A Dynamic Duo
New sponsored program specialists team up to supercharge OSP’s workflow
Catie Maas and Kelly Bergeron are relatively different people.
Bergeron is reserved, enjoys running and has an English degree. Maas is more outgoing, loves animals and was trained as an accountant. Differences aside, they are teaming to make pre-award and post-award processing in the University of Idaho’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) more beneficial for faculty and staff.
Through a new “dual-role” training structure created for Maas and Bergeron, the duo will master both pre- and post-award duties, allowing extra support on the busiest side of the grant cycle at any given time. Previously, experts worked exclusively with the pre-award group, which ensures researchers comply with terms, conditions and university guidelines before submitting proposals to sponsors; or the post-award group, which ensures researchers carry out their work according to the terms and conditions of agreements after funding is sponsored.
“The dual-role position will help ensure our university keeps its longstanding history of compliance while maintaining excellent customer service,” said Sarah Martonick, post-award manager for the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Maas and Bergeron began working at OSP in late 2018 as associate sponsored program administrators.
Bergeron began training with senior sponsored programs administrators in OSP’s pre-award group, where she learned how to review and prepare proposals with faculty and staff, submit those proposals to the sponsoring agency and other work. Maas trained with post-award contract administrators, learning to process approved agreements, process modifications to current agreements and perform various other administrative duties.
After roughly three months of training, Bergeron and Maas switched roles so each could learn the other side of the sponsored project process. To retain knowledge from their original training, they switch back and forth between positions at regular intervals.
“Knowing the whole picture and how it all connects definitely helps,” Maas said. “When the post-award group needs help at one time, I can give them that extra help — and vice-versa for the pre-award group.”
Bergeron said the dual-role training program has allowed her to learn quickly.
“I’m already becoming more comfortable with working in pre-award for part of the day and then walking to post-award for a couple hours for training,” Bergeron said. “The sponsored program administrators have been great. They’re very friendly and willing to train.”
The pair recently entered their final phase of training: the review and approval of new sponsored research agreements to ensure the terms and conditions are sound. This is the hardest piece of the post-award job, as trainees need to know state, federal and university policies and procedures on sponsored funding to ensure the agreement terms are in compliance.
So far, the two have learned a lot in a relatively short time.
“Catie and Kelly are far surpassing our expectations for this position,” Martonick said. “I look forward to seeing what they can do in the future.”
Have questions about your proposal or agreement? Contact OSP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Phillip Bogdan, Office of Research and Economic Development