Four people, each holding an oversized puzzle piece, fit the pieces together.

Get to know Research & Innovation staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2020, marks the sixth annual National Research Administrator Day. This year, we are commemorating the event by continuing our tradition of profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. This year, we introduce you to the team in Research Ethics & Integrity, who provide administrative support to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research involving humans as subjects, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Program. We also introduce you to the newest member of Research & Sponsored Programs (a team that was featured in our 2018 National Research Administrator Day post) and the Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation. (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former Research & Sponsored Programs team member Tricia Callahan.)


Mike Crowder

Mike Crowder, Interim Vice President for Research

How long have you been a research administrator?
Almost 2 months.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Learn the position (right now)

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The VPRI job has many facets to it, and ORI oversees many entities on campus. The VPRI will jump from a meeting with a patent attorney, to a meeting with a state legislator, to a meeting with a research center director, to a meeting with business partners, to a meeting with a faculty member with very narrow research issues, all in one morning.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Juggling, right now! I am trying to keep a lot of balls in the air right now, but learning new things is exciting.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
A professor, teaching my fermentation class and a biochemistry class, and working with my graduate and undergraduate students in the research lab.

Neal Sullivan

Neal Sullivan, Director of Research Ethics & Integrity

How long have you been a research administrator?
12 years.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Ensuring researchers meet ethical norms.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Sometimes, researchers, particularly those conducting human subjects research, provide much more information on applications than we need to conduct a review. A simple project should require a simple description. Providing unneeded information creates more work for the researcher and more work for the reviewers. We need enough information to understand the project and understand that the researchers respect the subjects, but not much more than that. Sometimes more information is needed and the reviewers will not hesitate to ask questions.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Always remembering and applying the fundamentals. We are reviewing each project to ensure it complies with regulations and ethical principles. Not every project needs to incorporate the same elements to meet that objective. The regulations were written to scale oversight to the degree of risk presented by the project. Low risk, low impact activities may proceed with minimal bureaucratic delay, and that is how we try and run this office.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Forest ecologist. My education and degrees are in forest ecology and management and I am a researcher by nature. Pondering about and studying the relationships between the elements in an environment is something I have done for as long as I can remember. By spending less time and energy on such projects, we are able to allocate more resources to those projects that require more rigor.

Jennifer Sutton

Jennifer Sutton, Associate Director of Research Ethics & Integrity

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been a research administrator for nine of my 13 years at Miami.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Lots and lots of reading!

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The difference between exempted and expedited research. Exempted applications are reviewed and approved without going to the IRB for review and approval, whereas expedited applications go to the IRB for review and approval. To simplify this process, we call it Level 1 (exempted) and Level 2 (expedited) review and approval.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is being able to help researchers select the correct application (Level 1 or Level 2) that best suits their study.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
You would find me “out to sea” on a cruise ship creating various vlogs for families looking for fun and affordable family vacations! I would have my own travel company that specializes in cruise vacations.

 

CaTia Daniels

CaTia Daniels, Proposal & Contract Specialist

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been in research administration for 1 year.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Detailed, honesty, integrity, organized, learning.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Something that is obvious as a research administrator is the details that are needed to pay attention to when in comes to contracts and proposals. When working with a PI who may not have experience in writing proposals, they learn how detailed they need to be in order to increase their chances of receiving funding.

What is your research administrator superpower?
I think my research administrator superpower is relationship building. Everyone I work with, I always try to give them a great experience because I’m here to assist them with their career goals. So far, so good, I think 🙂

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
If I wasn’t in research administration, I’d be in grant writing at a nonprofit. That was actually where I started working right out of college, but the transition to research administration has been great!


Updated 09/24/2020 at 10:35am to include information originally omitted from Jennifer Sutton’s response to Question 3. Exempted applications are reviewed and approved without going to the IRB for review and approval, whereas expedited applications go to the IRB for review and approval.

Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel.

Four people, each holding an oversized puzzle piece, fit the pieces together.

Get to know Grants and Contracts staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2019 marks the fifth annual National Research Administrator Day. Last year, we began a tradition of commemorating the event by profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. This year, we introduce you to the team in Grants & Contracts, who set up and manage financial aspects of awards made to the university. They have 55 years’ of research administration experience at Miami between them! (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former OARS team member Tricia Callahan.)


