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  • 1.  "Research Administrator" job titles outside of OSP

    Posted 05-20-2022 09:17
    Good morning everyone!
    Over the past 5 or so years we have had departments and colleges hire people specifically to assist their faculty with their grant proposals.  They have all had random titles like "Program Manager" or some such thing.  The other day, we learned that one of the departments is hiring an "Assistant Director of Research Administration & Strategic Initiatives."  We feel that use of this title would be very confusing for the faculty and could lead to problems (like authority, etc.).  We are a central office and are responsible for all the pre-award and non-financial award activity.  Do any of you have people like this out in the departments and what titles do they generally use?  Thank you and enjoy the weekend!!

    Colette Solpietro
    Senior Assistant Director, Office of Research Services
    Texas Tech University

  • 2.  RE: "Research Administrator" job titles outside of OSP

    Posted 05-20-2022 09:52
    Oh my lands, yes that title would alarm me too.  You don't want "shadow" OSPs out there.  The Assistant Director of Research Administration should report to, going out on a limb here, the Director of Research Administration/OSP.  The people in the departments, here at OU, are not "departmental research adminsitrators."  We, too, have a central model.  So, they have titles like Business Manager, Assistant Dean in a few cases.....  Sometimes, a PI is managing a very active lab with multiple grant-funded projects happening all under a single intellectual umbrella - but distinct projects.  That person could very well have (should very well have) a Program Manager/Project Manager to, in part, keep grant record-keeping organized.

    Andrea Buford
    Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
    Oakland University

  • 3.  RE: "Research Administrator" job titles outside of OSP

    Posted 05-23-2022 05:58
    Yes, that would be very confusing. I can see where there would be concern. In the colleges on our campus, we have business managers that assist faculty with the budgetary items of the grant, however our office does have final oversight. We too are a central office and are responsible for all the pre-award activity.

    Beverly Kemp
    eRA Research Coordinator
    Lamar University
    Beaumont 77710

  • 4.  RE: "Research Administrator" job titles outside of OSP

    Posted 05-23-2022 07:42
    Hi Colette,

    Apologies in advance for the long reply-- this is my favorite soapbox topic!

    A lot of universities have dedicated departmental or college-level support that is very different from the support offered at the central level. I work at the college level and am the Director of the Office of Research & Sponsored Projects for the College of Education & Human Development. My title is not confusing to anyone because departmental vs central roles are well-defined and there isn't an overlap in the services offered. We have a team of 9 grants and contracts officers who do pre- and post-award support for our college, working directly with faculty on proposals and financial management. Our central office has signature authority, but they don't work with PIs on budgets, proposal timelines, drafting documents, doing expenditure reviews, etc. They review and submit proposals, do invoicing, etc. My staff are dedicated research administrators, have CRAs, go to NCURA/SRA meetings, etc. Many of them have worked in central offices at GSU or other universities.

    It's important to work with research administrators in departments to create positive relationships so that everyone can work together to serve researchers--and this includes helping some of those business managers or program managers realize that they are actually research administrators and empowering them to learn more about those aspects of their job.

    I think a lot of central office staff undervalue the work that is done to support PIs at the department level-- department support should be seen as an added piece to the puzzle, not a threat to the authority of a central office.  The need for this position is coming from some kind of perceived lack of support at some point during the grant lifecycle, so I would suggest meeting with the department that wants to create the position, finding out what their needs are, and helping define the role by clearly outlining what central responsibilities are versus what support is more effective at the departmental level.

    Kathleen Halley-Octa
    Director, Office of Sponsored Projects, College of Education and Human Development
    Georgia State University

  • 5.  RE: "Research Administrator" job titles outside of OSP

    Posted 05-23-2022 07:50

    Thank  you, Kathleen.  I truly appreciate your different point of view and I will pass it along to our management team when we meet.