University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

DRA Definitions

SPECTRUM courses and the certification program focus on the pre-award and post-award phases of a sponsored project. Because there are many tasks associated with the life cycle of a sponsored project, University departments typically assign their staff specific responsibilities relating to activities that occur during either the pre-award or post-award phase of a sponsored project. In smaller units, one person may hold both roles. These roles are generally described as follows:

Pre-Award Departmental Research Administrator assists and advises the PI in locating and applying for external funding. This may include searching for funding opportunities, advising PIs on funding strategy, preparing budgets, editing proposal narratives, and working with SPA to submit the proposal. In addition, the individual in this role often serves as a liaison between the PI/ department and SPA prior to an award being made.

Post-Award Departmental Research Administrator assists the PI in managing the project’s financial and administrative tasks after the project’s funding is awarded. This may include monitoring the project’s financial account and resolving any deficits, forecasting project spending, assisting with effort certification and payroll-related tasks, rebudgeting the financial account if project change is required, processing no-cost extensions, and other financial tasks. In addition, this individual often serves as a liaison between PI/department, SPA, and SFR after the award is made.