A university's leadership wanted to identify opportunities to reorganize and streamline its research administration infrastructure. The university had a number of affiliated organizations to increase flexibility for research operations and increase opportunities for new funding. The university was looking for help with identifying opportunities for process efficiencies, cost savings and revenue enhancements, while setting up the infrastructure to enable growing the research enterprise.
We used our extensive knowledge of sponsored research and business operations to assess the design of the research administration infrastructure. To perform this review, we examined the university’s current and proposed research processes, procedures and organizational design. We also solicited feedback through interviews (including individuals from research support, central administration, departments and the researchers themselves) and evaluated the roles and responsibilities for positions involved in all aspects of the award lifecycle by creating a roles and responsibilities matrix. Further, we reviewed the university’s current portfolio and surveyed colleges and departments to develop an understanding of the number of individuals who support research.
These recommendations helped to strengthen the research support services offered, as well as identify future needs and assist in developing an organizational plan to achieve the desired research infrastructure. We created a roadmap to provide a strategic planning tool to aid in developing a research strategy and key tasks to achieve and sustain the university’s objectives. The university moved towards a shared services center structure for resource deployment to better support areas of highest research activity, while also clarifying and restructuring responsibilities among various central offices, departmental administration and researchers. Our recommendations also highlighted priority focus areas related to establishing a clear research strategy and creating standardized processes for research activities.
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