The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


OSPRI provides research support

A look into where research grants come from, and how they are used on campus
Graphic by Rachel Becker

At the University of Central Missouri, the Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity department has the responsibility to secure funds and grants for research and ensure it is used responsibly. Sarah Craig, UCM’s Director of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity believes an aspect many might not realize is that cultivating leaders requires adequate financial backing. Just like any university campus, just about everything needs funding, and grants are one of the many ways that departments secure that funding. 

   Craig is responsible for securing external funding in the form of grants and contracts and overseeing federal compliance with research done on campus.

  “What is meaningful and impactful for any particular entity is different. For some projects, you have to have the multi-millions to get the job done, and there are others that just getting $1,000 or $2,500 is really going to have a significant impact… I think a lot of times people forget that we also help with small ones too,” Craig said. 

  Craig is one of four authorized organizational representatives, a position that allows her to sign off on and submit grants as well as accept awards. On the sponsored programs side, her department brings in money for campus, and on the research integrity side, they make sure that that money is used responsibly. Craig also stated that a lot of the money they bring in is “behind the scenes”, meaning that a lot of people on campus don’t realize that the money being used is not provided by campus and is actually from outside funding that is secured by her department. Craig mentioned a recent attempt to secure $300,000 in additional aid from COVID-19 relief funds as an example.

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  While many on campus may not realize where the funding for their specific research comes from or who put in the work to get them that funding, those who are aware are thankful for the impact that grants have on their department. 

   “Because of grants given to the Digital Media Production program on campus, I have been able to make myself a more desirable hire because I know how to produce a professional podcast,” Emily Dickmeier, a Digital Media Production major said.

  One of the grants Craig has helped to secure was a $2 million grant received from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development in December 2022. This grant was designed to help the agriculture department by allowing them to recoup after negative effects of COVID-19. 

  The grant helped to further develop the agriculture programs by way of having funds to build a new greenhouse, a storefront to sell goods grown by the department, as well as funds to fix and maintain structures managed by the Agriculture department. Additionally, this grant aided the agriculture department to establish five new agricultural workforce certificates that students can obtain.

  “Very few industries provide products and services as multifaceted as agriculture,” Michelle Santiago, chair of the Department of Agriculture said. “With the help of these certificates, UCM will continue to help fill Missouri’s modern agribusiness and agricultural research pipelines.”

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