Professional Development Brown Bag Series
Bringing the Lab to the Village: Bringing portable medical testing to resource-limited settings
Kara Palamountain, Research Assistant Professor at Kellogg, Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative
In 2006, NU received a four-year, $4.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research and develop affordable diagnostic devices for infectious diseases plaguing UN-defined “least developed countries.” One of the project’s participants, Kara Palamountain, will give an update on the exciting progress being made on this initiative and the projected impact on global health. Kara will also highlight the unique set of collaborators from the McCormick School of Engineering, the Kellogg School of Management, the Feinberg School of Medicine, as well as other academic and private sector participants.
Research Administration at NU: Finding Your Path and Advancing Your Career
Elizabeth Adams, Director of Research Administration, McCormick
Michael Weis, Business Administrator, Institute For Policy Research
As a top-tier research institution, Northwestern works with a variety of sponsors in the public and private sector to provide funding to assist NU in the execution of its mission of research, education and public service. The trend in the past ten years is increased competition for sponsored awards and higher sponsor expectations. During this same time period the sponsored research dollars awarded to Northwestern annually has doubled. All of these factors lead to increased demand for highly qualified research administrators.
Different units within Northwestern have different models for research administration. At McCormick, one director at the school level manages a team of research administrators who sit within the departments, and have dotted line reporting to the department chair and business administrator. The research administrators own the grant from cradle to grave. This means that they help submit the proposal, work with the agency during the review phase, help manage the grant with the Office for Sponsored Research once it is an active award, and monitor the grant to see if it needs to be extended, or if it should be closed out.
There are several benefits of this model:
- All research administrators receive the same high quality training and are dedicated only to the research administration (as opposed to other department operations)
- Owning the grant from cradle to grave provides excellent professional development opportunities
- Because all research administrators have similar training and work responsibilities and report through the school, there is flexibility in coverage, so faculty always have a high level of support
In addition to schools, university research centers, such as the Institute for Policy Research, employ research administrators. Depending on the discipline, sponsored awards could come from federal funding (i.e. NIH, NSF), state funding, industry, foundations, or other sources.
Those with broad interests in higher education might consider a career in research administration. Comfort with numbers and the ability to communicate well are desirable, as is the ability to work in a deadline-driven environment. Currently, there is no degree program for research administration; rather, networking, and training are critical to pursuing a career in this field. To learn more about resources available through Northwestern, please visit Northwestern University Research Administration Professionals (NURAP < http://www.research.northwestern.edu/nurap/>).
Northwestern's Research Enterprise - From Stonecutters to Cathedral Builders
Jay Walsh, Vice President for Research Administration
On May 25, Dr. Jay Walsh, Vice President for Research, kicked off AHEAD@NU’s spring quarter Professional Development Brown Bag Series with a talk on Northwestern’s Research Enterprise.
Money, in the form of research dollars, is often seen as the measuring stick to determine the quality of a university’s research program. On this scale Northwestern is highly successful; we will likely exceed half a billion dollars in research funding this year. Although we are the smallest school in the Big Ten Conference in terms of numbers of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, Northwestern received the second highest funding from ARRA Awards (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) in the conference.
Another way to assess the quality of a university’s research program is to measure the positive impact its research has had on society. Dr. Walsh gave several examples of major problems facing the world that faculty members at Northwestern are working to address. One area of focus is on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At Northwestern, there are no fewer than three major research initiatives focused on developing prevention, diagnosis, and treatment methods for HIV/AIDS—each examining a different part of the problem, and proposing solutions from different disciplinary perspectives.
CIGHT (the Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies), a collaboration between McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Kellogg School of Management, and Feinberg School of Medicine, focuses on creating the technology needed to diagnose HIV/AIDS in resource poor countries around the world.
The Center for Global Health at Feinberg School of Medicine is focused on medical care for HIV/AIDS patients, training physicians and treating HIV/AIDS and TB patients in Africa.
The Research Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS (REACH), a collaboration between Northwestern’s Program of African Studies and the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, is working with the University of Ibadan in Nigeria to develop effective methods to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by researching the social and cultural norms that drive infection.
Research is not done by faculty alone. Dr. Walsh described the network of support in place for researchers in order to get the work done. Faculty work with graduate students, undergraduates, research administrators, legal counsel—both inside and outside the University, the U.S. government (especially the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense), foundation and corporate relations officers, compliance officers, and many, many others. He emphasized that sometimes these people may feel like all they do is paperwork, but that in actuality each and every one of them is doing their part to address the energy crisis, cure cancer, fight heart disease, stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, and contribute to solving any number of the problems that face the world today.
Special Topics in Higher Education Series
We are currently working on scheduling future special topics events, please check back for new updates. If you'd like to recommend a topic or speaker, please contact us at AHEAD@northwestern.edu
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