Kimberly Lowney, a pre-award research administrator in grant and contract administration, spent a week in Moscow this spring under a special exchange participant fellowship, giving presentations on academic research grant administration in the United States and meeting with her Russian counterparts.
An experienced administrator, Lowney said it was a revelation to go through the entire process in the shoes of a principal investigator.
Her fellowship for the trip to the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES) was funded by the Eurasia Foundation (EF).
Among Lowney’s presentations at MSSES was “Roles and Responsibilities in the Research Endeavor at UMass Amherst,” in which she spoke about services provided by her office, as well as Research and Development, the UMass Innovation Institute, research compliance and the Research Business Manager Liaison Network.
At 10 meetings during the week she met with Russian educators and administrators, including Maria Neklyudova, chair of cultural studies and social communication; Nikolai Grinster, head of the School of Advanced Studies and the Humanities; and Alexander Demidov, supervisor of the international department at the Russian Fund for Basic Research (RFBR).
Discussions ranged from the requirement for Russian academics to be on a pre-approved list of acceptable journals to details of the four-step process of review tor funding from RBFR.
Still, there was time for tourism. “It had always been a dream of mine to stand in Red Square in Moscow,” Lowney said.
“I now have insight into all of the work it takes to accept funding, and on what it takes to complete a work plan on a deadline. Given all of the work plan demands, the known stressors, and lessons learned, I am amazed at all of the PIs who continually seek grant funding,” she said.
Among her own travel complications: before she left the U.S., a Russian Office of Immigration computer problem delayed her visa and threatened to delay the trip. “EF flew me to Washington, D.C., a day early where the passport could be delivered by courier. I was amazed that instead of my passport being sent to me, I was being sent to my passport,” she said.