National Council of University Research Administrators

National Council of University Research Administrators

NCURA, founded in 1959, is an organization of individuals with professional interests in the administration of sponsored programs (research, education and training), primarily at colleges and universities, with a common desire to:

  • Promote the development of more effective policies and procedures relative to the administration of sponsored programs to assure the achievement of the maximum potential in academic programs.
  • Provide a forum through national and regional meetings for the discussion and exchange of information and experiences related to sponsored programs in colleges and universities.
  • Provide for the dissemination of current information and exchange of views on mutual concerns.
  • Promote the development of college and university research administration and the administration of other sponsored programs as a professional field, and to stimulate the personal growth of the members of the Council.


The Formation of NCURA (1958-1960)

The National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) was initiated in 1958 to aid in the evolution of the profession of Research Administration from that of a part-time job performed by persons with other primary duties into that of a full-time profession with specific requirements. NCURA has been the premier professional association for university research administrators since that time.

At a conference on research administration held in Estes Park, Colorado in June 1958, a plan was developed for a clearinghouse for the exchange of information about research administration. In a subsequent meeting in November held at the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, a group of eight administrators “agreed that there was a need for some kind of group or organization that would look beyond business and fiscal matters into the broader aspects of research administration,” as reported by Donald S. Murray of the University of Pennsylvania.

In December 1958, Raymond Ewell of the State University of New York at Buffalo wrote Murray that he and William C. Wheadon of Syracuse University had been discussing the possibility of organizing a group of research administrators from eastern universities to discuss mutual problems, again as the result of the Estes Park meeting. An opportunity for advancing these ideas arose in September 1959 when an informal meeting was held by about 25 participants at the 13th National Conference on the Administration of Research (NCAR) at Manchester, Vermont. This meeting determined that a national organization of university research administrators would serve a useful purpose. Thus, the concept of NCURA was born.

To bring the concept to fruition, the group appointed a five member organizing committee, which consisted of Raymond Ewell, William Wheadon, Donald Murray, Sidney Roth of New York University, and John Hastie of Cornell University. These five met in New York City on October 28, 1959 and adopted a set of recommendations for presentation to a formal organizing group, scheduled to meet on January 26, 1960 in Chicago. The recommendations included: • Membership to be on an individual, rather than institutional, basis. • Membership initially to be limited “to persons employed by universities or university-integrated research institutes having sponsored research programs in excess of $1,000,000 per year.” (In 1959, there were only about 70-75, such institutions.This principle applied only “initially”; no such limits have been considered since.) • Regional councils to be established within the national organization. (Although it took ten years to establish regions, it is important to note that regional organizations were planned at the outset.) The group also decided to invite to the January organization meeting “an Ad Hoc Organizing Committee of about 25 members... to work out the organization further, elect officers for 1960, discuss possible affiliation, and discuss objectives and modi operandi.” The name, “National Council of University Research Administrators,” appeared for the first time in the report of the October 28 meeting.

Core Purpose and Mission

i. NCURA serves its members and advances the field of research administration through education and professional development programs, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and by fostering a professional, collegial, and respected community. ii. Goals: NCURA's Goals over the next 3-5 years, as determined by its Board of Directors in January 2009:

  • Goal A: NCURA will be the leader in professional development, knowledge exchange, and individual development for research administration
  • Goal B: NCURA will be the leading information resource for the research administration community
  • Goal C: NCURA will have sufficient financial resources and infrastructure to meet its objectives and respond quickly and creatively to opportunities
  • Goal D: Research administration will be a respected and valued profession within the research community


The Council is governed by the Board of Directors, which consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, Executive Director, seven regional elected representatives, four at-large members, and up to three presidential appointments.

Officers and Board of Directors

2011 Officers

President: Judy Fredenberg, University of Montana
Vice President: Dan Nordquist, Washington State University
Treasurer: Mario Medina, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Secretary: Barbara Gray, Valdosta State University
Immediate Past President: David Richardson, Pennsylvania State University
Executive Director: Kathleen Larmett, National Council of University Research Administrators

2011 Board of Directors

Ralph Brown, Colorado School of Mines
Csilla Csaplar, Stanford University
Thomas Egan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Betty Farbman, New York University
Josie Jimenez, New Mexico State University
Antoinette Lawson, University of Maryland, College Park
Debbie Newton, University of Tulsa
Heather Offhaus, University of Michigan Medical School
Craig Reynolds, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Georgette Sakumoto, University of Hawaii
Steve H. Smartt, Vanderbilt University
Jill Tincher, University of Miami School of Medicine
Anthony Ventimiglia, Auburn University
Samantha Westcott, University of California, Irvine

Past Presidents

1967 William Wheadon, Syracuse University
1968 Donald Murray, University of Pennsylvania
1969 Raymond Woodrow, Princeton University
1970 Sidney Roth, New York University
1971 George R. Holcomb, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1972 David Bacon, Stanford University
1973 John F. Adams, Georgia State University
1974 Clark A. Mccartney, University of Southern California
1975 Perry B. Hendricks, Jr., Pacific Lutheran University
1976 Eric R. Rude, University of Wisconsin
1977 Harold B. Hunnicutt, Arizona State University
1978 Margery E. Hoppin, University of Iowa
1979 Truman F. Cook, Southern Methodist University
1980 Dennis W. Barnes, University of Virginia
1981 Frederick Sudermann, Wichita State University
1982 Anthony Merritt, University of Pennsylvania
1983 Mark Elder, University of Oklahoma
1984 Edward L. Maccordy, Washington University
1985 Earl J. Freise, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
1986 Mary Ellen Sheridan, SUNY at Binghamton
1987 Allen J. Sinisgalli, Princeton University
1988 Julie T. Norris, University of Houston
1989 Jane A. Youngers, University of Rochester
1990 Frederick Bentley II, Stanford University
1991 Stephen Erickson, Harvard University
1992 Ardis M. Savory, University of South Carolina
1993 Henry O. Hooper, Northern Arizona University
1994 Steven H. Smartt, Vanderbilt University
1995 Richard P. Seligman, University of California, Los Angeles
1996 Kim Moreland, University of Kansas
1997 Steve Hansen, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
1998 Mary Husemoller, University of Nevada, Reno
1999 Cheryl Lee Howard, The Johns Hopkins University
2000 Nancy Wilkinson, Emory University
2001 Regina H. White, University of Vermont
2002 John Case, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2003 Robert J. Killoren, Jr., Pennsylvania State University
2004 Patrick W. Fitzgerald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2005 Jerry Fife, Vanderbilt University
2006 Laura Wade, University of Houston
2007 Pamela Whitlock, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
2008 David Mayo, California Institute of Technology
2009 Denise Clark, University of Maryland, College Park
2010 Dave Richardson, Pennsylvania State University
2011 Judy Fredenberg, University of Montana


Many activities of the Council are conducted through three Standing Committees, which include Financial Management Committee (FMC), Professional Development Committee (PDC), Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (N&LDC), and certain Select Committees and Task Force.

Nominating and Leadership Development Committee

The Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (N&LDC) is responsible for the development of leaders within NCURA, overseeing the selection of candidates for national office and Board positions, and management of NCURA’s awards and recognition programs

Professional Development Committee

The Professional Development Committee (PDC) helps to set the agenda for professional development programming and publications of the organization. In addition to overseeing production of the Annual Meeting and the NCURA journal, Research Management Review, it also recommends new special topic conferences, manages the evaluation process for ongoing programming, recommends faculty for the traveling workshops, and evaluates new educational tools.

Financial Management Committee

The Financial Management Committee (FMC) is responsible for the preparation and oversight of NCURA’s annual and projected budgets and oversight of NCURA’s investment, revenue, and expenditure strategies.


i. Articles of Confederation
ii. Bylaws
iii. Administrative Policies


Annual Meeting

The NCURA Annual Meeting is a meeting of the NCURA membership. The meeting is a three-day program of concurrent, sessions, discussion groups, and plenary sessions with an additional one to one and a half days of intensive workshops. The dates for the 2011 Annual Meeting are November 6- 9, 2011

Financial Research Administration Conference

The community of those engaged in the financial administration of research was brought together in 2000 for a special topic conference on post-award issues. This community has come together each year since then for their own conference which has grown from 300 participants in the year 2000 to over 700 in 2010. This conference travels to a new location each year and is held between February - April each year. The 2011 dates and location are March 4-6, 2011 in San Diego, CA.
FRA 12

Pre-Award Research Administration

In 2006, the NCURA Board of Directors unanimously agreed to offer a Pre-Award Research Administration (PRA) Conference in the summer. The vision for this conference is to create an annual PRA Conference complementing the existing FRA (Financial Research Administration) annual conference. This in depth and targeted training and professional development includes offerings for those new to the profession through to our most senior level members. PRA offers concurrent sessions, open forums, discussion groups, workshops and exhibits from our vendor partners who support Pre-award activities

Traveling Workshops

Fundamentals of Research Administration

Individuals involved in sponsored projects administration are faced with a multitude of challenges: becoming knowledgeable about federal regulations and individual agency requirements, providing assistance to faculty, gathering information, administration of awards, and many other tasks. The purpose of this program is to provide participants with a broad overview of the various aspects involved in sponsored projects administration, including preparation and review of proposals; negotiation and acceptance of awards; financial and administrative management, closeout and audit, as well as the relevant compliance issues.

