Years back, at a high-energy physics collaboration workshop dinner, I heard a toast – saying that science is like a love partner. That to woo it you need brilliance, wit, charm, and all your peacock splendor. But then to keep it… you need money. After which we clinked glasses toasting the approval of our research funding.
Every researcher knows that funding is an absolute requirement for success. Not only does it provide the necessary resources, but it also is an important determinant of professional reputation. Once on the research path, the researcher is constantly juggling their grant portfolio – looking for funding sources, applying, celebrating the awards, or managing post-award budgeting and reporting, often having several overlapping grant cycles.
The Duke Campus Grants Management Team (CGMT) provides researchers in the Provost area schools, centers, departments, and institutes with support throughout their grant cycle. Michelle Rigsbee, Assistant Vice Provost for Award Management, oversees the management and operation for both CGMT and the Campus Award Management Team (CAMT).
Founded in 2018, CGMT has grown to be a large group of trained and skilled grant managers. Grant managers are assigned to each PI as a primary point of contact for all grants administration services. They are responsible for directing and managing the proposal process to ensure timely, compliant, and accurate submissions, including budget development, interpretation of sponsor requirements, and institutional review and signature. And once the funding is awarded, they help PIs with award management, financial reporting, and project closeout.
Michelle Rigsbee has been with Duke University for more than 38 years, serving in the Auxiliary Finance Office, the Office for Sponsored Programs, the Provost Office, and has been overseeing CGMT since its inception. She collaborates with research leaders across campus and ensures coordinated smooth grant administration services for the Duke research community.
“The job of grant manager is very demanding. Focusing on the employees and making sure they have a sense of community while keeping abreast of the ever-changing landscape of policies and sponsor requirements has been really important for me,” says Michelle. “We find various ways to ensure that we have a thriving workplace for everyone, including a mentoring program for new managers, weekly teas where we invite the faculty we support to tell us about their research, and host outings… like a recent group trip to a pumpkin patch for Halloween.”
Faculty testimonials are sincere and warm-hearted. For example, one researcher from the Sanford School of Public Policy writes: “The staff of the CGMT worked around the clock to familiarize themselves with our projects and proposals. They were super responsive and available, helping us to individualize our reports to better fit our needs. Their dedication is top-notch.”
Outside of work, Michelle enjoys family time with her husband and her daughters’ families. They are also nature lovers and avid campers.
As the holiday season approaches, let’s remember to raise our glasses to the successful funding of our research endeavors and to Michelle and her team who help us make this funding possible!