CONVERSATION | Loyola Marymount University topped the $10 million mark in research grants and awards for the first time last fiscal year, reports the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects. That figure is nearly double the grants and awards received in 2014.
“The best conversations I’ve ever had in my  years in this business have been with faculty who come in and are excited about something but who don’t know how to take it to the next level.”
The sharp increase in just three years is attributable in large measure to the innovative and rigorous faculty members’ research projects, and to the hard work of the crew of the ORSP, which is located on the east end of the third floor of University Hall.
“Our job is to help the faculty develop the most compelling proposals that we can produce at LMU, so they are competitive,” said John Carfora, associate provost for research advancement and compliance. “We want the faculty to know that our door is open.”
ORSP is not a grant-writing entity; that’s still the responsibility of the professors seeking research funding. “We want to help reduce the administrative burden on our principal investigators” said Alice Martini Doyle, assistant director of pre-award services in ORSP. “There are a lot of avenues by which they apply, various databases, electronic applications – we’re the go-to people for that. We will be able to really set up a blueprint; we will propose a timeline for all required documentation.”
The $10 million in research grants and awards represents projects being conducted by professors in each of LMU’s colleges and schools. “Every year we hope to increase the number of projects by 10 percent,” said Carfora, who is co-author of “The Art of Funding and Implementing Ideas: A Guide to Proposal Development and Project Management.” “We can’t control a lot of that; mostly it depends on the faculty and what they bring to us. We certainly don’t control the awards, that’s up to the government or foundation or corporation that oversees that.” Carfora added that the ORSP is continually adding tools to help identify sources of funding. The office also works with University Relations fundraisers.
There are many paths to the ORSP door: Walk right into their offices, through the ORSP website, or through the new faculty orientation. “The best conversations I’ve ever had in my  years in this business have been with faculty who come in and are excited about something but who don’t know how to take it to the next level. I wish we could do more of that,” said Carfora.