Office of Research Administration

Welcome to The University of Southern Mississippi Office of Research Administration* (ORA) Web site. As of July 1, 2014, Southern Miss Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) and the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting (OCGA) merged, becoming ORA. You can read more about it below.*

ORA contributes to the university’s responsibilities for education, research and service by assisting members of the campus community as they seek external support for their research, creative and scholarly activities. ORA is also responsible for post award administration of contracts and grants awarded to the university.

We hope that you will find this site helpful and informative, and that you will check it often for news and updates on research at Southern Miss. Please send any comments, suggestions, or corrections to, or telephone 601-266-4119. For detailed contact information and university identification numbers, etc., see the ORA Contact Information on the menu at right, as well as our Directory & Services page (tab at left).

Follow us on Twitter @USM_ORA & facebook


*Why the name change?
 A little history may help to explain. About 10 years ago, those grants accountants in OCGA who worked directly with faculty/staff grant directors were moved into SPA. The idea was to combine under one roof, and within one office in the University’s organizational structure, SPA’s pre-award services related to grant/contract proposals and OCGA’s post-award services related to the management of awarded grants/contracts. Instead of walking to another building to work together, pre- and post-award staff could walk down the hall—and faculty/staff grant directors had a one-stop shop for grant-related services and consultation. 


The merger of OCGA and SPA takes that principle a step further, unifying the three basic aspects of grants and contracts administration: pre-award, post-award, and accounting. While each is distinct, they are interconnected, and decisions and activities in one frequently affect the others. The administrative relocation of OCGA’s accounting functions from the financial affairs division to the research division allows oversight of these three aspects of research administration by one official, the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration. Fortunately—for research administrators and faculty/staff grant directors alike—SPA and OCGA already occupy adjacent offices on the third floor of Bond Hall, so no physical moving will be required.


SPA and OCGA staff were invited to suggest names for the new office, and the selection was made at an administrative level above the two offices. Universities exhibit a variety of names for their offices that deal with contract/grant related affairs, but no matter what the offices are named, the generally accepted term in the profession for what those offices do is “research administration.” So, “Office of Research Administration” situates USM solidly in that tradition. It is just as widely understood in the profession that the research in research administration represents and includes all the other scholarly and creative activities faculty receive funding for, such as curriculum development, professional development, conference hosting, artistic pursuits, student support programs, and direct services to the community and region.