Arkansas Children’s Research Institute
The Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) was established to provide an on-site research environment for UAMS faculty and scientists, opening on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) campus in 1992. Today ACRI has more than 120 pediatric researchers with expertise and experience that span the breadth of medical disciplines. ACRI’s roster of investigators works to fulfill its mission to improve children’s health, development, and well-being through high-quality research. In fiscal year 2020, ACRI researchers received approximately $24 million in grants and contracts from federal, state, and private agencies, industry sponsors, and philanthropic donations. Over $8.8 million was from the National Institutes of Health.
Currently, ACRI operates more than 196,000 ft2 of research space. The four-story Research Institute Building is the central location of ACRI administrative offices and houses researcher offices, conference space, labs, and ACRI’s animal facility. The two-story Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) adjoins the south of the Research Institute Building. Opened in 1997, the ACNC houses one of six United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) National Human Nutrition Centers. The remaining ACRI research space includes the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit and the Research Pharmacy located in the main ACH hospital building. ACH also affords clinic and unit space for investigators performing their research at the main hospital building. ACRI researchers also have assigned, dedicated office, clinic, and laboratory space on the ACH campus in the Sturgis Building, Professional Building 2, and the Dennis Developmental Center.
ACRI Funding and Proposal Procedures
ACRI’s research support staff acts as a facilitator to ease the administrative burden of sponsored research. At the same time, the staff provides an array of unique services outside the general area of research administration. The administrative staff supports ACRI faculty throughout the grant process, providing pre- and post-award assistance. These services include proposal development assistance, acting as a liaison between the researcher and the sponsoring agency while ensuring the research complies with the agency guidelines and administrative requirements, assisting with the preparation of appropriate internal and external application forms, auditing of studies to ensure compliance with federal guidelines, and determining the accuracy of proposal budgets. A Legal and Human Protections Administrator is available to review and negotiate biomedical research agreements, such as clinical trial agreements and amendments, material transfer agreements, and confidential disclosure agreements. Research Compliance Specialists assist with issues of compliance with federal regulations.
ACRI provides unique services such as an electronic proposal routing system, electronic purchasing and real-time accounting, design and maintenance of institute websites, and assistance with the location of funding opportunities and policy information. A Grant Post Award Systems Administrator maintains online systems for accounting, grant tracking, and electronic ordering. Research Computing Staff provides support services such as data management, data entry support, database design and programming, and computing support. ACRI provides various research support services including contract review and budget negotiation, support for research accounting, research pricing for many hospital services, and a proprietary system for tracking study subjects to ensure that billing to study accounts are separated from billing for routine clinical care.