Living in New England means living
with perpetual change. We glide our toes back into snow boots (always too
soon) and our seasons melt from one into another – baseball, football,
basketball, hockey...and then back again. NCURA is similar; we’ve grown
accustomed to our various annual gatherings and, personally and professionally,
As NCURA members, 2014 marks the
beginning of another very busy and exciting NCURA year including some
first-time-ever’s, some very special events, and of course the long-awaited
change to research administration in the form of OMB Circular A-81, otherwise
referred to as the Omni-circular, the Uni-circular, or my favorite, “the
Circular to end all Circulars.”
Just in case you haven’t been living
on the edge with the Office of Management and Budget’s Proposed Guidance, it
brings the most significant changes to research administration that any of us
have seen by streamlining eight of the circulars that currently direct, and
frequently mystify, us. OMB’s intent is that this Proposed Uniform Guidance
“increase the efficiency and effectiveness of grant programs by eliminating
unnecessary and duplicative requirements and strengthen the oversight of grant
dollars by focusing on areas such as eligibility, monitoring of sub-recipients,
adequate reporting, and other areas that are potential indices of waste, fraud
or abuse.” The efforts of many NCURA members have been invested in developing
the clarity we’ve desired. I write this from “the edge” as the final product
has not yet been delivered. However NCURA has been at the ready with plans to
address the imminent final document and historic occasion. After all
these years, one comprehensive streamlined policy guide sounds like a great
change to me.
In March, we’re headed to the west
coast for Financial Research Administration Conference (FRA) and Pre-Award Research
Administration Conference (PRA). San
Francisco is an excellent location for these meetings and, as I understand, St.
Patrick’s Day is celebrated all across the city. The FRA Conference theme is
“The Practical and the Possible.” This excellent program, co-chaired by Dave
Lynch and Lisa Mosely, responds to challenges of post-award across multiple
levels and tracks. Directly following FRA
will be the PRA Conference held during March 18-20. As Co-Chairs, Tricia
Callahan and Mary Louise Healy have developed a fantastic program based on
their theme, “New Connections, New Horizons & New Skills.”
International members representing NCURA’s
Region VIII will be gathering for their first-ever regional meeting in
Washington, DC! This meeting, entitled “GOING GLOBAL: Fostering Innovation and Strengthening
Synergies,” will be held on April 9th with keynote speaker Dr.
Graham Harrison of the Office of International and Integrative Activities at
the National Science Foundation. The
enthusiasm for this meeting is palpable with energy and ideas coming from all
over the world.
Just as international research at
our institutions has been growing rapidly, NCURA’s global presence and
participation continues to develop. On April 10 – 13, 2014,
the fifth biennial International Network of Research Management Societies
(INORMS) Congress will be held in Washington, DC at the Washington Hilton.
The theme of the Congress is “Enabling the Global Research Enterprise from
Policy to Practice.” There will be three primary tracks: Policy,
Practice, and Performance and participants will include senior
university administrators and researchers, government policy-makers and senior
managers from the national and international funding agencies. This conference
is aimed at the senior members of the global research and innovation community.
This is the first time that
the Congress has been held in North America and is being hosted by NCURA,
CAURA, and SRA. We are so fortunate and proud to have NCURA past-president Dave
Richardson serving as INORMS co-chair.
And speaking of change.....2014 will
be NCURA’s 56th Annual Meeting and now the second one of this new tradition to be held in August. As you recall, planning future November
meeting dates in Washington, DC for thousands of attendees would no longer be
financially viable as it was not possible to assume our institutions would be
able to absorb the significant increase in costs. Through all practical analysis, it was a
“no-brainer.” But, would it harm our tradition, our habit to juggle Halloween,
vote by absentee ballot, gamble on early autumn being kind and pleasant weather?
And those deadlines – we were somehow even busier each
November and our budgets for travel were getting tighter. It all made
sense but…. who knew it would go so well?!! President-elect Michelle Vazin
and her team are well on their way in planning AM56 and it already looks great!
This change addressed our membership’s primary concern for sustaining
the ability to attend the Annual Meeting as well as “send new folks” not to be
hampered by prohibitive hotel costs.
The future is big and bright for
NCURA and our agility and willingness to grow beyond our institutions, regions,
and borders, defines us. The coming year brings opportunities for us to greet
historic regulatory changes and experience new global collaborations –