EARDA is designed to stimulate the building of research infrastructure and development, and to facilitate a sustainable capacity in research administration at institutions with limited resources for implementing fundable biomedical and behavioral research.
To strengthen research administration infrastructure at minority-serving and women's institutions, the EARDA Program trains the EAS to: 1) be leaders for research administration at their institutions; 2) help colleges acquire trained sponsored research staff and establish the infrastructure for grants acquisition and management; 3) identify best practices and encourage the MSI to institutionalize sponsored research practices; 4) establish a process for evaluating capacity development in research administration; and 5) encourage student participation in faculty research.
The goals of the EARDA program and the EA's implementation plan were shared to gain feedback and foster the support of these key stakeholders and campus leaders.
A series of seminars were offered, including one entitled, "What can the Office of Sponsored Research do for you?" Here, the EA introduced faculty to the functions of the new office and the EARDA implementation plan.
Thus, in its first year, the EARDA award helped stimulate a new, visible research support system at this MSI, and initiated conversation among faculty in conducting research at this teaching institution.
However, the availability of EARDA pilot research seed money to assist faculty in starting their research programs helped motivate some to make their first forays into grant writing.
The EARDA award includes funding to establish a Faculty Pilot Research Award competition, with small grants that faculty could apply for to jump-start their research programs, typically during the summer months, when teaching loads are reduced.
One of the most interesting challenges in the first year of the EARDA was managing unrealistic faculty expectations about grants and funding.
The EARDA program research development plan emphasized pursuit of funding that best matched existing faculty expertise and talent with current funding trends and climate.
The first year of EARDA support for this MSI was an interesting one, both in terms of the EA assuming the role of a change agent to advance the research culture of a teaching university, and in managing the many unanticipated impacts of stimulating more research and external funding proposals.