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ROADS supports McMaster’s research community through the funding application process and helps bring awarded projects into operation.

The Research Office for Administration, Development and Support assists researchers with proposal development by reviewing applications, providing advice, and drafting institutional elements of proposals.  ROADS’ personnel provide expertise and support in moving awarded projects into operation, ensuring that proposals and funding agreements conform to the criteria and guidelines of the program sponsor and are in compliance with University policy.

ROADS has assembled a team of highly skilled and professional staff who are well equipped to assist researchers in today’s increasingly complex research funding environment. Some have recently joined ROADS while others have been with the department for up to 10 years. Educational credentials range from Bachelor’s degrees to Masters, MBAs and PhDs. 

To ensure we are able to address the diverse needs of the McMaster research community, team members bring a range of educational and experiential background which includes English, History, Philosophy, Public Policy and Administration, Sociology, Kinesiology, Biological Sciences, Physical Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering. We have been fortunate to attract personnel from within McMaster, those who have experience garnered through research administration at other universities, and those who have worked for Federal and Provincial funding agencies as well as agencies in the United States.  Faculty-specific contacts for research administration can be found at  Personnel assisting with any individual application will be determined according to the subject area and funding opportunity.

ROADS personnel use their expertise and experience to assist researchers during application development and finalization. Success rates for proposals submitted to ROADS in time for full review vary significantly from those which are received only in time for administrative review, as shown:

NSERC Discovery 2012                     71% vs. 25%

NSERC Discovery 2011                     64% vs. 56%       

SSHRC Insight 2012                         35% vs. 9%

SSHRC Standard Research 2011       44% vs. 26%

Success rates vary by funding opportunity. For example, nationally, applicants to the most recent 2012 SSHRC Insight competition had a one in four chance of receiving funding while for NSERC Discovery this was more than one in two.  ROADS supports researchers throughout the development of their proposals.  The efforts of some however cannot be seen in application statistics, as some researchers determine that there is value in deferring or withholding their applications. Even so however, our experience has been that for applications which are withheld or denied, the efforts often result in the development of ideas, collaborations, and partnerships which are in fact facilitated by the existence of a funding opportunity.

Research Management - Supporting Each Other

McMaster is host to a number of large scale multi-party initiatives requiring the expertise of a program or network manager.  Managers entering this role are often assisted through the support of others who have gained experience in this specialized field.  The Office of the Vice-President Research and International Affairs has provided support to this body of professionals through the establishment of a more formalized network of managers.  Research initiatives within McMaster are diverse yet share a number of common goals.  The network facilitates the sharing and exchanging of information and experiences which support the employment of best practices  while maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity to diverse needs.

Dr. Fiona McNeill, the Associate Vice-President Research, sponsors lunch meetings on a quarterly basis to provide a forum for this exchange.  Meetings are informal, with opportunity for discussion as determined by the Network Managers. 

Reinforcing and enhancing research excellence at McMaster

As recommended by the Research Advisory Group, the work of the University Research Council will be complemented "by a network of research administrators who are knowledgeable not only about grant and contract requirements, but also have enough discipline-specific knowledge to be proactive in supporting research development in their own Faculties and an ability to work across disciplines". (TEXT ABOUT 3 NEW POSITIONS IN SOCSCI/BUS/HUM FROM KATHY)