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Boston University

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Superfund Research Program

Administrative Core

Project Leader: David H. Sherr
Co-Investigators: Wendy J. Heiger-Bernays, Madeleine Kangsen Scammell, David M. Ozonoff
Grant Number: P42ES007381
Funding Period: 1995-2021

Project-Specific Links

Project Summary (2017-2021)

The central goal of the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center Administrative Core is to break down conceptual, disciplinary, logistical, and physical barriers to empower project and core leaders to pursue their specific aims and to address the NIEHS strategic goals and SRP mandates. To accomplish this goal, the Administrative Core provides fiscal and administrative support for the projects and cores, coordinates research activities, integrates research objectives, maintains a dialogue with the national SRP and other government agencies, and tracks metrics of program outcomes.

The Core has three primary objectives:

  1. Promote integration and cohesion of activities so that a given project or core can follow a rigorous and logical path while simultaneously responding to the mandates of the national SRP,
  2. Reduce administrative burdens on investigators to an extent consistent with investigator responsibilities for accountability and productive science, and
  3. Track program outcomes and use those outcomes for continual improvement.

Goals and objectives are met through the fulfillment of three Specific Aims. The first aim is to provide an effective and flexible management structure for administration and project/core support. Core leadership brings complementary expertise in molecular toxicology, epidemiology, and program administration. The Core is supported by an active and dedicated Executive Committee and an outstanding External Advisory Committee with complementing expertise in molecular toxicology, ecology, early life chemical exposure, and community engagement/research translation.

The second aim is to encourage and support interdisciplinary approaches to the SRP mission. This aim is accomplished using principles of team science employed successfully in previous years and now augmented by proven strategies presented in the literature. These principles for inter- and transdisciplinary work include:

  1. Building collaborative and adaptive teams of investigators with overlapping but non-identical interests and expertise,
  2. Providing an effective communications infrastructure, and
  3. Maintaining strong program leadership committed to expanding interdisciplinary work thorough communication, integration, and supportive initiatives.

The third aim is to enhance systems for evaluating BU SRP Center outcomes and for continuous improvement. The Administrative Core pairs the NIEHS Data Collection Form and CareerTrac with customized analytics tools to provide quantitative and qualitative feedback in real-time with relative ease and increased granularity. These analytics tools enable the Program to expeditiously build on its strengths and address any emerging weaknesses. This evaluation and continuous improvement plan continues to be refined, leveraging the resources of the Institutional Research and Evaluation Office on the Boston University Medical Campus.

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