October 23, 2000
New name, new leader for research office
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
| Its only one word, but it signifies a fundamental
shift in focus for one of the Universitys most important offices.
The Office of Research will add the word Administration to the
end of its name, and new Vice President Frank Stout is determined to live
up to that moniker.
Im not a scientistIm an administrator,
said Stout, who comes to Emory after many years at as vice president for
research administration at Tufts University New England Medical Center
in Boston. In April 1994, Stout was asked also to serve as acting
VP for clinical operations in the Tufts health care system; six yearsand
six medical center presidentslater, the acting still
remained in Stouts title, and he left Boston for the South.
Im tired of arguing with insurance companies, Stout
said. My real interest is in research. Im more concerned with
the day-to-day operations of research administration and structures
compliance issues with human subjects, cost accounting, clinical trials,
data pools, etc.
[Executive Vice President for Health Affairs] Mike Johns and I
decided to shape [Stouts] position into a vice president for research
administration after consultation with faculty and deans, said Provost
Rebecca Chopp. The new position will focus on providing quality
services for our faculty so that they may excel in research.
Stout said his first priority is making the research structure at Emory
more customer-friendly through goals such as streamlining
the grant approval process, reducing the time between a researchers
first writing a proposal and actually getting the project up and running.
The Universitys decentralized structure can sometimes be a challenge
in communicating research protocols to faculty.
This institution struggles with communicating, Stout said.
Management understands and wants to provide faculty with the data
to expand their own desires and meet their general needs, and my job is
to help build data systems so faculty know whats going on on campus.
Emory faculty are a huge group of extremely bright peoplewhat they
need is access to the data.
One instrument of communication Stout said he will try to use is the
existing University Research Committee (URC), which hands out approximately
$1 million in grants each year. URC Chair Josiah Wilcox said he sees the
committees role changing as well.
As it stands now, the URC is a body that gives out grants, and
Ive been expanding that over the past year to be an advocate for
research on campus as well, Wilcox said. I see us representing
researchers from all portions of campus.
Indeed, Stout would like to see all schools appoint a research ombudsman,
of sorts, to act as point person on research issues related to that particular
field. Emory College, with a range of research needs from the pure sciences
to the humanities, recently named chemistry chair Lanny Liebeskind as
its first senior associate dean of science and sponsored research.
The sciences have grown dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years,
Liebeskind said. The issues surrounding science development and
research support sort of overwhelmed the college office, [and] they needed
somebody to focus just on these issues. So thats my big mission.
Other schools such as the School of Medicine have their own point people
for research, and Stouts job is to provide and improve the overarching
infrastructure that supports the University as a whole. At an institution
that draws in as many research dollars at Emory, that job is challenging
now, and its only going to get more so as facilities like the Whitehead
Memorial Research Building, Science 2000 and the soon-to-break-ground
Winship Cancer Institute come online.
When those places open, this University is going to take off again,
Stout said, referring to sponsored research totals that have leveled off
somewhat in the past few years. You can only put so many projects
in one lab. One of the reasons I came here was Emorys ability and
need to grow research programs.
This institution has a vision, and this institution is moving on that vision, Stout said. A lot of institutions say thatthe difference is this institution is actually doing it and doing it now.