July 2023 Newsletter

  • Ground Rules for Remote Onboarding Success
  • Wait...There is a NEW Federal Funding Agency?
  • Spotlight on a RACC Board Member - Jeffrey Ritchie
  • Take us with you when you move
  • Believe it or Not!
  • Congratulations to our new certificants!
  • Exam Schedules and Body of Knowledge Review Sessions
  • Ready to Recertify?
  • Contact Hours Opportunities
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Sign Me Up or Let Me Go
Ground Rules for Remote Onboarding Success
Jacqueline Rearick, MS, CRA
Pre-Award Administrator
Yale School of Medicine
Like it or not, remote work is here to stay. COVID-19 caused much disruption and heartache, however in its wake many of our institutions discovered we are just as productive, if not more so, at home than we are in the office. In person meetings transitioned to Zoom calls, face to face questions moved to Teams Chat or Slack, and travel for remote business meetings became a group Webex.
But how do you get ready for a new job when you have never even stepped foot on the grounds of the institution where you work? And, in my case, the closest I have been to my co-workers in Connecticut is my computer screen in Virginia. Starting a new job is both exciting and nerve wracking so it’s important to set some ground rules early on for remote onboarding success. Full Story
Wait…there is a NEW Federal Funding Agency?
Lauren Zajac, MPA, CRA
University of Arizona
ARPA-H is the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. According to their website, https://arpa-h.gov/, the agency seeks to “support transformative biomedical and health breakthroughts….to provide health solutions for all”. ARPA-H seeks to “make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies and broadly applicable platforms, capabilities, resources, and solutions with the potential to transform important areas of medicine and health that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity”. Congress has authorized a significant investment in ARPA-H and we are so excited to see the impact that this new federal agency will make!
ARPA-H has four initial focus areas:

1.     Health Science Futures: Develop innovative tools, technologies, and platforms that can be applied to a range of diseases.
2.    Scalable Solutions: Improve access and affordability of health care, and address challenges that impede the delivery of healthcare.
3.    Proactive Health: Focus on prevention, detection, diagnostics.
4.    Resilient Systems: Create and build out mechanisms, business models, and integrations to enhance stability and responded to crises.
The new agency is moving fast, and ARPA-H released the first Broad Agency Announcements on March 15, 2023. The open BAA is available here: https://arpa-h.gov/engage/baa/ and will require an initial submission of a white paper. ARPA-H will then closely review the white papers on a rolling basis (4 to 6 weeks) and invite teams to apply for a full proposal. While there are no limits to the number of submissions an organization can make, ARPA-H is currently limiting each entity, identified by their UEI number, to a maximum of three ARPA-H awards active at one time. 
Spotlight on a RACC Board Member
Jeffrey Ritchie
Jeff introduced himself to me at my first RACC Board meeting in 2017. He was a Body of Knowledge (BoK) presenter and made it appear very glamorous. To those of us that present the BoK sessions it is anything but glamorous, but I would not change a thing. You name it and Jeff has done it, experienced it, or been in the thick of it. “It” is the world of Research Administration. His stories are legendary. I am lucky enough to have co-presented with Jeff. Jeff has made an instrumental and lasting impact on the RACC Board. RACC’s success is due in a large part because of Jeff. To Jeff: I am honored and humbled to have been on the RACC Board with you and it is my pleasure to call you friend. ~ Jen Hoffman
More stores to share can be found here: Memories with Jeff. Many of you have had a Body of Knowledge session with Jeff. Please share with Jeff your stories and any updates you have in your career. He would love to hear from you!
Take us with you
If you plan to move to another job and still want to receive the RACC Newsletter, please let us know your new email address. We will ensure that you still receive the same great service and reading material. Thanks!
Believe it or Not!
“It’s not always you! Sometimes (believe it or not) the sponsor is wrong!”

I’m quite sure most of us who have been in this field long enough have had a situation where upon receiving an email we stopped and said “Huh?” (or maybe something a little more bold). But what if the email came from the sponsor? That’s enough to make you question yourself and think “do I not understand my job?” Let me tell you why this shouldn’t be your default train of thought… sometimes the sponsor is actually the one who is wrong!

My recent experience with a well respected sponsor left me feeling like I was losing my marbles. So here is the backstory: This was associated with an award transfer, and well we all know those come with their own set of burdens. However, this particular transfer has been a challenge for everyone from the PI, both Grants offices and even on the sponsor’s side as well. A few weeks after sending the sponsor exactly what they asked for I got an email saying “what we need is a 4 year detailed budget with these direct costs, not a 3 year”. I’m always one to acknowledge my mistakes but I was seriously confused and said to myself “HUH? Do I know how to do my job? How did I mess this up?”  

Low and behold after searching my sent box and confirming what was submitted – I realized I was RIGHT. With the emails attached for reference I kindly replied and said I am a little confused because I did send these items. To be considerate, I made sure I acknowledged the duration of our back and forth, and asked her to confirm she too received the attachments in the email. Guess what – she confirmed that she had them! And she apologized profusely explaining these things are confusing on their end as well! 

In closing – let this story serve as your reminder that this line of work is busy, email heavy and sponsors are just like us (and occasionally make mistakes as well) – it’s not always you!! 
M. Elmendorf, CRA, The Research Foundation for the SUNY

A new PI moved to my institution with a big NIH R01 that had run for 23 years so it was time for a competitive renewal for another 5. He sent me the research strategy piece at NIH margins but 1.5 spacing so it was way, WAY over the 25 page limit. I warned him that NIH would never accept it as is and he insisted that “it fits on 25 pages single spaced but I am doing this as a courtesy to the reviewers so it is easier to read.”

Of course, it never got anywhere near the reviewers, it was returned without review for not following the page limitations. And, as a matter of fact, he never did get it renewed and it was his last NIH funding ever (he retired 10 years later).
S. Cao, Oregon State University

A PI submitted a reimbursement request for a dozen donuts on his NIH award. When I questioned the expense, he explained that they weren’t for his lab – they were for the guys at the slaughterhouse, in exchange for free cow eyeballs that he was using in his research project, so really he was saving the government a lot of money by getting them so cheaply. I applauded his initiative but declined the reimbursement because our accounting guidelines did not recognize donuts as a valid currency.
S. Held, Northwestern University

Many, many, many, many years ago (decades even) a young researcher contacted us because he needed guinea pig (might have been a mouse it was a long time ago) ovaries for a study. He didn’t want to go through the IACUC process and asked if it would be OK if he just bought a guinea pig from a pet shop and removed the ovaries at home. We talked him off that unethical ledge pretty quickly thankfully.
J. Moise, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Please share your story!
Use the "Believe it or Not" button and send us your story. This is the one place where research administrators from all over can laugh, cry, and sympathize. We have all been there!
Congratulations to our new certificants!

We are so excited to announce all the new
CRA Certificants.
Exam Schedules and Body of Knowledge Review Sessions

Exam schedules and Body of Knowledge Review sessions can be found HERE.
To host a review session contact
Michelle Breton, Review Session Coordinator
Ready to Recertify?
Keep track of your contact hours and supporting documentation by using RACC Website.

If you have any questions on our recertification process, please contact Susanne MacDonald.

Find vital information regarding recertification HERE
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