REACH Foundations Program

Foundations of Research Administration: Level 1




To provide a comprehensive understanding of the administration of sponsored research projects at Harvard from proposal to closeout, and to introduce key resources for the further development of participant knowledge and expertise.

Required Experience

0-3 years in research administration or a related field, must be a current Harvard employee to apply


In-classroom interactive lectures

Time Commitment*

12 consecutive weekly, 2.5-hour classes = 30 total classroom hours over a period of  ~3 months


Regularly alternating between Cambridge and Longwood


Regular Homework, 2 Midterm Projects, 1 Final Assessment


Twice yearly: Fall, September-December, Spring, March-May


Twice yearly: Fall app deadline August, Spring deadline January, specific date alternates

Application components

Application form, Recommendation form, Sponsored Systems access, Resume, Personal Statement 

*All assessments and deliverables are completed outside of class time. Please consider this factor when estimating the total time commitment. Because every student is different, we do not provide time estimates for independent work outside of the classroom.


Successful Foundations participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the administration of sponsored research projects at Harvard from proposal to closeout. Participants will also be able to identify key resources for the development of their knowledge and expertise, and know where to find appropriate contacts when questions or problems arise. 

Sessions are in-classroom lectures that integrate hands-on activities designed to maximize interactivity and discussion. Courses are instructed by a rotating group of subject matter experts that are current Harvard employees. The instructor rotation ensures that those with the most expertise and hands-on experience are teaching relevant topics, and it also allows students the opportunity to meet and network with standout Harvard employees across six Harvard schools. 

Ideal candidates will have experience with Harvard systems and procedures required to process and approve transactions, a working knowledge of Excel, an understanding of the Harvard Chart of Accounts, and will have taken the Overview of Sponsored Projects Administration one-day workshop. 

Information Sessions

None at this time.

Selection Process

Current Harvard employees with 0-3 years of research administration or related experience are eligible to apply. Only online applications are accepted. All applications are reviewed by an admission committee, and each applicant will be informed via of admission status. 

The goal of the admissions committee is to select dedicated, enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates, and to create a balanced cohort with University-wide representation. For more information on the application process, please see the Application section. For a list of important admissions dates and deadlines, please see the Admissions Timeline section below.

Admissions Timeline

Fall Cohort
July 2017 Applications launched
July-August 2017 On-line information sessions offered upon request
August 11, 2017 Applications due
By the end of August Decisions sent out. Student statements of commitment and confidentiality statements due one week before the first class
Mid September Classes begin
Early December Classes end

 *Check the OSP calendar and the Information Sessions section of the REACH webpage for registration and other information. 


Prospective candidates MUST do the following BEFORE beginning their application:

  • Meet with their manager to discuss
        • their intent to apply,
        • the time commitment involved, and
        • how to obtain the required sponsored systems access.
  • Obtain verbal support from their manager for participation in the program if accepted
  • Your manager’s endorsement is required for participation in REACH, and it is the sole responsibility of the applicant to obtain his or her manager’s consent. By completing/submitting the application form, you pledge that your manager understands and is comfortable with the time commitment involved and fully endorses your participation in the program. After your application is completed, if we find that your manager is not aware of your application or participation, or that he/she does not endorse you, your application and/or candidacy will immediately be revoked.
  • Have a conversation with the individual who will act as their Recommender in order to
        • indicate the intent to apply
        • obtain his/her verbal consent,
        • inform him/her that he/she should expect to receive an email link to the recommendation form on the day you submit the application
        • Your Recommender will NOT have to create a SlideRoom account to complete the form.



Complete the online application through the REACH Slideroom website ( You will need to create a Slideroom account (providing your name/email address) in order to complete an application; this is a one-time process and personal information will not be shared by Slideroom. Your Slideroom account can be used to check on the status of your application as well as to apply for any other REACH programs in the future.

Applications are online only - paper applications are not accepted. All forms are electronic, and all notices and recommendation forms are automated for your convenience. Once you begin, the application will guide you through the necessary steps. Please see the Application Components section for details.


Current Harvard employees with 0-3 years of research administration or related experience are eligible to apply. This course is designed to be Harvard-specific, and we cannot accept applications from outside the Harvard community. New Harvard Employees: your start date must be at least one month before the application deadline for you to be eligible for REACH.

Reapplication Policy

We do accept re-applications. Approved applicants that are declined due to space limitations are generally given the option to defer to the next semester's offering without needing to reapply. 


Application Components

To aid prospective applicants with their planning, below is a list of each part of the Foundations application, along with a brief description. Once the online application form is begun, it will automatically guide applicants through the necessary steps. An applicant can complete the form over multiple sessions. As a reminder, the application is online only.

Item Description
Application form Demographic info, sponsored systems experience, excel experience, training history
Recommendation form Series of short answer questions regarding the applicant, contact info
Personal Statement 500 words or less describing your interest in the program
Resume  Most recent version including your current role
Sponsored Systems Access Manager agrees to grant necessary levels of access to GMAS and OBI Grants Management, student commits to taking steps/contacting appropriate individuals