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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 11 | V O L U M E 11 | ISSUE ONE Wet and wild return the UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE Dr. Robert Wood looks to push Graduate Studies forward SOS campaign about putting students first Don Hunt assumes role as new Registrar Kathy Lewis takes over as ULAA President The U of L Legend is published monthly during the academic year by the communications unit within University Advancement. Submissions, comments and story ideas are always welcome. The Legend reserves the right to refuse any submitted advertisement. The Legend can be found online at legend. A DV E R T I S I N G For ad rates or other information, contact: CREDITS Editor: Trevor Kenney Designer: Stephenie Karsten CO N T R I B U TO R S: Amanda Berg, Bob Cooney, Kyle Dodgson, Jane Edmundson, Nicole Eva, Suzanne McIntosh, Kali McKay, Rob Olson, Brad Reamsbottom, Stacy Seguin, Zyna Taylor, Jaime Vedres, Katherine Wasiak and Lori Weber University of Lethbridge 4401 University Drive Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 Students made the most of the warm summer-like temperatures that greeted them for the first week of classes by careening down a huge Slip N’ Slide as part of Fresh Fest activities. AWARDS A CULMINATION OF COLLABORATION BY TREVOR KENNEY R esearch funding awards are the end result of an incredible amount of preparation, primarily by the lead researcher for the funded project. What cannot be forgotten is the behind-the-scenes legwork the Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS) does in support of these programs. From advertising funding opportunities to helping with eligibility requirements, reviewing drafts and submissions, coordinating fund payments with financial services and filling out forms, forms and even more forms, ORIS plays an integral role in the process. “We try to make it as seamless as possible for our researchers,” says Penny D’Agnone, a Grant Officer for ORIS. “They don’t need to know about the hoops and hurdles that can sometimes pop up behind the scenes.” D’Agnone is one of three grant officers. She works with Jane Allan and Chris Picken to co-ordinate pre- and post-award processes for the various funding agencies that help support research initiatives at the U of L. Her portfolio includes medical and health sciences agencies such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Allan is entrusted with the social sciences and humanities agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), while Picken looks after the natural sciences and engineering agencies such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). D’Agnone, Allan and Picken will either alert researchers to funds they think might be applicable to their studies or assist in the process already initiated by faculty. They’ll help with eligibility requirements, read through draft applications and ensure all deadlines are reached. “We’re not experts but we do provide a non-expert opinion on readability, making sure the applications have all the components the agencies are asking for, such as budget constraints and all the letters of support,” says D’Agnone. “Having worked on a number of applications, both successful and unsuccessful, our team has garnered some insight into the process that we are able to share with faculty.” “We try to make it as seamless as possible for our researchers. They don’t need to know about the hoops and hurdles. ” PENNY D’AGNONE In addition, the ORIS has many strong connections to the funding agencies and colleagues across Canada providing a network of support for faculty members. D’Agnone also participates in a CIHR peer review program each year, giving her the opportunity to see multiple applications – valuable experience she can take back to faculty. This experience is essential when dealing with the application process, which can sometimes be a long and complicated path not always leading to success. When peer reviewers deny applications, it can be discouraging but D’Agnone, Allan and Picken play a key role in keeping the motivation for applying and reapplying alive. “For a lot of the motivation, you have to give credit to the researchers,” says D’Agnone. “I know that a peer review is not personal but I don’t know how you wouldn’t take it personally. You’re putting your life into it, it’s what you do, and it’s your passion. Then when you have a group of people come back and say it isn’t good enough, that can be difficult to hear.” Often it’s a lack of money that’s the issue, not the application itself. The money simply runs out and only so many programs can be supported. In these instances, bridge funding can be awarded to keep initiatives alive. One such application was a proposal for funding put forth by Dr. H.J. Wieden. Initiated in 2005, Wieden reapplied to CIHR on multiple occasions and received three bridge grants before finally being awarded a $515,416 grant over 5 years. “I give him all the credit for believing in this project and staying with it,” says D’Agnone. “It really is a lesson in perseverance.” D’Agnone is confident in the University’s research excellence as it continues to evolve as a comprehensive institution and says the entire office is eager to support funding possibilities they know are on the horizon. “We’re still relatively young in some of these research areas,” she says. “Health Sciences is a new faculty and I can see their research environment is expanding. People are starting to apply for planning grants to take the next step forward and they are seeing success so it is exciting to be a part of that growth.”

The Legend - September 2011

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