Connect 2021 brings the worlds research community together to share, learn and celebrate the achievements of the past year

At Connect this year, we focused on the many ways we empower research professionals as they explore possibilities and accelerate the positive impact of their work for the benefit of our global community now and in the future. The awards we present each year at Connect are one of the ways we recognize and honor the amazing work accomplished in our industry.

The awards are open to all employees at Cayuse customer organizations, and recipients are selected by the Connect Awards Committee in four categories: The Sheri Pulis Award, the Modernization Award, the Productivity Award, and the COVID-19 Adapting to Win Award.

Without further ado, we are so proud to present this year’s winners …

Sheri Pulis Award

This award is in honor of Sheri Pulis, a beloved customer and a beautiful person who passed away in 2019. The award highlights outstanding service and contributions that have helped drive progress in research administration.

The 2021 Sheri Pulis Award winner is Gina Hedberg, Executive Director of Sponsored Projects Administration at the University of South Alabama

Gina has worked in sponsored projects administration for over 25 years. Directing an office that has grown significantly to support the university’s expanding research enterprise, Gina has worked to make significant improvements in efficiency to her staff and university’s processes more this year. Gina is an active member of the Society of Research Administrators International at the state, regional and national levels. She has also consistently contributed to the success of her peers through the Connect Community. In short, Gina embodies all the characteristics that make the Sheri Pulis award our most personal and meaningful recognition.

Modernization Award

The Modernization award recognizes individuals or organizations engaged in updating and modernizing their systems across the research lifecycle with Cayuse technology.

The winner of this year’s award is Louise Griffin, Senior Director for Research and Sponsored Programs, the University of New Hampshire 

Louise’s institution experienced challenges due to a mix of outdated paper-based processes, researcher frustration, and a lack of accessible information across siloed departments. She led the research office in a dedicated push to improve processes and drive modernization, including the adoption of the Cayuse Research Suite. Louise’s vision helped to bring about profound change and improvements to research administration at the University of New Hampshire. Throughout the journey, Louise has maintained a sense of humor and a positive attitude. Even a broken arm couldn’t stop her from rolling out Cayuse on campus!

Honorable Mentions:

Productivity Award

The Productivity award is designed for those individuals or organizations that have worked to reduce the burden on their research staff (PIs, finance, administrators, managers, etc), by eliminating duplicate data entry, reducing errors, and improving communication.

Lamar University is the winner of this year’s productivity award.


Lamar University has worked hard this year to modernize many processes. They leveraged Cayuse to drive greater efficiency for their entire research community in grant submission and management, IRB protocol management, they also implemented Fund Manager. With Cayuse, Lamar University provided its research community with modern technologies that helped them moving away from paper-based and manual processes. Next up,the team will leverageCayuse Analytics to help research leaders fast and accurate access to meaningful data.

Honorable Mentions:

COVID-19 Adapting to Win Award

The COVID-19 Adapting to Win award highlights individuals or organizations who successfully navigated the challenges wrought by the pandemic by transforming the work environment, keeping research moving forward, and adjusting to our new normal.

The winner for this year’s award is Providence College SPaRC Office

Prior to the pandemic, this undergraduate institution had limited infrastructure and no work-from-home policies. When the pandemic hit, Director Dr. Kris Monahan and Assistant Director, Dalila Alves transformed their research development processes and outreach activities to keep communication and research thriving. They implemented a plan for virtual office hours and drop-in sessions, set up a self-service online help hub of videos, documents, and tools, held coffee talks with faculty and researchers, and effectively used Zoom for new faculty orientation and engagement. Supported by Cayuse, their efforts in a 15% increase in proposal submissions during the pandemic.

Honorable Mentions: