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Three Success Stories for Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2019

Congratulations to research administrators who are helping their institutions win major grants! We couldn’t stop ourselves from #humblebragging about some of the big wins of the institutions in our network. Because, here at Kuali, we’re impressed by the professionalism and skill of administrators that we come in contact with often. These deadline-driven individuals are helping researchers get the resources they need. Without them, academic research would be brought to a halt.

Years ago, NCURA started National Research Administrator Day to celebrate leading professionals like these — administrators who “serve the faculty and researchers, protect the institution or organization and assure sound stewardship of sponsored research dollars.”

To celebrate Research Administrator Day, here’s a look at the important work that three of our research clients are doing.

Marquette University wins $1.5 Million to Study Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) affects 1% of new babies every year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 25% of those new babies have a severe case of CHD that requires surgery or other intense procedures in the first year of the child’s life. This award “will bring awareness and understanding to this type of congenital disease, ultimately allowing for better care and treatment of those in need,” Kristina Ropella, dean of the Opus College of Engineering.

There’s no doubt this award was a huge achievement for the institution; the university was awarded $29.1 million throughout the entire year of 2013. Research administrators at Marquette are the quiet force behind awards like these. They ensured the award proposal was written and submitted correctly, and that researchers comply with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) procedures moving forward.

University of Maryland Awarded $1 million for Study of Napping in Preschool-Aged Children

How important are naps for preschoolers? Thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NIH, researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Massachusetts Amherst will determine how that extra sleep affects memory and brain development for preschoolers. The results from such a study will affect families nationwide.

“Although research shows naps clearly benefit learning and memory in young children, it’s still unclear why naps are important and how they are related to the development of memory-related brain structures,” said Tracy Riggins, principal investigator in the project. “There is somewhat of a debate regarding whether naps should be encouraged in preschool or eliminated to provide more time for early learning.”

Without research administrators assisting in the proposal process, Riggins and the other researchers involved would likely not have won this research award.

Indiana University Wins $3.5 million for Data Center Research

Modern science requires the infrastructure to handle enormous amounts of data; and with that reality in mind, the NSF awarded a $3.5 million grant to Indiana University and the Energy Sciences Network. The grant spans three years and is earmarked for the creation of a new Engagement and Performance Operations Center—a project which will support the collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy scientists and experts across the globe.

“At its core, this grant enables scientists and researchers to better collaborate by offering them a kind of ‘support center’ to ensure that data transfers go smoothly,” explained Jennifer M. Schopf, co-principal investigator on this project. Her co-principal investigators on the grant, ESnet science engagement engineer Jason Zurawski and IU associate vice president of networks David Jent, are equally excited to see the project get underway. The project is expected to be “transformational to science and education by providing not only a depth of understanding to achieve better data transfers but also the human expertise needed to make the most of research collaborations,” according to Schopf.

Grants as significant as this don’t just happen. Researchers come together with big, impactful ideas; administrators help researchers win the awards that help big ideas come to life. Administrators work behind the scenes to manage complex scenarios, balance expectations from different stakeholders, and communicate with many personality types all in a timely manner to meet a deadline. The individuals in this stressful line of work make the research world go round.

To research administrators, your work has value and meaning because of its sincere impact on your institution and the work of scientists everywhere. Thank you for what you do every day!

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