Garrett Sanders


Number of Years in Research Administration: 37

Institutions: National Institutes of Health, University of Rochester, University at Albany-SUNY, Ordway Research Institute, Inc., The Research Foundation for SUNY

Garry Sanders is a long-time research administrator and retired as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Research Foundation for SUNY in April 2016. In this role, Garry was responsible for effective, efficient and cohesive support of the Research Foundation’s business operations and implementation of its strategic plan across the 31 SUNY campuses. His integrated functional team supported SUNY campuses with strategy and planning, communications, contract and grant administration, human resources, and sponsored program compliance. He worked daily with the Research Foundation chief financial officer, general counsel, vice president of audit, SUNY chief academic officers and vice presidents for research, and presidents of SUNY campuses as an officer of the Foundation. 


After his retirement, Garry was invited and now serves as the inaugural Leadership Fellow for the State University of New York Institute for Academic & Innovative Leadership. He serves as an adjunct faculty for Johns Hopkins University, teaching “Organization and Leadership for Research Administration” as part of the University’s master’s program in research administration. He is also a certified executive coach, trained at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership where he also serves as a leadership coach for the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, a program jointly run by Georgetown and Arizona State University.


Prior to joining the Research Foundation as assistant vice president for research in October 2008, Garry served as assistant vice president for research and as director of the office for sponsored programs at the University at Albany between 1992 and 2002 before leaving to start up the Ordway Research Institute, Inc., a not for profit biotech.


Throughout his career, he has sought to provide high levels of service to faculty and researchers engaged in sponsored programs. He began his career as a presidential management fellow in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. While working at the Ordway Research Institute, he started and directed its office of sponsored research. He served as assistant director of the office for research and project administration at the University of Rochester, and as a grants manager at the National Institutes of Health. Garry also has served as a research administration and compliance consultant to universities, research institutes, and hospitals.


An active member of the National Council of University Research Administrators, Garry received the Council’s Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He continues to serve on the editorial boards of two professional publications: Research Management Review and Report on Research Compliance. His service for NCURA has included the Council’s Board of Directors, chair of the professional development committee, member of the nomination and leadership committee, service as a Fundamentals of Sponsored Programs faculty member, a founder of the Leadership Development Institute, and a presenter or co-presenter of workshops and other presentations on clinical trials, conflict resolution, pre-award and post-award coordination, leadership of teams, working with auditors, and non-financial compliance topics such as animal and human and biosafety research.


Garry’s best estimate is that he has worked with over 500 principal investigators intimately during his career, in all fields of science and humanities, helping many build research centers, and some to win their first grant, and assisting others to develop a succession plan to enable them to gracefully retire after long and productive scientific careers.


His work has also focused on responding to major audits by federal agencies, writing and developing policies for effort reporting, Uniformed Guidance, executive compensation, and many other policy areas. He has led an organization through an exhaustive series of senior leadership changes and state and federal investigations. This has demonstrated to Garry the importance of teamwork at all operational levels and the importance of being forward-looking to move an organization through stressful periods.


Garry has served as a member of an institutional biosafety committee and has served as both staff and member of five committees charged with assessing allegations of scientific fraud and misconduct. He has assisted organizations obtain AAHRP and AALAC accreditations.


He received a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, a master’s degree in public administration from the University at Albany.

NCURA Peer Program engagements are priced as a flat fee, scaled to the sponsored programs total active award dollars in the last fiscal year, regardless of type of Peer Program engagement.