Cindy Green

Cindy Green, Senior Staff Accountant

How long have you been a research administrator?
September marks my 18th anniversary in the Grants & Contracts office.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Can be challenging at times

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Different agencies have different policies that must be followed.  We are always busy trying to keep people compliant with their particular grant guidelines, especially knowing that federal, state or agency audits are always a possibility.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is helping others follow and adhere to agency guidelines.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I would like to be a travel agent.

Portrait of Kathy Kihm in her office
Kathy Kihm

Kathy Kihm, Staff Accountant II

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have worked in the Grants & Contracts office for five years.

Describe your job in five words or less.
More than a number cruncher

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Awards are like individuals; no two alike. Awards may have the same funding agency, yet still have varying contractual obligations. Each one must be handled on an individual basis. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is an innate willingness to help others. Accounting isn’t in the wheelhouse of most of our PI’s, so to be able to assist them with that aspect of their awards benefits all.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I would probably be either a docent or a tour guide. It would be fun to share knowledge as well as learn from others. Plus I would probably be in an interesting place amidst people who are vacationing and happy and uplifting!

Linda Manley

Linda Manley, Assistant Controller

How long have you been a research administrator?
This past July marked my 20 years here at Miami in the Grants and Contracts Office.

Describe your job in five words or less.
It is demanding at times

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
We have all types of funding sources; federal, state, private and local, and they each have their own set of rules. The Grants and Contracts Office’s main responsibility is financial compliance. When we ask questions related to your grant expenses we are trying to ensure that we keep Miami out of any audit comments or findings.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Being able to resolve grant issues/problems when they occur.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I always wanted to be an airline stewardess.

Paula Murray

Paula Murray, Staff Accountant II

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been a research administrator for 12 of my 19 years with Miami.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Every day brings new adventures!

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
All external funding comes with different expectations of its application. Our job is to be able to validate Miami utilized those funds as expected of us.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is to lead PI’s through the federal effort certification process.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
You would find me as a Fairy Godmother at the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.


Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel. Photos of Grants & Contracts staff by Paula Murray, Grants & Contracts Office, Miami University.

Four people, each holding an oversized puzzle piece, fit the pieces together.

Get to know OARS staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2018 marks the fourth annual National Research Administrator Day. Beginning this year, we will commemorate the event by profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. We decided to start right here at home, by introducing you to the team in the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami’s central pre-award research office. (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former OARS team member Tricia Callahan.)


Amy Hurley Cooper in her office
Amy Hurley Cooper

Amy Hurley Cooper, Assistant Director of Proposal Development

How long have you been a research administrator?
I’ve officially been a research administrator for about a year, but looking back, much of what I’ve done throughout my career was research administration.

Describe your job in five words or less.
No two days the same.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The need to track a lot of information for each proposal — to a researcher, it can seem like busy work, but we really need that information, often to ensure we are following sponsor guidelines.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Empathy — I’ve done such a variety of proposal related tasks (planning, writing, editing, submitting on various platforms, managing funded projects) that I can usually relate to issues facing PIs or research team members.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Editor — I spent many years writing proposals but I really don’t enjoy starting with a blank page. I love helping others to convey ideas clearly and effectively.

Vanessa Gordon at her desk
Vanessa Gordon

Vanessa Gordon, Assistant to the Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship

How long have you been a research administrator?
I am in my sixth year of research administration.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Interesting, supportive, fun, collaborative, and rewarding

What is your research administrator superpower?
I would have to say that my superpower would be the records gatekeeper. I check and assure all data entered in the Cayuse system is correct for report generation and assure consistency.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
There are so many options out there to chose from, but I am going with being a detective. I love a good mystery and solving puzzles is where I like to shine. I would find that to be a very rewarding job for me.

Heather Beattey Johnston in her office
Heather Beattey Johnston

Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications

How long have you been a research administrator?
Just about six years — since I came to Miami in November of 2012.

Describe your job in five words or less.
What humanities programs teach matters.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Although we might appear to be mere bureaucrats, research administrators really do care about facilitating research. We work hard to protect our institutions and steward sponsor funds because we want to ensure continued access to the resources our researchers need to do their work.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Editing. Concise, clear sentences with active verbs not only make for more authoritative and logical arguments, they also take up less room in a proposal narrative!

