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Client Services - Universities

ForTheResearch Consulting Services (FTR) brings a wealth of skills, experience and understanding of the research environment. We offer innovative methodologies to facilitate the institutional oversight required by various granting bodies for complex and labour intensive research funding programs.

Having worked in the university environment as a research administrator and in granting agencies as a Senior Programs Officer, we are very mindful of the policy nuances and administrative requirements linked to developing, processing, submitting and managing complex, labour-intensive and collaborative proposals. By taking a project management approach to proposal design and program delivery, we help you find efficiencies, determine resource requirements, establish milestones and key deliverables to ensure that institutional and agency requirements are met, all while taking into consideration existing needs and resources from key internal stakeholders. This is done by looking at all aspects of the pre-award and post-award operations along with reviewing institutional policies and procedures, while interviewing and working with key personnel to determine the most effective alternatives to workflow.

What sets us apart is that we will do more than just provide a report. In collaboration with you, we will work with your administrative personnel to adapt fundamental, yet critical administrative tools and resources to facilitate internal linkages, communications and optimize resources.

University officials normally engage their research community in discussions to ensure inclusive priorities in drafting important documents such as Strategic Research Plans and other strategic initiatives. What is occasionally missed is the opportunity to provide a scaled down consultation process for targeted initiatives such as those launched by granting agencies, particularly when an institutional quota is imposed. FTR can work with you in organizing and facilitating such meetings. We are also very mindful of the delicate exchanges and negotiations that often need to take place with the affiliated research hospitals and institutes.

At ForTheResearch Consulting Services, we understand that institutions may not have all required resources to fully assist their researchers in developing complex, labour-intensive and collaborative proposals. Our experience in this arena enables us to provide pointed services in the grant proposal development process such as, strategic and compliance review of modules, budget building, as well as liaison with institutional departments such as Purchasing Services, Facilities Management Office, Financial Services, the research team as deemed appropriate by you. Ultimately, we aim to facilitate the application process in close collaboration with your Research Services or other mandated units so that your researchers may focus on the scientific components of their proposals.

For inter-institutional projects, we will work in concert with you and your collaborators in identifying and delegating specific tasks, while facilitating important discussions to ensure all are kept abreast of developments and on schedule. We can go as far as help you identify potential collaborators at the earliest stages (e.g. Notice of Intent) if so desired. We will ensure that all relevant/appropriate institutional departments are involved in developing the proposal. Having worked in research administration in various post-secondary institutions, we are very mindful of involving institutional administrators in the discussions as to avoid last minute surprises or miscommunication, and to allow enough time for institutional letters of support to be produced, and for relevant institutional approvals as appropriate.

Occasionally, granting agencies impose institutional quotas for various funding mechanisms, as is the case for the Canada Foundation for Innovation's Leading Edge and New Initiatives Funds (LEF/NIF) competitions. Institutions often could benefit from an unbiased internal screening process to ensure that selected projects align with institutional priorities and strategies. While some may already have such a system in place, it is nevertheless normally based on existing networks.

Very often institutions go through an internal screening process consisting of a review panel. While it is a transparent way of ensuring alignment with institutional priorities, this exercise can be very labour and resource intensive. Having had the privilege of recruiting experts, facilitating expert committee meetings alongside the designated Chair, and writing expert review reports at granting agencies such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, FTR offers to spearhead such an initiative and ensure a professional, transparent and timely process. Ultimately, we will set out to assist you in strengthening the strategic alignment of selected proposals with institutional priorities.

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