LevelUP Program

LevelUP logo


The University of Arizona is pleased to partner with the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International in offering the LevelUP program to Research Administrators and associated roles throughout the university.

 

The LevelUP program consists of training modules that are approximately 2 to 5 hours in duration on relevant topics in research administration through the lifecycle of a sponsored award. From proposal development and pre-award administration to post-award finance and regulatory compliance, the LevelUP curriculum can be used to onboard and orient new employees, provide existing employees with a better foundation in research administration, or help fulfill requirements to maintain professional certification. 

The University of Arizona is an Unlimited Institutional Partner, which means there is no cost associated with your participation as a University of Arizona employee. You may take as many of the available modules as you wish, at no cost to you or your department. For each module completed, you earn a micro-credential and a digital badge. These digital badges can be publicly displayed on your signature line, LinkedIn provide, and other social media outlets for easy viewing by your professional community and organization.

If you wish to participate, you will first need an SRA International account.

  • If you have never had an SRA International account before, you will need to create a new visitor registration at https://netforumpro.com/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=SRA&WebCode=Verify using either your @email.arizona.edu or @arizona.edu email address. Once you have created your guest account, please email shana@arizona.edu with the email address variation you used, and you will be issued the program invitation link and internal UserGuide.
  • If you are an SRA International member or have been one in the past, please do not create a new guest account. Please email shana@arizona.edu with the email address your account is associated with, and you will be issued the program invitation link and internal UserGuide.

Research administrators come to this profession from a variety of educational backgrounds and professional experiences. You may have come to it accidentally or by design, through academic channels or administrative ones, while looking for a challenge or to pursue a passion. You may work in a variety of organizations from a university who receives funding to a mission-driven nonprofit who sponsors research. Whatever your path and now role is as a research administrator, you are probably awed by the expanse of the research enterprise. The number of awards, the variety of sponsors, and the sheer amount of money available can be staggering. This module lays an initial foundation to research administration while providing context and a framework from which to build your professional skills.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the goals and the research administrator's role in the research enterprise.
  • Explain how the federal government supports sponsored research projects through its agencies.
  • Differentiate the type of sponsors and the funding instruments used.
  • Recognize the types of recipient organizations who receive sponsored research projects.
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of key players in the research enterprise.

CEU: 3.0 hours

The current research funding environment is highly competitive given the limited resources from funding agencies. This increases the demands on Principal investigators (PIs) who must often submit multiple proposals in order for a successful funding outcome. PIs must balance this increasing demand while also teaching, conducting research, mentoring trainees, and serving their institutions. To assist PIs and strengthen the research enterprise, research administrators provide multiple support mechanisms such as research development programming and resources.

This module presents the administrative and functional aspects of working with groups of investigators as well as individual PIs. There is also specific advice on searching for funding opportunities and matching those options to the right investigator.

After completing this module, you will have a clear understanding of the need for research development programs in an institution and, more importantly, an organized reference of tools and advice for implementing a targeted and efficient program for your investigators.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Create tools to identify and address critical gaps in the capabilities of institutions and individual applicants.
  • Assess which RDP activities are most appropriate for your institution’s needs and priorities.
  • Search, discover, and disseminate solicitations that align with investigator’s and team’s strengths.
  • Contribute to the development of a limited submissions selection process that benefits your institution.

CEU: 3.75 hours

Once a funding opportunity is identified, the time-consuming task of preparing a competitive grant proposal begins. Research administrators support Principal Investigators (PIs) through grantsmanship programs focusing on time management, matching PIs to their best opportunity, and forming a deep understanding of sponsors and their application. Knowing the differences between major proposal types and their intended outcomes is necessary for becoming an effective research administrator. It is your role to instruct PIs on grantsmanship skills and provide tools and resources for them to avoid common mistakes. In this highly competitive landscape, this module can give you the tools to make the difference between winning an award or not.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the general format, differences between, and the unique elements of each proposal type.
  • Advise a principal investigator (PI) on sponsor trends, requirements, and opportunities; grantsmanship style and resources; and project management parameters.
  • Apply the review process to any proposal.

CEU: 4.5 hours

During the pre-award phase of the sponsored project lifecycle, the primary goal of the research administrator and the entire proposal team is to ensure the very best possible proposal is submitted to the sponsor. This can be a challenge for even experienced research administrators because of competing deadlines, multiple budget revisions, and onerous regulations and policies. The ultimate reward for the team’s dedication, attention to detail, and persistence in solving problems is the institution being granted the award. In this ultra-competitive environment though, pre-award processes, procedures, and policies must be clearly defined and communicated to the entire team. This module will assist you in preparing for your key roles and responsibilities during the pre-award phase.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the roles of key personnel and the organizational structures used in research administration.
  • Distinguish funding mechanisms.
  • Recognize the research administrator's role in creating a strong proposal.
  • Summarize the role of the research administrator in financial and regulatory compliance issues.
  • Identify the purpose of eRA software.
  • Apply regulations and sponsor guidelines to aspects of budget development.
  • Describe key roles and responsibilities during the final review and submission phase.

CEU: 4.5 hours

Well done! The project has been awarded to your institution, launching the project into the post-award phase. Before your institution accepts this award, though the terms and conditions of the award need to be negotiated. The negotiation of the award depends largely upon the sponsor and the awarded funding mechanism as well as your institution’s culture and policies. This module focuses on defining the common agreement types and standard terms and conditions that may be problematic to your organization. It also presents strategies to solve these problems and ensure compliance. We end the module with a discussion of administering the agreement from award set-up to closeout.

After completing this module, you will be able to: 

  • Conduct a grant or contract review noting areas of potential issues.
  • Differentiate common legal agreements in terms of confidentiality agreements, budgeting, and key contract elements.
  • Define the purpose of common contract clauses including indemnification, publication rights, and intellectual property.
  • Recognize the key research offices and key personnel involved in award negotiation and set-up.
  • Describe how some clauses can adversely impact the institution or work performance.
  • Explain policies and procedures related to administering agreements.

CEU: 4.5 hours

Receiving an award is one of the most exciting steps in the research administration life cycle. Full of anticipation, energy and ripe with limitless possibilities, a new project kicking off can create enthusiasm and generate a sense of aligned purpose within the entire research team including a wide array of support offices. In many ways, financial administration and financial oversight of awards are what facilitate the important discoveries waiting to be unveiled. This module will build the foundation necessary to understand the post-award research administration lifecycle, the core responsibilities for managing research finance, and tips and approaches that will increase productivity and improve accuracy.

Key areas covered in this module include:

  • Receiving and establishing an award
  • Award management
    • Expenditure review and monitoring
    • Subrecipient Monitoring
    • Sponsor invoicing and LOC draws
  • Financial Reporting
    • Regular federal reports (Quarterly Cash Transaction Reports, Annual Expenditure Data Reports)
    • Reporting of income generated by award activities
    • Final financial reporting and award closeout
  • Introduction to external audits

CEU: 4.5 hours

The Research Compliance Frameworks module is designed to serve as a primer on the various compliance elements that help support effective grants management. Research compliance spans a wide range of complex subtopics making it difficult for most research administrators to gain mastery in any specific topic. Often grants administrators are not familiar with these compliance areas, and if they are, could benefit from a deeper understanding in order to help fulfill their responsibilities. This module will build the foundation necessary to understand research compliance and hopefully lead to increased job proficiency, effectiveness, and success for learners.

This module will:

  • Introduce learners to the compliance areas most commonly embedded in grants management.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the key principles of research compliance in grants management and grants congruency.
  • Emphasize the importance of these compliance areas for protecting participants, organizations, and the larger community.
  • Explore how adherence to these compliance touchpoints help contribute to an institutional culture of research integrity and sound financial stewardship.
  • Develop a foundation in institutional policies and procedures regarding research compliance and foster effective communication to institutional stakeholders.

CEU: 3.5 hours

Clinical research management is a dynamic profession requiring coordination with multiple departments, institutional offices, and investigator teams. Effective research administrators need a deep understanding of clinical research management to be effective in successfully executing their role in the process. This module explores the management and administration of clinical research from study initiation to contract close-out, with an extensive focus on regulatory responsibilities, budgeting and finance, and project management. The emphasis throughout the module is placed on the importance of protecting human subjects, their data, and the integrity of the research process.

As an added bonus, you have access to additional reading materials on Data and Biologic Studies. This complimentary feature provides two additional sections that explore the management and administration of clinical research from study initiation to contract close-out, with an extensive focus on regulatory responsibilities, budgeting and finance, and project management.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the history and regulations associated with human experimentation and the protection of human subjects in research.
  • Identify the institutional oversight and management requirements that ensure compliance for its programs involving human subjects research.
  • Understand the roles, processes, and responsibilities  for research administration and management professionals conducting clinical research involving research participants during pre-study activities, study conduct, and study completion. 

CEU: 4.25 hours

LevelUP Badge Requirements

Showcase your accomplishments and professional skills with SRAI LevelUP Badges. For each module completed, you earn a micro-credential and a digital badge.  As you progress through the five levels of growth in the program, you gain experience, training, and expertise while attaining digital badges that can be publicly displayed on your signature line, LinkedIn profile and other social media outlets for easy viewing by your professional community, organization, and potential future employers. 

Requirements for each of the five levels are:

L1.pngLevel I
One completed module demonstrating basic knowledge of a career-relevant topic.
L2.pngLevel II
Three completed modules that represent a logical grouping of education.
L3.pngLevel III
Five completed modules that represent a foundation of expertise and complete a modest self-directed case study.
L4.pngLevel IV
Eight completed modules that represent excellence in multiple skill areas.
L5.pngLevel V
Ten completed modules and a comprehensive case study that demonstrate skills in practice as a knowledge contributor to the research administration community.

Questions about the UArizona LevelUP Program should be directed to:

Shana McClelland
Manager, Training & Development
Sponsored Projects Services