CMRC Children's Memorial Research Center

Closer Look:
Office of Sponsored Programs -- The Office That Works
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at Childrenís Memorial Research Center is a unit that functions quietly behind the scenes to make all the hard work pay off ó literally. OSP provides support to the Childrenís Memorial Hospital research community in finding and applying for funding opportunities, managing budgets and workflows during the funding period, and complying with government and agency regulations. The office provides education and outreach, is available for questions and brainstorming, and interacts frequently with researchers, staff and trainees. Here is an introduction to OSP staff and their observations about the office.
Harmony Maple, MPA, Director
Our office is divided into pre- and post-award duties. Pre-award involves finding funding opportunities and submitting proposals to various sponsors, and post-award involves setting up budgets, managing all aspects of the grant and closing out awards. I have a degree in public administration, but I learned almost everything by getting my
hands in and doing the work.
With the National Institutes of Health funding situation, people are more hesitant to submit proposals, but we strive to help folks in their submissions. Kimberly [Deprey] works hard on funding alerts and invites people to talk to us. New investigators particularly need to attend our outreach sessions, or to sit down with us one on one. They need that encouragement.
This year, our outreach and training will focus on educating the administrators who are working with investigators on proposals and awards.
I think we should be proud that our NIH funding is up even though the NIH budget is going down. Our investigators are putting out good proposals and doing innovative things. Itís gratifying to see a researcher who was worried about funding and now has awards coming in. Thereís a lot of pressure to keep your lab running in these hard times,
but we do have success stories.
At the Society of Research Administrators meeting, we received compliments from another hospital on our wonderful Web site. We also recently sat down with individuals from Northwestern Memorial Hospital who are re-organizing their research office, to advise them.
I hope that we have the reputation of being here to support people. Noreen [McWilliams] is known for being helpful and hands-on.
Kimberly Deprey, Assistant Director, Pre-Award
I assist our program leaders with their proposals and send out funding opportunities to researchers based on their interests. I also prepare reports for our board of directors that show the big picture. During my time here I have seen researchers as brand new investigators, and Iím amazed at their development.
New investigators feel overwhelmed with the different proposal components and agency regulations that they need to learn about. When they meet with us, we go through the various pieces to make a clearer
picture for them, and they breathe a sigh of relief.
Colleen Grogan, Assistant Director, Pre-Award
I started in research administration in Boston, where I was a departmental research administrator in the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute at Tufts New England Medical Center. Iím seeing more
clinicians and basic scientists opening up discussions and teaming up on projects. People are being more exploratory in what theyíre doing and working together to get funding.
Tara Massimino, MA, Assistant Director, Pre-Award
I have a masterís degree in social science research, and worked for the Pediatric Practice Research Group (PPRG) at the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program. I evolved into an administrator for a grant, doing the day-to-day operations and budget. With the experience I was gaining, I started noticing that OSP would be a good fit. My interactions with OSP when I worked for the PPRG were always positive.
Norene McWilliams, JD, MPH, Assistant Director, Pre-Award, Clinical Trials
I focus primarily on negotiating clinical trial agreements with industry sponsors and assisting investigators in developing budgets. I was a lab tech for ten years and realized that I had to move on to
something else eventually as a career. So I decided to go to law school at night.
Weíre seeing a more direct route of basic findings into clinical trials. Investigators are taking basic research into animal models, and in a fairly short period are getting clinical trials going. It seems that in the last five to 10 years, thereís been an explosion of basic science that is able to go quickly into a clinical mode. And thatís a wonderful thing.
Rochanna Thomas, Senior Administrative Assistant
I assist the entire OSP staff with essential administrative tasks. Having an opportunity to work with both the pre- and post-award teams allows me to handle a variety of projects from the very simple to the extremely complex. I came from the banking industry, so stepping into the research field was a new and exciting experience for me. I have learned so much, and I continue to grow.
Katie Seifert, Assistant Director, Post-Award
I help set up agreements, pay invoices from our subcontracts and monitor expenses. Iím working on the finances overall. I came by way of the University of Chicago, where I worked on pre- and post-award for grants and contracts and budgeting for unrestricted accounts.
Roberta Gerard, BSN, Assistant Director, Post-Award
I joined OSP recently, so everything is new to me. I worked for Bernard Mirkin, PhD, MD, the former director of the research center, and through that work am experienced with reconciling funds. Since I have been at Childrenís Memorial for over 10 years, Iím familiar with the systems and know a lot of people. I worked briefly as a nurse, and for an insurance company before coming here.