University of South Florida

USF Research & Innovation

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Four staff members move into new roles in USF Research & Innovation

Four staff members in USF Research & Innovation have moved into new roles within the organization during the past year:

Eric Kern

Eric Kern

Eric Kern has been promoted to Senior Director for Research Strategic Initiatives, recognizing his nearly 10 years of outstanding leadership within USF Research & Innovation. Formerly serving as the director of Sponsored Research, Kern spearheaded the division's response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating a seamless transition to a new service model that ensured operational continuity. This transition not only sustained operations but also fortified Sponsored Research, positioning it for future growth and success.  Kern played a pivotal role in organizational restructuring, enhancing efficiencies, streamlining workflows and fostering improved communication and transparency throughout Sponsored Research operations. His ongoing efforts include leading the implementation of Bulls iResearch, a comprehensive research administration management system slated for university-wide adoption later this year. In his new role, Kern will support USFRI executive leadership, oversee Sponsored Research, and lead strategic initiatives aimed at propelling USF Research & Innovation towards sustained growth in the future.

Dena-Rose Wilson

Deena Rose Wilson

Dena-Rose Wilson was promoted from associate director of Sponsored Research to director of Institutional Research Effectiveness & Assessment (IREA). She is responsible for finding, evaluating, managing, mitigating and preventing risks to USF’s research enterprise. She is also responsible for subcontracting and subrecipient monitoring, data integrity, data use agreements, internal and external auditing, incoming and outgoing data use agreements, and overseeing research misconduct proceedings.

Stephanie Rios

Stephanie Rios

Stephanie Rios who served as assistant director of Sponsored Research for eight years, has been named director of the department. She provides direction for and management of Sponsored Research, including all facets of contract and grant development and administration, including both pre-award and post-award as well as coordinating with associated areas of Research Integrity & Compliance, Technology Transfer, IREA, General Counsel, and other university stakeholders.

Sandra Justice

Sandy Justice

Sandra Justice transitioned from her previous role as associate director of USF Research & Innovation on the Sarasota-Manatee campus to her current position as director of the new Research Development Institute. She collaborates with faculty researchers and staff to facilitate the development of highly competitive research grant applications, engages with federal, state and private sponsors, and supports the USF research community by building grantsmanship skills and capabilities. 

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