‘Invaluable’ research administrator shares gift of experience with KU colleagues

Split image showing Anita Abel on the left and an aerial view of the KU campus on the right, with text that reads, "Unsung Hero, Anita Abel, Office of Research."

Anita Abel | Associate Director, Sponsored Accounts & Revenue Management | Office of Research

When it comes to research administration, Anita Abel is a fount of knowledge.

Few people can claim a longer tenure supporting research at the University of Kansas, and Abel’s 47 years of experience make her a perennial source of wisdom.

“You can count on her institutional knowledge and vast research administration experience to be able to talk through unique situations and come up with an appropriate plan,” said Alicia Reed, assistant vice chancellor for research. “Her recall of what has been done in the past — and why — is invaluable to administrators across campus as we work to improve processes and avoid past pitfalls.”

As associate director of sponsored accounts & revenue management in the Office of Research, Abel supervises a team of post-award grant administrators and serves as a key point of contact with funding agencies, providing oversight and compliance knowledge.

Colleagues appreciate Abel’s ability to see all sides of an issue and dig into the minute details of a situation to ensure effective, sustainable solutions.

“Anita knows how to ask the right questions,” a co-worker said. “She can see things that other people miss when it comes to potential audit findings. I’ve always found that very helpful.”

Abel has led award management staff through several major HR/financial system transitions over the years and, more recently, addressed historical issues with accounts receivable and revenue to allow the successful close of KU research projects and related financial reporting. She earned her Certified Research Administrator credential a few years ago and has helped colleagues do the same.

Although her plate is constantly full, Abel never skips over details or declines an opportunity to help a colleague or accept additional responsibilities. When KU Research staff still worked full-time in Youngberg Hall, Abel was often the last to leave each day.

“That is still the case,” Reed said, “but now you just can’t see her car in the back parking lot.”