Office of Research Administration to Explore Operations with Cutting-edge Generative AI and ChatGPT-like Integration


Photo by Mojahid Mottakin on Unsplash

Author: Lisa Wilson, Sr. Director, SOT

The Office of Research Administration is partnering with students from the Goizueta Business School on a groundbreaking project that will explore academic research administration. Leveraging the capabilities of Generative Artificial Intelligence (genAI) and advanced language models like ChatGPT, the project aims to create a proof-of-concept Large Language Model (LLM) and Chatbot specifically designed to empower research administrators, streamline the onboarding process for new staff, optimize operational workflows, and enhance support for principal investigators. Though still in its early stages, the initiative offers significant potential for positively impacting the research community.  

Collaborative Approach  

ORA’s Senior Director of Strategic Operations and Training (SOT), Lisa Wilson, and the SOT project management team, in collaboration with Benn Konsynski, Professor at the Goizueta Business School and Student of Benn (SOB), spearhead this initiative. The project aligns with the strategic objectives of the AI Tools Work Group and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), creating a collaborative ecosystem geared towards technological advancement and operational excellence.  

Graduate and undergraduate students in Professor Konsynski’s Appcology: New Commerce Infrastructure Systems course are the cornerstone of this effort, designing the proof-of-concept LLM and Chatbot. This academic-practical approach allows fresh perspectives and fosters a dynamic experiential learning environment for the students. The AI Tools Work Group, which includes members from diverse business units and disciplines, is formulating university-wide guidelines for AI technologies that the Chatbot will follow. OIT is monitoring to ascertain the technical feasibility of integrating the model into the existing IT landscape. The SOT project management team is developing and managing the project’s implementation plan, aiming for efficient and timely rollout and ensuring the model stays at the forefront of ethical and practical AI use.  

Early Stage: Tools for Research Administrators and Anticipated Benefits  

The initial focus is to develop tools that directly assist research administrators in performing daily tasks that support proposal development and award management. A few of the tools and the anticipated benefits include:  

  • Automated Training Content Creation:  The ORA Chatbot can generate a variety of training materials based on preset guidelines, saving time and resources for the research training team.  
  • Interactive Knowledge Sharing:  ORA Chatbot will serve as a 24/7 interactive FAQ resource for training, providing accurate, consistent, and instantaneous responses to task-related questions, freeing up supervisors and trainers for more nuanced educational activities.  

  • Productivity & Operations: The genAI feature can quickly develop or update Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manuals, workflow diagrams, and job aids, enhancing operational efficiency and boosting productivity. 
  • PI Support: The genAI and Chatbot will allow our research administrators to prioritize complex tasks while providing prompt and accurate support for our research community.   

Key Project Milestones  

  • Build the ORA tailored proof-of-concept, beta test, and memo the model in Q1.  
  •  Deliver staff hands-on training on this emerging technology and the model’s utility in Q2.  
  • Refine and expand functionality in Q3. 
  • Build a faculty-focused proof-of-concept in Q4.  

The early-stage initiative promises a transformative impact on research administration operations. The planned, phased approach aims to initially benefit research administrators before expanding to serve faculty needs like repurposing proposals, identifying non-compliance in grant applications, or writing award-closeout reports. Active involvement from the ORA Chatbot Proof-of-Concept project management team and other key collaborators marks the beginning of a new chapter in academic research administration. If you’re interested in contributing to this endeavor as a Subject Matter Expert or beta tester, or if you have any questions or suggestions, we welcome your input. Contact Lisa Wilson at

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