Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Research administration is a large and complex profession with many and various roles and sub-specialties. CARA offers SIGs to support and engage each member at their particular specialty level. The majority of our members choose to participate in a SIG. Communication between members of each SIG is supported by a listserv and file-sharing through our O3 platform. On O3 SIGs members share articles, checklists, posters, templates,  and other resources with their peers.

Each SIG has a nominated Leader who fosters interaction among the SIG members, and organizes activities the SIG membership wishes to undertake. The leaders and the SIG members design and implement appropriate professional development opportunities to help educate and develop the members.

Please select the SIG's you would like to join by logging into your profile. 



Canada 150 - led by Jennifer Cleary - j.cleary@uwinnipeg.ca

This SIG will provide an opportunity for institutions to discuss the Canada 150 Research Chairs launched by the Government of Canada in June 2017. Specifically, SIG members will share best practices, be open to sharing internal documents developed by their institutions, and strategize on how to meet the compressed timeline for applications.  This one time program was designed to be quick moving with a registration deadline of August 18, 2017 and an application deadline ofSeptember 15, 2017.


Jennifer Cleary is the Program Officer, Research Development in the Vice-President, Research and Innovation Office at the University of Winnipeg. She has worked in research administration at the University since 2006 managing research development opportunities on campus.  This entails reviewing internal and external research grant proposals for accuracy and conformity with University and agency policies and procedures; preparing and managing institutional research proposals for external funding opportunities; acting as Liaison with external funding agencies; working with various departments and offices at the University to promote research activities, information sessions, policy changes and research opportunities; managing the Strategic Research Plan for the University and maintaining, developing and updating research policies and guidelines as required; and managing and facilitating the University Research Committee, the Senate Research Policy Committee and various other research related committees on campus. 

Clinical Research - led by Lauren Gogo - gogo@hhsc.ca

Established in 2013, the Clinical Research SIG facilitates networking, collaboration, and knowledge exchange among CARA members working in, or interested in, clinical research administration. Our members debate and discuss public policies governing clinical trials, promote best practices in clinical trial contract negotiation, stay up-to-date with new clinical research legislation and regulatory requirements, and identify funding sources to support the continuation and development of existing or new clinical research initiatives and opportunities. Within CARA, we strive to continuously improve knowledge of the overall clinical research environment by sharing our own expertise in webinars and at conferences and also recruit experts from our large professional networks internationally. We work together to facilitate clinical research professional development for the benefit of medical research that impacts us all.

Leader bio: Lauren Gogo is currently the Manager of Research Contracts at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation.  She is responsible for reviewing and negotiating clinical research contracts and providing direction to a team of contract negotiators, as well as focusing on strategic and policy projects involving research.  Prior to joining HHSC, Lauren was a Contracts Officer at the University of Toronto where she negotiated industry and government agreements in the Biomedical and Life Sciences Sector.  She is well versed in negotiating intellectual property terms and worked closely with the commercialization team at U of T on agreements both pre- and post-invention.  She was also a Research Business Analyst at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and negotiated many clinical trial agreements as well as participated on the research ethics board to answer any contract-related questions.

Lauren has a Masters in Biomedical Technology, and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) where she previously served as the coordinating editor of the newsletter, the CARA Connection.

Colleges, Institutes and Polytechnics – led by Rachel Brown and Ray Hoemsen -  rabrown@niagaracollege.ca & RHoemsen@rrc.ca

This new SIG welcomes any members interested in applied R & D and innovation at Canadian colleges, institutes, and polytechnics. Our members include research coordinators/facilitators, industry liaison personnel, project/program managers, finance and contracts administrators, commercialization experts, ethics professionals and managers. We welcome everyone, so please join us to share and expand your expertise through conference calls, emails, in-person events, webinars, and conference participation. The SIG was created with the intention of providing career and professional development opportunities for the rank-and-file administrators at the growing numbers of Canadian colleges, institutes, and polytechnics engaged in research and innovation. Co-Chairs Rachel Brown (Research Grants and Contracts Officer for the Research & Innovation division at Niagara College) and Ray Hoemsen (Director, Applied Research & Commercialization at Red River College) welcome you to this SIG.

Leader bios: 

Ray Hoemsen, FEC, P. Eng., has led the establishment and growth of the applied research enterprise at Red River College since 2004, when he was appointed Director, Applied Research & Commercialization. In 2016, Ray became Executive Director, Research Partnerships & Innovation.

During his tenure, a robust research enterprise has evolved, supported by many corporate, academic and government partners – leading to ~$25-million in capital investments for research infrastructure, annual research revenue of nearly $6-million, Canadian and international research partnerships, a consistent Top 10 Canadian Research College ranking, the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council College Synergy Award for Innovation to recognize RRC’s decade-long research partnership with Manitoba Hydro “to reduce energy consumption and increase sustainability in the region”; and the Colleges and Institutes Canada Gold Leadership Excellence Award.

Ray has specialized in The Business of Science™ since 1986, after first working with Versatile Farm Equipment and the Manitoba Research Council. He has served as the University of Manitoba’s founding Director of the Industry Liaison Office, the Vice-President/Director of Operations for the University’s Smart Park Development Corporation, and the inaugural Visiting Executive/Manager of NSERC-Prairies; as well as with the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, TRLabs, and the University of Winnipeg. As President of NEXUS Manitoba, he has focused upon innovation, technology transfer and Canada’s SR&ED program. Ray has volunteered with over 70 professional, technical, sports, and community organizations.

Ray holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering (University of Manitoba) and is an alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.


Rachel Brown is the Research Grants and Contracts Officer for the Research & Innovation division at Niagara College. In this role she oversees all department budgets and financial reporting for the division, tracking all financial operations and reporting requirements related to internal and external funding portfolios. With in-depth knowledge of the comprehensive array of grant agency programs, Rachel collaborates with the research management team in coordinating all submissions, overseeing grant compliance and eligibility and liaises with funders and key stakeholders. She is a graduate of Niagara College’s Business Administration – Operations Management program.

CRC EDI - led by Laura Beaupre - lbeaupre@uoguelph.ca

This SIG will provide an opportunity for institutions to discuss the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan launched by the Canada Research Chairs Program in May 2017. Specifically, SIG members will share best practices, be open to sharing internal documents developed by their institutions, and strategize how to meet the deliverables requested in the Plan. For example, the first deliverable requested under the plan pertains topublic accountability and transparency and is due October 27, 2017.


Laura Beaupre is the Director, Research Analysis and Reporting in the Office of Research Services at the University of Guelph. She has worked in research administration at the University since 2003, mostly in the role of Director, Research Support Services where she: provided leadership to the grants and contracts team; reviewed and provided advice on major institutional grant applications; advised the research community on all aspects of pertinent administration and research policy; and produced reports on the University’s research performance. In her new role, she will evaluate and report on all aspects of the University's research performance.

Finance - led by Candice Watson candice.watson@humber.ca

Export Controls

Export Controls are seen in various types of contracts with government and industry sponsors. The Controlled Goods Program (CGP) is a stringent security system that regulates and controls the examination, possession or transfer of certain controlled goods. Anyone who deals with certain controlled goods in Canada is required to register with the CGP, including researchers contracting with industry and other non-academic partners. Goods and data governed by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITARs) become subject to CGP when Canadian research institutions agree to ITAR terms and conditions in research agreements.

Some examples of controlled goods that are covered by the program include certain firearms and ammunition, many different kinds of munitions, and aerospace, satellite and other goods and technologies that guide weapons systems.

The CARA Export Controls group is managed through a list serve (exportcontrols@cara-acaar.ca) which includes research administrators and other stakeholders.

Grant Writers and Facilitators - led by Justin Patton - jpatton8@uwo.ca

The purpose of the Grant Facilitator/Writer SIG is to:

Bring together CARA members who are interested in this particular focus of research administration work;

Provide opportunities for professional development and best practices;

To promote this group and CARA to other individuals who may be associated with the research field but are not members of CARA.

Suggest names of members from inside and outside of academia who are involved in research administration and may not be aware of CARA;

Provide a forum for professional development, information sharing, and advocacy;

Assist with the creation of appropriate conference content;

Share best/worst practices in grant writing/facilitation; and

Share common challenges and resources developed for various programs (e.g. templates that list rules and regulations/criteria from funders). 

Leader bio: 

Information Technology - led by Scott Baker - sbaker@bcgsc.ca

Open to all CARA members.

The IT SIG serves both the tech-savvy and technophobic alike. It helps us navigate and understand the changing maze of information technology we encounter every day across the spectrum of roles represented by CARA members.

Goals include: fostering discussion, sharing information, recruitment, and exploring the latest news in IT. Discussion may include general IT questions (at any level), deep-dives into a specific technology, or sharing of good practices and lessons learned.

Leader bio: Scott Baker has a B.A.Sc in Electrical Engineering from UBC, is certified in PMP, ITIL, and is a Lean 6-sigma Green Belt.

He has over 20 years of experience managing people, projects, and systems spanning the realms of training, software development, data security, marine search and rescue, and telecommunications engineering. 

Scott has developed and delivered technical presentations and training across North America and in Europe on subjects ranging from telecommunications network design to marine navigation.

