Christa Johnson

 Number of Years in Research Administration: 15+

Institutions: Colorado State University (CSU), Washington University in St. Louis (WU), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE)


Christa Johnson has been a senior member of the executive leadership team at research intensive universities and primarily undergraduate institutions for more than 15 years. A performance-driven, high-energy executive with broad knowledge of university administration and wide-ranging experience in academic research and teaching, Christa has extensive experience in grant proposal development, contract negotiation, faculty outreach, teaming initiatives, research administration compliance, research management and education, and a compelling record in aligning change management solutions with organizational initiatives. She has international expertise in cross-cultural programs and organizations and experience as faculty co-investigator on federal and state grants. She has participated in the strategic planning process, various university efficiency initiatives, grants management IT systems assessment processes, and enterprise risk management. Christa currently serves as a key member of the Colorado State University Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) leadership team as well as an advocate and an adviser to the Vice President for Research for strategic and operational activities. Christa leads the implementation of programs and the deployment of resources to strengthen CSU’s research administrative support, in particular in the areas of sponsored programs, research IT services, and regulatory compliance. Christa currently oversees the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), Research IT Services (RS), Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office (RICRO), Lab Animal Resources (LAR), Core Facilities (CORES), and is responsible for leading a range of strategic initiatives. 


As Assistance Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Research Services at Washington University in St. Louis (WU), Christa led several LEAN analyses of contracting and grants processes and directed a complete reorganization of the Office of Sponsored Research operations. She also led the WU efficiency analysis of research administration at the Danforth campus, co-led the Grants Management System assessment initiative, and participated in the risk assessment and improvement activities related to the contracting and grants operations. Christa was a key member of the University’s Efficiency Implementation Committee and the Shared Services Working Group, served as member of the WU Radiation Safety Committee and Vice Chair of the Increased Controls Committee. In January 2014, Christa served as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration. Her areas of responsibility expanded to include the management of research education and information services, the Human Subjects Quality Assurance program, research conflict of interest, and the animal studies review committee operations. As a key member of the senior staff in our unit, Christa regularly participates in strategic planning to develop and implement new research policy and assist in various aspects of university administration and governance. 


At SIUE she led the evaluation and implementation of the export controls program, conflict of interest (COI) and responsible conduct in research (RCR) compliance programs, policies and procedures. As Associate Dean for Research, Christa’s areas of responsibility encompassed pre-award grants and contracts operations and all areas of legal and ethical compliance, including IRB, IACUC, RCR, COI, and export controls. During her tenure at SIUE, Christa led the re-organization of office pre-award processes to better match talent with task, and enhance strategic planning to provide better service to faculty. The efficiencies gained through this re-organization allowed for the establishment of proposal development services, the expansion of workshop offerings, and major website and publications enhancements to better position the Graduate School and its research centers to achieve national recognition.


Christa is an active member of FDP, COGR, NCURA. Christa is a recipient of several awards and has given over 50 national regional and local presentations and workshops. Christa has served on numerous NCURA and FDP committees, co-chaired NCURA PRA national meeting, and was elected to the NCURA Nominations and Leadership Development Committee.

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.