National Research Administrator Day
A card, some flowers, a meal, or just a high five. It feels good to be appreciated with even the smallest of gestures. Now, with the new National Research Administrator Day to be held annually on September 25th, research administrators have a formal opportunity to be recognized for their service.
“The field of research administration has been around for a long time; arguably, since the days of Gregor Mendel and the founding of genetics, or even before that,” said Kathleen Larmett, executive director of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). “There are now tens of thousands of research administrators in the United States alone who work with faculty researchers and industry scientists, and the colleges, universities, companies, and agencies that employ them. This designation is a powerful way to celebrate their important contributions and provide awareness and prestige to the profession.”
NCURA, the first and largest non-profit professional society for research administrators, is committed to supporting research and its 7000 members. “That’s why our board of directors adopted the motto, ‘Supporting research…together,’” said Larmett. “During its annual leadership convention, the organization decided that the profession needed a formal acknowledgement of the importance of its members. So we applied for the right to create National Research Administrator Day, and the request was granted.”
What is Research Administration?
According to Garrett Sanders, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Research Foundation for SUNY (RF), the largest, most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country, these professionals assist faculty, students, and staff members through every step of the research grant process, allowing them to focus on their work and ensuring their compliance with university, grant sponsor, and government requirements.
“Thousands of brilliant minds at SUNY campuses across the state perform life-changing research in every field,” Sanders said. “Our research administration professionals contribute directly to SUNY’s mission by helping faculty members find, apply for, and manage funding for their research, training, and public service projects.”
Erin Bailey, chief financial officer for the Clinical and Translational Science Award at the University at Buffalo and NCURA Region II Chair-Elect, added that many faculty members are not familiar with the numerous aspects of the grant award process. “Research administrators help them to get the proposal out the door, make sure the budget is correct, oversee compliance, and manage resources,” she said. “Having trained professionals assist principal investigators allows them to focus on the research.”
Bailey observed that the new national awareness day will be a bonus on top of what is already a satisfying career. “Being able see the outcomes of the research and knowing you played an important role is very gratifying,” she said. “I look forward to recognizing my colleagues for the work they do. This is not a job that can be done by one person, nor can one person take all the credit. We are truly a team.”
Larmett and Sanders also look forward to celebrating the new commemorative day with their colleagues.
“By good fortune, or maybe it was just meant to be, the first-ever National Research Administrator Day comes during a gathering of SUNY research administration and sponsored programs professionals in Albany,” said Sanders. “This designation provides an opportunity to celebrate the profession, to draw new people to the business, and to share the craft of research administration with the public.”
“Research administration is a profession made up of individuals who have the important role of supporting research at colleges, universities, teaching hospitals, and both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations around the world,” said Larmett. “Whenever there is a need, NCURA moves to fill it in support of the profession. That’s why we decided to pursue this formal opportunity to recognize our colleagues in the important profession of research administration.”
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