He joined Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency in 2014. His role of Project Manager IT/Systems is a multifaceted position that bridges the IT/Systems and Project Management teams and involves multiple CFI grants as well as interactions with Compute Canada. 

Scott has a passion for the topics of data privacy and security and enjoys the challenge of seeking solutions to enhance both in the ever evolving research environment.

Institution Contract Reviewers - led by Jody Rice Gallagher - jody.rice@dal.ca

The Institutional Contracts SIG was established in 2013 for contract negotiators at institutions. We have members from colleges, hospitals and universities as well as consultants and lawyers in private practice. Our members share questions and resources to help advance our knowledge and the profession. We use the CARA O3 platform to share templates, checklists, articles, publications and other contract-related resources. We work together to contribute to CARA's professional development offerings for those in contract negotiation. Our SIG community facilitates networking and is a great way to connect with your peers nationally. As a group we also promote the expertise of contract negotiators by collaborating on publications for the CARA Connection and the Process Pathways Poster Competition at CARA National. We invite you to join our dynamic and supportive community!

Leader bio: Jody Rice Gallagher is the Legal Advisor for Dalhousie University, Research Services. Jody started with Research Services in 1999 and took on her current role in 2010. Jody is responsible for negotiating and approving all agreements which relate to research at the university, including research contracts, grant agreements, clinical trial agreements, contribution agreements, service agreements, confidentiality agreements, and material transfer agreements. Jody is a practising lawyer with the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. 

Leadership - led by Katie Porter - porterk@hhsc.ca

Our Leadership Special Interest Group supports leaders at all levels, offering tools, advice, coaching and mentoring to our peers so that we can all build effective teams and research portfolios.  

We believe that the success of leaders in research administration is directly related to the quality and function of their internal and external professional relationships. We strengthen these relationships within our Special Interest Group, by improving our skills and knowledge on leadership theory, and sharing best practices on the complex research administration environment through CARA's professional development program. This includes webinars, workshops, conference sessions and serving as mentors and assessors for CARA's upcoming Certificate in Research Administration and Certificate in Research Management.

Members of this SIG include Vice-Presidents, Deans, Directors and Managers and we also welcome those who aspire to these roles.

Leader bio: An executive MBA graduate from the Ivey School of Business, Katie Porter is Director of Research Administration at Hamilton Health Sciences, home to one of the most research intensive environments for medical research in Canada. Katie is a regular lecturer at McMaster University, co-author of The A-Z Guide to Research Contract Review and Steer Your Career: A Research Administrator's Manual for Mapping Success and a frequent speaker at conferences, workshops and webinars.  Katie is an active volunteer with CARA, as an editor for the CARA Connection and CARA mentor.  Her exceptional contributions to our profession internationally were recognized in 2014 with CARA’s Research Management Excellence Award.

New Research Administrators - led by Anita Sharma - ansharma@tru.ca

This SIG welcomes all CARA members in their first 2 years of research administration. Members discuss the role of research administration within their institutions and how they can contribute. They share some of their challenges, perspectives, resources, helpful experiences and shortcuts while expanding their networks and supporting each other.

Awards, Honours and Prizes - Tom Barber  & Julaine Hall - twbarber@uwaterloo.ca & julaine.hall@uwo.ca

The Awards, Honours, and Prizes Special Interest Group supports the development of successful nominations to international, national, and regional awards and prize competitions. We believe that by sharing best practices, providing training opportunities, and offering networking opportunities that nominations for meritorious individuals will increase in both number and success rate. We encourage all levels of institutions to participate, whether a small college with a few nominations per year or a large university that has several Awards professionals on staff. We all have something to give and receive on the awards landscape and your participation is appreciated. Together we will focus on:

  • Encouraging nominations from all Canadian colleges, universities, hospitals, and related eligible institutions
  • Promoting and supporting the successes of all SIG members
  • Sharing best practices and advice for achieving success in international, national, and regional award competitions
  • Providing professional development opportunities and addressing topics of concern
  • Arranging for networking opportunities through the National and Regional CARA conventions and where possible
  • Engaging a network of skilled professionals with the intent to improve outcomes for all SIG members

Join the Awards, Honours, and Prizes SIG and help build a cooperative culture of research excellence in Canada.

Leader bio: 

Tom Barber is Co-Chair of the Awards, Honours, and Prizes - Special Interest Group and is the inaugural Awards Officer at the University of Waterloo as of 2017. Tom spent the past decade working as the SSHRC Manager for UWaterloo and previously wrote grant applications for multiple non-profit organizations. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Comparative Literature he moved to Ontario in 2004 and Managed the MT Space (Multicultural Theatre Space) thereby making him a triple threat of grants facilitation.


