Engineering Research Administration Team honored

The team received the 2023 Research Administration and Development Day Award for Outstanding Research Administration Team of the Year from OVPR’s Research Administration Unit.
Jumbo statue on campus

As an R-1 research university, Tufts University takes pride in maintaining a highly collaborative research environment with top-class faculty and state-of-the-art labs and equipment. The School of Engineering places emphasis on high-caliber research in each of its six departments and across its many centers and institutes. During fiscal year 2022-2023, externally sponsored research expenditures totaled more than $37 million for the School of Engineering, the highest in the School’s history. Undertaking research on such a scale would not be possible without the expertise of the School of Engineering Research Administration Team. In recognition of team members’ excellence, the group won the 2023 Research Administration and Development (RAD) Day Award for Outstanding Research Administration Team of the Year. The honor was awarded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research’s Research Administration unit and was selected based on a survey of peers and faculty.

The School of Engineering team is led by Director of Research Administration Keleigh Sanford and includes research administrators Luke Baccari, Jane Bush, Fallon De La Cruz, Dianne Deschenes, and Carlo Eracleo. Each research administrator provides support for faculty members from their assigned academic departments, as professors pursue research and scholarship opportunities from pre-award services to post-award management of sponsored funding.

In reflecting on the School of Engineering Research Administration Team’s work, engineering faculty members had praise for the group. The team is “so helpful and supportive through applications for grants from the NIH, NSF and DOE as well as managing grants. Their initiative, support, patience, and calm approach to so many last-minute changes this year has been very much appreciated,” said one faculty member. “I could not have done my work without them,” said another.

This is not the first time that members of the SOE Research Administration Team have been recognized for outstanding work at Tufts. Several members of the team have won individual awards from Research Administration and Development over the years. Baccari was named the 2018 Research Administrator of the Year for the Medford campus, Jane Bush won the 2019 Outstanding New Research Administration Professional award, and in 2022, Deschenes was honored as Outstanding Local Research Administrator of the Year. In 2017, Sanford was named Outstanding Lead Research Administrator. She also won a Tufts Distinction for Extraordinary Colleague Award, which recognizes the exceptional accomplishments of staff and faculty within the University. 

Of the team as a whole, a staff member said, “They hold themselves with integrity under levels of accountability, building trust among teams. When a challenge arises, they assess it, resolve it, and communicate proactively. They are dependable and efficient. They have distinguished themselves in fostering a sense of community and teamwork within Tufts and across other Universities. These are the core unseen values that establish, and transcend, an effective team.”

The Research Administration Team continues to provide exemplary service that enables the School of Engineering to carry out its mission of using research to advance scientific and engineering knowledge and discover and develop new technologies and innovations that can enhance the well-being and sustainability of society. “This award is special because it really speaks to the fact that research administration is a team effort,” says Sanford. “I am beyond proud of the team for earning this recognition."