2023 Award Recipients

2023 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2023 SRAI award winners! SRAI acknowledges individuals who inspire others and serve as a model for the profession of research administration. Join us in recognizing our award winners!

The Herbert B. Chermside Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration

Michael SlocumJ. Michael Slocum
Slocum & Boddie. PLLC

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I am honored to receive this recognition for my VERY long association with SRAI and the efforts I have put in to help the Society remain the premier organization supporting research administrators worldwide. I knew Herb Chermside and am humbled to follow in his footsteps. He and the many other "oldtimers" were examples of excellence, showing me how to integrate diverse areas of knowledge and the multiple skills needed to support science and research in academic and business environments.

I fully intend to continue to participate and contribute to the Society for as long as I am able, just as Herb did. I hope that my example will encourage others who may be considering laying down the torch when they retire from their institutions to continue to work with me and with all other members, new and old, to grow and improve the Society and the field of research administration and management -- for the good of science and Society. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  Development and maintenance of the Research Law Track and the Research Law Certificate program. In partnership with David King and other members, we have consistently brought quality training to both lawyers in the research arena and research administrators who must often be the "legal" experts at their institutions in areas that OGC often simply does not have the expertise to support the research endeavor. I am particularly happy that we have begun to provide training not only for the Society but that is accepted for CLE credit for practitioners outside the confines of the research administration profession.

Hartford-Nicholsen Award

Kim Carter Kim C. Carter, MPA, CRA, CPRA, CFRA
Associate Vice President for Research 
Executive Director, Office of Sponsored Projects Administrations
University of Kentucky

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I love being a member of SRAI. I get to learn new things about research administration, present training to help others succeed in our complex profession, network and problem solve with colleagues from other universities, and have fun (with good food and conversation) at the SRAI meetings. Although I have been doing all of that for many years, what I really have always wanted to do through my involvement with SRAI was to contribute in a meaningful way that would noticeably benefit both the organization and the members. Receiving the Hartford-Nicholsen award gives me a great sense of satisfaction because it is tangible recognition that I have successfully made significant progress in meeting that professional goal. I am sure I will reflect back on the award in the middle of the hectic days of being a research administrator and feel a boost of energy and commitment when I remember being a recipient of the Hartford-Nicholsen award.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I am extremely proud of serving as SRAI President. Through the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic, with strong support from Evan Roberts, Ellen Quinn and SRAI headquarters staff as well as collaboration and encouragement of the SRAI Board of Directors, we successfully navigated our society through a transformation from in-person training to programs held both virtually and in-person to meet the needs of our members. I am so proud of all of us for emerging from the pandemic as an even stronger, more responsive organization.

Renee Vaughan Renee J. Vaughan, MDiv, MA, CRA
CRU Financial Practice Manager
Duke University School of Medicine

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I am extremely honored to have been nominated for the Hartford-Nicholsen Award by Jennifer Shambrook and to be supported by my peers for recognition. Membership in SRAI has been integral to my career growth and professional development as a Certified Research Administrator (CRA). Research Administration is the only profession I have encountered with the breadth and diversity to encompass any field of study. I will continue to promote Research Administration as a viable profession for potential candidates and those moving laterally into the profession. I am blessed to have had an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of research administration, and our future is bright.

With the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I believe a paradigm shift in our profession occurred. Those of us that had long pushed for the ability to "lead from anywhere" found our opportunity. Remote and then hybrid work has become the norm. Research administrators moved from being considered as support staff to now being recognized as a partner and "influencers." Diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement have risen to the forefront as we lead diverse teams. I am very enthusiastic about changes in our world of work and my role in facilitating communication and innovation as a research administrator. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Contributing to the body of knowledge in research administration through the development of the Pre-Award Certificate, serving as Co-Leader, and reviewing and evaluating content has been rewarding. Developing webinar/session content for clinical trial administration for a growing segment of our membership was another highlight. In addition, bringing synergy to SRAI research communication platforms has provided the opportunity for greater impact as influencers in the profession.

Dara LittleDara Little
Associate Vice President for Research/Executive Director Sponsored Programs
Northern Illinois University

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To be recognized by your peers is one of the greatest professional recognitions one can receive, and I am truly grateful to receive this award. Being a part of SRAI has given me the tools and networks to grow in my career and allowed me the opportunity to give back to the field and organization that has given so much to me (even when those opportunities were scary!). To me, this award is about the many SRAI colleagues who extended a hand over the years to pull me up and introduce me to opportunities that I could never have imagined when first starting out in research administration.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? There are a number of accomplishments that I am proud of, both within my institution and through SRAI. In my work with SRAI, I am particularly proud of the work I was able to do with my SRAI colleagues to update the Practice of Research Administration and Management (PRAM) certificate and my time as Co-Chair of the Education and Professional Development Committee and our pivot to robust online programming during COVID-19. That framework has positioned SRAI very well to expand our tradition of outstanding programs.

