By Kaine Korzekwa
Did you hear about the big grant that professor received? Did you also hear about all of the behind-the-scenes work the grant needed? Someone negotiated the legal agreement, served as a liaison to get the money from the funder, handled the finances and accounting, and ensured any needed reports were completed on time. That someone was Robert Andresen or one of his colleagues in Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Andresen received his MBA from UW–Madison in the early 1980s. From there he worked several jobs around Madison but always stayed connected to the university and had a yearning to get back into higher education. Eventually he stumbled upon RSP in ‘86, where today he serves as the director of research financial services.
“I didn’t realize there was this entire huge research enterprise of almost $1.1 billion that needs to be managed. It was the perfect match for me because I wanted to stay connected to higher education and also use my degree in finance and accounting.”
Andresen works directly with faculty and outside sponsors, including the federal government, state organizations, corporations, and nonprofits. After funding is secured he will work closely with faculty and research labs until the grant period is over. As director, he also creates campus-wide policies and works with large donors to streamline the grant process.
He is also president of a national professional organization dedicated to research administration. He says the University of Wisconsin is well regarded worldwide for being a large research entity and that most people looking for jobs in accounting and finance don’t often look to universities.
“I feel I can help the faculty that are looking for cures for diseases or solutions to social problems by doing what I do best. At the end of the day it feels good to be part of a research team. You’re dealing with intelligent and passionate people all of the time and you see the outcomes as new technologies and new treatments in the media and at the end of the day that just makes you feel good.”