Queen’s University

Practice makes perfect: Research runs smoothly thanks to experienced facilitators

Most people would be overwhelmed by the thought of processing hundreds, even thousands, of files a year. Not Kathy Reed, Robin Ashcroft and Bonnie Stewart, three veteran research facilitators at Queen’s University.

“Even today, after many years, we still get questions that we haven’t heard before,” said Ashcroft.

The three work with academics who delve into an extensive variety of research. The facilitators help their researchers navigate the administrative journey that comes along with their funding. And, their roles are integral to the success of their university’s research landscape.

When a research study requires ethics certification, so human participants can enrol, Reed is a researcher’s most valuable asset. She is responsible for ensuring that the ethics review process goes smoothly for both researchers and ethics board members. After 40 years of service at Queen’s, Reed is an expert in the human research ethics review process, and has managed up to 4,000 active files in a single year.

Each boasting 25 years of service, Ashcroft and Stewart both enjoy the wide range in tasks their jobs demand on a daily basis.

“You couldn’t work in this job if you didn’t like the variety. Every day is different,” Stewart said.

As research facilitators, Ashcroft and Stewart provide advice and support services to funded Queen’s researchers and Queen’s personnel. It is their job to make sure everyone follows the necessary granting agency policies. The pair also ensures funds are appropriately transferred between the university and the federal research granting agencies.

Since the beginning of 2017 alone, Stewart and Ashcroft have facilitated the release of over 350 grants. They also generate amendments for grant applications, including extensions, terminations and additional funds.

“It’s great being able to help all the different people: the researchers, the administration, the agencies and Queen’s University overall,” Stewart said.

Bonnie Stewart

Bonnie Stewart © Queen's University

Kathy Reed

Kathy Reed © Queen's University

Robin Ashcroft

Robin Ashcroft © Queen's University

The Research Support Fund supports a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, such as salaries for staff who provide administration support, training costs for workplace health and safety, maintenance of libraries and laboratories, and administrative costs associated with obtaining patents for inventions.