Research is a quickly growing industry. Faculty and research administrator workload is going to get bigger — and more challenging to manage — in the coming years.

How can your institution prepare and leverage more work into new growth?

Research administration challenges

This year, Cayuse conducted an industry survey of more than 1,000 research industry professionals across 437 organizations. The survey aimed to uncover the current state of research administration by addressing current and anticipated workload, systems or processes to manage activities, priorities and challenges, and more.

A pervasive theme that emerged from this year’s survey was a renewed focus on recovery and growth among research organizations now and in the coming years. In fact, 34% of survey respondents indicated that expanding their research portfolio is a top initiative right now, followed closely by team efficiency improvements and investment in new technologies. These results demonstrate a strategic priority to create an environment for growth.

Growth is often accompanied by growing pains and challenges. The top challenges identified through the survey were:

  • Staffing constraints
  • Inefficient processes
  • Limited budget
  • Time constraints
  • Difficulty with collaboration within one department and/or across departments

Given these current trends and challenges, consider these five key areas of focus for growing research programs.

1. Establish the right support systems

Research is a demanding field, and your team deserves support. Support systems include career counseling, learning and development opportunities, and better tools with which to do their work.

According to a 2018 Federal Demonstration Partnership survey of principal investigators, “PIs reported that almost half of their available research time for federal projects had to be allocated to fulfilling requirements instead of focusing on the content of their research projects.”

With the Cayuse platform, automation features streamline processes and improve researcher satisfaction.

2. Create channels for enhanced collaboration

Research collaboration includes:

  • Private research funder collaborations
  • Public research funder collaborations
  • Key external partnerships

But internal collaboration is critical to program growth. With outdated, overwhelmed administration systems, consistent internal collaboration falls apart. Cayuse’s cloud-based research suite puts PIs, faculty, and administrators on the same page, connecting research throughout your entire institution. Manage awards from start to finish in one place and enable employee access while eliminating errors, duplicate work, and other collaboration killers.

3. Integrate workflows and improve reporting

Research administration historically spans a loose network of disparate and disconnected systems. When each team uses a different platform, tracking systems cannot integrate with proposal submission systems. To grow your research program, implement a centralized system to integrate workflows from pre-award to post-award, reporting, and beyond.

With Cayuse’s system integration capability, research programs improve reporting to maximize growth and demonstrate success.

4. Grow funding

Growing research funding was the primary goal for research administrators in our survey, with 71% of respondents calling it a key initiative. The challenge is how to grow funding when growth often means more work on more proposals over more time.

A comprehensive research administration platform helps organizations grow funding without increasing their administrative burden. With Cayuse, universities can finish proposals 50% faster, improve the efficiency of internal funding competitions, double proposal submissions, and increase research funding — all while saving time.

5. Improve PI and faculty satisfaction

Team efficiency ranked high on the priority list for survey participants, with 24% noting it as a top priority and another 53% slating it in their top three priorities. Reducing administrative burden through automation and improved collaboration can help teams regain a sense of control and improve overall job satisfaction. On average, approximately 30% of survey participants in the 2022 State of Research Administration Benchmark report highlight team satisfaction among PIs, faculty, students, and research administrators as a key benefit for adopting technology to support activities across the research lifecycle.

Five solutions in one

Technology is the solution to all five focus areas.

Cayuse’s cloud-based research administration platform is the top choice for modernizing research administration. It drives positive change across all five key research administrative challenges and includes integrated applications for:

  • Minimizing risk
  • Maximizing efficiency
  • Optimizing planning
  • Driving data analytics

These features help research programs manage billions in funding with a tool as simple to use as any smartphone app.

What do research programs achieve with the Cayuse platform? Consider the following examples:

  • Texas A&M cut administrative burden in half.
  • Providence added 20% in time savings.
  • The University of San Diego nearly doubled proposal submissions.
  • The University of Oklahoma saved 25 hours per month on proposal preparation.
  • New York University Abu Dhabi improved the efficiency of its internal funding competitions and proposals by 50%.
  • Chapman University increased the speed of compliance disclosures by 95%.
  • La Jolla Institute for Immunology reduced ordering time by 75%.
Discover how technology empowers a bigger, better research program at