August 18, 2021

Bentley assumes new Research Shared Services role, helps investigative teams with grant submissions

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doug squareDoug Bentley, MPH, is the new director of Research Administration, Shared Services, in the School of Medicine.

Bentley’s role provides administrative and pre-award services to investigative research teams across the School of Medicine.

Bentley assumes the new role with a strong background in research administration. Previously, he served in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Clinical Immunology as the division administrator. Prior to UAB, he worked in a long-time administrative research position at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Upon his family’s relocation to Birmingham, Bentley says he jumped at the chance to work for UAB. Now, he’s thrilled to be serving in a role within the School of Medicine dean’s office. “This position allows me a chance to work in alignment with my passion of helping investigators achieve external funding,” he says.

Assistance provided by Research Administration Shared Services

The director of Research Administration, Shared Services, is a new role and concept in the School of Medicine dean’s office. It serves various stakeholders and aims to accelerate research endeavors and funding across the school.

“Our team is focused on all administrative aspects of preparing investigators for grant submission. We work hand-in-hand with investigative teams to provide pre-award support services and help with the grant submission process,” he explains.

In the new shared services model, investigators communicate their interest in submitting a grant proposal. Then, Bentley’s group works with the research team to facilitate preparing administrative components and work to help complete the grant submission.

“There are truly two sides of a grant submission process,” he says. “There’s the administrative side that must be completed with accuracy, and there’s the scientific side. We take the lead on the administrative components so scientists can maximize their time on science.”

An advisory committee, including research experts from across the school, helps advise Bentley on research administration and the unique elements of research at the School of Medicine.

Increasing opportunities for discovery

Overall, Bentley’s long-term goals are to alleviate the administrative burdens of grant submissions. “We want to help faculty strategically plan their submissions. Strategy is the fun and innovative piece of our mission.”

A few pre-award shared services include:

• Any administrative part of the grant submission process (including start to finish help)
• Budget planning and accuracy
• Data-informed decisions on a timeline for submission
• Tracking project components during the submission process
• Assembling all components and populating submission portals
• Increasing grant funding

“It’s our mission, and my mission personally, to submit excellent grants” he says. Bentley sees his team’s structural position in the dean’s office as a way to contribute to the academic medical center’s reputable excellence in research and science discovery.

“I want us to be able to help increase funding for the School of Medicine as a whole by supporting individual teams.”

Becoming a trustworthy partner for researchers

Bentley will collaborate with Shaila Handattu, Ph.D., MBA, the new executive director in the UAB School of Medicine Office of Research. Handattu focuses on research operations within the school, serving on the school's Space Committee and managing funding opportunities, while Bentley focuses on one core area: grant submissions.

One of his primary goals in the new role is to engage with investigators and build relationships. "Short-term, I want to establish relationships to let faculty and staff know we are partners. We are here to help.” he says. His group is in the process of hiring team members who will specifically engage with departments on offered services.

“Through departmental engagement and collaboration with Dr. Handattu’s team, we hope to contribute to excellence in research endeavors in the school.”

Bentley is excited to provide an opportunity for research at the School of Medicine to be even more innovative. “I hope our team of grant advisors will contribute to the overall growth of research at the school,” he says.