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The Research Foundation: Supporting Faculty and Students

Mary Stephens - March 2015

Mary Stephens, Vice President Administration and Finance

Collaboration, partnership, coalition, symbiosis, alliance, are just a few terms that come to mind when describing the relationship between the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Research Foundation.

We believe the services provided by both of our offices complement one another and provide the structure and support to allow the effective operation of externally sponsored programs. While the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs provides myriad services related to pre and post award program administration, the Research Foundation provides the administrative support services necessary to the operation of any legitimate business entity.

The Research Foundation was established as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in 1956 as an auxiliary organization to the university. As a separate, non-state entity authorized by the California Education Code, the Research Foundation serves to support, augment and enhance the educational mission of the university. The Research Foundation is self-supporting and does not receive any state General Fund revenue.

Some of the services provided by the Research Foundation include financial services in the form of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and cashiering. Through our purchasing operation we work with vendors to secure products and services for use by our sponsored programs. We also provide legal and risk management services to programs administered through the Research Foundation as a means of minimizing exposure and shielding against liability. Lastly, we provide human resources, payroll and employee benefit services.

The Research Foundation receives funding from a variety of federal, state, local and private agencies. Since most sponsored programs are funded on a cost reimbursement basis, the Research Foundation provides the necessary up-front capital to hire employees, purchase goods and services and anything else needed to allow a program to operate. After these expenses are incurred, the sponsoring agency is billed, and the Research Foundation is ultimately reimbursed for the expenses. With this structural support in place, professors engaged in research are better able to pursue their research endeavors.

The Research Foundation employs approximately 1,500 individuals annually. A little over one third of these employees are students working on sponsored research in a variety of disciplines. This hands-on exposure is an invaluable complement to their classroom experience. At CSULB, we have faculty engaged in many different research programs all involving students from studies on sharks and geoscience exploration of Easter Island to innovations in aerospace engineering. Supporting student success is at the core of what we all do.

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