There is no better research administrator than Bonnie Lipari

Visit Bonnie Lipari’s office in Goergen Hall, and you will see the big whiteboard that she uses to track which faculty members in the Department of Biomedical Engineering are planning to submit grant applications and their progress in submitting the myriad required reports and documents on time.

Bonnie Lipari's photoExternal funding is critical to sustaining a top tier research institution like the University of Rochester.

And key to sustaining the flow of that funding are the unsung heroes like Lipari who create the research documents, budgets and applications for that funding – the departmental research administrators.

No one does this job better than Lipari, the recipient of the 2020 Hajim Outstanding Staff award.

Just ask the people who work with Lipari, who has served as the senior faculty research administrator for  21 primary biomedical engineering faculty members since 2016.

“She has brought an ‘extra gear’ to our ability to apply for and manage grants,” says James McGrath, professor of biomedical engineering who has written about 20 applications over the last two years. “We have asked more and more of Bonnie because she is competent, professional, pleasant to work with, and so very reliable. Fortunately for BME, Bonnie also seems inexhaustible.”

Adds Laurel Carney, the Marylou Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering: “In addition to the familiar grant mechanisms, Bonnie is also undaunted when we toss new and unusual applications at her. A joint application between NSF and the Israeli equivalent? No problem! A collaborative application with colleague in Qatar? No problem! Knowing that she will help wade through the unfamiliar rules and requirements for novel types of grant applications emboldens us to compete for these awards.”

An 'essential link'

Lipari is the essential link between the department’s faculty members and the University’s Office of Research and Project Administration, which provides support to the University for obtaining sponsored research funds and managing sponsored program activity.  

Not surprisingly Lipari is “highly regarded by ORPA management as one of the top research administrators in the entire University,” says Laurie Naber, an ORPA senior research administrator. “Bonnie is diligent in submitting exemplary documents to my office. Her understanding of the work, ability to work with the faculty, and her drive to provide error-free work consistently creates an efficient transition of work from the department to the research sponsors.”

Also, not surprisingly, Lipari was recently recruited by ORPA as one of their “super users” for her insight and expertise as the University transitions to a new Integrated Online Research Administration system for grants management.

Lipari joined the University as an administrative assistant in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research in 2008, responsible for pre-award management. In 2012 she was promoted to grants administrator for the Center, then, in 2016, she transferred to the Department of Biomedical Engineering and was promoted to a senior faculty research administrator.

 “Under Bonnie’s tenure in the department the number of submitted proposals per year has exploded and the success rate of grants in the BME department is now at an historic high,” says Carla Boff, the department’s lead administrator. “This success can be directly attributable to Bonnie’s expertise and professional skills in pre-award submission and post-award management.”

Cindy Gary, the Hajim School’s assistant dean for grants and contracts – and a fellow recipient of the school’s Outstanding Staff Award—says its best: “She is the best pre-award administrator in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a pleasure to work with. There is no staff member who supports their department better than Bonnie.”