Nara Institute of Science and Technology Division for Research Strategy


What is URA?

The URA (University Research Administrator) is a new position which develops strategic research plans from a long-term and macroscopic perspective of the whole university, creates systems and environments based on these plans, and then disseminates the research outcomes to the world. It is regarded as belonging to the “Third Job Category” which connects the other two job categories, namely teaching staff and administrative staff, supporting the university management and researchers in a wide range of activities from strategic planning to competing for research funds and progressing the management of research projects.

The URA is modelled on the Research Administrator (RA) found in American universities, but because of differences in culture and the university environment, the ideal of the Japanese URA is still in its exploratory stage. Moreover, even in the universities which have begun to incorporate URAs, the roles and responsibilities of the URA vary depending on the university. The following is the job scope for URAs compiled by the University of Tokyo in the MEXT project "Establishment of Systems to Foster and Secure University Research Administrators" (Creating a Skills Standard) in FY 2013.
(Note: “Skills Standard” specifies the job scope and responsibilities of the URA, and also delineates clearly the specific knowledge and skills which are needed.)

(1) Promotion and Support of Research Strategy
  • ① Analyzing policy information
  • ② Analyzing research capability
  • ③ Developing research strategy

(2) Pre-award Activities
  • ① Planning research projects
  • ② Collecting information on external funding
  • ③ Negotiating internally for funding applications
  • ④ Negotiating externally for funding applications
  • ⑤ Writing funding applications

(3) Post-award Activities
  • ① Negotiating externally after obtaining funding
  • ② Managing project progress
  • ③ Managing project budgets
  • ④ Dealing with project evaluations
  • ⑤ Preparing reports

  • (4) Specialist Activities
    • ① Supporting educational projects
    • ② Supporting international partnerships
    • ③ Supporting partnerships between academia and industry
    • ④ Intellectual property
    • ⑤ Strengthening information dissemination
    • ⑥ Research publicity
    • ⑦ Event management
    • ⑧ Health and safety
    • ⑨ Ethics and compliance

    • Source:
      - Report on the MEXT project "Establishment of Systems to Foster and Secure University Research Administrators" (Creating a Skills Standard), which is compiled by the University of Tokyo (in Japanese)
      - Website "The University of Tokyo Research Administrators"