Problem-solving is an important skill for Research Administrators. Here’s a few examples of how we use problem-solving skills every day:

  1. Zoom out and zoom in—research administrators see the full big picture and understand the small details that support the end goal.
  2. Research administrators can define the problem. We know the rules, regulations, and policies. We identify issues and help with quality control.
  3. We understand everyone’s interests. This is a powerful position and critical step in effective problem solving. The PI’s interest, the study team’s interest, the patient’s interest, and the sponsor’s interest rarely every exactly align—research administrators help everyone arrive at the best solution that satisfies everyone’s interests.
  4. We are creative and obsessive list-makers. Solving problems and meeting everyone’s interests means you have to be a brainstorming-machine. You must be able to let go of your ‘favorite solution’ to see all of the other options that are available.
  5. Research Administrators think like a lawyer and always agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation. Part of problem-solving means understanding that conditions may change and you need to be prepared for good and bad risk.
  6. We have mad implementation skills. Solving the problem and creating a plan is only half the battle, implementing the change is an entirely different battle.
  7. We can analyze factors that contribute to an unwanted situation. In other words, we are really good at recognizing an invalid research model at the proposal stage—saving the PI, the institution and the sponsor a world of headache.
  8. Research Administrators always have a pen and paper. We are always ready to take notes and ask the hard questions to get down to the real answers we need.
  9. We have good associative skills and can make logical connections between hundreds of regulations, proposal forms, and unlikely partnerships.
  10. We have an optimistic attitude. We are ready to roll-up our sleeves and dig-in to the work, becoming part of the solution and not the problem.