Dordt University part of NSF-funded research administration internship program

Dordt University officials will participate in a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded cross-institutional program designed to build a more robust regional research administration workforce for the future.

Dordt University officials will participate in a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded cross-institutional program designed to build a more robust regional research administration workforce for the future. The program, which is spearheaded by Iowa State University, includes an award of $3.7 million over 4.5 years.

The Iowa Research Administration Internship Student Experience (I-RAISE) is a partnership that aims to build expertise in research administration across Iowa, explains Dr. Angela Kroeze Visser, director of the Kielstra Center for Scholarships and Grants.

“The design of the project allows our students to learn from research administration professionals at an R1 institution as well as experience the variety of practice opportunities at an emerging research institution like Dordt,” she says. “It is an opportunity for exposure to the breadth and depth of research administration in different settings. As part of the project leadership team, I am also excited to learn from and with colleagues in similar roles as we develop training resources for students and new professionals.”

The National Academies has identified a lack of dedicated and trained research administration staff at emerging research institutions (ERI) as a major factor that limits the ability of ERI faculty to contribute to the national research enterprise.

Iowa State’s Jane Garrity is leading the I-RAISE project. Garrity is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Office of the Vice President for Research and director of Grants Hub.

“Without research administration staff to take on administrative burdens and provide guidance throughout the funding lifecycle, academic researchers cannot effectively develop and submit successful grant proposals, manage awards, or remain compliant with institutional requirements and Federal regulations,” Garrity says.

Kroeze Visser agrees. “At ERI’s like Dordt, there is a particular need for staff who are trained and capable of serving as generalists across research administration and research development roles,” she says.

But even as demand for research administration services grows with the number and complexity of grant proposals and heightened regulatory requirements, both ERIs, such as Dordt, and research-intensive institutions, such as Iowa State, struggle to find qualified research administration staff. The workforce is both aging and unevenly distributed across institutions and geographies, and potential new entrants are unaware of career opportunities in research administration.

“The I-RAISE project came together because collectively the participating colleges and universities in Iowa recognized we have a critical need to build our own well-trained research administration workforce,” Garrity says. “If we fail to develop these staff, we will face continued hiring challenges and ultimately be less able to respond to funding opportunities and compliance requirements.”

Other partner institutions include Central College in Pella, Iowa; Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa; Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa; and University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“We are excited for the opportunity that I-RAISE offers for early exposure to the field of research administration and anticipate that over time it will help grow our research capacity,” adds Kroeze Visser.

I-RAISE received funding through NSF’s Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) program. GRANTED focuses on addressing systemic barriers within the nation’s research enterprise by improving research support and service capacity.

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education,, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers