studies, discussions, homework, and hands-on practice.

Program Instructors

Jose AlcaineJose G. Alcaine, PhD, MBA, CRA
Director of Research Services
Office of Research and Faculty Development
Virginia Commonwealth University
CHuntCourtney Hunt, PhD
Research Manager
University of Houston
College of Pharmacy

KReadKimberly Read, Ph.D., CRA
Assistant Director
Florida Center for Inclusive Communities
Coordinator for Research Administration
Department of Child & Family Studies
FstephensFran Stephens CRA, MSgt (USAF, Ret.)
Director, Pre-Award Services
The University of Oklahoma
Office of Research Services