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Aurum awarded NIH grant to boost research administration

Aurum awarded NIH grant to boost research administration

The National Institute of Health (NIH) / National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded Aurum Institute a new two-year grant to improve administrative oversight of NIH/NIAID grant awards and compliance with their funding policies. This funding will strengthen research administration and ensure quality and compliance.

Aurum's Molemolemo: Building Research Administration Excellence in South Africa will collaborate with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) grant administrators to receive advanced grants administration training and exposure to best business practices.  

"Improving the grant administration capacity within Aurum will help us catalyze high-impact, policy-changing research on HIV and TB and emerging public health challenges. With the growth of research activities at Aurum, and our objective to engage in more primary research awards on the African continent, the Molemolemo grant to enhance research administration, positions Aurum ideally, to lead grant administration capacity development at partner organizations in South Africa and throughout Africa," said Professor Gavin Churchyard and Aurum Group CEO.


Daphne Van der Wind, International Business Development and Grants Manager, and Reney Peters, Regional Grants Manager at Aurum, are co-principal investigators. They will collaborate with Holly Cassell, Assistant Director of Collaborative Relations at Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), and other course directors. "A major focus and output of the collaboration with Aurum is the in-house development of a structured grants management training course for non-US-based organizations, to be comprised of essential and elective modules. This will be the vehicle through which we will ensure lasting impact of the training support offered through this grant," said Cassell. 

VUMC will assist in performing a mixed methods needs assessment of the research administration and management environment at Aurum and generate an action plan that will identify training needs, prioritize processes, and guide programme implementation. They will host a Grants Management Practicum at VUMC for Van der Wind, Peters, and others. With technical assistance and course materials from Vanderbilt, this program will be developed to enhance and improve training in grants management and research administration. In the second year of the practicum at Vanderbilt, Aurum administrators will create video training modules, which will be instrumental in rolling out a standardized Grants Management Training Program across the different Aurum entities in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. 

In addition to recorded modules, the Aurum grants management team will regularly lead virtual and in-person classroom training workshops per the developed training curriculum on various administrative topics ranging from proposal development through award closeout. The applicable mandatory modules will become part of the on-boarding program for new staff. This training course will be developed and updated as and when needed. “The development award will enable the creation of a high-quality research administration environment at Aurum, our affiliates, and collaborating partners, that is knowledgeable and compliant with the fiscal and management standards of sponsored research,” added Van der Wind.

Higher level

Bringing the administrative capacity of research administration to a higher level, will enhance Aurum’s excellence in the implementation of clinical trials in HIV, TB, and COVID-19. The Aurum Clinical Research Division has conducted more than 100 clinical research studies and is involved in 16 NIH and US Government funded clinical trials since June 2021, including a seven-year NIH grant for a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) to drive the scientific agendas of two NIH HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). The CTU is implementing multi-centre studies that could help accelerate progress in finding new HIV and TB prevention and treatment options as part of a comprehensive epidemic response. Clinical research and epidemiologic and basic science studies have been conducted on TB drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics; HIV vaccines and antiretroviral drugs; and COVID-19 vaccines.

The Molemolemo award also allows Aurum to build on the partnership with VUMC, which started in 2020 with the appointment of Aurum staff members in various adjunct positions within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  

The program is supported by grant number G11AI169624.

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