Keeping the research machine running

Keeping the research machine running

By Brittney Bomnin

Keeping the research machine running

By Brittney Bomnin
As the engine that keeps the research machine at the University of Miami running, the Office of Research Administration plays a significant role for those seeking funding or currently working on sponsored projects.

Research is a core component that makes the University of Miami shine on an international level, but researchers would not be able to do their jobs without the support of the Office of Research Administration (ORA). Led by Barbara A. Cole, associate vice president of research administration, and working closely with the offices of the provost and vice provost for research, the ORA team of about 90 employees advances the University’s mission by providing leadership and expertise in research administration.

Each year ORA processes more than 5,313 proposals and agreements. In Fiscal Year 2019 the University of Miami received more than 1,955 awards with a total value of approximately $508 million. Whether it’s funding from the federal government, foundations, corporations, foreign governments, and/or other entities, researchers rely on this support to pursue the discoveries, cures, and findings that make the University of Miami a renowned research institution.

From reviewing submitted proposals and negotiating contracts for award funding to monitoring expenditures and compliance, and serving as the audit liaison for the institution on sponsored awards, ORA is essential to the University and works closely with many groups inside and outside the institution. ORA administrators are involved in diverse activities such as managing sponsored programs purchases, providing input on hiring for grant-funded positions, and training departmental staff.

Here’s how it works

Research awards are made to the University of Miami on behalf of a Principal Investigator (PI) who is designated by UM to direct the project or activity being supported by the award. The PI is accountable to the University for carrying out the project appropriately. 

The ORA team works with researchers—including graduate students—and staff to simplify and streamline the complicated and often overwhelming world of research administration by making available policies, expertise, context, and support. Because research must be carried out in compliance with University policy, federal and state laws, sponsor requirements, and the award terms and conditions, ORA provides resources on compliance, including effort reporting and export control compliance. 

How to get help

Not sure about a policy or who to call? Find answers to your questions by checking the resource-filled ORA website, which provides contacts for the ORA team member(s) working with your campus and department. Contact your award administration manager or team lead, or find out how to submit requests using specific ORA mailboxes that were created to send requests electronically to ORA. Learn more.

If you're new to research at the University of Miami, familiarize yourself with the process using the research road map and quick reference guide for sponsored projects.

Are you caught up in the lingo or need extra help navigating the research waters? ORA hosts a number of educational and training opportunities throughout the year. Choose from a variety of instructor-led courses and online computer-based learning offerings, depending on the topic you need to master. Access opportunities via ULearn. Search “Research Administration and Sponsored Programs” to find the session that best fits your needs and register today. View a calendar of upcoming events and learn more about training opportunities offered through ORA.

Significant impact

Each year hundreds of important research projects at the University are successful thanks in large part to the ongoing, behind-the-scenes support from the Office of Research Administration. Among these successes, the team is proud to celebrate the recent Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center NCI designation from the National Cancer Institute; a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, enabling the CTSI to continue as a hub for biomedical discovery and innovation; and a five-year grant to the Alzheimer's Research Disease Sequencing Project.  

Additionally, NIH recently renewed the University of Miami’s the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant, awarded to psychology professor Neil Schneiderman, which enhances pre- and postdoctoral research training and helps ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to meet the needs of the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research agenda.

Today, on National Research Administrator Day, we recognize and celebrate the efforts of research administrators who serve the University's research community with professional, customer-oriented support.