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Research & Economic Development ORED Offices Give

Early Career Research Administration Fellowships

Did you know that Research Administration is a broad career field with diverse employment opportunities? Research administrators facilitate the link between research activities and research outcomes while promoting best practices in administration and compliance. A need for workforce development in academic Research Administration in this explosive career landscape has emerged, but undergraduates have limited opportunities to actively prepare for these careers. The Office for Research & Economic Development (ORED) is offering one-year fellowships in multiple departments to train and prepare outstanding undergraduate students for this career field.

The fellowship program is designed to provide undergraduate students with the experience and training necessary to explore and potentially begin a career in Research Administration. The program selects highly qualified and committed participants to engage directly in administrative duties that support faculty research projects at The University of Alabama (UA). Selected fellows will be immersed in ORED and its units in the following fellowship areas: Research Communications and Web Development, Sponsored Programs, Contract & Grant Accounting, Research Compliance, and Intellectual Property & Commercialization. Fellows will receive a hands-on learning experience in a team environment and direct mentorship from national leaders in the field of Research Administration.

Summary of the Five Fellowship Opportunities in Research Administration:

Fellowship Area #1. Research Communications and Web Development

  • Marketing and Public Relations Communications
  • Web development

Fellowship Area #2. Sponsored Programs

  • Proposal and budget development
  • Grants and contracts administration
  • Compliance with relevant regulations and UA policies

Fellowship Area #3. Contract & Grant Accounting

  • Accounting
  • Financial Administration and reporting
  • Audit

Fellowship Area #4. Research Compliance

  • Human and Animal Subject Research
  • Export Control
  • Research Misconduct
  • Biological Safety
  • Conflict of Interest

Fellowship Area #5. Intellectual Property & Commercialization

  • Intellectual Property
  • Licensing
  • Commercialization

About the Research Units and Fellowships

Office for Research & Economic Development (ORED)

The Research Mission of UA is to facilitate and promote the pursuit, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge and the application of knowledge through research and creative initiatives, technology transfer, and economic development that impact our students and our many constituencies within the State of Alabama, the nation, and the world. The mission of ORED is to facilitate the growth and impact of the UA research enterprise and to ensure compliance with UA, UA System, State and Federal Regulations related to research.

In December 2018, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education designated UA as a Very High

Research Activity doctoral university or “R1”. This is the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees. This places UA among the most elite, public or private, research universities in the United States. UA research continues to surge, with externally sponsored awards at UA reaching more than $171 million in fiscal year 2021, an increase of more than 72% over the last three fiscal years.

ORED currently consists of ten offices, four Board of Trustees-designated research institutes, and seven Board of Trustees-designated research and economic development centers, supported by about 150 employees.

Research Communications and Web Development

ORED is comprised of various units providing specialized services to support UA faculty in seeking, applying for, and receiving research contracts and awards. ORED provides a broad range of services to UA researchers from proposal submission, award acceptance, and compliance, all the way to commercialization of intellectual property created during the project. Over the past three years, UA has experienced unprecedented research and economic development growth. ORED’s communications and web development efforts are key to ensuring that UA’s research enterprise sustains and furthers this growth, in accordance with the ORED Strategic Plan.

Fellowship Area #1. Research Communications and Web Development

This Fellow, in close alignment and collaboration with ORED’s Web Development, Marketing & Communications team, and with UA’s Division of Strategic Communications, will assist in driving ORED’s web presence and communications efforts. The focus for this Fellow will be on communication, both within UA and outside UA. ORED’s Communications and Web Development Fellowship will provide experience in writing press releases, public relations, web page user experiences, content management and development, design, and the effective use of analytics and search engine optimization. This opportunity will provide fellows with real life experience to advance their skill set and create solutions that solve real-world problems in a high-demand career field.

Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP)

OSP oversees the administration of externally sponsored grants and contracts including sponsored research, instruction, and other sponsored activities. OSP facilitates the overall grant and contract process while balancing the need for institutional and regulatory compliance. OSP services are designed to support faculty and other employees with proposal preparation, review, and submission; award acceptance, administrative changes and serving as a liaison with external sponsors.

