Adams named director of Office of Research and Project Administration

Written by
Karin Dienst, Office of Communications
Aug. 6, 2018

Elizabeth Adams, a national leader in sponsored research administration in academia, has been named director of the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) at Princeton University, effective Aug. 13.

Reporting to Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, Adams will oversee ORPA, which has a staff of 18 people who provide support and guidance to researchers and departmental administrators on sponsored research and project administration.

The director is responsible for ensuring a customer-service culture across ORPA’s operation; overseeing infrastructure and business processes related to sponsored research; ensuring grant- and contract-related compliance with federal, state and local regulations; and providing leadership on all aspects of the research enterprise.

“Elizabeth Adams is a national leader in sponsored research administration, and I am delighted that she will be ORPA’s next director,” said Debenedetti. “She brings a strong background in strategic planning, the advancement of high-impact public-private partnerships, operations, and software development and implementation. She is committed to a customer-service ethos, and I very much look forward to her leadership of ORPA, an office that is key to Princeton’s research enterprise.”

Adams has two decades of experience in research and project administration at universities in the United States.

Currently, she is an associate of the University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) based in Columbia, South Carolina. The UIDP is a national organization comprising approximately 150 members from premier innovation companies and research universities, including Princeton, focused on cross-sector collaboration and partnership.

For three years previously, Adams was assistant vice president of research administration at the University of Virginia, where she headed the Office of Sponsored Programs.

From 2011-15, she was executive director of the Office of Sponsored Research-Evanston campus, Northwestern University. Her prior position, also at Northwestern, was director of research administration at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Adams moved to Northwestern in 2004 as a grant and contract officer in the Office for Sponsored Research. She started her career at the University of Chicago, where she held research administration posts with three science units.

“Princeton has a scholarly tradition that is extraordinarily distinguished, and it is among the world's great research institutions, which is tremendously inspiring,” said Adams.  “It is also a wonderful community in which to work and live. I am very excited to join Dean Debenedetti and the outstanding staff in the Office of the Dean for Research, ORPA and across the University supporting research. An early focus for me will be the optimal use of technology and data supporting the research enterprise to increase efficiency, improve decision-making and reduce burden among faculty and administrators."

Adams earned bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from Emory University. Additionally, she has completed graduate-level coursework in the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program at Northwestern.

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