September 25, 2015 marks the first of what is planned to be an annual National Research Administrators Day. But just what is a research administrator and what does he or she do? Research administration of course!
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.