Appendix D

Proposal for Distributed Research Administration Staffing & Training

Huron Consulting Group

Huron Consulting Group has provided specific feedback regarding Georgia State’s distributed Research Administration staffing levels based on benchmarks developed from their databases from like universities. Here are their suggestions:

1) That it would be more effective for college offices to provide all pre-award and post-award support and grants management for all departments with less than $1.5M in annual grant funding. They reported that our using of .20 or .30 FTE of each department’s business manager’s time to perform research administration results in their not being as knowledgeable about the process or compliance needs, nor having the necessary time to adequately address the day-to-day needs of research grants and contracts. Our multiple problems with departmental record keeping for recent federal research grant audits highlighted the limitations of this model. We are relying on staff who do not know the research administration world and its regulations, guidelines, nor record keeping responsibilities, and have significant responsibilities and time commitments focused on many other departmental and instructional duties. They are business managers and not certified research administrators which are considered to have different knowledge, expertise, and focus. In addition, most small departments, or departments that are not grant active, end up applying for grants from many different foundations and agencies which actually requires a higher level of expertise and experience then they have, or can gain, with only a few grants being processed each year. They recommend having College pre-award research administration staff who can help faculty in these departments put together their budgets and proposals – and who have the expertise to be flexible across granting agencies and proposal types. In addition, college post-award research administration staff would be required to help the faculty and these departments meet all their financial and programmatic requirements, maintain auditable records, provide grant budget support, reviews, etc.

2) For those department or units with over $1.5M in funding, they recommend that there be at least 1 full time FTE totally committed to Research Administration (not a part FTE of one person and a part of another – both who have other responsibilities). Again, this recommendation has to do with the experience, expertise, specific responsibilities and focus. To be most effective, such departments will need to have research administrative staff who can do budgets for grant proposals for PIs, complete all the necessary grant and administrative forms for the pre-award side, help with grant proposal signoffs and e-submission when required, and can help on the post-award side with purchasing, travel, HR, financial and programmatic compliance and documentation issues for audits, and monitoring grant budgets on the other side to allow faculty the time to be researchers and not administrators. This should be their position’s primary and sole focus and responsibility, and they should not be involved in non-research related workload and activities. Huron has reported that the productivity and funding levels of departments who develop these models increases significantly within a year or two. Clearly the quality and experience of such research administrative staff is a key component to ensure this model’s success.

3) The last suggestion was for GSU to develop a more systematic Research Administration training program centrally that was GSU content focused, and to then use a national certification process (NCURA, SRA) that reinforces research administration staff to obtain the advanced training and professional development they need on an ongoing basis. The use of salary supplements for those who get nationally certified should be a goal. We are already working on this model and have just completed our first internal training program for research administrators.

Proposal:

Goal 1: To provide full-time, dedicated and certified research administrator staffing using the Huron benchmark as a minimal staffing level for departmental/college units.

Based on the external funding data available at the time of this review, we would need a total of 31 full-time, dedicated research administrator staff in the department/colleges as shown on the attached spreadsheet. Because we would use our Grants & Contracts Officer I, II, & III titles, which represent G12 (mid-range: $45,629), G14 ($52,814), & G16 ($61,125) level salaries, respectively, we can approximate a $55,000 base salary on average, this staffing would require $1,705,000 in salary support just for these 31 staff. Given that departments are returned 50% of their indirect costs, it is proposed that the Research Office provide 50% of this average salary for 21 of the needed departmental staff with departments matching the other 50% of the salary (total RO cost $577,500), and provide 10 complete salary lines for college-level (since Colleges don’t receive indirect costs back to them) (total RO cost $550,000) for a total RO staffing cost of $1,127,500. For those departments/colleges who already have funded such staff, and their workloads are dedicated to 100% research administration, these funds provided by the RO would provide release of some funding back into the Department/College budgets.

Goal 2: Ensure an integrated central and distributed research administration model at Georgia State University.

As a requirement of receiving this central support, all Grants/Contract Officers in the departments/colleges who were funded under this model would be required to be jointly supervised and have annual reviews via a RO Asst. VP., using a model similar to what is done in the Development Office. In addition, all such staff would be required to undergo systematic research administration training program as determined by the RO, and within 2 years, become nationally certified in research administration by one of the approved programs. At the point of national certification, they would be eligible to be reclassified and receive additional appropriate salary (training, travel, salary increase would be provided by the RO for college research administrative staff, and 1/2 by RO and 1/2 by department for departmental research administrative staff). In addition, they will be required to have monthly meetings/workshops in research administration areas to maintain their knowledge and certifications. In addition, all central research administration staff in the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Financial Services would be expected to also participate in the monthly meetings/workshops in research administration to ensure consistent information sharing across groups. Central staff would also be expected to obtain national certification within 2 years and would also then be eligible for reclassification and related benefits. Expected cost appx. $150,000 a year.

Goal 3: Expand Central Research Administration Management Staff to ensure central OSP and RFS services are improved and functioning at expected levels, while also providing the management, supervision, and training of the new distributed research administrative staff in the Colleges/Departments.

