UNCW’s Increasing Research Activity Prompts New Positions to Support SPARC

Monday, July 13, 2020

UNCW’s Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance (SPARC) has been reorganized to meet growing needs as UNCW’s research mission continues to expand.

Kati Chipps has been named director of SPARC, effective July 20. Additionally, the university has filled two newly created leadership positions within the office. Michael Carr began his role as assistant director for agreements in June, and Dana Bell has been in her position as pre-award coordinator since April. All three employees are new this year to UNCW.

“The goal of the reorganization is to build a leadership structure within SPARC to support increased faculty and staff research as the university embraces its designation as a more research-active doctoral university,” said Stuart Borrett, associate provost for research and innovation. UNCW was elevated to the category of “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2018.

SPARC provides assistance in identifying funding opportunities, preparing proposals and ensuring compliance with government regulations and specific requirements of sponsored research and programs.

Scholarly research and innovation that have an impact regionally, nationally or internationally are key components of UNCW’s 2016-21 Strategic Plan.

Chipps brings experience research administration, training and development, and nonprofit management. She most recently served as a research administration manager for UNC-Chapel Hill’s School Gillings School of Global Public Health, which has a research portfolio of more than $200 million and handles nearly 1,750 proposals annually. She earned a Master of Public Administration and a B.S. in political science and psychology from Idaho State University.

In his newly created position, Carr is responsible for effective negotiation and execution of agreements with research sponsors, including federal, state and local government; industry; and nonprofits. He has nearly 10 years of experience in research administration, most recently as interim associate director for sponsored projects at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds an MBA in management and finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.S. in chemistry from Hope College in Michigan.

As pre-award coordinator and part of the leadership team, Bell oversees the pre-award team and provides accountability for proposal submissions. She came to UNCW in January as a proposal development specialist and holds a B.A. in communications-public relations from N.C. State University and a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. Before coming to UNCW, she worked in research administration at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Supporting faculty and staff research also benefits students, Borrett explained. “Of the $17.5 million UNCW spent on research in the last fiscal year, about $9 million was spent on salaries, and a significant portion of that supported graduate and undergraduate student researchers.”

-- Tricia Vance