Faculty research gets a boost with SOAR

Posted on May 8, 2017
Hands of people at a table with books and paper studying

The Shared Office for Research Administration, or SOAR, was launched in August 2016. Designed to help faculty with the research grant writing and approval process, SOAR truly is an interdisciplinary entity, working across schools and departments to make the pre-award and post-award processes as efficient as possible.

Collaboration as a step toward efficiency

The mission of SOAR is to provide pre- and post-award research administration services to the College of Health Sciences, the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.

SOAR offers a full range of services in support of the three schools’ sponsored research activities, and acts as a liaison between the faculty and the UWM Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Faculty are encouraged to consult SOAR grant staff early when planning a proposal submission and then to continue to work closely with the office throughout the life of the sponsored project.

Supporting researchers through the whole process

To help faculty and staff with securing grant funding, officers at SOAR offer support in the following ways:

  • Interpretation of sponsor guidelines and requirements
  • Budget formulation
  • Liaise with OSP, funding agencies and partners on behalf of researchers and the university
  • Assist with development and preparation of application files
  • Draft budget justification and other administrative sections
  • Coordinate proposal authorizations

In addition, SOAR provides support after grant funding has been secured, and streamlines and prioritizes the various aspects of demonstrating that a grant has been used appropriately. Officers at SOAR help faculty with the following things:

  • Fiscal reports and forecasts
  • Strategizing budgets and reconciling monthly reports
  • Hiring and assigning project personnel
  • Liaising with OSP to execute subcontracts and outside agreements
  • Ensuring compliance with sponsor and university requirements
  • Assisting with reporting to sponsors and coordination of grant/contract extensions and account closeouts.

The office hopes to enhance department-sponsored research services by applying best practices and mentorship in one central location. By distributing the workload among the three schools, SOAR illustrates the true benefits of collaboration.

Learn more about SOAR at uwm.edu/socialwelfare/soar/.