Six Things to Know About Project GATeWAY
- We completed an assessment of our research administration functions last year to inform UK on recommendations to improve operations and service to faculty and position UK for growth in the research enterprise.
- Based on this assessment, UK formed a plan to address three opportunities: Structure, Collaboratives, and Technology. These opportunities align to three of the University’s strategic objectives: taking are of our people, inspiring ingenuity, and ensuring greater trust, transparency, and accountability.
- We launched the Design Phase in February 2023 with Deloitte for a 14-month project. Based on the plan, some activities were launched prior to February. Enhancements and continued improvement activities will also continue beyond this period.
- We are investing heavily in UK’s grants administrators through the development of career-paths, alignment of appropriate job titles and salary to match career progression, and training (through an entire learning strategy). All of this in an effort to support our administrators and create better work-life balance.
- We are involving nearly 100 stakeholders from across the UK research enterprise in the review and design process, including representatives that provide strong project governance.
- Communication is critical and is an on-going piece of a successful project – and we will continue to keep that going even when we don’t know all the answers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who will I be reporting to?
The Collaboratives organization will be overseen by Executive Director Susan Stark, and each hub will have its own supervisory structure; however, research administrators with the Collaboratives will still maintain close relationships with Associate Deans of Research and the Business Offices they serve. You can find a visual of the organizational structure here.
How will my responsibilities change?
Determining whether someone's responsibilities will change is dependent on a variety of factors, including the role someone is currently in and the role they are transitioning into. Thus, we do not yet know the extent to which each individual's role will change; however, all Collaboratives staff will be provided the appropriate resources and training to manage their responsibilities in the Collaboratives.
Will I be responsible for the same researchers I support today?
We understand that the relationships among research administrators and faculty are important. To the extent possible, we aim to keep current research administrators affiliated with and supporting the same faculty members they do today.
Will I have to reapply for my job?
We are adamant about taking care of our people, and we want to honor your previous experience and commitment to the University. We aim to structure the Collaboratives in such a way that will allow for a relatively seamless transition.
UK's HR policy will require current staff to complete an application for a position in the Collaboratives at their current grade level; however, all current staff will remain employed by the University, as there are sufficient positions available for all existing staff who have been identified as moving to the Collaboratives. The application is a formal HR policy used to capture the most up-to-date education and experience information to be used for salary equity. Current staff can limit responses to narrative questions on the application and will not be interviewed for positions at their current grade level. Find a visual of the application steps here.
What if I don’t meet the qualifications for the job responsibilities for the Collaboratives positions?
There will be a variety of career pathways and different roles within each pathway. We desire to foster balance and career progression for all grants administration staff, including those who may be doing different work in our new organizational structure. We aim to build job responsibilities around the current skillsets of our people, as well as plan to implement training and upskilling efforts to prepare our people for their new roles and responsibilities. We will support our staff by providing growth and career opportunities that serve both the individual and the university.
How will the Collaboratives work with the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) and Research Financial Services (RFS)?
The purpose of the Collaboratives is to provide flexible and customized services for the unique needs of given units, all while streamlining and simplifying processes. For example, while there will be new supervisory pathways in the Collaboratives, oversight and approval of grants will remain the same, with the assigned research administrator supporting the development of grant proposals. Our goal is not to create inefficiencies in these processes but to streamline and standardize across the colleges.
Will the institution have more than one Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) responsible for proposal submission and award acceptance?
No, the role of the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) will continue to be managed via OSPA through the role of the Associate Vice President for Research as it is today. This is a central office function and will remain so.
Will I get a preference in my new job placement?
The new Collaboratives organization will be built on providing career growth over time so employees will have the opportunity to learn and expand their skills. This may require staff to be in positions in which they need to learn new ways of doing things. However, staff will also be placed in roles that leadership believes are best suited for their skills, experience, and education. The leadership team will also consider staff members’ preferences for new roles to the extent possible. Staff preferences were collected via an expression of interest survey in August.
Our research administrators often feel overburdened with workloads. How will this be managed?
The new Collaboratives organization is committed to adding new staff members to support both the current volume of research and allow room for growth. We are currently receiving applications for all regular staff positions in the Collaboratives.
How will proposals that are already being worked on be handled as we transition to the Collaboratives?
The work of research administration will not stop or be paused as changes associated with Project GATeWAY are implemented. To the extent possible, we expect to maintain existing positive relationships between research administrators and faculty. This would include supporting the continuity of work and, whenever possible, the staff who are doing it on a proposal that is already underway. Transition to the Collaborative structure should not put any proposal submission at risk.
Will I be demoted to a lower pay grade?
Staff will not be demoted to a lower pay grade or salary. The pay grade will either stay the same or be increased.
I like working in my department and have concerns about potentially leaving. What should I do?
As always, if you have questions or concerns about potential changes related to Project Gateway, please contact the Project GATeWAY team to discuss. You can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I physically move spaces?
Since one of the key goals is to maintain relationships that current staff have with the investigators they support, we will look to continue office arrangements based on current college-level preferences and space availability. As most are likely aware, there is not one large enough space on campus where the entire CGS staff could be housed all adjacent to one another. We do, however, want to be sensitive to investigator needs and the realization of limited office availability on campus.
If I’m not longer in my college/department, will I have to get all new equipment? If so, what will it be?
The GATeWAY team has been working with Research IT to plan for equipment needs and to minimize disruption. Some staff will be able to keep their equipment, while others will likely have to get new/different equipment. We must ensure that if staff keep the current equipment they are using, that inventory is updated accordingly, as needed. All staff will have the equipment they need to do their work successfully. You will receive communication about equipment as it pertains to you.
If I currently have a remote/hybrid work arrangement, will that be honored, or will I have to complete a new request?
It is expected that if you have a current remote/hybrid work arrangement, it will be honored as part of your transition to the Collaboratives. However, a new request form will likely be needed to formally establish an agreement since you will be in a new position in a new unit. Positions have all been posted as hybrid eligible, but we expect many will be fully remote, in line with the arrangements that many of the current staff doing this work have already established. Certain leadership positions will have an expected hybrid arrangement.