Changes in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research

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Changes in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research

To: Campus Community


Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President for Research

Subject: Changes in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research

Date: October 6, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to be a part of the University of Arizona and to have the opportunity to work with the remarkable faculty and staff who make up this institution. 

Since my arrival at the beginning of the summer, I have been familiarizing myself with our campus, meeting colleagues, and getting to know the activities of many units.  After meeting with a number of you and beginning to assess our approach to supporting research activities on our campus, the following changes are being implemented at this time.

First, my focus in serving as the Senior Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona is on advancing transformative excellence in research across our campus, which encompasses the boundless discovery of new knowledge by scholars of all disciplines. To better reflect this focus, the office has been renamed the Office for Research & Discovery.

Second, this past year, the Associate Vice President for Research Compliance & Policy position has been vacant. Repeated searches did not result in an appropriate hire. Furthermore, although we all recognize our shared responsibilities to conduct research in a manner that comports with our federal and state regulations, some of the feedback I have received from researchers thus far is that the Office has been too focused on compliance matters. In reviewing the job description and considering the broad scope of responsibilities overseeing all of our research compliance programs and this feedback, this position will be eliminated and the job responsibilities are being redistributed to other staff positions with the goal to increase the problem solving orientation around commonalities across research administration programs. Thus, research administration programs that serve inter-related faculty activities will be grouped to report to a common service to promote adaptive, integrated solutions-oriented assistance to our campus researchers in order to facilitate the mission of individual programs in ensuring our research activities comport with our obligations. The research administration services are described briefly below and the group of reporting individual programs bulleted beneath. All services-level Directors report to an Associate Vice President for Research.

Our prototype service level unit, Sponsored Project Services (Director, Sherry Esham), remains unchanged.

    - Pre-award Program (Lori Schultz), Post-Award Program (Paul Sandoval), Compliance, Property & Reporting (Jing Liu)

Research Partnership Services (Sr. Director, Gary Esham) brings together those programs with interactions with business and other entities or external interests, and the unique obligations that can come with this work.

    - Contract & Research Support Program (Lew Barbieri), Export Controls Program (Kay Ellis), Conflict of Interest Program (Victoria Tugade)

Human & Clinical Research Compliance Services (director to be hired) enables synergies among programs to facilitate expanded activities in clinical research at sites across the state.

    - Human Subjects Protection Program (Mariette Marsh), HIPAA Privacy Program (Andrew Mahler)

The Radiation, Chemical, and Biosafety programs already share a common service focus.  The office will be renamed Research Laboratory & Safety Services (Sr. Director, Dan Silvain) reflecting the continued opportunity for shared support and service to laboratory based research.

    - Radiation Safety Program (Keith Carsten), Chemical Safety Program (Richard Wagner), Biosafety Program (Crystal Cardoza).

Research Development Services (Director, Ann McGuigan) is a new service unit created to support researchers in turning their ideas into successful proposals via assistance in finding funding opportunities, identifying expertise and collaborators, programs to enhance competitiveness, and proposal preparation.

The IACUC program (Helen Jost) will be re-integrated with University Animal Care, led by our Attending Veterinarian, Dave Besselsen. On one hand, there are strong commonalities among the IACUC program and the other research compliance programs under Research Laboratory & Safety services, as there is a high degree of overlap in researchers whose activities pertain to these units. On the other hand, new opportunities in translational medicine promotes the seamless movement from pre-clinical to clinical research, with synergies to be realized among the IACUC and compliance programs under Human & Clinical Research Services. Finally, many public research universities have an integrated structure where the IACUC program reports to the Attending Veterinarian, reflecting the shared focus on animal-related activities. As our new research services structure takes shape, we will seek community input as we continue to evaluate the utility of the organizational structure generally, and will revisit the IACUC program specifically.

Although these changes are not monumental, they symbolize and reinforce the overarching service mission of the Office for Research & Discovery to our campus researchers. As a reminder, information on the assistance these programs provide our researchers can be found on the Gateway to Research Services.

We welcome your feedback as these changes unfold – and wish you best success in your research endeavors this semester.


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