Sunrise SealThe mission of the STAR Program is to improve the expertise of Research Administrators by establishing standardized training that enhances faculty support, strengthens compliance, reduces risk, fosters knowledge sharing, and cultivates community across Washington University.


STAR formed in 2017 under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as a result of a school and department led initiative. It was determined that the research administration community would greatly benefit from an expanded curriculum and additional training opportunities.

Program Goals:

  • Improve grants administration expertise
  • Create promotional paths, encourage and enhance professional development, and retain qualified staff
  • Enhance support for faculty
  • Strengthen compliance efforts and reduce risk
  • Foster interdepartmental communications and knowledge sharing

  • March 2022: RA Bootcamp, Pre-Award program launches, providing intensive training for new RAs.
  • January 2021: Blended class modules launch, providing participants with both asynchronous and synchronous training.
  • March 2020: STAR launches “Coffee & Connections” zoom gatherings as a way to keep the RA Community connected during COVID-19.
  • February 2020: Gamified RA Learning Initiative launches in cooperation with the STAR Advisory Board.
  • April 2019: Iris Peper receives NCURA Region IV Meritorious Contributions Award for her innovative work in developing and implementing the STAR Program
  • December 2018: First three participants earn the full STAR certificate
  • April 2017: STAR Program launches
  • January 2016: In response to the WU efficiency initiative, a proposal was submitted to develop a research administration training program.

The STAR program has created thorough and standardized training which has relieved some training time required by individual administrators. The program is beneficial not only to those new to grant administration, but also as a refresher to more seasoned grant staff.”

Participant Testimonial

Not only has the STAR program provided opportunities for learning,
it has brought the research administration together as a community.
It is nice see departments working together as a team to provide
support to one another.”

Participant Testimonial

The STAR program has been a game changer: An initiative that supports the research administration learning and working function to help make Washington University better stewards for all sponsored funds.”

Participant Testimonial

My main duties are post-award so I haven’t had the “need” to go through pre-award training. The STAR 100 modules supplied the knowledge and information I need for use in my daily work. It should be a requirement for all grants specialists regardless of position and/or duties.”

Participant Testimonial