Carnegie Mellon University

photo of staff award recipients

April 08, 2016

ISR Sponsored Projects Team Takes Home SCS Honors

By Josh Quicksall

The department is extremely pleased to announce that the Institute for Software Research’s Sponsored Project’s Team was the recipient of this years’ School of Computer Science Staff Recognition Award for Outstanding Teamwork.

The team of Berndette Dayak and Mike Boydos is led by Monika DeReno. Responsible for all sponsored projects finance in ISR - including proposal writing, submission, pre-award, administration, and post-award - DeReno and her staff work closely with faculty, multiple stakeholders in central administration, and also directly with funding agency staff to execute numerous projects every year. ISR Director, Bill Scherlis notes, “Their competence and dedication have enabled ISR to experience a phenomenal growth in the number and complexity of research awards, including major center awards, large and complex DARPA contracts, MURI awards, and others.”

One such award is the Science of Security Lablet, which funds faculty and grad students in ISR, HCII, CSD, Heinz, and ECE and includes a half-dozen subcontracts with other universities. “The financial management scheme developed by Monika and the team has been held as the exemplar by the sponsor agency for other major efforts they are funding. And this is just one example. There are three new DARPA contracts in the past few months that have a similar level of complexity,” Scherlis says. “This is much much more than spreadsheet skills: It includes also working with a wide range of faculty and business managers across the university and integrating them into our practice. The team is extremely well regarded inside ISR by our faculty, providing one-stop shopping for all dimensions of sponsored-project finance.”

As a result, Scherlis says, ISR faculty rarely need to interact directly with central administration on contract-related matters. “In fact,” says Scherlis, “Principal investigators have received thank-you notes from sponsors praising the capability and professionalism of the ISR team. This is thanks to the extraordinary combination of dedication, technical skill, interpersonal skills, and commitment to our organizational purpose.”

It is this singular focus on excellence which earned the team the highest honor a staff team can receive in the college. Granted to only one team each year, the School of Computer Science Staff Recognition Award for Outstanding Teamwork is a testament to the leadership of DeReno and the dedication of the team as a whole. “When we speak of teamwork, we are not just speaking of engagement within this group of three people or even the engagement within ISR and the many faculty involved in sponsored projects,” Scherlis explains. “We are also speaking of the outstanding engagement with central administration and with our sponsors - and the tremendous level of respect these organizations show for the talent and initiative of this team.”

Please join us in congratulating Monika, Bernadette, and Mike!