Grants and Contract Officer supervision, training, and development would be undertaken by an experienced AVP from the RO. Because of this, we will have to transfer a majority of the AVP’s core workload (management and supervision of OSP, RFS) to a new Director of Research Administration (central) who we will have to hire (appx. $120,000). This Director would report to the AVP or VPR, so that both distributed and central research administration are coordinated well and responsibilities are clearly delineated, etc.

Department PI’s Department Awarded# AwardedTotal $ Staffing
BenchmarkModel
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 78 $6,047,221 3
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Domestic Programs 1 $177,500
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Economics 11 $1,460,507
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Environmental Policy Center 1 $83,393
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies International Studies Program 23 $1,356,785
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Program for Rehabilitation 11 $798,000
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Public Administration 8 $94,264
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Public Administration and Urban Studies – Transpor 9 $898,114
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Rehabilitation Leadership 14 $1,178,658
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Health Policy Center 33 $5,597,991 3
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Fiscal Research Center 21 $1,754,819 1
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies College Totals 132 $13,400,031 7
College of Arts and Sciences College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 56 $3,311,710 3
College of Arts and Sciences African-American Studies 1 $32,500
College of Arts and Sciences Applied Linguistics and English as a Secondary Lan 1 $53,022
College of Arts and Sciences Art and Design 6 $384,514
College of Arts and Sciences Communication 5 $673,496
College of Arts and Sciences Computer Science 10 $404,265
College of Arts and Sciences English 3 $40,736
College of Arts and Sciences Geology 2 $111,690
College of Arts and Sciences Gerontology Institute 3 $313,678
College of Arts and Sciences History 4 $183,000
College of Arts and Sciences Language Research Center 3 $526,416
College of Arts and Sciences Mathematics and Statistics 10 $148,424
College of Arts and Sciences Middle East Institute 1 $88,233
College of Arts and Sciences Music 1 $2,000
College of Arts and Sciences Philosophy 2 $35,200
College of Arts and Sciences Political Science 2 $143,656
College of Arts and Sciences Sociology 2 $170,880
College of Arts and Sciences Biology/Neuroscience 63 $10,657,480 5
College of Arts and Sciences Chemistry 38 $4,174,554 2
College of Arts and Sciences Physics and Astronomy 33 $2,125,385 1
College of Arts and Sciences Psychology 41 $5,467,402 3
College of Arts and Sciences College Totals 231 $25,736,531 14
College of Education College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 68 $2,511,704 1
College of Education Center for Urban Educational Excellence 2 $247,613
College of Education Child Development Center 1 $137,378
College of Education Counseling and Psychological Services 11 $233,933
College of Education Educational Policy Studies 5 $389,550
College of Education Kinesiology and Health 44 $1,277,154
College of Education Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Techn 5 $226,076
College of Education Early Childhood Education 9 $2,713,038 1
College of Education ED-Dean’s Office 12 $2,937,520 1
College of Education Educational Psychology and Special Education 11 $3,003,676 1
College of Education College Totals 100 $11,165,938 4
College of Health and Human Sciences College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 39 $1,486,362 1
College of Health and Human Sciences Cardiopulmonary Care Sciences 1 $9,501
College of Health and Human Sciences Criminal Justice 3 $67,466
College of Health and Human Sciences Nursing 10 $479,861
College of Health and Human Sciences Nutrition and Dietetics 2 $74,614
College of Health and Human Sciences Physical Therapy 10 $446,420
College of Health and Human Sciences Project Healthy Grandparents 12 $403,000
College of Health and Human Scences Respiratory Therapy, Division of 1 $5,500
College of Health and Human Sciences Institute of Public Health 15 $2,024,084 1
College of Health and Human Sciences Social Work 7 $2,533,593 1
College of Health and Human Sciences College Totals 61 $6,044,039 3
Institutional Units College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 20 $1,548,344 1
Institutional Units Counseling and Psychological Services 1 $15,000
Institutional Units International Education Institute 3 $239,159
Institutional Units Police/Security 1 $4,500
Institutional Units Provost/VPAA 4 $800,815
Institutional Units Student Support Services 3 $180,604
Institutional Units Vice President – Student Life and Enrollment Servi 1 $10,100
Institutional Units Georgia State University 2 $126,742
Institutional Units Main Campus 1 $15,000
Institutional Units Law School 4 $156,424
Institutional Units Educational Opportunity 7 $2,057,054 1
Institutional Units College Totals 27 $3,605,398 2
Robinson College of Business College Research Office (sum of all depts <$1.5M) 27 $2,249,770 1
Robinson College of Business BUS-Dean’s Office 1 $178,427
Robinson College of Business Center for Process Innovation 1 $25,000
Robinson College of Business Center for Risk Management and Insurance 2 $49,868
Robinson College of Business Computer Information Systems 5 $533,769
Robinson College of Business Health Administration 1 $40,000
Robinson College of Business International Business 1 $95,194
Robinson College of Business Management 4 $95,410
Robinson College of Business Marketing 2 $63,247
Robinson College of Business Real Estate 3 $56,519
Robinson College of Business Risk Management and Insurance 5 $671,300
Robinson College of Business Robinson College of Business 1 $171,976
Robinson College of Business Small Business Development Center 1 $269,060
Robinson College of Business College Totals 27 $2,249,770 1
Totals University Totals (FY08) 465 $62,201,707 31