The idea of fitting an in depth overview of everything Research Administrators do into a 2 year training program is daunting. Most of us only see one or two sides of research administration and our knowledge of other departments come from conferences, email blasts and seeing finished products. When JHU set out to create curriculum for the research administration trainee program they broke down everything into 3 main sections, Divisional Research Administration, Department, and Sponsored Projects Shared Services (SPSS).
Since our ORA and Finance office are separate we split a 6 month rotation with them, which means we only get a RAT Packer for 3 months instead of a full 6. In that 3 months the ORA is expected to go over proposal review and submission, subawards, contract negotiations, non-funded agreements, our model agreements, outgoing subawards, notice of awards, changes to workflow and processes and compliance to start. That’s a lot of information to cover with a single person in a short amount of time. These processes are split amongst many people in our office, so we arrange for the RAT Packers to get a calendar of what processes they will be learning when. It’s fast and furious for everyone.
The curriculum for departments focuses on pre-award proposal development and submissions, grant management, and financial transactions. RAT Packers do 2 different 6 month rotations in 2 different departments. It allows them to see the different ways that departments handle the same processes and understand the different types of research that is being done in our school.
Sponsored Projects Shared Services (SPSS) has a curriculum which includes grant set up, invoicing, revenue, reporting and transfers. RAT Packers are taught how to use SAP and the nuances of such a large system.
Still interested in the RAT Pack? Stay tuned for our next post by a former RAT Packer!