OVPR to award 10 staff members for research service, leadership


The Office of the Vice President for Research greatly expanded its annual recognition awards this year and will honor 10 staff members for their expertise and support of research and scholarship activity across the University of Michigan.

OVPR launched its research staff recognition awards in 2001, and in an effort to more broadly acknowledge the efforts of individuals whose work strengthens the university research enterprise, they revised the awards this year to reflect new award categories.

This year’s awards recognize the breadth of research staff roles, from research data work and facilities management to research administration and leadership.

“Research staff across our three campuses play an essential role in driving the overall success of our academic research enterprise,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“For all of the challenges we have experienced over these past two years, there have also been so many great staff achievements and moments of excellence across the board that have propelled us through this time.

“We are formally recognizing 10 individuals who serve the research enterprise in staff roles for their incredible contributions, but it really takes an entire community of talented individuals to keep the nation’s largest public research university running smoothly.”

The award recipients, to be recognized May 17 in the Alexander G. Ruthven Building’s University Hall, are:

Research Study Coordinator/Manager Staff Recognition Award

Brittany Ross, research area specialist lead, School of Social Work

Research Staff Support Recognition Award

Kaitlin Brinson, executive assistant, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine

Outstanding New Research Administration Recognition Award

Sheryl Flanagan, data protection coordinator, Data Office for Clinical and Translational Research

Research Staff Leadership Recognition Award

Grace Wu, managing director, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute

OVPR Exceptional Service Award

Bryce Pilz, executive director of licensing and strategic alliances, Innovation Partnerships

Outstanding New Research Administration Recognition Award

Maryclaire Ellis, research administrator senior, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Research Data Management and Analysis Staff Recognition Award

Patrick Bowman, statistician lead, U-M Transportation Research Institute

Research Cores/Facilities Staff Recognition Award

Jorge Barreda, senior research engineer, Lurie Nanofabrication Facility, College of Engineering

Research Associate/Assistant/Technician Recognition Award

Chris Fry, research lab specialist intermediate, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine

Research Administration Recognition Award

Sue Kelch, research administrator (recently retired), Michigan Medicine Grants & Analysis Office

The awardees were selected by Cunningham, based on recommendations from this year’s selection committee: Jessica Durkin, Sabrina Ervin, Michael Hague, Cathy Handyside, Jill Jividen, Kristina Ko, Wendi Mohl, Alex Piazza, Craig Reynolds, Kelly Sexton, Danielle Sheen and Nick Wigginton.



  1. Christine Kitchens
    on April 7, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Hi! Out of curiosity, when do these nominations open up every year? This is the first I heard about this program and I know lots of research folks across different units that would make for great candidates. I see from this years forms that nominations closed at the end of February, but I’d love to know when they open up every year so I can plan for next year!

  2. Stephanie Arnold
    on April 7, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    I am also curious as to when these awards become available each year if someone would not mind reaching out to me on this.

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