Superfund Research Program
Project Leader: Akram N. Alshawabkeh
Grant Number: P42ES017198
Funding Period: 2010-2025
Project Summary (2014-2020)
The PROTECT (Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats) Center includes five research projects, two research support cores, and four required enrichment cores, one of which is the Administrative Core. The primary objective of the Administrative Core is to provide a formal structure for oversight, planning, coordination, and promotion of cross-disciplinary, multi-university interaction by projects and cores.
The specific aims of the Administrative Core are to (1) provide center leadership and coordination; (2) facilitate and ensure integration of cross-disciplinary, multi-university activities; (3) provide fiscal management and administrative services and monitor resources and expenditures; (4) maintain smooth interaction with external advisory committee members and active communication with the NIEHS, EPA and SRP; (5) provide center documentation, reporting and assessment; and (6) promote PROTECT activities among the participating institutions, government and industry.
Managing a geographically distributed, multi-university team requires a sophisticated administrative structure. Substantial planning, organization, and effective communication tools promote active collaboration and coordination. To this end, the Administrative Core developed a framework that links projects, institutions and participants. This includes highly-qualified and experienced Center Directors who manage and guide PROTECT research, training and stakeholder engagement activities; an Executive Committee to manage, facilitate and monitor the technical quality of projects and cores; and a dedicated Administrative Staff who support PROTECT research and administrative activities using appropriate information technology, financial and reporting software and communications tools. To advise and guide the effort; an External Advisory Committee was formed with five subcommittees focused on important issues, i.e. the Scientific Advisory Committee assesses research merit, cross-disciplinary integration, translation and relevance; the Institutional Partnership Advisory Committee provides necessary institutional-level guidance and promotes long-range strategic goals; and Research Translation, Training, and Community Engagement Advisory Committees support their respective cores. Frequent, routine management and coordination/integration meetings are planned for optimal participation by PROTECT personnel and advisors. This effective strategy was used during the first three years of PROTECT, resulting in collaboration and integration across projects, cores and institutions, successful communication with advisory committees, and timely, accurate financial tracking and progress reporting to NIEHS/SRP.