Research Administration & Support

Research Administrator

Assistant Director for Research

Dean's Office


Grant Management Support

Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant

Grant Management Support


Senior Scientific Research Grant Assistant


Scientific Research Grant Assistants (SRGAs)


GSO’s team of Scientific Research Grant Assistants (SRGAs) enhances Principal Investigator (PI) productivity and are an important driver of GSO’s overall success as a research enterprise, which in turn significantly elevates URI’s stature as a major research university. The GSO Dean’s Office has long recognized the importance of the SRGAs and, as such, has invested over 50% of its overhead return in funding this support for its faculty and marine scientists. The PI-SRGA relationship is a partnership that allows the PI to “focus on the science” (or sponsored activity) while the SRGA handles the varied financial and administrative tasks required for proposals and funded projects at URI. SRGAs often must juggle multiple competing priorities while working with complex URI administrative systems and processes that in many cases do not prioritize efficiency. Both the PI and the SRGA are individuals with unique strengths and work styles, and both parties have a responsibility to develop a cohesive, well-functioning partnership that serves the greater interest of the School.


Each SRGA has a group of faculty, marine research scientists (MRSs), and/or programs or service centers assigned to them for whom they provide research support. SRGA assignments are in large part historical and consistent, with SRGAs supporting the same group of PIs/programs over many years. When a new faculty member or MRS joins GSO, he/she is assigned an SRGA, who then works with the new PI to orient him/her about the research support provided and how that support works in the context of the PI group.

SRGA assignments are reviewed by the GSO Dean’s Office on at least an annual basis to ensure that workload is equitable across SRGA PI groups and to respond to changing needs of PIs (e.g., a large increase in number of grants or in complexity) and/or programs (e.g., beginning, ending, or transitioning).

Overview of SRGA Activities

SRGAs provide research support to their PIs in both pre- and post-award tasks. A complete summary of the expectations of this position is available here.

Proposal Review & Approval


All proposals submitted with GSO involvement, either as the lead PI or co-PI, must follow an internal approval process prior to submission to the funding agency. This process insures that the GSO Dean’s Office (1) is aware of the proposal; (2) can verify the budget and any cost-sharing (if applicable); (3) can confirm GSO salaries/effort on the proposal; and (4) can address any questions or issues at the college level prior to it continuing in InfoEd routing (GSO non-lead) or reaching URI Sponsored Projects (GSO lead) for final URI approval.

All proposals for external support—regardless of funding source—must be routed through InfoEd for review by the GSO Dean’s Office. This also includes pre-proposals or letters of intent for which the agency requires even a draft budget. The Director of Administration, the Assistant Director for Research and the Business Manager are all authorized to approve proposals for GSO.

In March 2021, URI began implementation of a new electronic research administration (eRA) system, called InfoEd. When fully implemented, InfoEd will be used for the entire grant lifecycle, from proposal to closeout. The information below focuses on the proposal review and approval phase:

Proposal Review—InfoEd

In its review, the GSO Dean’s Office looks at the “Proposal Development Record,” the “Assembled Doc,” as well as any supplementary “Internal Documents.” Several of the required forms, previously uploaded as paper copies, are now created within the InfoEd proposal structure, including the Transmittal Form, F&A Form, Conflict of Interest form, and budget. All proposals must still include the following forms, however:

Required Forms

  • Budget Justification
  • URI Coastal Institute (CI) Approval Email, if submitting as a CI proposal, although the designation as a CI proposal (or other Center proposal) is captured in InfoEd on the Transmittal eForm
  • Budget file (Excel or PDF) showing F&A partitioning for multi-college proposals

Other Forms, as applicable

  • Documentation of cost-sharing or “match”
  • Agency/sponsor verification of non-standard indirect cost rate
  • Subcontracts: subrecipient monitoring form, statement of work, subcontract budget (must now be done on an “RR_Budget” standard form in order to upload to InfoEd) and budget justification
  • Agency-required forms needing Sponsored Projects (OSP) signature
  • Letter of Intent for proposals on which URI is the subcontractor; requiring OSP signature
  • A near-final draft of the proposal text

Policies, procedures, and forms relating to the preparation and submission of proposals can be found on the URI Office of Sponsored Projects website: Additionally, links to the InfoEd system and resources can be found on the InfoEd homepage:

Proposal Approval

Following careful review of all documents, GSO Dean’s Office approvers may go to the PI/SRGA with questions or items to be addressed. If all is in order, the GSO Dean’s Office will approve in InfoEd, thereby releasing it to the next step in the routing chain. In GSO non-lead proposals, the GSO Dean’s Office approvers focus primarily on the information and documentation applying to GSO, including PIs and staff salaries, facilities, cost-sharing, F&A allocation, etc.