Fellowship Area #2. Sponsored Programs

Fellows working with OSP will have exposure to faculty working in a variety of disciplines, as well as colleagues from other UA offices, as they navigate the proposal preparation, submission, and award acceptance processes. This is an excellent opportunity for the selected Fellow to explore a career that requires project management, budget development, service-oriented administration, and regulatory compliance with federal and state laws, sponsor requirements, and UA policies.

Contract & Grant Accounting (CGA)

CGA ensures good stewardship of externally sponsored funds and provides support to faculty and staff on post-award financial administration for externally sponsored projects including award spending, invoicing, collections, receivables management, financial reporting, effort reporting, award closeout, and audit. CGA is responsible for compliance with fiscal and reporting requirements established by federal and state law, sponsor regulations, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Cost Accounting Standards, and UA policies and procedures.

Fellowship Area #3. Contract & Grant Accounting

Fellows working with CGA will have exposure to faculty working in a variety of disciplines, as well as colleagues from other UA offices, as they navigate post-award financial management for externally sponsored projects. This is an excellent opportunity for the selected Fellow to explore a career that encompasses accounting, financial administration, audit responses, and compliance with federal and state laws, sponsor requirements, and UA policies.

Office for Research Compliance (ORC)

ORC is the primary point of contact for advice, resources, education, and coordination of research compliance, including research related export control compliance. Specific research regulatory activities cover a wide range of topics such as Conflicts of Interest in research, Export Control, protection of Human Subjects in research, Animal Subjects research, Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety, Research Misconduct, Research Data and Privacy, International Research Compliance, and other areas as appropriate. ORC will work on any number of these topics by serving as the principal point for compliance activities and assignments, according to the program’s needs.

Fellowship Area #4. Research Compliance

The Fellow working with ORC will be provided with the opportunity to participate in the review and oversight process in the various topics identified above. The Fellow will actively participate in office responsibilities and acquire a general understanding of the conceptual basis of the reviews conducted in ORC, as well as a basic knowledge of the federal regulations and understanding of ORC policies and procedures.

Office for Innovation and Commercialization (OIC)

As the technology transfer office for UA, OIC is responsible for protecting and licensing of UA inventions. The technology transfer process can be viewed as a continuous cycle, beginning with basic research and discovery that yields technologies that can form the basis of innovative products and services to address unmet needs of society. OIC evaluates, protects, and markets early-stage technologies and helps to negotiate license agreements with existing or startup companies.

Revenues from licenses are shared with inventors and reinvested into UA’s research enterprise.

Fellowship Area #5. Intellectual Property & Commercialization

Fellows working with OIC will have exposure to a unique blend of disciplines and a variety of projects that a technology transfer officer might face each day. This is an excellent opportunity for the selected Fellow to explore a career that requires broad scientific expertise, business insight, and legal acumen to convert basic research into practical applications. The Fellow will learn how to assess the commercial viability of innovative UA technologies and design marketing materials to move this research from the bench to the outside world. This will enable OIC to provide faster and more thorough feedback to inventors, while giving the Fellow the opportunity to expand their resume and build skills in market research and intellectual property protection.

Award

$10,000 (distributed over two semesters) will be provided to each awarded Fellow. It is possible that more than one fellowship or no fellowships will be awarded in any one opportunity area. Generally, under the U.S. tax laws, scholarships, fellowships, or grants are tax free to the extent the funds are used for qualified expenses. i

Fellowship Appointment vs. Employee Relationship

Fellowships are grants awarded to an individual – either directly or through the institution – in support of academic pursuits. If appointed as a Fellow, the individual is not considered a UA employee, and therefore, does not receive employee healthcare or fringe benefits. Fellows will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding any proprietary or confidential information they may receive during the Fellowship.

