A New Look at Research Administration in a Classic Setting

July 24, 2013

The Seelbach Hotel, located at the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, is not only known for its elegance, but as an American architectural treasure visited by gangsters (Al Capone), writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, who used the hotel for inspiration in “The Great Gatsby”) and presidents, with a history of intriguing stories.

This year, the intriguing discussions came from the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA) which hosted the Basics of Research Administration Conference at the historic Seelbach Hotel, where participants learned about various aspects involved in research administration.  These included finding funding, pre-award, award-acceptance, compliance, technology transfer and post-award.  After each session, participants were quizzed on what they have learned and received continuing education units (CEU).

Having attended each session it became evident to me the multitude of challenges sponsored

researcher administrators are facing on a daily basis. These challenges range from becoming knowledgeable about federal regulations and individual agency requirements to financial and administrative management. More so than ever, regulators are focusing on compliance issues facing institutions including research misconduct, protection of human and animal research subjects, effort reporting, and export control to name a few.  The focus on compliance has placed data management at the forefront of the sponsored research industry.  Administrators must be able to quickly find and build reports to successfully close projects.

As federal regulations continue to evolve, more accountability and transparency is being mandated, which in turn has placed a higher burden on institutions to be able to use their data to not only manage their knowledge assets, but also fulfill the sponsors’ requirements.  The SRA conference provided the professional development sessions and facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experience from experienced research administrators as the stepping stones of understanding the ever-changing sponsored research climate.

What better place to do it than in a hotel that has inspired one of the greatest American writers in 20th century?



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