Barbara Gray


Number of Years in Research Administration: 28

Institutions: East Carolina University, Valdosta State University, Desert Research Institute-Nevada System of Higher Education, College of Charleston, Florida Atlantic University


Barbara Gray is an accomplished sponsored programs administrator who entered the university environment with experience as a proposal writer for a consulting engineering firm and as a federal grant administrator for a governor’s office.  Having worked at a number of institutions in varying roles, she has a broad perspective of university research and sponsored program administration as well as an in-depth understanding of operational details.  Her expertise is research and sponsored program infrastructure development and operations at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs).  


As Associate Director of a new sponsored research office at Florida Atlantic University, Barbara developed policies and procedures for and managed pre-award operations.  In her next position as Director of Research & Grants Administration at the College of Charleston, she transformed a rudimentary office into a full-service research support unit.  In addition to providing traditional pre-award services, she worked closely with faculty in project planning and proposal development.  She expanded services to include non-financial post-award administration support and worked closely with the grants accounting office to ensure financial compliance.  She also implemented and administratively supported fully compliant and federally assured human subjects protection and animal care and use programs.   During her twelve year tenure at the College, annual grant and contract expenditures increased from $1.5 million to $10 million and staff grew from one professional/one clerical to four professionals.  Barbara also served as Director of Sponsored Research at Desert Research Institute, a unit of the Nevada System of Higher Education.  There, in addition to negotiating governmental, industry, and foreign contracts and providing export control oversight, she honed her financial administration skills by directing grants accounting operations and troubleshooting financial management issues.  Desiring to once again work closely with faculty, she returned to the PUI environment as Director of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration at Valdosta State University where she once again professionalized pre-award services, initiated post-award support, brought deficient research ethics committees into compliance and obtained federal assurances, addressed other compliance requirements, and implemented a highly successful competitive faculty seed grant program.  In her current position as Director of Sponsored Programs at East Carolina University, Barbara is leading the pre-award team to deliver excellent service through a focus on accuracy, consistency, and efficiency.  She is also active in a University of North Carolina systemwide initiative to implement a comprehensive electronic research administration (eRA) system.  In all of her university positions, Barbara has worked closely with senior leadership, academic administration, faculty, and business units to grow and support the research enterprise.


Barbara has been a member of NCURA for more than twenty-six years.  She has been active regionally and nationally, having served as Region III Secretary/Treasurer and Chair and national Board member for four terms, including one as national Secretary.  She was elected Vice-President/President Elect of NCURA for 2016 and is serving as President in 2017.  Barbara is a regular workshop and session presenter at NCURA conferences and covers a wide range of topics, including proposal writing, pre-award services, subcontracting, federal regulations, negotiation, PUI issues, and personal development topics.  She has also served as faculty for NCURA’s flagship Fundamentals of Research Administration traveling workshop.  Barbara received the NCURA Region III service award in 2004 and NCURA’s national Julia Jacobsen Distinguished Service Award in 2013.

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.