Membership Engagement Committee
CARA is a unique community for connecting with supportive peers in the research administration profession in Canada. As an initiative to enrich the overall experiences of CARA members and its volunteers, the CARA Membership Engagement Committee was formed in late 2014.
Did you know that less than 10% of active CARA members are volunteers? As a member-driven community, CARA relies heavily on contributions of individual members for providing timely services and accurate information to their peers. To me, a part of CARA is analogous to a Google search engine. The success or popularity of Google is correlated with the frequency and quality of keyword/phrase inputs from a large number of web browsers, which in turn, benefits web browsers, because they can easily look up relevant output data. In CARA, as more members share their insights and professional knowledge through webinar presentations, help out at regional and national conferences, submit research administration articles to the newsletter, and mentor their peers, individual members will be equipped with a greater wealth of professional knowledge and provided with more opportunities to engage in meaningful activities.
Our membership numbers have reached an all-time high with almost 900 members as of December 2014, but that number is only a small fraction of those in the Research Administration profession in Canada. CARA membership has potential to grow from within CARA-affiliated institutions and by reaching out to non-university higher education institutions such as colleges and institutes.
The Membership Engagement Committee will be actively involved in planning for activities that will facilitate member recruitment, member retention, and volunteer recognition.
A survey has been distributed to the CARA community recently. Answers from the survey will allow us to better understand the needs of individual CARA members and together we can explore volunteer opportunities that will best suit members’ concerns and professional interests.
On behalf of the Membership Engagement Committee, we would love to hear your constructive feedback and suggestions. If you can spare a few moments and are passionate about enriching the experiences of you and your CARA peers, our committee encourages you to join us.
Anita Chiu, Chair of the CARA Membership Engagement Committee
I am a research coordinator at the University of British Columbia. I joined the CARA newsletter team in 2014 as a volunteer profile coordinator. Recently, I also became the co-editor of the Brag Bag section. My roles in the newsletter team have allowed me to get virtually acquainted with my peers working in research administration across Canada, share their passion for volunteering, and to learn how they have professionally developed themselves to become who they are today! Everyone has a unique story to bring to the newsletter audience, and we can always learn a lesson or two by reading the stories.
Many functions in CARA are driven by volunteers, and it is my total privilege to be in a position to feature their profiles and to celebrate their achievements. Every volunteer is important to CARA’s success, and I would love to feature you next.
Lorna Very is the Director, Grants, Awards and Ethics in Research Services at the University of Calgary. Lorna oversees the management of external and internal research grants, prizes and awards, and the research ethics and compliance unit. Lorna has been with Research Services since 1989 and held several positions both within Research Services and the Office of the Vice-President (Research).
Danielle Connell, BA, works in the Office of Research Services at St. Thomas University. Like most staff at small institutions, Danielle is involved in a wide range of areas such as research ethics, pre and post-award grant management, special events, managing the internal seed grant program, reporting, metrics, CRC’s, liaising with external granting agencies, policy writing, knowledge mobilization, industry engagement, maintaining the ORS website, and many others. Danielle has been an active member of CARA since 2009, attends national and regional conferences, co-hosted CARA East/CAREB Atlantic (with UNB), and participated in the CARA Mentorship program. She plans to enroll in the upcoming certificate program and looks forward to what the future may bring for her career in Research Administration.
Jayne Sierens is the Integrated Project Manager of Institutional Awards at the QEII Health Sciences Centre (NSHA) and the IWK Health Centre’s Research Services offices, in Halifax. Jayne is responsible for the facilitation of large scale institutional awards such as Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency funds, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and CIHR funds. Jayne collaborates with the researchers at both hospitals, to provide support with business development, funding application, managing post-award agreements, IP contracts, award finalization and reporting. With a Molecular Biology PhD (University of Edinburgh) and post doctoral experience (PHI, Melbourne, Australia), Jayne can relate to the researchers from an academic and administrative perspective.
Karen recently started a new position as a Research Coordinator for the Department of Surgery with the University of Saskatchewan. Her position was created to provide mentorship and research support for faculty and residents and to promote a dynamic research culture within the department. Her primary duties include finding funding opportunities for research projects, reviewing grant applications and budgets, providing guidance through the grant writing process, and educating and teaching on CCV development and ethic application submissions. Karen has ten years’ experience in research administration at the University of Saskatchewan. She greatly appreciate all the professional development opportunities that are available through CARA and looks forward to serving on the Membership Engagement Committee.
Kyla Reid has been the Research Facilitator in the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton University since 2012. As a faculty based research facilitator, Kyla acts as the key point of contact for the research community in the Faculty of Public Affairs. She encourages and supports all submissions for external research funding – tri-council, CRC, CFI, provincial funding, contribution agreements, prizes and awards, etc. Prior to her role at Carleton, she was the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Facilitator at Lakehead University. She has been an active member of CARA since 2011 and is currently enrolled in the new Certificate in Research Management.
Erica Conte is the Manager, Research Funding Opportunities at St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto. Erica is responsible for the facilitation of pre-award support of grant applications and award nominations, including the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, CIHR, Canadian Research Chairs, the Royal Society of Canada, and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Erica collaborates with the researchers, physicians, research leadership, administration, the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and external funders to increase the funding success in a competitive research environment. With a PhD in Physiology (University of Western Ontario), a post-doctoral and research associate background (University of Turin, Italy) and experience in a medical device company (Estor S.p.A, Italy), Erica can relate to the researchers from an academic, industry and administrative perspective.
Jocelyn Crivea is the manager of the Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities at the University of Regina. Her professional work experience includes ten years in research administration at postsecondary institutions in Saskatchewan and Alberta, developing successful research grant proposals and negotiating research funding arrangements with government and industry.