Dr. Prince Anandarajah, Electronic Engineering
"My working experience with the STEP Research Administration Unit has been nothing but positive. They provide numerous services including assistance with research project related staffing issues, procurement of research materials and equipment, financial management of research projects and reporting etc. These services tend to take a lot of the administrative load off the PI allowing them to focus on the various other academic and research challenges. Thus far they have assisted me on several projects including an EI Feasibility Study, EI Commercialisation Fund, SFI TIDA and a SFI CDA. Their input and assistance on the various aspects mentioned have proved invaluable. It would hard to list all benefits but a few I have chosen are listed below:
(1) Helping the PI deliver reports on time.
(2) Improved financial management with the aid of monthly budget snapshots.
(3) Saving PI time and pain by implementing and advising PI on efficient procurement practice.
(4) Assisting PIs by liaising with HR and helping with the SRF etc. This results in improved hiring procedures.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the STEP Research Administration Unit to all PIs!"
Prof. Patrick McNally, Electronic Engineering
"As an engineering researcher, my principal focus is on getting the best research possible done. The team in STEP have greatly assisted me in this, chiefly by eliminating many of the arduous tasks associated with the administration of research programmes, e.g. financial reportage, purchasing issues, and the like. I consider that we are very lucky to have access to such a professional team, and I have no hesitation in recommending STEP to my fellow Principal Investigators."
Prof. Dermot Brabazon, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
"The STEP Unit offers a collection of experienced support staff that can handle a wide variety of research project administration issues ranging from finance, project materials or equipment ordering, travel, human resources, publicity, to event organisation. This represents the largest collection of support staff focused directly on post-award research project administration in DCU.
The time involved with internal and external liaising on all of the issues covered by the STEP Unit is extensive. This support enables PIs and researchers to get on with the research work, by saving to a great extent, time required for the paper work needed to manage research projects.
The most beneficial aspect of the STEP Unit's support is time saved on liaising with internal and external colleagues which would otherwise have to be carried out by the PI. This saved time can be put into writing research papers, book chapters, books, funding applications, editing thesis, and indeed management of the research and analysis of the resulting data to meet the goals of the funded research projects.
I would highly recommend the STEP Unit's support to my fellow Principal Investigators. In addition to the above benefits from this Unit, it should be noted that the STEP Unit staff members are extremely professional, a pleasure to work with, and always as helpful as they can be to best meet the requirements of research project management."
Dr. Yan Delaure, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
"Using the STEP Unit to administer our H2020 project accounts from HR to purchasing has helped free up valuable time for the management of the research. Significant equipment and material purchase has been required on our project and the STEP Unit has made expenditure tracking a much smoother process by compiling and updating an Excel summary of commitments and payments by budget categories.
This means that interaction with Agresso has been kept to a minimum. Support with the oversight of invoicing, delivery and payment and raising of staff requisition is equally helpful. Maintaining a careful management of accounts in view of potential audits is critical and we have been relying on the STEP Unit to fulfil this function. I would certainly recommend that discussions with the STEP Unit are considered at an early stage of a budget preparation to plan if possible for their involvement."
Prof. Tia Keyes, Chemical Sciences
"I lead a group of 14 researchers and the administrative burden is both broad and very substantial, ranging from recruitment to financial management through organizing meetings and events. The administrative support that the STEP Unit provides is crucial to the running of our research programmes. The expertise and experience of STEP staff, particularly in finance and recruitment, has been both excellent and invaluable to me, freeing up scarce time to enable me to focus on the science."
Prof. Martin Clynes, NICB
"I would recommend that PI's would consider interacting with the STEP Unit. The STEP Unit is staffed by a group of very hardworking and efficient staff who support researchers in several ways including:
Financial control/budget monitoring/liaison with Finance Office and financial reporting to funding agencies;
Invoicing of funding agencies and industry partners;
Contracts/liaison with HR;
Assistance with conference organisation, room bookings, hospitality for guests etc.;
Development of Core Facilities around specific expensive equipment/areas of expertise;
Since STEP staff specialise in one or more of these areas and are aware of requirements by various DCU offices and outside agencies, they can perform these functions more efficiently than can individual PI's."
Prof. Robert Forster, Chemical Sciences, Director NCSR
"The STEP team offer unrivaled support from appointing new researchers to providing excellent, proactive financial information and projections as well as supporting day-to-day operations... and always with a "can do" attitude and willingness to go the extra mile!! The response time is excellent and I would highly recommend working with this outstanding team."
Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean, Electronic Engineering
"I work with the STEP Unit closely regarding administration of the large scale Innovation Action HORIZON 2020 project NEWTON that I coordinate. I find the STEP Unit's support extremely helpful, especially in terms of operational support, interaction with DCU finance and HR, deliverables and review-related system management, organisation of events and so on.
It is great to have and to avail of such support!"
Prof. Dermot Diamond, National Centre for Sensor Research
"The STEP Unit provides highly efficient administrative and management support for awarded research projects, enabling academic staff to focus their valuable time on research, which is where their expertise and interest lies. The STEP Unit's support includes financial services - tracking expenditure, providing accurate account summaries, auditable purchasing processes, assistance with event organisation and management (project partner meetings, workshops, symposia and seminars), administrative report generation e.g. grant financial reports and hiring new staff.
The STEP Team are open and approachable, and professional in attitude, and offer a very effective mechanism for interaction with the DCU mainstream administration and support offices such as HR and finance. I recommend any faculty member in need of support for on-going or newly awarded research projects to engage with STEP NOW!”
Dr. James O'Higgins Norman, Director, ABC – National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre
“Working with STEP has been very successful as the team are integrated into the wider university systems and are extremely knowledgeable about EU projects. Most importantly I have found the STEP team are easy to reach and are available when we need them. Working with STEP has meant that I have the best guidance available to me in relation to the financial aspects of our EU funded project and this frees me up to focus on the intellectual outputs without distraction. I highly recommend that other PI's consider working with the STEP Team.”
Mr. Robbie Sinnott, Research Facilities Manager
“In the Research Facilities Unit, the provision of a central skills based resource like the STEP Unit for financial administration, sales invoicing, event management, travel, etc., has been integral to our successes so far. It would be impossible for us to find a single person with the broad range of skills and experience we require so by accessing STEP’s expertise, we can acquire small portions of the relevant personnel time to get the work done. Accessing specifically skilled central administration supports has meant a reduction in costs for our unit as well as an increase in the quality of our administration.”
Dr. Martin Collier, Director, The Entwine Centre
"I have relied on STEP for administrative support of my research activities since its inception. I have found Jennifer and her team to be unfailingly supportive and a pleasure to work with. Their involvement in any funded research project means I have one less thing to worry about as the principal investigator."