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I think it would be awesome to be a forensic linguist. I have always been a language nerd, and as an undergraduate student I considered becoming an attorney in part because the law is a profession that is, at heart, really about language. I also love to solve puzzles. Forensic linguistics is a field that combines language, the law, and puzzle-solving.

Anne Schauer in her office
Anne Schauer

Anne Schauer, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs

How long have you been a research administrator?
25 years

Describe your job in five words or less.
Multi-tasking on steroids.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Guidelines really are meant to be read and followed! While that does seem obvious, a lot of the investigators I have worked with tend to rely more on their expertise and past proposal submission experiences to guide them. In our current highly-competitive funding climate, it is critical for investigators to submit totally complaint and error-free proposals. A lot of the errors I encounter are administrative in nature (i.e. formatting issues, unallowable attachments, etc.) that would not occur if only the submitter took the time to read and follow the proposal guidelines. The notion that their program officer won’t care, or will overlook such minor oversights is false and could produce a very real negative result if that is their guide. So . . . before you start to write a grant proposal . . . please read the guidelines and follow them to the letter!

What is your research administrator superpower?
I really am the knower of all things when it comes to research administration. I actually am not, but I have become quite adept at knowing exactly where to look for the answers to most questions that investigators pose. I have a well catalogued list of resources and browser bookmarks, as well as colleagues at various institutions throughout the U.S. where I can easily turn to get issues resolved in a timely fashion.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Full-time glass artist. Creating stained glass, fused glass and lampwork glass art and jewelry is something I have been doing in my spare time for many years. I totally enjoy the creative process as well as participating with other artists in art shows and interacting with customers.


Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel. OARS staff photos by Heather Beattey Johnston and Vanessa Gordon, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman.

Third annual National Research Administrator Day to be observed Monday

September 25, 2017 marks the third annual National Research Administrator Day. To commemorate the event, we’re re-publishing Tricia Callahan’s overview of the research administration profession.


Research administration is a profession that involves the “development, management, and implementation of research initiatives.” Research administration touches all aspects of planning for research programs, whether they are basic or applied programs, instructional programs, or public service programs. It also involves preparation and submission of proposals to secure funding for research, as well as project management, contract negotiation and management, financial management and oversight, and compliance with federal, state, and entity regulations and policies.

Thousands and thousands of people work in research administration across the globe. They may work in hospitals or institutions of higher education; they may work in not-for-profit agencies or in business and industry; or they may work in municipal, state, or Federal governmental agencies. Possible job titles in the profession include:

  • Vice President/Provost for Research
  • Sponsored Programs Director
  • Research/Proposal Development Coordinator
  • Program Manager/Coordinator
  • Contract Manager
  • Research Compliance Officer/Director
  • Research Integrity Officer
  • Export Controls Officer
  • Technology Transfer Officer/Director
  • Grants Accountant
  • Fiscal Administrator

The profession of research administration is supported by several organizations, including the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). According to NCURA, Research Administrators Day is “the day that will recognize the significant contributions made by administrators in support of research innovation, inquiry, and discovery.”

Research administrators can receive certification in their area of expertise through the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) and can earn their Master of Science in Research Administration through Johns Hopkins University, Rush University, or the University of Central Florida.


Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Video by NCURA via YouTube. Photo of research administrator Linda Manley (Miami University’s Grants & Contracts office) by Miami University Communications & Marketing.

Jim Oris addresses an audience while Assistant Professor of political science Amanda Gillespie looks on.

Associate Provost for Research offers perspective on leadership: Part III

Paper boats on a solid surface. The boat in the lead is larger and a different color than the following boats.

This is the third in a three-part series on leadership by Miami University’s Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, Jim Oris. In today’s post, Oris outlines the four elements of his approach to leadership. (Read Part I here. Read Part II here.)


I manage projects and people with attention to teamwork, detail, and collegiality. I am a delegator, and I believe in the power of diverse, interdisciplinary teams and committees. I lead by example and take full responsibility for the results of the activities I direct or delegate. I listen to the opinions of others and seek evaluation and peer-review at all levels. While I often have opinions on the best way to do something, I am always learning and will continue to learn how to better accomplish the goals of a project or task. I am not afraid of peer-review, critique, challenge, or change.

