The goal of the Universidad Central del Caribe (UCC) Biomedical/Biobehavioral Research Administration Development (BRAD) Program is to culminate the development of the solid infrastructure established under the previous EARDA Program to support and increase research participation by faculty and students. UCC is eligible for a three-year award to complete the eight years of eligibility under the revised program. The long-term goal of the application is to increase the institution's capability to obtain non-minorit external funding and increase research productivity.
The specific aims are to (1) augment the personnel supporting the activities designed to identify, apply for, and obtain funding for research and assist investigators in post-award grants management, (2) develop procedures, protocols, and service models for a self-sustaining office that will increase UCC's research funding capability, while promoting research and coordinating effective research support activities in a "one-stop-shop," and (3) obtain the necessary training for the UCC Extramural Associate, Research Development Officer, and Sponsored Programs Officer to provide high quality research-oriented services and increase research productivity at UCC through faculty development. All of this is designed to provide first-rate support to UCC investigators in obtaining external funding for their research and managing their grants. To that end, a learner-centered approach will be used, constantly monitored for formative purposes by an experienced external evaluator. To complement the face-to-face support, computer-based aids will be developed in a virtual environment to provide continuous assistance and, through the use of templates and models, to reduce the burden of administrative activities for investigators and improve the competitiveness of their applications and the efficiency of grants management. The assessment by the Extramural Associate, with the assistance of the evaluator, found that although good service was provided, the number of individuals in the office was insufficient to support the growing researcher population and increasingly competitive environment. In addition, this assessment uncovered issues such as the lack of adequate models and mentoring and gaps in professional development opportunities, including the availability of funding to attend off-site workshops, and additional local professional development activities. All these will be supported by the proposed BRAD project.
Strengthening the institutional research administration infrastructure that supports and fosters translational and basic biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research is directly relevant to human health and the elimination of health disparities. This project also supports and increases the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in research.
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