Principal Investigator (PI) Policy at GSO

A Principal Investigator (PI) is an individual responsible for the preparation, conduct and administration of a grant or contract. The PI and Co-PIs of a sponsored project agree to accept responsibility for the scientific and fiscal conduct of the project and to provide all required award deliverables.

At GSO, investigators with the following URI-GSO classifications may submit proposals as sole PI:

  • Faculty
  • Marine Research Scientists
  • Directors
  • Associate/Assistant Directors
  • Coastal Resources Managers
  • Others as authorized by the GSO Dean’s Office

Other investigators with the requisite credentials and expertise (e.g., Post-Doctoral Fellows, Marine Research Associates) may serve as lead PI when accompanied by a relevant investigator from the above list serving as Co-PI.

Principal Investigator Leaving URI


Principal Investigators (PIs) leave. They take another position at another institution, retire, or leave academia entirely. In some cases, these PIs have active grants, and as an institution, responsibility falls to the college to ensure that these awards are transferred to the PI’s new institution, closed out or terminated, or transferred to a URI co-PI to complete the research/terms of the award at URI.

The following recommendations have been developed for the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) to guide the Dean’s Office in the process of transitioning grants in cases where a PI leaves the university. In all cases, URI Sponsored Projects (OSP) must be informed of the PIs departure, timeline, and award plan of action.

Scenario 1: PI Leaving URI for Another Institution

In cases where an active PI leaves for another institution, there are two choices:

  1. The PI transfers the grant(s) to his/her new institution. The “release of funds” is coordinated by URI-OSP.
  2. The PI leaves, but the grant remains at URI to carry out remaining research/terms of the grant. In this case, a new URI PI must be designated and approved by the funding agency prior to the PI’s departure. In this scenario, the grant remains open and the new URI PI oversees the progress, reporting, and ultimate closeout of the grant.

Scenario 2: PI Leaving/Retiring from URI

In cases where a PI retires or leaves academia entirely, the following recommendations apply:

  1. In advance of the PI’s departure date (retirement date or appointment end date), the GSO Dean’s Office reviews the status of any remaining open awards/projects for the PI. In cases where the PI will have reporting responsibilities following their departure, an active URI co-PI will be named to ensure timely reporting and closeout of the award.
  2. If the PI does not comply with reporting, the co-PI will be named as PI in order to submit final reporting and closeout on the award.
  3. If the terms of the award will not be fulfilled due to the PI’s departure, the PI may decide to terminate the grant and return the funds to the sponsor. This action is also coordinated with URI-OSP.

Significant Proposals


GSO investigators often take the lead on complex, multi-investigator, interdisciplinary and/or multi-institutional proposals. Recent examples have included the NIH STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure & Effects of PFASs) Center, the NSF Regional Class Research Vessel, and the two NOAA Cooperative Institute proposals. These proposals require a high level of coordination and project (proposal) management that greatly exceed the capacity of the lead PI and his/her SRGA working alone.

In these cases, the GSO Dean’s Office is prepared to help. It is important to reach out as early in the planning process as possible (ideally, more than three months prior to the proposal deadline) to enable the GSO Dean’s Office to assist in a substantive manner. Contact GSO’s Assistant Director for Research to discuss your proposal development needs. Below is a rough timeline and the general types of services the GSO Dean’s Office can offer in support of your significant proposal.


3–4 months prior to due date:

  • Create timeline/outline of proposal; assist PI in identifying/making necessary collaborative contacts outside GSO
  • Review and edit proposal drafts, if needed, checking for adherence to the RFP; assist in gathering letters of support; and coordinate external input by URI’s research consulting group, if desired
  • Participate in proposal team meetings; keep partner institutions abreast of developments/needs 

2 months prior to due date:

  • Continued review of proposal drafts
  • Assist in budget development and refinement; provide cursory review of budgets for consistency with the RFP

1 month prior to due date:

  • Assist PI in gathering supplementary documents, including biosketches, current and pending support, Collaborators and Other Affiliations tables, etc., from all proposal investigators
  • Gather required supporting institutional documentation, and draft and secure letters of support from institutional leadership

2 – 3 weeks prior to due date:

  • Final review of proposal components, finalize budget and budget justification; review proposal checklist/RFP for any missing items

1 week prior to due date:

  • Upload all final URI forms and other forms (subcontract, agency forms requiring OSP signature, agency-specific forms, etc.), as applicable
  • PI initiates routing in InfoEd

Cost-sharing Commitments


Certain funding opportunities require a specified portion of the total project cost to be in the form of cost sharing or “match.” The match must be derived from non-federal sources and can be in the form of cash and/or “in-kind” match, as specified by the funding opportunity.