Elements of this approach include the following:

Vision

A leader must set the vision for the operation. I believe in a team-based, forward thinking strategic planning process that consistently updates the plan as time goes by. This includes defining a mission, goals, action steps, challenges, and opportunities.

At Miami University, we use elements of the LEAN approach for strategic planning and process management. This includes a full characterization of the current state, evaluating all elements for their value and necessity, defining an optimal, desired future state, conducting a gap analysis between current and future, and defining actions needed to close the gaps.

Respect

A leader must earn the respect of his or her team. This begins by respecting and valuing the contribution of each member of the team. People model their behavior and work ethic based on what they see in their peers and their supervisors. Everyone, including the leader, needs to work at 100%+. The leader doesn’t need to know the details of every operation in the group, but s/he must understand each process to ensure efficient and effective outcomes. A leader must listen to her or his team, and be ready to make changes in processes or procedures if the person who does the operation all day every day identifies a better method. In my experience, micromanagers are rarely respected by their staff. However, neither are managers who are hands-off, aloof, and uninformed.

Motivation

A leader is only as good as her or his team. If the team is not motivated, no one succeeds. In sponsored research offices, there are often very few pathways to promotion, so it is critical to find ways to allow staff members to grow personally and professionally. At Miami, we created professional pathways for all areas in our pre-award administration group that allows for promotion through the ranks in sponsored programs, proposal development, research communications, technology transfer, and compliance. These pathways allow for expansion of specific areas as needed. In addition, staff are expected to participate in professional development activities and in their respective professional societies. This allows them to grow and become better at their jobs and provides them with professional visibility and networking opportunities. Great staff are hard to find and even harder to keep. A good leader may be disappointed by, but not afraid of, a staff member’s leaving the team when an enhanced professional opportunity arises. My approach on this was derived directly from my experience as a faculty member and how I mentored students: they students were expected to develop into colleagues, complete their projects, and then move on to the next stage of their career.

Team Mentality and Collegiality

It is easy in an administrative office for each person to go to their corner and get their work done, but it is not an effective way to operate a complex unit. We meet formally and informally on a regular basis, sharing daily experiences and how we solved a particular problem or took a different approach. Meetings intentionally include both operational and strategic topics. I use the same, cross-functional team approach with professional staff as I did with students, taking advantage of different personality preferences to build diverse teams.

We have fun at work. I like to have fun and so does most everyone I know, so why should work not be fun? Social time, casual conversations, finding humor in most situations, and being flexible with people’s personal lives are all important to me as a leader to build and boost spirits. Happy people are better workers, are willing to share their opinions about their jobs to make them better, are more efficient and effective, are better customer servants, and leave for different job opportunities less often than those who are not.

Life experiences formulate one’s approach to leading and managing others. In my case, experience has led me to a melding of mentorship styles for both students and staff. Providing Opportunities, and making sure others can be successful, leads to personal satisfaction and success. I wouldn’t change a thing.


Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research, Miami University.

Photo of Jim Oris by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services. Paper boat photo by Miguel Á. Padriñån via Pexels, used under Creative Commons license.

Jim Oris addresses an audience.

Associate Provost for Research offers perspective on leadership: Part II

An iPad screen with various words displayed. The word "leadership" stands out. Other words are "guides or," "action of," and "capacity."

This is the second in a three-part series on leadership by Miami University’s Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, Jim Oris. In today’s post, Oris describes how being a faculty mentor prepared him for administrative leadership. (Read Part I here.)


Managing, mentoring, and training students led to the appreciation of different personality types and how each person’s engrained personality preferences need to be mentored in different ways, and my approach with them as individuals was tailored to their specific needs. Whether a student needed more or less direction, was more contemplative and introverted or more impulsive and extroverted, or was more self-insecure versus over-confident needed to be determined before I could be a good mentor. This kind of mentoring does not occur by assigning a postdoctoral fellow or senior graduate student to train new graduate students. It took a significant amount of one-on-one time with each student to be a good major professor. Understanding the strengths of different personality preferences can also be directed toward establishing diverse, cross-functional teams. Each student on a team for our group projects was given a role that they could excel in, but each was expected to learn roles of others on the team that took them out of their comfort zone. In my 28 years as a faculty member, this approach was successful with 14 PhD’s, 13 MS’s, and seven postdoctoral fellows, with nearly $5M in extramural funding, and resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications. To this day, all of these individuals remain good friends and colleagues.

