“Walk a Mile” in your PI’s Shoes What do PI’s care about? THE RESEARCH! What do Research Administrators care about? SUPPORTING RESEARCH!
Do Researchers “Need” Administration? Many people believe that research administration has grown too big But funding programs have become more complex Getting funding has become more competitive Compliance laws have changed too The Research Administrator helps connects researchers to funding – without money there is no research
In Short: Giving researchers administrative tasks is eroding their research productivity. So, do Researchers “need” Administration? Yes!
Howdy, Partner! We are here to work with investigators on their research goals We need to be part of a collaborative team with the institution, sponsor and the researcher Remember: We are solution finders and problem solvers!
How Do We Do This? Know your field: Know your policies and administrative procedures – these are important pieces in the research framework Improve your knowledge of our field – webinars, on- line courses Connect with counterparts in the field Read journals and magazines specific to the field – The CAURA Connection, The Monitor, The Journal of Research Administration, Research Management Review, NCURA magazine, etc.
Put the Focus on Customer Service Accept that some of your processes are not important to, nor appreciated by your customer Have a plan for how YOU can keep work flowing if a researcher deviates from your preferred process Be honest and reliable Get organized Measure your own performance Learn about customer service (serviceuntitled.com)
Administrators as advocates Advocacy - part of customer service Most research administrators use their advocacy skills daily – negotiating agreements on behalf of their institution advocating policies and procedures to researchers advocating for their researchers with other research administrators and external agencies
Celebrating Customer Service! Customer service – the key to research administration Our customers are researchers, our institutions, our co-workers and our sponsors – but each person we deal with is an individual!
Getting to know your researchers Meet them in person Familiarize yourself with their research Read your researchers’ biographies, articles, abstracts, webpages and CVs. If you have expertise in a particular academic area, read the theses of the investigators in both that area and closely related areas. Read your researchers’ grant applications. Many include a lay summary you will understand.
Getting to know your researchers What are your researchers concerns? Ask and keep asking: What would make your life easier? How can I help? I’d be happy to assist I will take over this issue and come back with a resolution within 24 hours
Be a Great Communicator! Good communication skills and an innate desire to help are the most important attributes a research administrator possesses! Internal Communication Be available Make your policies, guidelines and processes transparent by going over them in person with new researchers and posting them on the internet Lead education sessions on your processes Explain your specific role in supporting research Anticipate needs and actively volunteer information Be specific and do what you can to help your clients avoid frustration. Send the link to the form you’re referring to and every time you mention your website in an email, send the link to the correct page Talk to other departments involved in each administrative process to streamline the procedures for the customers
Getting to know your researchers Find out what the issue really is and be creative in solving it Be patient and explain – the investigator may not understand the process or the reason for it Make it easy for your researchers to complain – it is the easiest way to improve! Monitor your performance - Survey your researchers!
Service Survey Reliability (do I deliver?) How did the proposal submission go? Responsiveness (Speed, urgency) Did I get back to you in the time frame expected? Assurance (Credibility, Competence) Did I take ownership? Do you trust me? Empathy (Caring, Understanding) Did I listen and show concern for the situation? Tangibles (Appearance, Atmosphere) Was the office environment efficient and professional? Source: Zeithaml, V, Parasuraman and Berry. Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations. Free Press, 1990.
Top 10 Service Errors in Research Administration Losing a proposal or award Failure to submit financial reports in a timely manner Failure to process documents promptly Failure to bill in a timely manner Failure to respond to phone calls and email Allowing voicemail to become full Failure to be clear and concise in communications Failure in following up on negotiations Promising a response by a certain date an failing to deliver Saying NO without some consideration of other options Source: David Richardson and the Panel
Principal Investigator Obligations are Evolving Maximize public benefits and ROI of the research they undertake Demonstrate Impact! Meet increasing expectations from funders and the public SHOW how investments in research are making a difference
Trends are Emerging for Investigators More global initiatives = multiple perspectives Global partnerships Research partnership agreements Complex financial models Raising their (and the institution’s) research profile
We Can Help! We can partner with our researcher to help them manage these obligations This allows the researcher to do what she/he does well….RESEARCH
How else can I advocate? Be specific and do what you can to help your clients avoid frustration. Send the link to the form you’re referring to and every time you mention your website in an email, send the link to the correct page Talk to other departments involved in each administrative process to streamline the procedures for the customers
What About Risk? How do we mitigate risk? Create a culture of responsibility Know your stakeholders Each party needs to own their responsibilities Follow the funding rules Why? Potential loss of future funding and damaged professional and institutional reputations Did you know? Most research misconduct is unintentional
Sample Negotiation Guidelines The following should be processed within three business days of initial review: No cost extensions Supplemental funds Grants Work orders issued under a Master Agreement The following should be processed within ten business days of initial review: Subcontracts Fee for service testing agreements The following should be processed within twenty business days of initial review: Contracts Source: David Richardson, NCURA TV September Program
My service improvement Have all applicable policies on your website Get the contract as soon as possible Follow up on it as well as ethics and regulatory documents Standardize timeline for initial review of contract and follow ups
Why Are We Doing This? “The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy. ” Steven Weinberg, Physicist and Nobel Laureate