MSU staff member garners international award for innovative leadership in research administration

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

Studio portrait of Ashley Miller
Ashley Miller (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State University staff member is being recognized by a global society for her contributions to the advancement of research with a ‘Future of the Field’ award from the Society of Research Administrators International, or SRAI.

Ashley Miller, a senior contract and grant specialist in the College of Arts and Sciences, will receive her award at the SRAI annual meeting this fall in Seattle, Washington. The Future of the Field program highlights the global “up-and-comer" among research administrators, who support researchers as they pursue funding opportunities, develop grant proposals and manage awards.

SRAI—the premier global research management society providing education, professional development and up-to-date comprehensive information about research management—has members in more than 40 countries. The Future of the Field awards recognize members who demonstrate leadership among their peers and institutions in innovative ways.

Miller was selected by a committee of peers from more than 100 applicants around the globe. The committee evaluated candidates’ career history, demonstration of exceptional professional growth, and significant contributions made to the advancement of research administration.

“The individuals recognized through Future of the Field are some of the best and brightest in our profession,” said SRAI President Gloria W. Greene.

Miller has worked in research administration since 2016 at both the University of West Georgia and MSU. Last year, she earned the Certified Research Administrator designation from the Research Administrators Certification Council. Prior to her work in research administration, she researched education policy at the University of Memphis and intimate partner violence at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

“It has been important to me for my whole career to build community,” said Miller, an MSU staff member since 2018. “We all benefit when we know more about each other’s work and can share our ideas and knowledge. To do so, I think it’s necessary to recognize people as people first, rather than just applicants, administrators, and so on. For example, when someone wants to apply for a grant, they are usually doing something they are passionate about, and I love hearing researchers share their interests. To me, this award recognizes that fostering connections rather than working in silos is key to success.”

Miller earned a bachelor’s degree from Christian Brothers University in 2006 and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2011. She received a graduate certificate in 2011 in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Memphis.

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