The Society of Research Administrators International (SRA International) has unveiled the class of 2023 Future of the Field recipients.
Ms. Stella Kakeeto, a grants manager and Ms. Edna Angelique Karungi, a grants accountant, at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) were among the 33 individuals selected. They will be formally recognized at SRAI’s Annual Meeting this October in Seattle.
“These individuals represent the most radiant of those rising stars, from all around the US and internationally. We are very proud to have them as our colleagues, mentors, co-workers and friends,” reads in part a statement issued on the SRA International website.
The Future of the Field initiative of SRAI strives to showcase the "up-and-comers" in research administration—those who are influencing the status quo, leading their peers and institutions, and coming up with novel ideas to improve the field.
Gloria W. Greene, President, SRAI said; “The individuals recognized through Future of the Field are some of the best and brightest in our profession.”
The honorees were urged by Greene, who is also the director of contracts and grants at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, to accept their accolades, believe in themselves, and keep working for excellence. “The future is bright, and you are poised to make a remarkable impact in your field!” she said.
Ms. Stella Kakeeto, a grants manager at MakSPH, said she was overjoyed that the work done by grants administrators had been acknowledged.
"I believe in the power of research to transform communities positively. It brings me great joy to contribute towards fostering an empowered research ecosystem,” said Ms. Kakeeto.
At MakSPH, Ms. Kakeeto brings over ten years of invaluable experience in managing donor-funded programs and has actively played a key role in establishing the School’s Grants Office, actively contributing to the development of essential resource documents such as the Grants Procedures Manual and critically needed Standard Operating Procedures.
Currently, she coordinates the MakSPH Seed-Grant Program, where she passionately supports this empowerment program for MakSPH early-career researchers to realize their research aspirations.
In 2020, Ms. Kakeeto and her team received a prestigious grant award from the NIH/NIAID in recognition of their exceptional efforts to boost research-management capacity in the East-African region.
Having entered the field of research administration without prior knowledge, Edna Angelique Karungi, a Grants Accountant at MakSPH embraced the challenge and utilized her accounting background to excel as an assistant accountant in post-award management.
“Within three years, my commitment resulted in a promotion to Accountant, where I now fully execute the finance function for research awards, a milestone that fills me with pride,” she says.
In her ten years of experience, Kalungi oversees grant budgets and expenditures, tracks and ensures compliance with award agencies such as USAID, NIHR, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UN funding Agencies.
“I am eager to venture into pre-award management, enhance post-award processes, explore new funding opportunities, and contribute to research administration's advancement through innovation. My passion for this field keeps on growing,” she says.
The duo was selected by a committee of Research Administrator peers, after the program received well over 100 nominations from around the globe. Applications were evaluated based on candidates’ career history, demonstration of exceptional professional growth, and significant contributions made to the advancement of Research Administration.
The Society of Research Administrators International (SRA International) is the leading international organization for research management, offering professionals from more than 40 nations training, professional development, and the most up-to-date, complete information on research management.
Today, SRA International maintains the largest network of research managers in the world in this era of expanding global research collaborations. Being a part of this expanding, active network gives you access to the shifting environment of research management and promotes connections across working institutions.
By Davidson Ndyabahika