At my institution, I am most proud of how well my team has adapted to new work structures and demands as we adjust to keep pace with a rapidly growing funding portfolio. About ten years ago, we merged pre and post-award offices, and despite several disruptors (e.g., a state budget impasse, global pandemic), we are finding our groove and a structure that works. 

And as an emerging research institution, I think we are doing an outstanding job of right-sizing research administration for an institution like Northern. I am proud to be an NIU Huskie and to be given the opportunity over the years to build an entirely new office of Sponsored Programs Administration. But that's not possible without being surrounded by smart, committed, and collaborative people! It is exciting to see what the future holds for us.

Excellence Award

Jose AlcaineJose G. Alcaine, PhD, MBA, CRA
Director of Research Services and Affiliate Faculty, School of Education
Virginia Commonwealth University

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I am very humbled and thankful to the Award Committee for this Excellence Award recognition. It means a lot to be recognized by peers and colleagues, and I am thankful as well for being nominated for this award by someone in the field. This means that perhaps they have seen and appreciate my work and contributions. This is very touching and humbling. I hope to contribute more to the field and to work along and learn with colleagues as we try to do this important work. I am very thankful for this award and recognition.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I do not think there is a singular accomplishment, but rather it is the process of doing the work and volunteering, working with others, and trying to make a difference that I am most proud of. I am happy to help and work with colleagues in the field and learn more to improve the field. Just last week, in helping to organize a state-level meeting, it was so gratifying to be with colleagues in the field and to discuss topics and practices that we all share or have experienced. I am also happy to be part of a community of practice that has the initiative to get together, work together, and learn together. I am proud to help the field if even in small ways.

Susan Wyatt SedwickSusan Wyatt Sedwick
Senior Consulting Specialist
Attain Partners

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When I became a research administrator 30 years ago, I had little guidance or training, but I did not let that deter me from finding ways to advance my knowledge and skills through education and professional development. I have worked diligently to increase my own knowledge in the field and have been happy to share with others, so to be recognized as someone who has "excelled in meeting the Society's purpose of expanding the knowledge and tools of research administration" is a great reward. I am deeply honored and grateful to Gloria Greene and Andrea Deaton for their nomination and for their contributions to my own professional development. Gloria is always generous in sharing information she has gained, and working with Andrea taught me how to be a better mentor and supervisor.

I love this ever-changing profession, and I have tried to evolve with the times, moving from paper submissions where we had to "beat the train" (getting across the railroad tracks before the 4:45 PM train) to get a package to the post office for postmark by a due date, then solving technology glitches to beat the 5:00 PM submission time, and now trying to embrace ChatGPT as a tool for expediting our work. The challenge and struggle to stay abreast of regulatory changes, technology advancements, and AI is real, so the more we can share our knowledge and remain open to new ways of doing our jobs effectively and efficiently, the more gratifying we will find this work.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? But at the core of what we do as research administrators is "helping make research happen" for our researchers and society. Miracles happen in research administration every day; the impossible takes us a little longer. I have had the honor of working with a Nobel prize winner, Dr. John Goodenough, who at 98 years young, received that honor and is living proof that patience is a virtue! I am extremely grateful for this honor.

Terri BighamTerri Bigham
Associate Director
University of Central Florida Research Foundation

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Being selected to receive the SRAI Excellence Award convey to me that I have been successful in my desire to positively impact those around me by sharing knowledge, providing learning tools, and training and mentoring research administrators both inside and outside my institution. Looking at past recipients of the Excellence Award, I am honored to be included with colleagues of such esteem within our field.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am proud of my work with the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) as a Board of Directors member, Vice-Chair, and Chair. A focus of mine has been reviewing and improving the exam development practices for the CRA®, CPRA, and CFRA®. By assessing RACC’s procedures, listening to feedback from current and potential certificates, and through the commission of statistical studies, we learned what could be changed to positively affect the research administration community. We began using certified volunteers of varied backgrounds in our exam development, reduced the number of questions on the exams, incorporated pilot questions to garner additional statistical data, and moved to scale scoring. These improvements further ensure that each candidate has a standard and consistent testing experience. I am proud to have been involved in changes that will endure long past my time on the RACC board and, more importantly, to implement progressive change impacting the research administration field.

