Dr. Terri Shelton (Office of Research and Engagement) received new funding from the National Institutes of Health for the project “Research Administration Modernization Program at UNCG (RAMP UNCG).” Dr. Valera T. Francis is co-principal investigator on the project.
Growth in the biomedical research enterprise at UNCG requires robust and efficient research administration infrastructure. A 28% growth in research funding over the last five years has advanced the research mission of NIH and of UNCG, but it has also strained the existing sponsored projects administration (SPA) capabilities which are hampered by three primary issues: a legacy eRA system that creates inefficiencies and errors; inadequate professional training opportunities for SPA staff which includes both centralized and de-centralized staff; and a need for additional research development and project startup support for biomedical researchers. Our data on proposal submission and award rates suggests these barriers may especially impact our rapidly growing number of faculty from groups that are underrepresented in biomedical fields.
In order to strengthen UNCG’s sponsored projects administration, specifically in preparation for the planned emphasis on growth in biomedical research, we propose the Research Administration Modernization Program (RAMP UNCG) which includes three aims:
1. Enhance sponsored programs infrastructure to increase regulatory compliance, decrease administrative burden, and provide access to enterprise-wide research administration data through the phased implementation of a commercial eRA system.
2. Facilitate the development of sponsored programs capacity and administration through the implementation of a scaffolded curriculum of competency-based professional development and mentorship for research administration staff to ensure that all research support staff have the requisite knowledge and skills to provide efficient pre- and postaward services.
3. Promote biomedical research and research training through the implementation of targeted strategies in support of faculty from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in Biomedical Sciences and NIH funding. The success of RAMP UNCG has enormous potential for attracting and retaining talented scientists and students from diverse backgrounds to UNCG’s biomedical research and training enterprise, ultimately contributing toward the national imperative for a diverse biomedical workforce.