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Simin Nikbin MeydaniDear Tufts Research Community,

As I complete my first year as Vice Provost for Research, I am thankful for your support during this transition and excited by the opportunities ahead.

During the past year, OVPR staff and I worked closely with University leadership, faculty, students, and staff to help the advancement of three initiatives: the University-wide Research and Scholarship Strategic Plan (RSSP), the Data-Intensive Study Center (DISC), and the Tufts Launchpad. In addition, I engaged Huron Consulting Group last Fall to assess the OVPR’s organizational structure and the extent to which it provided efficient and effective service as well as effective compliance management. During this process, forty-five internal stakeholders were interviewed and Tufts was benchmarked against two cohorts of peer institutions. From this work, a series of observations and recommendations were made that served as the basis for re-organization of the OVPR, which was accomplished within budgetary constraints. These include, but are not limited to:

1) Organizing the OVPR business around six key themes: Strategic Initiatives; Research Administration and Development; Research Compliance; Laboratory Animal Medicine; Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration; and Business Operations;

2) Further unifying staff around the OVPR’s service-oriented mission and strategic vision, the Boston and Medford OVPR offices will be co-located at 75 Kneeland Street on the Boston Campus in the Fall of 2017. We will continue to have regular presence on both Grafton and Medford campuses with regularly scheduled office hours and we will be available to attend meetings and other such events. I strongly believe that this will enhance our ability to serve and support the research community at Tufts while creating operational efficiencies;

3) Bringing together the Pre-Award Research Administration, the Post-Award Research Administration, and the Research Development offices under the leadership of an Associate Vice Provost for Research Administration and Development, Zoya Davis-Hamilton and;

4) Establishing an integrated compliance program under the leadership of a new Associate Vice Provost for Research Compliance. We conducted a national search and I am pleased to announce that Heather Gipson-Cosier will be joining the OVPR team on September 11th. Heather comes to us from the University of Iowa, where she held the position of Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance in the Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Development. Heather’s career has been devoted to the practice of legal policy, ethics, risk assessment and compliance at major academic research  and clinical institutions. Her comprehensive expertise in all aspects of regulatory compliance and the infrastructure required to support it will be an invaluable asset. Heather received her JD from the Indiana University School of Law and her Master of Arts from the University of Indianapolis. Please join me in welcoming Heather Gipson-Cosier to Tufts!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions. You will be hearing from the OVPR in the near future about our plans for open houses and coffee hours in the new academic year. In the meantime, enjoy the final days of summer.

All the best,
Simin Nikbin Meydani
Vice Provost for Research