At Northwestern, our central post-award research accounting office is really amazing. Just this week, we are in the middle of getting a billion applications in for investigators and we’re nuts. At the same time, we had a number of large grants that had FFRs due. One of our post award administrators who is so detail oriented and fastidious worked with me to close a large project. We discovered that a pilot project on this grant that should have journalled off a balance 2 months ago still had not done it. (I could have sworn they had taken care of the overage but the journals didn’t go through.) I had already made sure all of the other requirements for the closing had been met long before. I’d hounded every pilot project to within an inch of their lives to take care of their balances and watched them close. This is a very large and complicated project.
She researched the issue, helped me contact the department, they issued the journal and we closed on time. And I stayed on track with my investigators who are submitting for their October deadlines. My colleague in central is just as busy as I am but she’s got a rock solid sense of teamwork and priority setting and pulled through for me in my hour of need. And she knows I’d do the same for her the next time around. She is a valuable resource to me in terms of her knowledge and experience as well.
Research administration is, at its best, a knowledge-based service delivered by teams. How we work together to brainstorm and solve complex problems quickly to serve our investigators and institutions is key. Working across offices, and together in teams is necessary to stay informed and to achieve successful outcomes.
How do you stay connected and informed in order to be successful at your institution?