Message from the Provost: Sponsored Programs
In January, the Operational Excellence Program launched the Sponsored Programs Initiative to
design a university-wide approach to support externally funded research. One goal
of the initiative is to provide effective and consistently high levels of service
to faculty in connection with funded research. Over the last 10 months, the team reviewed
technology, processes, and resources across the pre- and post-award management spectrum
and have given CFO David Heimburger and me several options.
One of our principal recommendations, approved by Dr. Pestello, is a significant shift
in organizational support for research administration that brings together key staff
into three Grant Operation (GO) Centers, combining central and departmental functions.
The design puts the key staff persons a faculty member needs to apply for and manage
grants in a single team. The GO Centers will submit applications with fewer steps
and better communication and make it faster and easier to receive and manage awards.
The initiative team worked hard to ensure that this reorganization provides better
support to all faculty at Saint Louis University and new career opportunities for
The GO Centers will be launched in phases. Staff members for the first GO Center were
notified today, and their new assignments will be effective December 1, 2017. There
are no position eliminations associated with the creation of the GO Center; and the
thoughtful design has assured no incremental cost to the University, an important
attribute given our commitment to achieve a balanced budget this year.
This first GO Center team will serve pre- and post-award needs of faculty from Arts
and Sciences, Nursing, Doisy, Public Health and Social Justice, Education, Parks,
Libraries and other academic units. I believe the GO Centers will be an important
contributor to growth in funded research. The launch dates for the remaining two GO
Centers, which will focus on biomedical funding, are being coordinated with the School of Medicine TEAM Project.
Any level of change creates some disruption to our normal ways of operating, but I
am confident that the initiative team has sought to minimize these disruptions to
the best of their ability. They have developed a detailed implementation plan. Over
the next several weeks, Alexis Bruce-Staudt, named Interim Executive Director of the
new GO Center and Matthew Christian, Associate Vice President for Research, will be
available to meet with departments and schools and to discuss the type of grant support
that the GO Center will perform and how the GO Center will support the unit moving
I am grateful to deans and many department chairs who have worked closely with the
Sponsored Programs Initiative to identify and transition our talented staff who are
joining the new GO Center. I am confident that the GO Centers will enhance the work
of our remarkable faculty by receiving grants and contracts that advance scholarship,
engage students in experiential learning, and provide service to our region and world.
Based on the work of the Sponsored Programs Initiative team, two key actions were
also recommended to CFO Heimburger and me as co-sponsors of the Operational Excellence
program. Both were fully supported by Dr. Pestello: replacing the data systems that
govern research (eRS, eIRB and others) with a more efficient and user-friendly system
and streamlining the submission process, requiring fewer steps and fewer approvals.
Those changes will be fully implemented by the end of this academic year. Look for
more information in the months ahead from the Office of the Vice President for Research.
The thoughtful work of the Sponsored Programs Initiative team deserves our community’s
gratitude. Through strong collaboration, the team identified a number of solutions
for supporting the research goals of faculty across the university, including the
ones described in this message today. A listing of the initiative team is presented
below. I am further grateful for the for the ongoing work of those staff members who
work every day to support faculty and students, ensuring that SLU is one of the leading
Jesuit research universities.
Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.
- Enrico DiCera, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (sponsor)
- Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate education and research, professor of civil engineering,
Parks College (sponsor)
- Matthew Christian, associate vice president, Office of Vice President for Research (manager)
- Blythe A. Burkhardt, J.D., associate general counsel
- Thomas Burris, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology
- Lorri Glover, Ph.D., Bannon Endowed Chair of History and co-chair, Faculty Senate Advisory Committee
on Research and Scholarship
- Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., Adorjan Endowed Chair in Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology
and director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology, Departments
of Internal Medicine and Molecular Microbiology
- Scott Martin, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Chemistry
- Stephen Schmidt, director, Department of Internal Medicine
- Alexis Bruce-Staudt, M.S.W., director of research services, College for Public Health and Social Justice