John Robinson Travel Scholarship

Ellen AuritiEllen R. Auriti
Senior Principal Counsel
University of California

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I am pleased and grateful for SRAI’s support in selecting me for a scholarship award to facilitate my attendance and presentation at SRAI’s 2023 annual meeting in Seattle. I look forward to meeting with, learning from and sharing ideas with colleagues from research institutions around the country, and I am very appreciative of the recognition and support from SRAI that makes that possible.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to the public research mission of the University of California system for more than two decades, providing legal, policy, and administrative advice and partnering with smart, dedicated colleagues both within the University and at other institutions through work with higher education associations. I was the first Executive Director of the University’s systemwide Research Policy office and the first dedicated research counsel in our systemwide legal office. In both positions, it has been my privilege to support the research enterprise throughout the University’s ten-campus system by advising on matters related to compliance with federal, state, sponsor, and institutional rules and policies pertaining to the conduct of academic research. I am proud to be part of a community of professionals committed to advancing and supporting high-quality research and helping researchers navigate the sometimes-complex web of applicable rules.

Annual Meeting Scholarship

Stephanie Blackmore Stephanie Blackmore, CRA
Research Administrator Lead
University of Michigan

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Being recognized or winning an award to me is a positive boost to show that my efforts, achievements, and contributions are appreciated by others. This recognition provides me with a sense of validation and a personal boost in confidence. It is also extremely motivating and encouraging to continue my pursuit of excellence and contribute to the field of research administration through more opportunities.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I have come a long way since I first started my career in Research Administration. I am fortunate to feel that I have had several accomplishments along the way, but there are three that stick out the most to me.

The first accomplishment that makes me very proud is successfully earning my CRA. This accomplishment is a big deal to me not only because I studied hard and passed but because I have suffered from extreme test anxiety since high school. Taking this exam pushed me far out of my comfort zone and helped me grow and develop new methods to control my test anxiety. Passing the exam helped boost my confidence and encouraged me to continue pushing myself.

The second accomplishment is the program I have become involved in and helped evolve at the University of Michigan. At the University of Michigan (UM), we have a program called "Aim Higher," which helps research administrators (RA) team up, share knowledge, and study to prepare people to take the CRA exam. Since I have been involved and co-coordinate with two other fantastic UM colleagues, we have a program called "CRA Victors," which helps UM CRAs earn credit hours and understand how they can maintain their CRAs.

My third accomplishment is my decision to no longer wait "for a good time" to go back to school for my master's degree. When I first graduated with my bachelor's, I had promised myself that I would eventually go back and complete my master's, but it never seemed like a good time. After some self-reflection, I decided to take the plunge about 9-10 years after receiving my bachelor's. I researched different graduate programs and decided to apply to the Master of Science in Research Administration and Compliance program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. I received my acceptance email from the school the day after my grandfather passed away, which was a huge boost at a low point in my personal life. I have since been a slow but successful student working towards graduation.

Thanks to many great RAs and colleagues in my life, my confidence and abilities have increased throughout my career and have encouraged me to keep going and give back as others have done and continue to do for me.

Gen ClarkGen Clark
Research Facilitator
University of Saskatchewan

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I am honored and looking forward to engaging in discussions and learning from other research professionals this year in Seattle. Thank you SRAI!

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  While there might not be a single standout moment, I am proud of the progress I have made, the skills I have honed, and the positive impact I have been able to have along the way.

JRA Most Valuable Editor

Jorja Kimball Jorja Kimball
Executive Director
Texas A&M University

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Statement not available.

JRA Rod Rose Award

This year's recipients are Philip A. Cola, Isabella Garcia, Rachel A. Goff-Albritton, Judy Pierre, Jennifer Walker, and Sandhya D. Yerra for their article Faculty Views on the Barriers and Facilitators to Grant Activities in the USA: A Systematic Literature Review, and Dorothy Hughes, Nathan Vanderford, and Holly Zink for their article Reconfiguring the Research Administration Workforce: A Qualitative Study Explaining the Increasingly Diverse Professional Roles in Research Administration.

Phillip Cola Philip A. Cola
Associate Professor of Management
Case Western Reserve University

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Winning this award is especially meaningful as it emanates from participating in the JRA mentorship program, where I collaborated with Rachel Goff-Albritton to write the award-winning paper. It means a lot to me that it was an opportunity to not only work with a talented collaborator but to succeed in that endeavor beyond expectations.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I am very proud to be a long-time research administrator and a member of the Society for Research Administrators International (SRAI). I have received much recognition in my career for managing and conducting research, teaching, and being a distinguished faculty member of SRAI. I have very much enjoyed having the opportunities to be a Research Administrator and a Professor in my career. It is this flexibility that I enjoy the most professionally.

Racehl Goff-AlbrittonRachel A. Goff-Albritton
Assistant Director of Research Development and Mentoring
Florida State University

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Receiving this award is a great honor! I feel grateful that our hard work is appreciated and that this award may mean that the work is more visible and read by more RD professionals, providing further contributions to the field!

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I am proud of the disciplined scholarship and valuable teamwork that went into this research.

no photo Judy Pierre
Florida State University

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Statement not available.

Jennifer Walker Jennifer Walker
Florida State University

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Winning an award is validation not just of the journey itself but of personal growth and capability. It can become a source of motivation, inspiration, and a catalyst for future success. Recognition inspires a commitment to ongoing exploration, learning, and innovation, highlighting that our achievements are steppingstones toward a wider realm of knowledge and accomplishment.

This recognition is not only about me. It is a way of recognizing the mentors, peers, and supporters who have been part of this journey. It is a shout-out to the notion that learning and growing is even more rewarding when shared with others. This is why I am so passionate about the importance of recognition. It is what inspires us to keep going when we are tired, discouraged, or frustrated. It is a reminder that every achievement paves the way for even greater accomplishments in the future.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  Among the array of accomplishments that have woven themselves into the fabric of my academic journey, the recent recognition bestowed upon our research paper, "Faculty Views on the Barriers and Facilitators to Grant Activities in the USA: A Systematic Literature Review," is definitely one of which I am quite proud. This particular achievement encapsulates not only the culmination of rigorous research and collaborative effort but also the essence of the intellectual growth and resilience I cultivated during my time at Florida State University. I am proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to this project, and I am honored to be recognized alongside my peers in receiving the Rod Rose Award.

Holly Zink Holly Zink
Director, Research & Programs
CureSearch for Children's Cancer

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I am truly honored to be selected as a recipient of the 2023 Rod Rose Award. It is with immense honor and joy that I receive this recognition for my published article, "Reconfiguring the Research Administration Workforce: A Qualitative Study Explaining the Increasingly Diverse Professional Roles in Research Administration," which appeared in the 2022 Fall Edition of the Journal (Volume 53, Number 2). I am truly humbled by this prestigious award and deeply appreciate the time, effort, and consideration invested by the Journal Editorial Board in evaluating the candidates. Knowing that there were many exceptional submissions this year only amplifies my sense of pride in being chosen as one of the recipients. I recognize the dedication and discernment involved in this process, and I am truly grateful for the trust you have placed in my work.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  This publication and accomplishment stand out as a testament to the dedication and perseverance required to contribute to the field of research administration. It reinforces my commitment to understanding the evolving landscape of professional roles within research administration and to sharing insights that can potentially drive positive change within the industry. Once again, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for this recognition. It motivates me to continue pursuing excellence and making meaningful contributions to the advancement of research administration. I am excited about the upcoming opportunities to share my insights through publication and volunteering with the Journal of Research Administration.

nophoto Isabella Garcia
Florida State University

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Statement not available.

Dorothy Hughes Dorothy Hughes
Assistant Professor of Population Health and Surgery
University of Kansas School of Medicine- Salina

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It is an honor to be associated with first author Holly Zink, and I greatly appreciate our team's receipt of the Rose Award. This is a testament to the power of interdisciplinary collaboration.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I am proud that this qualitative work makes a difference to the research administration workforce and has been honored in this way.

Nathan VanderfordNathan L. Vanderford
Associate Professor
University of Kentucky

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It is always a great honor to be recognized by peers.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  This recognition is the result of very fruitful collaborations with a group of multi-disciplinary colleagues from several institutions. Working with great colleagues on a great project is very rewarding.

no photoSandhya D. Yerra

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Statement not available.

2022 Annual Meeting Best Concurrent Sessions

The recipient of the Best Concurrent Sessions from the 2022 Annual Meeting is Kevin Titus for his session Grants Management in a Department/Division.

Kevin Titus Kevin Titus
Business Director
Cincinnati Children's Hospital 

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Receiving the award for the best concurrent session at the Annual Meeting indicates that the material I presented was found to be useful and that I appear to be prepared and competent in the subject. This is only possible because there have been many others that have taught me and put up with my many mistakes along the way. I truly enjoy sharing my experiences with the hope that others can benefit, just as I have benefited from others that have taught me.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? This award is particularly special since it is recognized by my peers. It is also special because I really started to feel pretty bad during that session, and the next morning was diagnosed with COVID. It was certainly not a Jordan-game-5-flu performance, but I was not at my peak that day, so if you were in my session and later got sick, sorry.

2023 iSeries Conference Best Concurrent Session

The recipients of the Best Concurrent Session from the 2023 iSeries Conference are Kay Gilstrap, LyKheng Huot, and Susan Sedwick for their session Career Pathways: From Internships to Leadership.

Kay GilstrapKay Gilstrap
Director of Research Services
Georgia State University

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Having the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with fellow research administrators is one of the things I love most about volunteering in our profession. When one of those opportunities includes meeting a new colleague and friend and also presenting with someone I have admired for many years, that is the icing on the cake. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to be able to present with both LyKheng and Susie again. However, getting the news that we are being honored with the Best Concurrent Session Award for the 2023 iSeries Conference was something I never dreamed would happen. I am truly honored that the presentation was meaningful and enjoyed by the attendees. It does not get better than this. Thank you!

What accomplishment are you most proud of? It is difficult to name a single accomplishment of which I am most proud. I have been afforded many opportunities to present, serve in leadership, and get to know research administrators from all over the U.S. and the world. Though our profession is not widely known, we play an important part in the research process. By managing the administrative side of research, we enable the faculty and scientists to do things that literally change the world. Sometimes the global world, and sometimes the world of a few people. Regardless, it is impactful. I am proud to serve as a research administrator and am so glad this is the profession I "fell" into. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Susan Sedwick Susan Wyatt Sedwick
Senior Consulting Specialist
Attain Partners

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Being accepted or solicited to share knowledge with your peers is validation in and of itself, and being distinguished as having delivered exceptional material in a meaningful way is such an honor. My colleagues, LyKheng Huot from Seattle Children's Research and Institute and Kay Gilstrap from Georgia State University, were generous co-presenters who provided overviews of the career pathways developed at their organizations to recruit, develop and retain talented staff. The follow-up response from attendees was immense, and most of the credit goes to them and the information they imparted.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I am celebrating my 30th year in research administration this year, and I consider this one of my pinnacle moments. After delivering well over 300 presentations at various meetings, workshops, and symposiums, this award is an affirmation that I still have something valuable to share. I am dedicated to helping the next generation of research administrators to flourish in this great profession that is daunting at times but remarkably rewarding. Being a part of helping make research happen has been such a joy.

Lykheng Huot LyKheng Huot
Director, Business Operations for Clinical and Translational Research
Interim Business Director for Center for Respiratory Biology and Therapeutics
Seattle Children’s Research Institute

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I am honored to receive this award for Best Concurrent Session for the 2023 iSeries Conference with Dr. Susan Sedwick and Kay Gilstrap.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of leading a team to develop a professional career pathway for our Grants and Contracts Administrators at Seattle Children's Research Institute. Through the new career ladder, we created entry, mid, and senior-level steps for our Research Administrator with the goal of stabilizing and training existing GCAs and recruiting new talent for the institution.

2023 Financial Management Conference Best Concurrent Session

The recipient of the Best Concurrent Session from the 2023 Financial Management Conference is Sam Mombou for his session I am Being Audited, Now What?.

Sam Mombou Sam Mombou, MBA, CRA
Director of Sponsored Research
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Receiving the 2023 Financial Management Conference Best Concurrent Session award is an incredibly humbling and gratifying experience. It fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that my hard work and dedication to advancing financial management in our field have been recognized and appreciated by my peers and colleagues. This award not only reflects the effort put into the session but also underscores the importance of our work in sponsored programs. It's a moment of validation and encouragement to continue striving for excellence in our endeavors.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  While I am truly honored to have received the 2023 Financial Management Conference Best Concurrent Session award, one of my proudest accomplishments is the successful establishment of a comprehensive grant management system within my institution. This accomplishment has significantly streamlined our research operations, improved financial management, and enhanced compliance with funding agencies' regulations. Implementing this system required collaboration across various departments, the development of new policies and procedures, and rigorous staff training. Seeing its positive impact on our research community, the efficiency of grant administration, and the increased success rate in securing research funding makes it a standout achievement for me. Furthermore, knowing that our work contributes to advancing research and innovation within our institution and beyond is a source of immense pride. It's a testament to my team's dedication and commitment to supporting and facilitating groundbreaking research in our field.

2023 Best Coffee Talk

The 2023 Best Coffee Talk is Research Development as a Separate Profession and Function Across Diverse Academic Settings, presented by Gen Clark, Courtney Hunt, Katie Pelland, Nicholas Prieur, Anita Sharma, and Sharon Wu.

Katie Pelland Katie Pelland
Senior Proposal Development Coordinator
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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It is a wonderful surprise and honor to be recognized. I was privileged to be included with such a great group of research support professionals across research development and research administration. I am thrilled that the enthusiasm and enjoyment that we had during our Coffee Talk was felt by attendees. Thank you to everyone involved!

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  Within my current research development position, I am most proud of the narrative and editing support I provided to a mathematics research team working on a proposal. They were skeptical that a non-expert would be able to provide helpful suggestions but were impressed enough with my insights and review that members of the team have worked with me many times since (and suggested me to their colleagues!).

Gen Clark Gen Clark
Research Facilitator
University of Saskatchewan

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What a treat to be invited to a panel discussing the function and profession of research development! There is no one-size-fits-all in RD, and therefore learning how others do it, I find to be confirming and inspiring. I am continually learning from my colleagues and love these opportunities to meet and "talk shop."

