In early April a new organization, Research Services, consisting of the Office of Research Administration, and the Research Accounting and the Federal Compliance sections of the Comptroller's Office, will make its debut in freshly renovated space on the Mezzanine level of the Mellon Building.
The new office will report jointly to the Vice Provost for Research and Vice President for Finance. The concept of Research Services was originally proposed by the Research Administration Reengineering Team as the "center of expertise and unified locus for all sponsored project support activities." It will provide pre- and post-award research administration and accounting support services for the faculty, and all schools and centers.
Building on the recommendations of the Reengineering Team and the outcomes from a pilot project in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Research Services will utilize a team approach to support the sponsored project process from identification of funding sources through project close-out. The goal of the new organization is to become a partner with principal investigators, department and school administrators and the regulatory offices, in the acquisition and administration of externally sponsored research funds. Teams of Research Services staff will form working relationships with assigned departments/schools and their faculty to work together to improve service at each step of the process, to share knowledge and expertise, and to assure compliance with our sponsors' requirements. Teams will be cross-trained in order to maintain a high level of service and a commitment to meeting sponsor deadlines. Initial priorities for Research Services include expansion of the team approach to other schools, reassessment of internal processes to take maximum advantage of the combined staffs, and development of the requirements for new systems to support the research administration process across the campus.
The transition to Research Services will be led by Anthony Merritt, formerly Executive Director for Sponsored Programs, and Robert J. McCann, formerly Assistant Comptroller, who together have over 50 years experience in various aspects of grant and contract administration, cost accounting and regulatory aspects of research. They will be supported by the existing staffs of the two offices which will be reconfigured into three working groups, Medical School Research Administration led by Susan Passante, Research Administration for all other schools and centers led by Berenice Saxon, and the Operations and Accounting group led by Donald Kearney. In recognition of the significant requirements for new information systems to support the administration of sponsored research at all levels, a Senior Project Manager is being recruited to lead that effort.
The address for Research Services will be 133 S. 36th Street, Mezzanine/3246. The telephone number will be 898-7236/7269, the fax number 898-9708, and web site www.upenn.edu/ora/.
Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 28, April 7, 1998