Sustaining KU research momentum with creativity, initiative and thoughtfulness

A graphic shows Carolyn Caine on the right and text boxes on the left that read, "Unsung Hero, Carolyn Caine, Institute for Policy & Social Research"

Carolyn Caine | Research Development & Administrative Specialist | IPSR | July 2020

Imagine KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research as a well-balanced bicycle wheel. If scholars from a range of disciplines are the spokes that help propel the wheel beyond the boundaries of current knowledge, then Carolyn Caine is among the staff at the wheel’s hub – bringing researchers together and facilitating connections that sustain momentum.  
“As a collaborator, Carrie is well-informed, generous and creative,” a colleague said. “Above all, she has a passion for learning and is committed to stepping up and providing what a group needs to succeed in a thoughtful way, even when that means she learns a new skill in order to do it.”
As the research development and administrative specialist for IPSR – a research center for social scientists who focus on social problems and policy-relevant questions – Caine handles a range of detail-oriented responsibilities, often under tight deadlines, while never losing sight of the big picture.

“Her flexibility, positive attitude, initiative, team focus and ability to relate well to whomever she’s working with make her a great asset to the center,” a co-worker said.

And to the entire university. When a multi-institution proposal for a million-dollar National Science Foundation grant led by KU was reviewed as highly favorable, Caine worked with the project team to quickly clarify items so the NSF program officer could make a final decision. Despite her hustle, the project was not funded, and the principal investigator was hesitant to resubmit the following year.

“I believe because of Carrie’s excellent work on the first round and the strong relationship she built with the PI and her team, the PI decided to resubmit and the project was ultimately funded for $1.4 million,” a co-worker recalled. “Since then, Carrie has helped secure additional funds for this project and remains in close contact with the PI.”

She also expanded IPSR’s public relations presence, created a marketing piece that communicates the IPSR story to the center’s affiliated faculty, and played a major role in producing the first IPSR annual report in 15 years.
Caine’s reliable excellence and good humor make her “such an important part of research activity at KU,” colleagues said. “She is fun to be around while always getting the job done and exceeding expectations. We are lucky to have her.”