Virtually all of our Institute’s scientists rely on the grants administration team at some point in their time at the Lunenfeld. Just how those grants are facilitated depends on the knowledge base of the Grants Administration Team, comprised of Manager Angela Fong and Grants Coordinator Elizabeth Nguyen.
The two assist scientists and trainees in applying for grants, learning about new funding opportunities, and obtaining final approvals when a grant has been awarded.
“It’s highly satisfying to see all the research breakthroughs at the Lunenfeld, and to see a team rewarded for their hard work,” says Angela. “I think this helps draw even more attention to our researchers and enables new, continued funding.”
Angela provides granting reports to various departments within the Institute, assists fellows and students in setting up their funding accounts, sets up cost centres for grants, drafts and reviews contracts for research, and ensures that awarded grants comply with the respective agency’s guidelines. These rules and regulations increase in complexity every year and often change between competitions—making it ever more important to use the correct processes and procedures.
“Our researchers focus on the scientific content of funding applications,” says Jim Woodgett. “We often leave important financial and administrative details to the last minute. Angela and Elizabeth keep us compliant and ensure our grants are not bounced due to bureaucratic errors – they play an essential role!”
“Years ago, we would activate about ten cost centres per week,” says Angela. “Now, that number is upwards of ten each day as our researchers’ success rate continues to rise in securing highly competitive grants in Canada.”
Angela notes that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is one of the Lunenfeld’s main funding agencies, but that support from U.S. and European agencies is on the rise, including several recent grants from the U.S. Army.
With a background in both biochemistry and business administration, Angela is well equipped for her role in the grants team. Previously with the University Health Network, she joined the Lunenfeld five years ago. “I love the atmosphere here, it’s really like a family,” she says.
For her colleague Elizabeth—trained in both epidemiology and pharmacology—tracking and compiling the Institute’s key funding metrics as well as creating updated lists of publications is an invaluable resource to many of us at the Lunenfeld, as well as the Foundation. Elizabeth also helps Gareth Taylor complete large government grants, updates the Institute’s intranet with funding opportunities, maintains an extensive database to keep track of all funded awards, and organizes information on biosafety and research ethics.
“Seeing the success of our researchers is very rewarding,” says Elizabeth. “The close-knit environment of the Institute makes being here fun and not like work at all!”
And to top off a long list of work-related skills and expertise, both Angela and Elizabeth are creative writers. In fact, Angela hopes to have her first work of fiction, a young adults’ fantasy novel, published later this year.