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Seeing the researchers I support succeed and grow their research programs with time, and being a part of that success, is very rewarding to me.

Anita Sharma Anita Sharma
Director Research Services (Acting)
Thompson Rivers University

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Organizing the SRAI Coffee Talk on the emerging topic "Research Development as a Separate Profession and Function Across Diverse Academic Settings" was a privilege. I am delighted that our team's efforts have been appreciated, and I am thrilled to be recognized for my contributions to the success of the event.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I take immense pride in being acknowledged as the "Future of the Field (2022)" by the SRAI. This recognition serves as a testament to my ten years of dedicated service in the research development and management domain. Additionally, this accomplishment led to my institution honoring me with a "Certificate of Excellence," further validating my contributions.

Courtney Hunt Courtney Hunt
Program Director for Strategic Initiatives
Houston Methodist Academic Institute

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It is an honor for our panel to receive the Best Coffee Talk Award. It was a pleasure to interact with and learn from the other panelists, and I left the Coffee Talk energized by talking about my passion. I am delighted that the participants also found value in the session and hopefully walked away just as excited about research development.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
I am particularly proud that our panel was able to provide many different perspectives on research development, including experience from the US and Canada, center and unit level, research development professionals, and research administrators with RD functions. Collectively, it made for a lively discussion and highlighted how we can learn from these different perspectives to enhance research efforts at our own institutions.

Nicholas Prieur Nicholas Prieur
Research Administration Senior Manager
University of Michigan

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As a research administrator dedicated to training the next generation, being recognized is a reminder for me to continue to prioritize training/professional development for our profession through any outlets possible in SRA.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
Being able to network with a wide range of professionals across multiple institutions in preparing educational opportunities like this show how research administration, in general, can benefit all areas of research, no matter your title, role, or institution.

Sharon Wu Sharon Wu
Managing Director, Research Support Services
University of British Columbia

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Being recognized as the winner means that my contributions do help research administrators in a meaningful way. Achieving this objective means a lot to me.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
I am most proud of being able to help others and make a difference.

2023 New Distinguished Faculty

Jose Alcaine Jose G. Alcaine, PhD, MBA, CRA
Director of Research Services and Affiliate Faculty, School of Education
Virginia Commonwealth University

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I am very humbled by the recognition of my peers in the field and by SRAI. I am also thankful to the committee for the Distinguished Faculty designation. It is very nice and encouraging to be recognized for the contributions made, and I hope to contribute more in the future. Being recognized by the committee and peers as a good teacher, scholar, and practitioner in the field is very humbling and, at the same time, rewarding. It makes me think all the hard work is appreciated and recognized. I am very thankful for the recognition.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am not sure if there is a singular accomplishment, but I hope, and I am very proud to help professionals in the field be successful in their careers as we learn together in seminars, intensives, workshops, etc. I am thankful to my colleagues and enjoy working with them in providing knowledge and opportunities for growth to others in the field. I am proud of and enjoy the process of creating and giving seminars and talks and taking part in discussions about the field, whether these events take place online or in person. I am proud of the work I have contributed in teaching intensives, organizing and leading chats, talks, and meetings, and being involved with the educational mission of the Society.

Gina Hedberg Gina Hedberg
Executive Director, Office of Sponsored Projects Administration
University of South Alabama

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The Society of Research Administrators International offers many awards and honors to its members, acknowledging contributions and service to Society and to the profession of research administration. Distinguished Faculty identifies those members who have contributed to the educational content and overall mission of the Society. Recognition by the SRAI Distinguished Faculty is a professional milestone for me. Throughout my membership, I have admired the members who shared their expertise and experience so willingly and capably. After becoming a member of SRAI and gaining approval to start regularly attending SRAI meetings, I recall being a “fan” of many DF members. I would scan the presentation listing of upcoming meetings and would elect to attend every presentation these individuals offered, sometimes hearing the same message more than once because it was just that good! I have learned from members who are presently active Distinguished Faulty and those who are now in emeritus status. I have looked to these role models to pattern my career. To be invited to join this group and to be included as a peer in this talented ensemble is truly an honor.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I have been in research administration for many years. Like many “seasoned” colleagues, I have watched the profession grow from an undefined (and many times disordered) set of tasks and responsibilities to a vocation with an established certification and growing respect from the administrators, researchers, and projects we support.

Seeing our ranks expand and thrive is so satisfying. I am especially pleased SRAI supports our early and emerging research administrators and gives them opportunities to advance their careers. Programs like SRAI’s Odyssey and Future of the Field give participants a chance to connect with experienced members and grow a network. Learning intensives provide foundational instruction to build professional capacity and to build confidence in putting this new knowledge into action.

