Institutionalization and Sustainability of a Proposal Development Unit at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Project Summary: UPRM, a Hispanic serving institution, undertook in 2009 a bold new mentored research development initiative, establishing a Proposal Development Unit (PDU) to enhance its institutional research capacity. Key steps in this initiative were to assess the areas of need, identify a mentor institution and outline a research development plan using an 'office-to-office mentoring'model, in cooperation with the University of Kentucky and its Proposal Development Office (UK-PDO). As a result of that initial intervention, the PDU was established, office space was allocated, and a proposal specialist was hired and trained in proposal development with the oversight of the UK-PDO. The following services have been offered: pre-submission proposal reviews, resubmission consultations, custom funding searches, and grant related trainings and workshops. However, the PDU's current resources limit its capability to effectively reach its target population of more than 660 faculty members and about 1,000 graduate students. The full implementation of the PDU is envisioned as a three- phase process: 1. Establishment;2. Institutionalization, and 3. Sustainability. The PDU has already completed phase 1 and initiated phase 2. Thus, the BRAD period of the PDU implementation proposed will emphasize its institutionalization and sustainability, with the goal of having a fully implemented PDU office by 2017. To achieve this, three Specific Aims were defined: 1. Expand the PDU staff, services and processes;2. Establish a strong PDU network of partners and collaborators, and 3. Promote scholarship in research development, administration and compliance at UPRM. By the end of the BRAD project, the UPRM PDU will provide all the services of a Proposal Development Office and incorporate the business practices proper of a research development unit of its kind, using the UK-PDO, our mentor office, as model. The PDU will establish a strong network of partners and collaborators to facilitate the dissemination and expansion of its research development activities, proposal writing services, and its professional relationships within UPRM and abroad. The Extramural Associate (PI/EA) will promote scholarship in the area of research development, administration and compliance among faculty, administrators and students in order to move forward the research agenda and the Institutional Research Administration Capacity building (IRAC) plan. Upon project completion, the PDU will provide a solid framework for research development at UPRM by enhancing pre-award services to faculty, improving scholarship in research administration among institutional leaders and administrative staff, and encouraging students to pursue future careers in research administration. These initiatives will establish a long-term pipeline for the proper stewardship of external funds and the continuous improvement of UPRM research capacity.
The University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM) is a Hispanic-serving institution with a long tradition of excellence in the education of minority scientists and engineers. The strengthening of research administration support infrastructures at UPRM will play a key role in educating the next generation of biomedical and bio- behavioral scientists and promote diversity in the NIH-funded workforce. The full implementation of the Proposal Development Unit proposed will provide a solid framework for research development at UPRM by enhancing pre-award services to faculty, improving scholarship in research administration among institutional research leaders and administrative staff, and encouraging students to pursue future careers in research administration thus establishing a long-term pipeline for the proper stewardship of external funds and the improvement of UPRM research capacity.