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 Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Office of Contracts and Grants Helps CU-Boulder Excel in Research
By Allison Sylvest

When Randy Draper, director of the Office of Contracts and Grants, talks about grant writing, it's fascinating stuff. His 25 years of experience, together with his skill as a communicator, allow him to highlight the importance of the work OCG does in a straightforward and interesting manner. It's clear that he loves what he does.

Draper inherited a staff of 20 dedicated employees when he took over the OCG in September 2004. The office oversees nearly 2,000 annual proposals totaling a little under $1B and more than 1,600 annual awards of $260M. The awards are all external funds that support research project expenses including personnel, equipment and travel.

Faculty write the initial proposals and OCG staff provide help every step of the way, including assistance identifying funding sources and putting budgets together. They package the proposals, negotiate terms and conditions (like protecting the principal investigator's right to publish) and help faculty manage over the life of the project by monitoring expenditures, facilitating changes and acting as a liaison with the sponsor.

"We do the behind the scenes work," said Draper. "One doesn't think about all of the responsibilities that are connected with funded projects, but it's huge."

The office has reorganized to refocus on relationships with departments to emphasize a teaming approach, which includes departmental outreach, training modules and classes in grants management for faculty and staff. Draper said he wants to improve services and increase funding opportunities for faculty across campus, including the arts, humanities and social sciences, through these educational opportunities.

"The more knowledgeable faculty and staff are about sponsored projects, the more we can focus on the more difficult administrative and financial issues," said Draper. "Our responsibilities are similar to the police department motto, 'to serve and to protect.' We serve faculty because we know the outcomes of their research and sponsored projects are extraordinarily important, and we protect the interests of the university and faculty because mistakes can be very costly. Our reward is seeing how successful faculty can be."

For more information about the Office of Contracts and Grants, visit the web site.

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