Financial Research Administration

This workshop provides an in-depth look at financial compliance issues through a combination of lecture, case studies, review of Federal audit reports, and a discussion of best practices. The workshop presents the financial issues of sponsored programs management using a ‘cradle-to-grave’, award lifecycle approach, and discusses the impact of the financial issues at each stage of award management.

Departmental Research Administration

NCURA is proud to offer a new workshop geared specifically for the departmental administrator, the Departmental Research Administration Workshop (DRA). Administrators who work at the department and college level have unique challenges. Like central offices, we must have the knowledge of pre- and post-award functions. What distinguishes the departmental research administrator from other research support functions is being intimately involved with all facets of the administration process, daily interaction with faculty, as well as other departmental-specific responsibilities.

For more experienced research administrators, NCURA created "Sponsored Project Administration: Level Two, Critical Issues in Research Administration" (commonly referred to as "SPA II"). This two and a half day professional development program offers participants an opportunity for in-depth instruction in four core aspects of research administration: institutional compliance responsibilities, proposal creation and submission, contract and subaward review, and post award financial administration. Each of these topics will be explored through a combination of case study analysis and discussion.
SPA II differs from the Fundamentals of Sponsored Project Administration program in a number of important ways. Though Fundamentals is not a prerequisite to enrolling in SPA II, attendees are encouraged to have a minimum of three years of sponsored projects administration experience in order to understand and contribute to the discussion. Where Fundamentals provides a broad, sweeping overview of sponsored projects from "cradle to grave," SPA II takes a focused, in-depth view of a limited number of topics and issues. This approach enables the use of discussion and case studies to provide for greater audience participation. The Open Forum is another unique feature of SPA II where participants can pose questions and engage in lively discussion about virtually any aspect of research administration.

On Campus Workshops

NCURA offers the opportunity for any of the above four workshops—Fundaments, Financial Research Administration, Departmental Research Administration, and Sponsored Projects Administration II—to travel to campuses across the country and world. In order to bring a workshop to your institution, you need to have a minimum of 60 participants. These can be individuals from your campus, system as well as neighboring institutions. You supply the workshop on-campus location, the meals and beverage breaks, and the necessary AV equipment and NCURA will provide the rest - a faculty, who are leaders in the field, and all workshop materials. This is an incredibly cost effective way to educate a large number of people on the critical issues surrounding departmental research administration.

Online Programs


Online Tutorials

A Primer on Clinical Trials

We have developed a thorough overview of this complex process. As a primer it is intended for those new to clinical trials, or who have had very limited exposure. The course will focus on key administrative, financial, and regulatory issues that arise in planning, funding, conducting, and closing-out clinical trials. You will not become an expert in every aspect of clinical trials but you will become knowledgeable about many facets of the clinical trial process.

A Primer on Federal Contracting

Since Federal contracts are very different from federal grants, we have developed a thorough overview of this complex process. As a primer it is intended for those new to the federal contracting arena, or who have had very limited exposure.

A Primer on Subawards under Federal Assistance Awards

We have developed an overview of this complex process. As a primer it is intended for those new to subawards, or who have had very limited exposure. This online tutorial is focused on subcontracting programmatic effort under federal grants and other financial assistance awards. "Subcontracting" and "third party agreements" cover a wide variety of activities, too broad to be thoroughly addressed in an online tutorial. To alleviate this issue, the course has been divided into a series of lessons that deal with aspects of the subaward crucial to the Research Administrator. You will not become an expert in every aspect of subawards but you will become knowledgeable about many facets of the subawards.


NCURA TV 2011 Programming

ABC's of the Federal Cost Principles
Managing Interactions and Potential Conflicts of Interest With University Spinoffs and Other Small Businesses for the Department Administrator
The Fiscal Aspects of Human Subjects Compliance
International Collaborations: Negotiations and Compliance

NCURA TV 2010 Programming

Managing Financial Requirements of Awards
Critical Issues for the Department Administrator
Non-Financial Research Compliance
Negotiating Federal Contracts and Pass-Through Awards

NCURA TV 2009 Programming

Previous NCURA TV Programs

CPE/CEU Information

One Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is defined as ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.

CEU’s are available for NCURA Traveling Workshops, National Conferences, Online Tutorials, Webinars and NCURA TV with appropriate documentation.

Continuing Profession Education (CPE) credits are for Certified Public Accountants. NCURA is a program sponsor, accredited each year by NASBA.