In addition to teaching and research, I was very active in university-wide service as a professor, serving among other roles as director of my department’s graduate program for ten years, as chair of the animal care and use committee for eight years, and as a member and then chair of University Senate. I also was extremely active in my professional society, involved at all levels including six years on the Board of Directors and three years in the executive board, which included serving as president.

It was in my service to the professional society, however, that I learned the most about motivating peers and professional staff. I was elected president at a particularly challenging time with regard to finances and management. Instead of focusing on the academic side of the society, I was given the Opportunity to pull a $25M/year society out of a serious financial hole and to transition a 3,000+-member society and its staff of ten from a long-term and deeply entrenched executive director to a new executive director. Needless to say, there was no training in my background as an aquatic toxicologist that prepared me for that, but it was one of the most formative experiences I will ever have.

In 2008, I moved from full-time faculty member to full-time administrator as the associate dean for research. In 2012, I was promoted to be the university’s chief research officer and dean of the graduate school. I lead a professional staff of over 20, nearly half of whom are in the research office. Until 2016, I also maintained my laboratory research program and continued to mentor students. I have one current PhD student conducting field research, who is scheduled to graduate in 2018, and I still work with students and serve as a research consultant on several projects led by colleagues and former students.

After nearly eight years as a research administrator, I look back and see a tremendous amount of overlap between my role as a faculty mentor and my role as an administrator. My approach to mentoring and managing my staff is little different from my approach to mentoring students and managing my research program. I am not “The Boss.” I treat students, faculty, staff, and administrators at all levels with respect and dignity. I am part of the team and we are colleagues. However, I set clear goals and high expectations, and everyone is evaluated on a regular basis to ensure they are performing at a high level.

In Part III, Jim Oris outlines the four elements of his approach to leadership.


Written by Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research, Miami University.

Photo of Jim Oris by Angelo Gelfuso, Miami University Photo Services. Leadership image by Nick Youngson via The Blue Diamond Gallery, used under Creative Commons license.

 

Jim Oris talks to Associate Dean Ann Frymier.

Associate Provost for Research offers perspective on leadership: Part I

The word Leadership appears to be handwritten by an hand on the backside of a piece of invisible glass. The hand is in the act of underlining the word.

 

This is the first in a three-part series on leadership by Miami University’s Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, Jim Oris. In today’s post, Oris recounts formative experiences that laid the groundwork for the development of his philosophy of leadership.


When I first started my career in academia, the furthest thing from my mind was becoming a university administrator. All I thought about was my teaching and research programs. The university did not provide opportunities for faculty to learn leadership or administrative skills, and I was never offered the opportunity to explore those options outside of the university. Thus, my approach to leadership and university research administration are the result of integrating my life experiences, modeling best practices based on observations of what I considered effective leaders, and (frankly) trial and error.

I grew up in a household that valued education and how it can empower choice and freedom. My upbringing enforced independence, hard work, and striving to do the very best job one can do on every task one was assigned. My parents believed in providing their children with Opportunity, with a capital “O” – the opportunity to succeed and the opportunity to fail – without judgment. I was drawn to my research discipline (aquatic toxicology) from a very early age after reading newly posted signs at Lake Erie declaring that fish were no longer safe to eat, literally a day after my extended family had a fishing trip and a huge fish fry dinner. I was drawn to teaching through my love of water, liquid and solid, by gaining certification for and teaching swimming lessons and SCUBA diving and by offering snow skiing lessons for over ten years.

In college, I had a professor and advisor who dedicated his life to aquatic research and to the professional development of young scientists and ecologists. At that time, undergraduate research was not as popular or in vogue as it is today, but I sought out the opportunity to do research on the effects of fuel oil on fish eggs. My advisor provided me the Opportunity to do that for two academic years. He helped me identify and gain admission to a top-notch graduate program and major professor.

In graduate school, the focus was on research, and only research. My advisor’s motto was “if you don’t publish your work, it didn’t happen.” He led by example and to this day remains one of the most well-known and prolific researchers in his field. He set high expectations and provided his students with measured mentoring and the Opportunity to define their own projects, to be independent researchers but work within collaborative teams, and to seek ways to fund their research. He also enforced the importance of being active in our professional society – participating in meetings and committees as well as being part of the governance of the society. As important as research productivity was in our lab, in my hopes to become a teacher/scholar I requested and was given the Opportunity to teach a lecture section of an aquatic toxicology class as a senior level graduate student.

