Hedberg to join UAB as associate vice president for Research and executive director of Sponsored Programs

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rep gina hedberg 413px 550pxAfter an extensive national search, UAB has named Virginia M. Hedberg as the associate vice president for Research and executive director of Sponsored Programs, effective Jan. 15, 2024.

Hedberg will be responsible for leading the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) as partner to UAB’s faculty and staff in their efforts to secure and fulfill extramural support and conduct cutting-edge research and scholarship. Under her leadership, OSP will perform pre-award and non-financial post-award administration, including review of grant proposals for compliance, and negotiation of contracts for federal, industry, state/local and non-profit entities. She will interact with schools and units across the entire university to facilitate efficient grants and contract processing. Additionally, she will provide advice and counsel to the vice president for Research and serve as a member of the UAB Office of Research senior staff.

Hedberg will join UAB from the University of South Alabama (USA), where she currently serves as the executive director of the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration. Hedberg joined USA in 1988 as a grants development specialist and held progressively responsible roles throughout her tenure. She is an elected at-large member of the board of directors of the Society of Research Administrators International, and co-chair of the Membership Committee. She was a founding member of the Society’s Alabama Chapter and served both the chapter and the Southern Section as president and president-elect. She earned her BA in Public Relations and Communications from Auburn University and has presented numerous national workshops and talks related to research administration.

“Gina is the right person for UAB as we embark on the UAB research strategic initiative, Growth with Purpose,” said Chris Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Research. “Her knowledge of the complexities of research administration along with a keen sense of the importance of the research mission will be most welcome.”

Hedberg expressed excitement in joining UAB. “The research excellence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham leads to innovation, expands understanding of complex issues, and contributes to global problem solving," she said. "I look forward to joining the research administration professionals at UAB in supporting the significant work conducted by UAB investigators."

Brown also expressed his deep appreciation for Mike Matthews, who has served as the interim AVP since December 2022. “Mike and the entire Research Business Operations team stepped up during this transition and kept the office running smoothly and efficiently," Brown said. "Their calm professionalism is most appreciated.”

The comprehensive search was led by a university-wide committee chaired by David Schwebel, Ph.D., associate vice president for Research Facilities and Infrastructure. The executive search firm LeadExec and its representative Lisa Marks provided excellent support throughout the process.