The Office of Research Administration (ORA) Announces the Launch of the Office of Research Administration Optimization (ORAO) to Advance Research Services and Support

Author: Lisa Wilson, Interim Asst. VP for Research and Senior Director for the Office of Strategic Operations and Training

The Office of Research Administration (ORA) proudly announces the establishment of the Office of Research Administration Optimization (ORA-O), an innovative approach aimed at enhancing research services and support, officially launched on October 1, 2023.

The Office of Research Administration (ORA) is pleased to introduce the Office of Research Administration Optimization (ORAO) as a new, dedicated business unit within ORA. This innovative initiative is designed to elevate research services and support and was officially launched on October 1, 2023. Conceptualized and established under the visionary leadership of Dr. Robert Nobles, Vice President for Research Administration, and led by Lisa Wilson, Interim Assistant Vice President for Research and Senior Director for the Office of Strategic Operations and Training, ORAO represents a significant advancement in streamlining research administration across the university.

ORAO’s Core Mission 

The office’s primary goal is to streamline operational support for both central and non-central pre- and post-award administrators, thereby enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of research administration across Emory’s schools and centers. By aligning these key components of the research support structure, ORAO aims to create a more cohesive and responsive environment conducive to the evolving needs of the university’s diverse research community. Specifically, ORAO’s core mission is to bridge the gaps in research support between ORA and Schools and Centers.

Services and Support Offered by ORAO 

ORAO offers a comprehensive range of services and support to enhance research administration. These services include strategic planning for research project administration, analyzing staffing requirements for resource optimization, improving communication channels to enhance transparency and efficiency, streamlining administrative procedures, offering customized professional development programs for research administrators, and utilizing advanced data analytics to continually improve services. Additionally, ORAO aims to expand community engagement through research-focused events. ORA-O is committed to constantly enhancing support services to serve its customers better.

Specific services, support, and benefits include:

  • Strategic Planning and Guidance: Developing comprehensive research project lifecycle management strategies.
  • Departmental Assistance: Collaborating with departments to synchronize and improve research administration activities.
  • Staffing Analysis for Pre-Award and Post-Award Functions: Conducting resource allocation analyses to optimize staffing related to research administration and post-award activities.
  • Professional Development: Providing OneORA orientation, onboarding, professional development, and unit-specific research administration training.
  • Data Analytics and Evaluation: Utilizing data to continuously improve processes and practices.
  • Interdepartmental Communication and Coordination: Facilitating effective communication and resource coordination between departments and university stakeholders.
  • Process and Procedure Development: Establishing research administration procedure standards.
  • Quality Improvement: Building synergies for streamlined processes and optimal system integration.
  • Interdepartmental Collaboration: Facilitating communication and resource coordination between departments.
  • Community Engagement: Fostering a collaborative research environment and promoting professional development through innovative initiatives and events like Research Week, Spring Training, and the Dragon Awards.

Visionary Leadership for a Transformative Impact 

Under the guidance of Lisa Wilson, ORAO is poised to build upon the foundation, complement and extend ORA’s services, and enhance the efficiency and transparency within Emory University’s research administration—the accompanying organizational charter provides a comprehensive view of ORA’s organizational structure, including the new business unit.

ORA invites the research community to engage with ORAO’s transformative journey toward a more streamlined and supportive research environment. This initiative underscores Emory’s and the Office of Research’s dedication to advancing research excellence and operational innovation campus-wide.

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