CPE credits are awarded for Traveling Workshops, National Meetings, National meeting concurrent sessions and workshops only, and live viewings of NCURATV with appropriate documentation.

NCURA Magazine

NCURA Magazine is a member only magazine available both in print and online for all NCURA members. The articles cover everything from changing trends in Research Administration, to breaking government news, to interviews with prominent officials, and essays by Research Administrators. NCURA Magazine is published 6 times a year, with one issue released electronically-only.

Research Management Review (RMR)

As the scholarly journal for the National Council of University Research Administrators, the RMR is concerned with the broad range of issues affecting the administration of research and the changing research environment at the national and international levels. The RMR provides a forum for the dissemination of knowledge about the study and practice of the research administration profession.

Training Materials

Types of Membership

Regular Membership

Available to any individual engaged in the administration of sponsored programs in a college or university, a teaching hospital or not for profit hospital an independent not for profit research institute, or an organization wholly organized and administered by a college or university or a consortium of colleges and universities, or an association or society with individual or institutional members predominantly from colleges and universities.

Associate Membership

Available to any individual who is not qualified for Regular Membership, but whose activities are related to the administration of sponsored programs at colleges and universities.

Emeritus Membership

Available to any person who has been a Regular Member or Associate Member for five years prior to retirement. Those persons may, under the guidelines set forth in the Council's administrative policies and procedures, become an Emeritus Member or Emeritus.

Member Benefits

  • The Council maintains an Office located in Washington, D.C. The NCURA staff coordinates activities of the Council, facilitates communications among its members and, in general, serves the membership.
  • The NCURA Magazine, published six times a year, will keep you up-to-date on current issues, features topics of particular interest to research administrators and highlights NCURA's activities Nationally and Regionally. A calendar of events is published and announcements of position openings are advertised in each issue.
  • The online NCURA Directory is a listing of all current members that’s updated daily. In addition to an alphabetical listing of individual members, the directory lists each member by region.
  • The NCURA Journal Research Management Review, discusses the broad range of issues affecting the administration of research, and is published online with new articles throughout the year.
  • Additional books and training materials that deal with certain aspects of research administration are published and made available to the membership at a discounted rate.
  • Position Openings are announced in the NCURA Magazine and in the NCURA Career Center.
  • The Annual Meeting of the Council, held in Washington, D.C., usually in November, is an opportunity for research administrators to discuss and exchange ideas on research policies and problems.

Regions and Neighborhoods


NCURA’s members are currently organized into seven different geographically based regions which encompass all states in the United States. International members are invited to join any of the seven regions based on their preference. The organization of these regions allows for a smaller geographic community within the larger NCURA community. Each region hosts its own Regional Meeting annually, coordinated by the region leadership. The seven regions are as follows:

Region 1

ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode IslandVermont

Region 2

DelawareMarylandNew JerseyNew YorkPennsylvaniaWashington, D.C.West Virginia

Region 3

AlabamaArkansasFloridaGeorgiaKentuckyLouisianaMississippiNorth CarolinaPuerto RicoSouth CarolinaTennesseeVirgin IslandsVirginia

Region 4

IllinoisIndianaIowaKansasMichiganMinnesotaMissouriNebraskaNorth DakotaOhioSouth DakotaWisconsin

Region 5


Region 6


Region 7

ArizonaColoradoIdahoMontanaNew MexicoUtahWyoming


NCURA’s neighborhoods are online communities of professional interest. They provide a forum for topic based education, exchange, and discussion. The seven areas of interest are:


Departmental Administration

Electronic Research Administration

Financial Research Administration



Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions

2011 Calendar

January 31 – February 2, 2011

  • Fundamentals of Sponsored Project Administration Workshop

San Francisco, CA

  • Sponsored Project Administration Level II Workshop

San Francisco, CA

March 4-6, 2011

  • Financial Research Administration (FRA) 12 Conference: Looking Forward Strategically: Balancing Collaboration, Problem-Solving and Accountability

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, CA

April 3-6, 2011

Region VI / VII (Western/Rocky Mountain) Denver, CO

April 16-20, 2011

Region IV (Mid-America) Cleveland, OH

April 17-20, 2011

Region V (Southwestern) Houston, TX

May 1-3, 2011

Region II (Mid-Atlantic) New York, NY

May 1-4, 2011

Region III (Southeastern) Isle of Palms, SC

May 15-18, 2011

Region I (New England) New Haven, CT

July, 2011

Pre-Award Research Administration 5 Conference TBD

November 6 – November 9, 2011

53rd Annual Meeting Washington Hilton Washington, DC

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