Expectation of Time Commitment

Fellows will be expected to have a weekly schedule from Aug-Nov (Fall Semester) and Jan-April (Spring Semester) and work on average above 17.5 hours per week. The weekly work schedule is flexible and can be agreed to prior to formal fellowship award. In addition, there is the opportunity for Fellows to work in ORED during the summer and be paid separately from, and in addition to, the fellowship.

Program Goals and Objectives

The UA Early Career Research Administration Fellowship (ECRAF) connects undergraduates with leaders and mentors in the field of Research Administration. This partnership allows Fellows to build competencies in disciplines that align with their field of study, prepare for a career in Research Administration, and create a talent pool of Fellows who may seek future Research Administration opportunities at UA or other organizations across the country including, non-profit organizations, academic medical centers, universities, research hospitals, etc.

At the conclusion of the program, participating Fellows will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Advanced knowledge of specialized university Research Administration duties
  • Understanding of university infrastructure, policies, federal rules and regulations
  • Applied leadership and project management capabilities
  • Effective oral and written communication related to university research administrative considerations
  • Accomplished analytical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Enhanced professional and career development strategies

It is expected and encouraged that each Fellow will have the opportunity to make significant contributions in diverse areas across the UA research enterprise. Throughout the academic year (Fellowship period), each Fellow will report and have access to senior leadership, who provide valuable mentoring, strategic guidance on project involvement, and performance feedback. During this time, the Fellow will receive training and participate in high visibility projects that dually align with the Fellow’s interests and the needs of UA.

Application Process

The ECRAF Program seeks diverse undergraduate students from various fields of study who are highly motivated. Ideal candidates will show demonstrated evidence of collaboration, have excellent communication skills, be a self-starter, have leadership and decision-making skills, have a willingness to accept a wide variety of assignments, and have a broad knowledge of the university environment.

  • Application Opens                          March 28, 2022
  • Application Deadline                      May 10, 2022
  • Finalist Interviews                           May 16-25, 2022 (Virtual or in-person)
  • Selection & Notification                 June 1, 2022

Application requirements:

  • Applicants must select a preferred fellowship opportunity area.
  • Complete application form
  • Written statement of interest (no more than 1 page)
  • Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation from one UA faculty member

Candidate requirements:

  • Currently enrolled as a UA student through spring 2023
    • Open to junior and senior students in all majors
    • Fellows must complete their term before graduation
  • Authorized to work in the United States; ORED cannot assist in obtain or retaining visa
  • All fellows will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement and letter of commitment. For questions about the ECRAF program, please email: orta@ua.edu

Click here to apply for the ECRAF program.

i Qualified expenses include:

  • Tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an eligible educational institution; and
  • Course-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for the courses at the eligible educational institution.

Any portion of a scholarship, fellowship, or grant used for nonqualified expenses such as room and board, travel, research, medical insurance, optional equipment, etc. could be included in your taxable income for the year. However, as a general rule, UA is not required to withhold taxes on these amounts.*

Recipients of such funds should make a determination as to whether the funds are taxable, taking into account all such amounts received for the year. The taxability of scholarships, fellowships, and/or grants are based upon each person’s individual facts and circumstances. To the extent that you determine that a portion or all of the funds are not subject to tax, you should retain receipts, cancelled checks, and other documents to show the total amount of your qualified expenses.

If any portion of the scholarship, fellowship, or grant is payment for services, these amounts will be paid as wages through Payroll, subject to tax withholdings and reported on Form W-2 at the end of the year.

*For other taxable scholarship, fellowship, or grant amounts, where no taxes are withheld, you may need to make estimated tax payments, depending on your individual circumstances. For additional information on estimated tax, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

This information only introduces you to the possible tax consequences of scholarship, fellowship, or grant amounts; therefore, you should contact your personal tax advisor with any questions or concerns. You also may find the IRS Pub. No. 970, Tax Benefits for Education, or the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) helpful with regard to the tax treatment of the scholarship, fellowship, or grant amounts you received.

See: https://taxoffice.ua.edu/scholarships-fellowships-grants/.