5 staff members honored by trustees

Five staff members were honored by the Rice Board of Trustees at the Dec. 11 meeting for their work implementing electronic systems to streamline research administration. Echo Medina, data business analyst in the Office of Sponsored Research; the Electronic Research Administration’s administrator Elle Ristow and training specialist Hope Grant; Nancy Nisbett, assistant director of industrial contracts in the Office of Technology Transfer; and Wendy Chung, senior systems analyst developer in the Office of Administrative Systems, were praised for their contributions.

Echo Medina

Echo Medina

President David Leebron approved the implementation plan in 2012 and the team’s objective was to automate aspects of the proposal preparation and submittal process, provide databases and workflow for research compliance committees and provide tools for the faculty such as curriculum vitae automation, bibliometric feeds and interfaces to faculty Web pages, said Vice Provost for Research Yousif Shamoo. These latter objectives are planned for implementation in a future phase of the project.

Elle Ristow

Elle Ristow

Shamoo lauded work the staff did to improve the previously cumbersome system. “To help you visualize our processes at the time, imagine someone walking around campus securing signatures on a proposal from the principal investigator, department chair, dean’s office and Office of Sponsored Research a thousand times a year,” he said.

The implementation was envisioned as a five-year project but was successfully employed in the first year with a 100 percent adoption rate within six months, he said.

Hope Grant

Hope Grant

The IRBNet software automated processes for research compliance committees, including the Institutional Review Board for research involving human subjects, the Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee for research involving animals and the Institutional Biosafety Committee for research involving recombinant DNA.

Nancy Nisbett

Nancy Nisbett

The final elements of the project — the curriculum vitae automation, faculty bibliometric data feeds and Web page integration — will be implemented in collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs as part of its new Faculty Information System. These systems are cloud-based and will allow faculty and staff to collaborate and process information when they are anywhere in the world. Documents are now centralized in databases to alleviate files being lost in email.

Wendy Chung

Wendy Chung

“These systems have also allowed us to join our peer institutions in moving our compliance systems from Excel into streamlined workflows that include the principal investigators, faculty review committees and compliance administrators,” Shamoo said. “The system implementation is an example of success through collaboration.”

Shamoo said the offices of Sponsored Research, Research and Cost Accounting, Administrative Systems and Information Technology worked closely together to guide the project.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize key team members that worked together enthusiastically on a daily basis to make this project a success… Nancy Nisbett, Elle Ristow, Hope Grant, Wendy Chung and Echo Medina,” said Shamoo.

 

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.