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Working group-designed model for pre-award grant contract support and director search launched

Oct. 19, 2015, 9:14 AM

Provost Susan Wente (Vanderbilt)

In May, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente charged a university working group with laying the foundation for a new organization that will provide pre-award support for faculty grant and contract proposals to external funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Departments of Defense and Energy, and others. The new model is designed to best assist faculty in provost-supported schools and colleges as they pursue their research and the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan.

The Pre-Award Working Group members were:

  • Dan Fleetwood, Olin H. Landreth Professor of Engineering and chair, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science;
  • Lynn Fuchs, Nicholas Hobbs Professor, Peabody College;
  • Janiece Harrison, associate dean for finance and administration, School of Engineering;
  • Scott Hiebert, Hortense B. Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and associate director for basic science and shared resources, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center;
  • Connie Huebschmann, chief business officer, Pod 3, School of Medicine;
  • Sohee Park, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology;
  • Palmer Payne, administrative officer, Peabody Research Office; and
  • David Wright, Stevenson Chair of Chemistry and department chair.

Today, the Office of Sponsored Programs, an administrative unit that serves both the university and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, provides pre-award support for sponsored research in all 10 schools and colleges. The Office of Contracts Management currently provides pre-award support for research contracts for the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the Office of Contract and Research Administration provides such support for the other schools and colleges. Based on legal and fiduciary considerations arising from the pending separation of VU and VUMC, university and Medical Center leaders determined each resulting entity (VU and VUMC) will require its own office to manage the pre-award functions.

Wente asked the pre-award working group to gather faculty and staff input and to use that input to recommend a structure and operating model for pre-award support at the university for all groups supported by the provost. The new model calls for the creation of a new university pre-award office that oversees both grants and contracts, and it is now in the implementation and development phase to allow for any needed changes and adjustments.

Vice Chancellor Eric Kopstain (Vanderbilt)

Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain and transition partners from the Boston Consulting Group are coordinating this work with Wente, faculty and staff. Recently, a national search was launched to identify the university pre-award office’s first director. The position has been posted through human resources and can be accessed here. A faculty-staff committee, chaired by Kopstain, is conducting the search, and an interim director of the university pre-award office, Beth Seaton, is on board from the Huron Consulting Group to assist with the transition to the new operating model.

The Pre-Award Director Search Committee members are:

  • William J. Collins, Terence E. Adderley Jr. Professor of Economics;
  • Dale Farran, senior associate director of the Peabody Research Institute and Antonio and Anita Gotto Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning;
  • Dan Fleetwood, Olin H. Landreth Professor of Engineering and chair, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science;
  • Janiece Harrison, associate dean for finance and administration, School of Engineering
  • Scott Hiebert, Hortense B. Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and associate director for basic science and shared resources, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center;
  • Larry Marnett, associate vice chancellor for research;
  • Palmer Payne, administrative officer, Peabody Research Office; and
  • Robert Scherrer, professor and chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact the provost and their deans directly with specific questions or needs for their school, college or division.

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