It is URI policy to assume a cost-sharing commitment only when required by the sponsor and only cost share the amount required. Cost sharing must be handled in a consistent and uniform manner in the proposal, the accounting of the expenses, and, where required, in the financial reports to sponsors. Since the principal cost-sharing source is usually investigator and/or employee effort, caution must be used to be sure that workload implications (i.e., employees cannot exceed 100%) are understood when making commitments.

For questions or more information about cost sharing, contact GSO’s Assistant Director for Research, Business Manager, or GSO’s OSP Representative.


In the proposal, cost share is documented in the proposal budget and budget justification as well as the URI “Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs” section of the Transmittal eForm. All URI-derived sources of cost share are listed with their corresponding PeopleSoft department numbers; third-party match—cost share pledged by non-URI collaborators or entities—must match their cost share in the budget and be confirmed in a letter of commitment or via URI’s “Third Party Cost Sharing Form.”

Cost sharing in the form of faculty and/or staff effort must be quantified and be realistic. Once the university accepts the award, failure to comply with the cost-sharing commitment may result in a loss or return of project funds to the funding agency and jeopardize future funding. Any disallowance is charged to the GSO Dean’s overhead account, with the Dean and the college sustaining the ultimate financial responsibility. Further guidance on URI’s procedures for cost sharing can be found here.


The PI, in conjunction with the GSO Business Office, is responsible for monitoring the agency-approved budgeted cost share vs. actuals throughout the grant’s period of performance. Often, the PI’s SRGA will assist in tracking and reporting cost share on these grants.

Facilities & Administrative Costs on Sponsored Projects


URI has federally negotiated facilities and administrative (F&A) indirect cost (overhead) rates on grants and contract activities. The type of sponsored research activity being performed dictates the rate used for the proposal and subsequent award.

The URI Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs section of the Transmittal eForm details the percent distribution of the applicable F&A returned to the participating college(s) or entity if awarded. GSO has developed a policy for F&A distribution on GSO-led proposals where one or more non-GSO entities are participating.

GSO F&A Distribution Policy

GSO PIs regularly propose complex proposals that involve multiple investigators from departments/colleges beyond GSO. The university as well as the agencies supporting sponsored research encourage such collaborations. The following guidelines were developed to assist GSO PIs in helping to clarify and minimize resulting issues surrounding effort, F&A allocations, and oversight of the award where non-GSO entities are involved.

In cases where only GSO investigators/entities are involved, the proposal and award process is straightforward, where the effort, F&A, and grant spending are tracked within the college, and the F&A is returned to GSO, with its subsequent distribution following university-approved guidelines.

However, for those proposals involving non-GSO URI partners (e.g. CELS, Engineering, Pharmacy, etc.), two scenarios are possible:

Scenario 1

In proposals where effort and administrative aspects are shared between the GSO PI and non-GSO partners, overhead distribution will be split/allocated according to each entity’s relative share of the project’s modified total direct costs (MTDC), exclusive of any cost-sharing or “match” contributions.

The resulting figures may differ from the credit percentages reflected on the proposal Transmittal eForm. This is acceptable as there is a substantive difference between the relative scholarly contribution of PIs and the day-to-day support required to administer a research grant through travel, purchasing, personnel and other actions.

Scenario 2

For URI collaborative proposals that are sufficiently complex, the GSO PI and his/her URI partners may desire separate CFSs for each participating college upon award. In these cases, the following steps should be taken:

  • Separate budgets drafted for each participating college as well as a single combined budget. F&A partitioning for each participating college should be shown on the combined budget. Upload Excel file to InfoEd “Internal Documents” section.
  • F&A Section of the Transmittal eForm
     –      On the F&A distribution section of the Transmittal eForm in InfoEd, each participating college is listed with their portion amount from the combined budget. This includes the relevant Department #s and the distribution percentage for all colleges (adding to 100%). (For the GSO PI/entity, this would be Dept. 2800; other colleges may have additional college/department splits for their portion.)
    –     Upon initiation of routing in InfoEd (GSO PI clicking “Approve with Comments”), PI should note in the comments box that, “This is a URI collaborative proposal among # colleges. Upon award, we expect # CFSs to result.” This will alert URI Sponsored Projects (OSP) of the anticipated setup of the grant and decrease OSP processing time for the award.

Upon award, multiple project numbers (CFSs) will result with overhead distributed according to the F&A section of the Transmittal eForm for the funded proposal. If the funding agency requests revised budgets prior to award, the F&A partitioning and section of the eForm must also be revised, based on the revised budget numbers, as outlined above.