These experiences prepared me to be a faculty member, but not a leader. Following best practices I observed in undergraduate and graduate school, I sought to develop students into professional colleagues by the time they graduated. It is through this mentorship and working with a large group of diverse students at different levels of professional development that I began to formulate my own approach to people management and leadership. As a major advisor, my goal was helping students to become practicing professionals in a normative time frame and then helping them find employment where their passions took them. My former students and postdoctoral fellows now work in all sectors of the environmental profession, as professors, government researchers and policy managers, industrial scientists, private consultants, and non-governmental organization scientists and managers. Developing students into high-performing scientists and managers, and seeing them grow in their roles in their jobs and society was the most rewarding part of my job as a faculty member.

In Part II, Jim Oris describes how being a faculty mentor prepared him for administrative leadership.


By Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Photo of Jim Oris by Angelo Gelfuso, Miami University Photo Services. Leadership image by Nick Youngson via Creative Commons Images, used under Creative Commons license.

 

Closeup of a web browser address bar with http://www visible in the address bar. An arrow points to the address in the address bar.

Find the information you need on the OARS website

Computer keyboard with an FAQ key in place of a return/enter key.

This post is a combination of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a tour of the OARS website. The purpose is to show you where to find the information you need to learn about funding opportunities, prepare proposals, and build your grantsmanship skills.


Who do I contact if I need to talk to an actual person?

We’re starting with this question because while we want you to be able to use our website to find the information you need, but we don’t want you to spend an inordinate time trying to chase something down. Especially if someone in our office can answer your question off the top of their head!

Your first point of contact will probably be your OARS consultant — either Anne Schauer or Tricia Callahan. They can either answer your question directly, or get you connected to someone else in our office who can.

Anne and Tricia divide their workload by department and center/institute. To find out who works with your department or center/institute, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Proposal Preparation Resources link in the lefthand navigation on the OARS homepage (MiamiOH.edu/research).


    Screenshot of OARS homepage, with Proposal Preparation Resources link in lefthand navigation circled.

  • Scroll down the list of departments and centers/institutes in the righthand column and click the + next to the one you’re affiliated. The item will expand to display the consultant assigned to that department or center/institute.


    Screenshot of Proposal Preparation Resources webpage, with + sign next to Architecture & Interior Design circled and the name of the OARS consultant for that department circled.

 

Feel free to contact Anne or Tricia at any time. Anne can be reached at 513-529-3735 or schauerap@MiamiOH.edu. Tricia can be reached at 513-529-1795 or callahtl@MiamiOH.edu. Both are located in 102 Roudebush Hall.


How do I find out about OARS events?

OARS offers a range of professional development opportunities, including:

  • eSPA and SPIN training
  • General grantsmanship presentations and workshops
  • Presentations and workshops focused on a particular agency or program
  • Networking events
  • Researcher appreciation events

The full calendar of OARS events is available in just two clicks from the OARS homepage:

  • Scroll down until you can see the “News and events” widget in the lefthand column.


    Screenshot of OARS homepage with News and events widget circled.

  • Click on the + next to “Calendar of events and deadlines” to expand that option, then click on the word here in the text.


    Screenshot of News and events widget, with + next to Calendar of events and deadlines circled and the word here in the expanded text circled.

  • Use the arrows at the top of the calendar to scroll between months in the calendar.


    Screenshot of OARS Calendar of Events, with month navigation arrows circled.

In addition to OARS events, the calendar also includes research-oriented events sponsored by other Miami departments or by outside parties. Finally, the calendar also includes application and submission deadlines for internal and external competitions and submission opportunities.


How do I get started if I am a new researcher or an experienced researcher who is new to Miami?

Click on Getting Started in the lefthand navigation on the OARS homepage.


Screenshot of OARS homepage with Getting Started option in the lefthand navigation circled.


From there, you can click on the arrows to expand information about each step in the process of seeking external funding.


Screenshot of Getting Started webpage with arrows next to each external funding step circled.


Where can I find information about funding opportunities?

Click on Finding Funding in the lefthand navigation of the OARS homepage.


Screenshot of OARS homepage, with Finding Funding circled in the lefthand navigation.


You will then see additional links to resources for finding funding to support your research or other project.


Screenshot of Finding Funding webpage


Where do I find Miami’s DUNS, EIN, and other institutional information that needs to be included in my application?

Follow these steps:

  • Click on the Proposal Preparation Resources link in the lefthand navigation on the OARS homepage (MiamiOH.edu/research).


    Screenshot of OARS homepage, with Proposal Preparation Resources link in lefthand navigation circled.

  • Click on the budget resources link in the center of the page.



    Screenshot of Proposal Preparation Resources webpage, with Budget resources link circled.

  • Click on the arrows to expand the various categories of information.


    Screenshot of Budget Resources page, with + signs next to categories of information circled.


How do I get approval of a proposal from my chair and dean and from OARS?

Miami University began uses an electronic sponsored programs administration (eSPA) system to help manage research administration and electronic submission of proposals. Specifically, Miami has implemented two programs within the Evisions Research Suite: Cayuse 424, which is a Federal proposal development and system-to-system platform, and Cayuse SP, which reduces the need for paperwork and transforms proposal routing into an electronic process.

You can access Miami’s eSPA system by clicking on the Quick Link on the Miami homepage.



Screenshot of OARS homepage, with eSPA-Cayuse Research Suite link in Quick Links widget circled.


If you need help with eSPA, contact your OARS consultant.


Internet photo by Rock1997 via Wikimedia Commons .FAQ photo by photosteve101 via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license.

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman.

Second annual National Research Administrators Day observed this coming Sunday

September 25, 2016 marks the second annual National Research Administrators Day. To commemorate the event, we’re re-publishing Tricia Callahan’s overview of the research administration profession.


Research administration is a profession that involves the “development, management, and implementation of research initiatives.” Research administration touches all aspects of planning for research programs, whether they are basic or applied programs, instructional programs, or public service programs. It also involves preparation and submission of proposals to secure funding for research, as well as project management, contract negotiation and management, financial management and oversight, and compliance with federal, state, and entity regulations and policies.

Thousands and thousands of people work in research administration across the globe. They may work in hospitals or institutions of higher education; they may work in not-for-profit agencies or in business and industry; or they may work in municipal, state, or Federal governmental agencies. Possible job titles in the profession include:

  • Vice President/Provost for Research
  • Sponsored Programs Director
  • Research/Proposal Development Coordinator
  • Program Manager/Coordinator
  • Contract Manager
  • Research Compliance Officer/Director
  • Research Integrity Officer
  • Export Controls Officer
  • Technology Transfer Officer/Director
  • Grants Accountant
  • Fiscal Administrator

The profession of research administration is supported by several organizations, including the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). According to NCURA, Research Administrators Day is “the day that will recognize the significant contributions made by administrators in support of research innovation, inquiry, and discovery.”

Research administrators can receive certification in their area of expertise through the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) and can earn their Master of Science in Research Administration through Johns Hopkins University, Rush University, or the University of Central Florida.


Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Video by NCURA via YouTube. Photo of research administrator Linda Manley (Miami University’s Grants & Contracts office) by Miami University Communications & Marketing.

A student researcher takes blood from the finger of a research participant who is walking on a treadmill. The students mentor supervises.

Changes to NSF and NIH policies and procedures are forthcoming

A researcher holds a bird that will be banded.
Researchers working with vertebrate animals need to be aware of recently increased scrutiny by the NIH.

 

Below is a summary of changes in policy and procedure being implemented at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The NSF Policy Office has a long history of being responsive to the grant community. In response to comments from investigators and research administrators, the NSF is making a number of changes in its policies pertaining to preparation and award administration. Full details can be found in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), but the changes that will have the most impact Miami University researchers are summarized below:

New proposal types and clarification on proposal types

  • Letters of Intent, preliminary proposals, full proposals, and invited proposals, oh my! Guidance on what to include in these different types of NSF proposals will now be outlined in the revised PAPPG. Special attention is given to what needs to be included in the new, separate section on Collaborator & Other Affiliation Information.
  • Look for two new proposal types to be implemented:
    • Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science (RAIS): RAIS will replace NSF INSPIRES to promote interdisciplinary science and education.
    • Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI): The GOALI program is expanding beyond Engineering to promote university-industry partnerships focused on solving basic research questions. Look for this cross-cutting program in many of the NSF Directorates.
  • Historically travel grants have supported international travel for students supported by NSF funds, while supplements — such as those for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) — have been used for domestic travel. Going forward, however, NSF travel grants will cover both foreign and domestic travel for students.

Defining participants

According to NSF policy, it is up to the institution, not the NSF program officer, to classify participant support. At Miami, we use the NSF definition of participant support recently adopted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB): “Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects” (PAPPG).

The revised PAPPG will aid in clarifying the difference between an undergraduate participant (such as an REU student) and an undergraduate researcher. However, if you are uncertain how to classify any student, please contact your OARS representative for assistance.

Finally, just a note on food for participants. If a participant receives funds for individual meal compensation, those funds should be budgeted under “Participant Support.” Funds for meals provided for conferences/workshops, should be budgeted under “Other.” Contact your OARS representative if you need assistance making this distinction.

Changes to NSF forms

  • The 4,600 character limit will be removed from the Project Summary. Instead, the Project Summary will be limited to one printed page using appropriate font size and type.
  • Guidance on “Collaborator & Other Affiliation information” will be updated in the revised PAPPG.

Financial considerations

  • NSF has adopted a 10% de minimis facilities and administration (F&A) rate for foreign subcontractors. Domestic subcontractors may used their Federally-negotiated F&A rate or may use the 10% de minimis rate, if they do not have a negotiated rate.
  • Use of an F&A rate less than the institution’s negotiated rate is considered by NSF to be cost share, which is unallowable for a majority of NSF programs. Using the NSF budget template provided by OARS will ensure you are using the correct F&A and fringe benefit rates.
  • NSF guidance on implementation of the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can be found in their list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Additional information

A final draft of the revised PAPPG will be posted to the NSF website in October 2016, with changes to be implemented January 2017.

If you’d like to learn more about NSF grant administration and programs, consider registering to attend the upcoming NSF Grants Conference being held November 14-15 in Pittsburgh, PA.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

A number of changes have recently come out of the NIH Office of Extramural Research. Many of these changes have an impact on post-award accounting and reporting. The most helpful things for grant writers are the new NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts and the General Application Guide for NIH. These new guides offer streamlined overviews of NIH programs, open solicitations, and step-by-step instructions on preparing NIH proposals and reports.

Other changes to NIH policy and programs include:

New funding programs

The Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) program was announced by President Obama during his 2015 State of the Union address. The focus of this initiative is to take fundamental research and apply it to a specific cohort of individuals to produce individualized care. Funding programs for PMI can be found here.

Form updates

  • The new Forms D are in effect for proposals submitted on or after May 25, 2016. The new forms include:
    • A new section on authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources in order to meet requirements for rigor and reproducibility.
    • New questions regarding enrollment of human participants (enrollment type, dataset source, participant location, etc.)
    • A PHS Assignment Request Form to help determine under which institute or center a proposal should be reviewed
  • Newly specified font types including Arial, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, and Verdana. All font types should be 11 points or larger.

Compliance issues

eRA Commons and technical/financial reporting

  • As of June 12, 2016, eRA Commons usernames are required for primary mentors on Mentored Career Development proposals. If you need to register a PI, co-PI, investigator, sponsor, or mentor with eRA Commons, please contact your OARS representative.
  • While registration is not required for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral candidates at the proposal stage,  once a project is funded and work by those personnel is supported by NIH funding, they must be registered with eRA Commons so that PIs can complete technical (annual and close-out) reports. Contact your OARS representative to register individuals with eRA Commons.
  • New guidance on completing the Research Performance Program Report (RPPR) will be published this October. The new guidance will cover completing and submitting the Final Progress Report (FPR), the Final Invention Statement & Certification (FIS), and the Final Federal Financial Report (FFR). Please remember that all financial reports must be submitted by Miami’s Grants & Contracts office, and should not be submitted by the PI.

Additional information

If you’d like to learn more about NIH grant administration and programs, consider registering to attend the upcoming NIH Regional Seminar being held October 26-28 in Chicago, IL.


Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Treadmill research photo by Scott Kisssell, Miami University Photo Services. Bird photo also by Miami University Photo Services.