Survey to Assess Administrative Burden of Carrying Out Sponsored Programs

In our ongoing efforts to help PIs and make the administration of research as easy and efficient as possible at MIT, the Vice President for Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs are seeking information regarding the administrative burden of carrying out sponsored program activities.

According to MIT’s FY2012 survey on quality of life, MIT PIs reported that they spent about 29% of their time on “Scholarship, conducting research, creating or performing artistic work (including writing, attending professional meetings, writing and administering grants”.  However, at least 30% of MIT’s principal investigators (63% of survey respondents) indicated that their workload was too heavy or much too heavy. At that same time, 30% of faculty respondents reported “extensive” stress for securing support for research, while 22% reported “extensive” stress for managing their research groups or projects. We’d like to know to what extent we can help with the most burdensome and frustrating aspects of securing and managing research at MIT.

At the time of this survey, the average MIT PI submitted about three proposals a year and had about three active awards. These numbers have remained constant since then.

Much of the work involved in seeking and managing sponsored funding is due to regulations beyond our control.  However we work hard to develop systems and procedures to minimize the time PIs need to spend on administrative activities. We would like to understand better which regulations contribute to your administrative burden, and we’d like to pinpoint areas of where we may be able to make improvements to lighten your load.

This survey is voluntary. In the interest of time and simplicity, we’ve asked that you indicate the two or three areas that are most time-consuming and/or most frustrating, but you may certainly choose as few or as many areas as you wish. Your responses will help us prioritize where we need to focus and improve.

If you wish to see all the questions in advance, please click here.

To take the survey, please click here.

Maria T. Zuber

E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics & Vice President for Research