Emory’s NCURA Global Fellow’s visit to Australia

Rashonda Harris of Research-Grants & Contracts, Operations was awarded an NCURA Global Fellowship to the University of Melbourne in beautiful Australia.  This November, Rashonda spent two weeks in Australia, visiting not only the University of Melbourne, but also, visiting the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, informally RMIT.  The NCURA Global Fellowship program is a joint initiative between NCURA and their global sister research administration societies. The Fellowship program has two underlying objectives: (i) the training of research administrators, and (ii) enhancing global research collaboration. This program is intended to reduce barriers to global research administration and create an administrative environment conducive to global research collaboration.  There is an ever-increasing amount of global research collaboration, and this fellowship hopes to create a pool of individuals who can interpret a multitude of various sponsor requirements and assist their institution with administrative compliance – from application submission through financial reporting and closeout.

Emory’s fellow, Rashonda Harris, intended to focus on the opportunity of gaining an understanding of research strategy and collaboration between Emory University and the University of Melbourne. 

The questions prepared were:

  • How are collaborations with US Universities developed, defined and implemented?
  • Is there a strategic plan for collaborations? When and how are collaborations monitored and updated?
  • What support do academics receive from the university to enable their research? This includes, but not limited to questions on regulatory and compliance areas such as use of animals in research and committees related to the welfare of animals; use of human beings in research; conflict of interest; biosafety; and intellectual property development and commercialization.
  • What is the University’s approach to promoting research collaborations? How do collaborations fit into the framework between the university fit with the research strategy of the university?
  • Are research collaborations beneficial to determine or grant tenure and promotion of academics? If so, how is this set and by who?
  • How are significant financial investments decided and by who?

Although the University of Melbourne is 9,687 miles away from Emory University, they shared many similarities.  Both universities work to ensure research is intertwined into the overall mission and vision of the university.  While Rashonda did not get to explore all the questions prepared, fully, she learned how collaborations with US Universities were developed, defined and implemented.  Discussed were strategic plans for collaborations along with when and how collaborations were monitored. Because the University of Melbourne is working to grow the funding it receives from the National Institutes of Health, Rashonda was considered an expert on US federal funding because of Emory’s prestigious ranking along with the growth in funding received. With their interest in growing, we compared our practices for managing federal funding, specifically focusing on audit preparation.  Time flies when you are having fun and just like that two weeks had quickly passed.  As Rashonda’ s visit ended, she reflected on her experience as a valuable opportunity to expand her knowledge and understanding of international collaborations.

This global fellowship gave insight to how partner institutions are interpreting and implementing grant requirements and ensuring compliance with applicable regulations. The journey to Melbourne was long including a 16-hour time difference and worth every minute of the experience.  This fellowship was not only valuable to Rashonda but is very beneficial to Emory as both have now grown our networks and opened the door of opportunity to future collaborations with the University of Melbourne.  We encourage others to consider applying for this opportunity as the yield from this experience will continue for the individual and Emory for many years to come. Emory has volunteered to be a host for an international fellow. Volunteering to host will give Emory the opportunity to gain insight on future opportunities for collaborations between researchers and administration along with expanding our network for information sharing.

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