SRAI is not only focused on the present – there is a vision for the profession’s future by considering activities that will spotlight ways to attract young people at the secondary and early post-secondary ages to consider research administration as a profession.

Continuing to support and nurture our developing members, attracting students to research administration as a professional option, and continuing to maintain ways to include our members who are in an established career phase will assure the profession of a strong future and a robust pipeline of talent to support research and scholarly activity.

Kimberly Pratt Kimberly Pratt, MA, CRA
Sponsored Programs Manager
Ohio University

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I am incredibly honored and humbled to be nominated and recognized as Distinguished Faculty. Lifelong learning and sharing knowledge have always been important to me, and to receive acknowledgment for doing what I love is a credit to my fellow teachers and mentors who have been instrumental in shaping my career. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the current group of Distinguished Faculty. Your recognition validates my dedication to this profession and reinforces my commitment to the research administration profession. Finally, I want to express my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to my journey as a research administrator, as each of you has played a part in this recognition. I am truly grateful for this honor and the opportunity to continue to contribute to leadership and learning with SRAI.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
The accomplishment I am most proud of is co-chairing the recent SRAI Joint Section Meeting in Louisville. Recognizing the changing needs of our field today, and the challenges we all faced over the past few years, we brought together a diverse set of speakers and attendees in an opportunity to gather, share, celebrate and learn together for four days. Witnessing the success of the meeting has given me a lasting sense of fulfillment, and working with my talented co-chairs and SRAI staff throughout the year holds a special place in my heart.

Silke Blohm Silke Blohm
4Sciences Group Ltd.

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It is with great humility that I accept the esteemed title of Distinguished Faculty from the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI). This recognition is also a reflection of the collective efforts we invest in advancing our profession. At its core, the role of Distinguished Faculty symbolizes a commitment to the cultivation and progression of the research administration profession. This honour recognises not only individual achievement but also the dedication to collective advancement that resonates within the SRAI community. To me, this award signifies a shared aspiration to elevate research administrators worldwide, fostering an environment where research and innovation can thrive.

Having been a member of my local research management network for a while, my first encounter with SRAI took place at the International Network of Research Management Society (INORMS) Congress in Cape Town in 2010. At that time, I had just started an exciting journey establishing the research office at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a newly founded university in Saudi Arabia. The international perspective and network that SRAI offered have been invaluable in succeeding in this role. I would like to acknowledge the many colleagues who have been so generous with sharing their experiences with me over the years, which is something I am hoping to give back to the community and individuals within.

As a relatively new profession, research management has evolved organically through the contributions of countless individuals who have shaped its role and function over the years, striving to establish global best practice standards while recognising the need for local solutions. SRAI, as one of the leading research management societies, has and is providing an invaluable platform for the development of the profession, one that I have benefitted from significantly throughout my career.

The SRAI's mission, encapsulated by the Distinguished Faculty programme, resonates deeply with my own beliefs. It underscores the vital importance of education and collaboration as catalysts for development. By facilitating the sharing of best practices, nurturing professional relationships, and debating changes our sector might need, we create the foundations upon which the research endeavour stands. I am committed to sharing my experiences and continuing to contribute to the development of the profession, empowering research administrators, and fostering their growth as leaders, problem solvers, and champions of progress.

As a member of the Distinguished Faculty, I embrace the role of a "thought leader" with immense enthusiasm. It gives me an opportunity to contribute to the shaping of educational initiatives that remain agile in the face of evolving trends, complex challenges, and significant global events. It also enables me to work towards a more interconnected future for research administrators and the broader research community. For me, this award also is a recognition of the power of collaboration, mentorship, and continuous learning. It is a call to action, inviting me to channel my experiences, insights, and passion to invigorate the research administration landscape. 

In conclusion, winning the Distinguished Faculty Award from SRAI is a profound milestone in my professional journey. It reaffirms my dedication to the values that underpin research administration - knowledge sharing, international collaboration, and bridging divides. I look forward to embarking on this new chapter. Together, as Distinguished Faculty, we can inspire innovation and shape a future where research administrators continue to be the driving force behind cutting-edge research.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
After more than two decades in research management, identifying a single accomplishment becomes a challenging endeavour. However, when pressed to choose, I found my thoughts inevitably gravitating toward my time at KAUST, a newly founded university in Saudi Arabia, where I embarked on a transformative journey in early 2010 to establish a research office.

Transitioning from well-established institutions to the uncharted territory of building a governance framework, policies, and processes from scratch was a unique privilege, enabling us to build on lessons learned from other places.

Two guiding principles stand out for me from this time. First, the importance of finding the right individuals for specific tasks. It was not just about competence within their domains but also their capacity to flourish within an unparalleled, rapidly evolving landscape – a landscape often starkly distinct from their prior roles. Second, I recognized the criticality of instituting policies and processes that enabled and governed our activities.

