Research Administration Academy (RAA)

About RAA

Those currently enrolled in the RAA program (prior to 12/18/2015) should proceed with their current plan for completion. Additional questions can be directed to rcc-cert at

Research Administration Academy (RAA) is designed to provide grant managers at Duke University with basic knowledge of the core principles of research administration, as well as “hands on” training in common grant management tasks. The RAA program is applicable to grant managers who perform essential tasks associated with proposal submission and grant management after the award.

For new grant managers with less than one year experience in grant management at Duke, RCC also offers a series of introductory courses that may serve as a precursor to enrollment in RAA. Supervisors should discuss this option with their new employees. RAA The RAA program provides numerous benefits for both the employee and the institution. Employee benefits include development of functional grant management skill sets, and a clearer understanding of grant management responsibilities at Duke University. The investment by Duke University into its employees will provide the organization with a stronger employee commitment, a more stable and highly trained employee base, better information on which to make hiring decisions, increased support to Duke’s faculty, and improved financial controls.

RAA Audience

RAA Certification is open to all employees with 50% or more research administration duties at time of application. RAA certification is a requirement for grant managers in the following Duke Human Resources job classifications: Grants and Contracts Administrator (2647); Grants and Contracts Manager (2648); Senior Grants and Contracts Manager (2649); Research Administrator (2627); Research Administration Manager (2628); Associate Director, Research Administration (2629).

RAA Program Details


The Research Administration Academy is open to any Duke University employee who meets the following qualifications:

  • Full-time employee of Duke University
  • Has approval of his/her supervisor to participate
  • Has at least 50% grant management responsibilities

The RAA program is a cohort based program offered three times each year. Participants attend the Core Courses as a cohort on scheduled dates/times.  Participants will then schedule and attend the supervisor selected Electives.


Successful completion of the following is required before an employee can participate in RAA:

  • Introduction to Duke Accounting and Business Practices – Duke University and School of Medicine
  • Introduction to Duke General Ledger Accounts – Research Administration
  • Basic Compliance  Online
  • Research Management at Duke Online
  • Access to Sponsored Project System (SPS)
  • Access to SAP
  • Access to Grant Management tab in Duke@WORK

Application Process

The employee and the employee’s supervisor must complete an application form for the RAA program and submit to RCC via rcc-cert at The application will be reviewed, and selected applicants will be enrolled into the RAA curriculum or the test-out proctored exam.


For detailed course descriptions for all core and elective RAA courses, please review the RCC Course Catalog (pdf). Participants have 18 months from time of enrollment to complete all certification requirements, including the proctored exam.

Core Curriculum Courses

The core consists of pre-and post-award material, and is required for all participants enrolled in the RAA certificate program. There are three required core classes taught by RCC and one required core class taught by Financial Training, which provide fundamental concepts governing research administration, including rules, regulations, compliance actions, Duke systems and offices, and the core functions performed by grant managers. Participants must attend the required core classes on the scheduled dates below:

1. Pre-Award Fundamentals
2. Post-Award Fundamentals
3. Effort Fundamentals
4. Procuring Goods and Services - Research Administration


Electives are classes that are designed to provide skill development in specific functions related to pre-award and post-award. Electives are “clustered” for convenience in selecting the most appropriate course of study. The clusters are: Pre-award; Post-award; Federal Contracting; and Clinical Trial management. Supervisors should work closely with RAA participants to select the appropriate electives for the work performed by the participant. 

The electives are chosen by the supervisor using the Elective Decision Matrix (pdf). The matrix allows the supervisor to identify the functions currently being performed by the participant, and to select the electives most pertinent to current assignments. Four electives are required to complete the certificate program and must be scheduled and completed after the required core curriculum courses are complete.

In addition to electives, the Elective Decision Matrix provides a list of recommended complementary courses that may be beneficial to the participant’s career growth and development. The complimentary courses do not count towards the electives requirement for the RAA certificate program.

The electives available are listed below. For a detailed course description, please review the RCC Course Catalog (pdf). Those classes marked with an * are in development:

Assessments and Final Exam

After all core and supervisor-selected elective classes are successfully completed, the participant must notify RCC via e-mail at rcc-cert at andrequest to sit for the final exam. RCC will confirm course requirements have been met and provide the participant with the available final exam dates.

Each RAA class has an associated assessment which must be completed to be marked successful for the course. There is only one attempt allowed.  For additional information, please see RCC Business Rules (pdf).

Some classes have required pre-work and/or homework. You must complete all assignments in the designated time frame to receive credit for a class.

Failure to complete any required component of a class: pre-work, homework, assessment, or course evaluation will result in not receiving credit for the class.

RAA participants must also pass a proctored final exam. The exam features randomly selected test questions that address core materials, plus a customized section that features questions from the selected electives. RAA participants are eligible to sit for the proctored exam only after all course requirements have been met.

An RAA participant will successfully complete the RAA program if his/her final grade is 80% or greater. Final grades are weighted 60% of the final exam score and 40% of the average of the individual course assessments taken throughout the course of study.

Program Evaluations/Supervisor Feedback

Program participants are given opportunities to provide anonymous feedback on each individual course and on the RAA program as a whole. The future success of this career development opportunity relies on the candid feedback from all program participants and supervisors. RCC welcomes and appreciate all feedback and will make every effort to maintain and improve upon the highest standards for the program. Supervisors will be provided a midpoint score upon completion of the RAA core curriculum classes, as well as a detailed report on scores for individual courses and scores for each section on the final exam. If an employee receives a low score on any part of the final, RCC will recommend additional training opportunities for the employee.


Before applying to any of the certificate programs, please review the complete RCC Business Rules (pdf). Any questions about RCC policies should be sent to rcc-cert at