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Welcome to research administration in the College of Natural Sciences! Whether you are new to research administration, new to UT-Austin, or new to CNS, the information below will connect you with resources and help you integrate into your new position.

We encourage you to explore our Professional Development page for opportunities to expand your research administration knowledge, skillset, and network. If you have questions about resources listed below please contact Anise Hawkins, Research Program Coordinator in Strategic Research Initiatives.


Your First Week

Join research administration listservs and networks

  • CNS Research Support Staff - Contact Anise Hawkins to be added.

Strategic Research Initiatives maintains a roster of research administrators in the College. This list of professionals receives email updates from the Dean’s office regarding internal competition deadlines, changes to internal (UT) or external (sponsor-mandated) research policies, professional development opportunity announcements, and other notices impacting research administration on campus.

Request/verify access to key electronic systems

  • Research Management System (RMS) - UT's internal grant tracking system. You'll need the authorization to view entries under the unit codes associated with your department and the faculty you support. Access is granted by OSP.
  • Cayuse424 (Cayuse) - System-to-system interface with Grants.gov. UT-Austin requires a proposal to be submitted via Cayuse424 unless the opportunity is not supported by Cayuse424. Access granted by OSP.
  • NSF FastLane - Access is granted by OSP.
  • NIH eRA Commons (Commons) - Access is granted by OSP.
  • ECS (Effort Certification System) - Web-based system for certification of the effort of UT-Austin employees paid by sponsored research projects. If effort certification is a responsibility of your new role, you will need access to ECS. Check with your supervisor.
  • DEFINE - Mainframe application that allows users to access accounting information and to perform numerous accounting and financial-related tasks. Check with your supervisor to determine if you need access to DEFINE.
  • HRMS (Human Resource Management System) - Web-based management system for human resource, employee, and payroll services. Check with your supervisor to determine if you need access to HRMS.
  • FRMS (Financial Resource Management System) - Web-based management system for processing financial transactions. Check with your supervisor to determine if you need access to FRMS.

sign up for relevant training courses

  • Explore OSP's Training and Resources page for information about on-campus workshops, training, and others resources relevant to research administrators. 

identify active awards and pending actions in your department

  • Meet with someone in your department to discuss current awards and pending actions.
  • Use the RMS Report Writer User Guide to run relevant reports. 
  • Reach out to faculty for information about pending actions.


Your First Month

browse websites to familiarize yourself with various procedures, policies, and college- and university-specific information

bookmark online resources and frequently visited webpages 

eRA Commons delegations

If your faculty proposes to or conducts research with NIH, you will need access to faculty-specific proposal and grant information in Commons. Email the relevant faculty instructions for delegating authorizations to you in Commons. Instructions are found in the eRA Commons User Guide.

spend time learning departmental processes to gain an understanding of how your work impacts that of your co-workers 

Introduce yourself

  • To your central office grants and/or account specialists - Visit OSP's Find My Grants or Account Specialist webpage to identify your contacts.
  • To the faculty you support - Consider asking your department chair to introduce you during a department faculty meeting.
  • To other CNS research administrators

meet with strategic research initiatives 

Strategic Research Initiatives provides mentoring and assistance to CNS research support staff. Meet with us for an overview of research administration at UT-Austin, an introduction to RMS and the Proposal Review Form, discussion of college-specific research policies, proposal preparation guidance, and/or a consultation to develop effective strategies to shepherd proposals through the research administration pipeline.  



review sponsor specific policies and procedures

join sponsor-administered listservs

explore professional development opportunities available on-campus and off-campus

stay curious and continue to build your tool-kit