Research Administration: The Most Important Job No One Knows About
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The research enterprise is constantly fluctuating due to changing policies at either the sponsor or institutional level, including changes in how research is viewed and conducted. With the amount of research funding expended in the U.S., institutions need to maintain educated and capable research administrators who can handle the stress and workload that comes with sponsored research. Research administrators have an important role in the research enterprise and need to be able to adapt to any circumstance that arises. In order for institutions to maintain a successful research administration, there needs to be more awareness of the importance of research administrators, more research administration degree programs, and more continuing education opportunities to aid in professional development. Using responses from a questionnaire and articles on the important role research administrators play in advancing the research enterprise, this project aims to demonstrate the need for more well-rounded research administrators, as well as the need for more degree programs and continuing education opportunities. Responses from the questionnaire demonstrate research administrators’ interest in having more opportunities to learn about all areas of research administration instead of only the area in which they are currently employed. Educated and capable research administrators not only help the institution retain research funding, but they also help researchers navigate the complexities involved with sponsored research by providing customer service qualities and removing administrative burdens so researchers can focus on their research. Although there are five universities that offer graduate degrees in research administration—Johns Hopkins University (JHU), University of Central Florida (UCF), The City University of New York (CUNY), College of Health Sciences at Rush University in Chicago (Rush), and Central Michigan University (CMU)—there need to be more opportunities, especially for undergraduate students, to learn about research administration. Increased awareness and professional development opportunities will help recruit future research administrators and bring more legitimacy and interest to the pursuit of a professional career as a research administrator.