I recalled a former colleague's wistful remark, citing my apparent freedom from bureaucracy and convoluted processes. Ironically, our situation underscored that operational freedom cannot thrive without foundational policies. Transitioning from well-established institutions to the uncharted territory of building a governance framework, policies, and processes from scratch was a unique privilege. This endeavour allowed us to leverage insights gained from diverse experiences, creating a blueprint rooted in collective wisdom based on best practices but adjusted to our unique local context. For me, those three years were a masterclass in continuous learning, largely propelled by the synergy of an extraordinary team.

Conceiving the office with a self-sustainability focus was pivotal. Rather than creating dependency on any single individual, including myself, the emphasis was on developing an ecosystem where innovation and leadership could flourish. A colleague once questioned, "Why make yourself redundant?". Reflecting on this, I realised it was not about redundancy but about creating the space to lead authentically and be innovative – unhindered by frantic efforts to keep things afloat or fix whatever goes wrong. The objective was not self-indispensability; it was about creating a structure that is sustainable in itself and provides career opportunities for the people within.

If I look back to KAUST now, what makes me most proud is that, fundamentally, the principles we established more than ten years ago are carrying out today's operations. Our principles have endured, supporting the institution's growth, adaptability, and lasting impact.

Reflecting on this journey reinforces my belief in the timeless value of purposeful team building, balanced policies, and sustainable structures. My experience at KAUST might show a path toward resilient and enduring change management, one that shapes the present and influences the future, something I am quite proud of.

Courtney Hunt Courtney Hunt
Program Director for Strategic Initiatives
Houston Methodist Academic Institute

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I am delighted and honored to join the ranks of Distinguished Faculty, a group that I have looked up to since joining SRAI. One of the things that I value the most about SRAI is the tremendous breadth of knowledge across the field of research administration. I am proud of my contributions to the field of research administration that led to this designation and am invigorated by the opportunity to continue working with colleagues to advance the profession.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?  Research development is the new kid on the block compared to many other areas of research administration. The accomplishment that I am most proud of is when a session participant comments, "I can see myself in RD" or "I can incorporate this idea at my institution." Thanks to the work of many, we see more and more research development content in SRAI conference sessions, coffee talks, Catalyst articles, LevelUp Modules, and Intensives. I am proud to have contributed to this growth in the field.

Floris van der LeestFloris van der Leest
Manager, Research Performance Information
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

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Being recognized with the coveted designation of SRA International Distinguished Faculty after dedicating myself to my profession for over 20 years means a lot to me. It is a validation of all the hard work and dedication I have put into sharing my knowledge and expertise throughout these years. This recognition is a testament to my consistent commitment to excellence and unwavering pursuit of improvement.

Receiving such acknowledgment of my contributions to the development of Research Administration brings a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, knowing that my efforts have been noticed and appreciated. It motivates me, even more to keep pushing boundaries and to serve as a consultant, facilitator, or presenter at professional development workshops and courses.

Moreover, I believe this recognition will open up new opportunities while enhancing my visibility within our fledgling profession. This newfound recognition may lead to exciting new collaborations, fresh projects, or perhaps even a leadership role.

However, despite the gratification that comes with this recognition, I must emphasize that my true passion for my profession, my belief in room for improvement, and my drive for innovation remain the driving force behind my continued accomplishments. The joy of contributing to my field and positively impacting others is an intrinsic reward that goes beyond external accolades.

My plan is to continue sharing best practices and fresh-out-of-the-box views with colleagues the world over.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
While serving as President of SRAI’s International Section, I formed a team of 16 international members from as many countries, and together we organized the inaugural Virtual International Convention of Research Administrators (VICRA) in March 2022. VICRA is a three-day by-design online event with a reach from the East Atlantic to the West Pacific shores, as such covering half the globe. In one evaluation, the event was coined as the online equivalent of the International Network of Research Management Societies.

With a different group of ten experts, I am currently developing a two-day virtual workshop covering the International Basics of Research Administration (IBRA), tailored for early career research administrators in low and lower-middle-income countries. This 2 x 4-hour work¬shop will run in the week before VICRA to allow participants to acquire SRAI’s Introduction to Research Administration and Management certificate. The IBRA workshop will also be available on request.

As Immediate-Past President of the International Section, I endeavor to head and lead the organization of the second edition of VICRA, scheduled for 5-7 March 2024: preparation for VICRA II has started with forming an organizing committee and finding keynote speakers and sponsors.

From 2012 onwards, I have presented annually at an international conference (e.g., ARMS, SRAI, INORMS), either offering my view on research performance and information management issues or delivering a stimulating professional development session.