Julaine Hall, Co-Chair of the Awards, Honours, and Prizes - Special Interest Group has been Western University’s first Awards & Distinctions Development Officer since 2013. Julaine has worked at Western since 2007 in various roles primarily focused on coordinating the recruitment, retention, and career and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. She has a combined Honours degree in English and MIT (Media, Information and Technoculture).

Project Management - lead by Cynthia Yeh and Jessica Galo - cynthia.h.yeh@gmail.com & jessgalo@gmail.com

The Project Management SIG’s members are involved in project management within a research administration context at many different levels - some offer project management support to research projects, others use project management methodologies/processes in their work, and others are interested in knowing more about project management and sharing tools, resources and best practices. 


Jessica is a Data Access Coordinator at Population Data BC in the University of British Columbia.  She has extensive experience in health care and health care research, having been responsible for the coordination of health outcomes projects from grant development, ethics and data access application facilitation, stakeholder engagement through to knowledge translation.  In her current position at Population Data BC, she provides guidance to researchers from across Canada during data access request development and coordinates the review of data access applications among data stewards including the Ministry of Health.  Her background in nursing, business, and project management has provided a sound foundation for her position in health care research. As a CARA member, she volunteers as the Brag Bag coordinator for the CARA Connection newsletter and as a LinkedIn curator.

Cynthia Yeh is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with more than 10 years of experience in the management of public funded healthcare research projects. She is currently Assistant Director of the CIHR Team in Maternal-Infant Care Research Centre based at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. The MiCare centre coordinates all research activities initiated by a CIHR funded pan-Canadian research network. This role is responsible for funding administration, progress report creation and information dissemination. Cynthia holds a Master’s degree in Management from McGill University. She is particularly interested in applying project management methodology to enhance the quality of project delivery in research environment. Cynthia is also interested in contributing to process improvement initiatives to improve the operation efficiencies in research environment. Lifelong learning is one of her core values and being a part of the CARA community allows her to share and expand her knowledge. Cynthia believes that the knowledge that she will be learning through the volunteer experience will enhance her leadership skills. She will be well versed with the enhanced abilities to response to the challenging environment. Besides my professional career, she likes traveling, practicing yoga and watching movies.

Small Institutions- led by Deborah Zornes - deborah.zornes@royalroads.ca

The Small Institution’s SIG includes members from colleges, hospitals and universities with a variety of responsibilities such as pre-award, post-award, contacts, financial management, policy development, and strategic planning. At small institutions, research administrators are often ‘all things to all people’ and their roles span all aspects of research administration.  Our members share questions and resources to help advance our knowledge and the profession. We work together to contribute to CARA's professional development offerings where possible, and many of our SIG members are members of other SIGs as well. As a group we also promote the expertise of members, collaborating on publications for the CARA Connection and the Process Pathways Poster Competition at CARA National. We invite you to join our dynamic and supportive community!

Leader bio: Dr. Deborah Zornes is the Director, Research Services at Royal Roads University, and has been with the university since 2006. Prior to that, Deborah was the Manager, Research Services at Athabasca University for 15 years. In her capacity as Director she is responsible for both the strategic and operational directions of research at the university, working with faculty to find research opportunities, assisting in the development and submission of proposals, and the management and reporting of research activities.

Deborah is also the VP for CARA and is responsible for organizing the program for the national conference. An avid sailor, Deborah holds a PhD from UVic. Her research interests focus on two areas: 1) evaluating and measuring research effectiveness and quality, including outputs, outcomes and impacts; and 2) the impact of corporatization on the university and the research supported and what this means for the role of the university in society. Deborah’s teaching areas include research methods and communication for learning.  

NSERC - Led by Mike Folinas - m.folinas@utoronto.ca

SSHRC - Led by Sarah Mark & Virginie Portes - smark@sfu.ca & virginie.portes@umontreal.ca

CIHR - Jenna Slobozian - j.slobozian@ucalgary.ca

This new SIG welcomes any members interested in learning more about and sharing information on CIHR.  With the significant changes that have been implemented in the last several years the funding environment at CIHR has dramatically changed.  With these changes comes uncertainty amongst the research community.  This SIG will give members the opportunity to share new best practices for their home institution, share any updates that they have received, give members the opportunity to ask questions, and in general give members the ability to take advantage of the large professional network CARA has to offer.

Leader bio:

Jenna Slobozian is currently the Senior Research Grants Officer in the Research Services Office at the University of Calgary.  She is primarily responsible for all CIHR funding for the University from grant development through to project set-up.  This includes working with the legal and ethics teams as required.  Prior to joining the UofC Jenna worked for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society.  She is currently enrolled in the Certificate in Research Administration as well as just completing a certificate in Professional and Technical Writing. 

  CFI - Nancy Fournier - nancy.fournier@mcgill.ca