CARES Team wins CYtation Award

March 31st, 2022

Earlier this year, the chairs of CALS departments nominated the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Excellence Support (CARES) Team pre-award coordinators for a CYtation Team Award. Why?  

The CARES Team supports and advances faculty and staff research excellence through high quality proposal and research development assistance, which enhances researchers’ ability to submit innovative, competitive proposals. The team consists of P&S employees performing above and beyond the call of duty, carrying out their work extraordinarily well, and making a real difference to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences specifically, and to Iowa State generally.

Team members support faculty to locate funding opportunities that fit with their research efforts; connect faculty with grant consultants to support research proposal preparation; help to generate and submit grant proposals; and help faculty to navigate information management systems at Iowa State and beyond. In addition, CARES Team members also help faculty to navigate complex agreements and systems that underpin public/private partnerships, collaborative agreements with federal organizations, and various other mechanisms by which faculty interface with external partners.

In the past year, the CARES team routed 417 GoldSheets through the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration and supported 161 researchers in proposal development. They also managed 23 gift forms and supported 18 successful internal support awards. In all, ~$56M in external funding was brought into CALS, with ~75% from federal and state agencies.

Earlier this year, an anonymous survey of faculty members and other pre-award team members (i.e., OSPA, LASERS, ERI) was carried out. The goal of the survey was to use gathered information to hone the CARES Team’s approach to pre-award services. In addition to insightful feedback, 97% of faculty surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied with their communications, and 100% were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of collaboration they experienced. Comments generally described team members as approachable, quick to respond, adept at streamlining processes, and committed to helping faculty members to succeed. Submitted comments included the following endorsements:

  • “The CARES Pre-Award Team is an excellent resource.” Faculty respondent
  • “The [CARES proposal initiation] Form is very easy to use, and I prefer it compared to the older excel form.” Faculty respondent
  • “[The CARES team] checklists are very helpful, communication with PI and OSPA is excellent.” Faculty respondent

Not only have members of the CARES Team been helpful to individual researchers, they also have served as a model of service university-wide. During the past year, when other colleges’ teams (i.e., ERI for Engineering and LASERS for LAS) had unfilled positions and a high volume of applications to manage, the CARES Team volunteered to take on extra work to help out. Here are some of their endorsements of the CARES Team’s work, collected via the same survey:

  • “I have great appreciation for our collaborative nature and appreciate the willingness of [the CARES] team to step in and help out.” LASERS/ERI Pre-Award Colleague
  • “My overall experience with the CARES Team has been very positive. The CARES staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and generally a delight to work with.” OSPA Pre-Award Colleague

Embedded in the departments they serve, the CARES Team continues to be model of service, helping the research community both within and beyond the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.