Grant Oversight & Monitoring With Multiple CFSs

Because the multiple CFSs reside in multiple colleges outside of GSO, the GSO PI/entity (and their research support staff) may not have access to the external project numbers and as such cannot monitor spending by the co-PIs, despite having oversight and reporting responsibilities for the overall grant. To address this concern with a non-GSO CFS, GSO PIs/entities are encouraged, at the start of the grant, to establish a process to ensure financial oversight. This may include shared access to all project CFSs, regular communications and/or meetings among collaborators, quarterly reporting by non-GSO partners to the GSO PI, or any other mechanism (formal or informal) the PI might institute to assure spend-down of the grant consistent with the overall goals and work plan for the grant.

Campus Core Facilities

Seawater Facilities

The Marine Science Research Facility’s (MSRF) Seawater Facilities Service Center offers a remarkable array of possibilities for research on marine life. Jointly operated by GSO and CELS, and an RI NSF EPSCoR Core Facility, the seawater facilities accommodate an ever-widening scope of research topics in ocean life sciences—from molecular ecology of zooplankton to physiology and behavior of fish, crustaceans, and other marine organisms to the effects of ocean acidification on food-webs.

The indoor research and aquarium facilities are housed in three buildings: the Ann Gall Durbin Marine Research Aquarium, the Ark Annex, and the Luther Blount Aquaculture Research Lab. With 8,000 sq. ft. of indoor wet lab space and nearly unlimited exterior space, any marine environmental condition can be replicated apart from extreme depth and vastness. Water from Narragansett Bay is pumped throughout the facilities and can be delivered chilled or heated and raw or filtered. Salinity also may be manipulated.

Facility features include specialty wet-labs for pathology and transgenic research, a pier, four seawater intake pipes, a pump house, a recently renovated, 10-tank outdoor shallow-water mesocosm facility, and numerous other portable outdoor tanks. Temperature, photoperiod, filtration, aeration, flow rates, and sunlight are all available to create the perfect environment for research needs. Also available are four environmental chambers that can replicate both polar (-4 to 20C) and temperate (4 to 24C) conditions, walk-in -20 freezer, laminar flow tank, three large-scale incubators, and 24/7 generator back-up and emergency response personnel.

As a service center, fees are associated with space use in the facility ( ) and are billed based on used square footage.

MSRF Analytical Labs

In addition to the Seawater Facilities described above, the MSRF Analytical Service Center’s goal is to provide the tools necessary for scientific research as well as aid in student training and sample analysis. The service center provides sample analysis on a variety of cutting-edge instrumentation, including instruments focused on particle analysis (flow cytometry, cell sorting, Coulter counter), particle and cell imaging (flowCAM, epifluorescence microscope, dissecting microscope), chemical analysis (Lachat nutrient analyzer, dissolved gas analysis using MIMS), and molecular biology (PCR, quantitative PCR, plate reader, Nanodrop, Qubit). In addition, MSRF Analytical offers training on equipment, consultation on experimental design and assistance with sample analysis. As a service center, fees are associated with some of the equipment ( ) while other equipment is free and openly available under a sign in/sign out basis.

Inner Space Center

The ability to link high-definition video on ships and ROVs with the broad scientific community and the public, referred to as telepresence communications, was pioneered at GSO by Professor Robert Ballard over the last decade. The ISC is the anchor for these efforts and receives and transmits live streaming video from ROVs to the Internet, schools, and museums. The ISC houses a complete television production center with live interactive studios and production/editing facilities. The ISC has a large server system capable of archiving high-resolution imagery as well as all the data collected at sea, which is easily accessed by outside users in real time. 

Marine Geological Samples Laboratory

The Marine Geological Samples Laboratory (MGSL), nicknamed “Rock & Core,” is one of four NSF-funded sample repositories (MGSL, LDCR, WHOI SSL, and OSU-MGR) for dredge rocks, deep-sea cores, and land-based geological samples. The MGSL began its life as a collection of materials acquired by the Marine Geology and Geophysics group at GSO but has since grown to also house materials collected by external PIs and vessels from UNOLS, NOAA, and the United States Antarctic Program. The facility is located on the Narragansett Bay Campus off Receiving Road. Its main purpose is to assure that geological samples are properly stored, described, preserved and available for use by qualified investigators from around the world.

Equipment Development Laboratory

The Equipment Development Laboratory (EDL), part of John King’s Paleomagnetic Laboratory, provides machine shop capabilities for our research community. EDL was formed to help GSO faculty develop new scientific equipment and reduce the time for a new design to be deployed. Users outside of URI may also contract for EDL services.
EDL has extensive high-tolerance machining capabilities as well as welding, CAD design and assembly capabilities. EDL projects have ranged from construction of delicate analytical instrumentation to fabrication of custom laboratory and sampling devices, to large coring systems.

Note: A complete listing of GSO research facilities and laboratories can be found at: