Message from VPRA, Dr. Robert Nobles (March 2024)

Greetings and welcome to Spring! As many of you are returning or anticipating a Spring break, I hope that the time you take allows you to rest, reflect and rejuvenate for a strong finish to the academic year. As I look at your phenomenal efforts and the progress we’ve made as an institution in research awards to date, I am excited to share that each month we have surpassed where we were this time last year and are heading for another record-breaking year! Emory has experienced close to 50% growth in the past five years, which is a testament to your innovation and the collaboration amongst administrators to support research successes. I’ve attached a link to the latest data on awards and proposals and hope that you are as proud as I am of the growth of our research enterprise at Emory.  

With the growth that we are experiencing, our offices have been busy identifying ways to increase efficiency and improve our services and support to the institution. We were able to pinpoint a few strategies that we believe will help drive research administration success and maintain the stellar services we strive to provide to you and your colleagues. I am proud to share that:  

  • Our Office of Technology Transfer has developed a new policy for managing low-risk DUAs. This policy allows Emory PIs and their research team control of executing most out-going data use agreements. We believe that this new process will streamline and expedite processing times for low risk data use agreements (DUAs), which accounts for more than 30% of the DUAs received by OTT.  
  • We are prioritizing efforts to optimize post award administration. We have several initiatives underway to optimize and strengthen our post award services.  We are redeploying resources to the Research Grants and Contracts (RGC) office to enhance our post-award transparency with faculty, including compliance with interim and final close out reports. This office closely with research administrators within schools/units to create greater efficiency and accuracy of information reported to researchers.   
  • We are continuing to prioritize improving our processes.  Our Dragon Team has led over 70 quality and process improvement initiatives to ensure that we are working efficiently and effectively. The current focus is on high impact activities around setting up awards, award notifications, and post award process clarity. 
  • Our Research Compliance and Regulatory Affairs office is working to minimize administrative burden for faculty. Our Compliance Team is working diligently to support researcher’s adherence to new and existing regulations. An article is included in this newsletter detailing research compliance policies and burden reducing activities.  
  • The Environmental Health and Safety office has partnered with Dr. Javier Valle and Occupational Health Services. The goal is to provide a holistic approach to improving the health and safety of Emory’s community. An article detailing the role of OHS within our EHS office is provided below. 

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and partnership as we move our research enterprise forward. I encourage you to share your feedback and engage with us as we continue to strengthen our infrastructure for research success here at Emory. 

Yours in partnership,  

Dr. Robert Nobles 

Robert Nobles, DrPH, MPH, CIP 

Vice President for Research Administration 

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