Message from VPRA: Dr. Robert Nobles (August 2022)

Greetings and welcome to a new academic year! The summer months always seem to fly by quickly; and I am hopeful everyone had an opportunity to travel, connect with friends and family, and recharge for another amazing year at Emory. The ORA FY22 academic year concluded with some truly remarkable advances. Over the past year we recruited and/or promoted more than 125 individuals into Research Administration. Throughout the year we focused on quickly and creatively filling vacancies caused by the “great resignation” and worked across administration to strengthen our recruitment and retention activities. We value our research administrators and appreciate your ongoing partnership to help our new team members feel welcomed and valued.

Since joining Emory, my priority has always been and continues to be on recruiting and developing a strong and supported workforce (People), reaching operational efficiency (Processes), and building a robust and resilient infrastructure (Infrastructure). With the Fall semester underway, we are excited to roll-out several initiatives to enhance and streamline research for Emory.

In FY23, we endeavor to:

1) Continue hiring, systematically onboarding, and training new staff to support our growing enterprise. Spearheading this effort is our new training unit within ORA, the Strategic Operations and Training office (SOT). We are also working on a pilot project with central human resources to streamline the identification of new candidates and the improve the process between interviewing and the new hire’s first day at Emory.

2) Modernize our research administration tools and systems to strengthen our ability to work efficiently and effectively. This will be accomplished via the implementation of three new systems this year, including Epic (electronic medical record system for EHC), OnCore (clinical trial management system), and eDisclose (integrated conflict of interest management system). You will see a note and more information about the implementation of these systems in this newsletter. You will also read about our work to identify needs to streamline our comprehensive grants/contracts management system this fiscal year.

3) Increase engagement and partnership between Emory’s researchers and our research administration teams. We understand that upholding a vibrant and progressive research enterprise requires constant engagement and advice from the faculty being served. In 2020, our office launched a Faculty Advisory Board (FAB). The establishment of the Research Administration Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) was to ensure that Emory achieves continued quality and process improvement in Emory’s research environment.  Specifically, the FAB works with the Office of Research Administration (ORA) to provide an effective and efficient research organization to achieve Emory’s goal of excellence in research. The FAB brings faculty researchers together with key staff to address the needs and opportunities across all areas of ORA. Please click here read more about our Faculty Board.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Edwin Bemmel to our team as the Associate Vice President for Research Grants and Contracts. He will begin his tenure at Emory on October 3rd and will work with the team and units on enhancing our award close out policies and processes and FSR activities that you will also read more about in this newsletter. Our executive team is committed to providing exceptional service to the Emory research community and we believe that he will be an asset to our enterprise.

The new academic year always represents an exciting time to further our mission of providing exemplary, topnotch service to faculty. In October, we will hold our next tri-annual meeting. This is one of three times per year when ORA leaders connect with the leadership from schools, units, departments, and faculty while sharing ORA updates as well as learning about research priorities and activities within the units. As we continue to grow and serve as a research enterprise, it is our hope that this will be our best year ever! I must say, we are already off to a great start!

As always, thank you all for your ongoing commitment as we partner to move our research enterprise forward.

To a great new academic year,

Robert Nobles, DrPH, MPH, CIP
Vice President for Research Administration

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