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Research Administration Academy (RAA)
The Research Administration Academy (RAA) is designed to provide research administrators 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 research administrators who perform essential tasks associated with proposal submission and grant management after the award. The Office of Education for Research Administration and Finance (OERAF) is responsible for administering RAA and partners with the research administration community to ensure content aligns with current institutional needs. Key partners include Research Costing and Compliance (RCC), Office of Research Administration (ORA), Office of Research Support (ORS), Campus Awards Management Team (CAMT), Post-Award Financial Management (PAFM), Office of Post-Award Administration (OPAA), Office of Research, RACI-HR, and the Training Advisory Group (TAG).
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 is open to any Duke University employee directly involved in managing sponsored research funds. 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). Management centers may also require other individuals who work with sponsored research (for example, individuals in the Grant Manager 1 field identified in SAP) to be certified. Based upon class capacity, priority will be given to those individuals in positions that require RAA. Please note: While any employee directly involved in research administration may participate in RAA, those who do not work routinely with sponsored research funds may find it challenging to successfully complete some of the certification requirements.
RAA is open to any Duke University employee directly involved in research administration. Participants will then complete Onboarding classes and applicable systems classes (SAP/SPS classes) during their first 60 days in the position. Upon completion of Onboarding classes, employees, in partnership with their supervisor will select the most applicable certification track.
Employees must also have access to the following Duke systems:
- Sponsored Project System (SPS)
- Grant Management tab in Duke@Work
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and you can start the program as soon as you receive approval. The employee initiates the online application form. The form then routes to the employee’s manager for approval before routing to OERAF. We will review the application and notify employees of their official start date. Email us at ResearchFinanceEd@duke.edu if you have questions about the application process.
The RAA program consists of two primary components: Onboarding and Certification Tracks.
Employees required to have RAA should refer to HR requirements and make a plan with their manager to complete the program within 12 months of hire or of moving into a position requiring certification. OERAF requires program participants who are not required based upon their position to complete RAA (including final exam) within 12 months of enrollment. If the certification is not completed with this window, OERAF will partner with the employee and manager to determine appropriate action which may include termination of enrollment or restart of all program requirements.
The Onboarding courses are a suite of courses designed to introduce employees to Duke and Research Administration. Courses are designed to be completed in the employee’s first 60 days in a research administration position. Informal assessments will be used throughout Onboarding and results will be shared with managers.
Onboaring Classes include the following:
- RAA Orientation
- QuickStart - online course
- Introduction to GL Accounts for Research Administrators - online course
- The Duke Way: Accounting and Finance
- The Duke Way: Research Administration Systems
- The Duke Way: Professionalism in Research Administration
- The Duke Way: Research Administration at Duke
RAA participants should also plan to take systems classes supporting their research administration work. Those may include classes in the following areas:
- Sponsored Projects System (SPS)
- SAP classes including:
- SAP Sponsored Projects Reporting: Master Data Building Blocks
- SAP Sponsored Projects Reporting: Line Item Reports
- SAP Sponsored Projects Reporting: Organizational "Big Picture" Reports
- SAP Sponsored Projects Reporting: Project ITD with Plan "The Super Report" ZFR1E
- Sponsored Projects Web Reporting
Learning Tracks are subject-based specialties designed to recognize the differences in research administration roles across the University. Participants should partner with their manager to determine the certification track that best fits their job responsibilities. RACI positions are required to complete one certification track to fulfill their HR requirement. Currently there are three available tracks:
- Pre-Award Administration Track
- Post-Award Administration Track
- Central Financial Administration Track (central financial research administrators only)
Work is underway to define classes comprising each certification track. Currently planned certification tracks include the following:
- Clinical Research Certification Track
- Industry Sponsored Research Certification Track
After attending each certification track class, participants will be required to complete a quiz. Quizzes must be passed with 80% or greater passing score and participants will be allowed two attempts.
Classes may have required pre-work or post-work. You must complete all assignments in the designated time frame to receive credit for a class.
Failure to complete all required components of a class: attendance at session, pre-work, post-work and quizzes will result in not receiving credit for the class.
RAA participants must also pass a final exam. The final exam will feature questions integrating concepts from all Onboarding, appropriate System, and Track classes and will require application of learning to presented situations. RAA participants are eligible to sit for the exam only after all course requirements have been met.
An RAA participant will successfully complete the RAA program he/she receives credit for all individual classes and receive a score of 80% or greater on the final exam. If an RAA participant receives a low score (<80%) on the final exam, results will be evaluated by OERAF and discussed with the employee and manager to determine appropriate next steps.
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 managers. OERAF welcomes and appreciate all feedback and will make every effort to maintain and improve upon the highest standards for the program.
Any questions about RAA policies or question about certification should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org