Incoming Vice President of Research Administration Robert Nobles, whose appointment was announced in a Nov. 5 University press release, said he is excited to begin his new job on Dec. 1. He hopes to streamline the research process and increase the efficiency of researchers at Emory.
Most recently, Nobles served as the interim vice chancellor of research at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
“Emory, like many universities, has a profound research enterprise,” Nobles said. “I have worked, since the early 2000s, in building infrastructures and operational efficiencies around supporting faculty and students conducting research activity, and I do that by partnering with staff and administrators across the university.”
Nobles noted the importance of helping researchers find their way through administrative red tape in order to reduce inefficiencies. Collaboration between administrators and researchers is often the key to this goal, he said.
“[I] help them, not just with paperwork, but [also with] the legalities and the regulations that actually cause extra time to be spent paying attention to some of the administrative responsibilities,” Nobles said.
Nobles has helped implement this model at previous institutions where he has worked, which include The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston and Texas A&M University. Both times, he served as a research compliance officer and public health faculty member.
Nobles hopes that he will be able to have the same impact at Emory.
“Emory already has some phenomenal administrators facilitating research activity, and that there is an opportunity for a leader to join them that understands how to help add value in their processes to help streamline work for individuals conducting research at Emory,” Nobles said.
Nobles holds a doctorate in public health from The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston. Nobles received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University.
“[Rollins] is a premier public health institution,” Nobles said. “I’m just looking for the opportunity to meet with the faculty, staff, students and administrators of that phenomenal school and see if there is any possible way that I can add value to the great work that they are doing.”
Nobles serves on the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research board of directors, an organization that facilitates the training of researchers internationally, in areas focusing on both human and animal subject research.
He also serves on the Federal Demonstration Partnership executive committee, a national research organization of which Emory is a member. In his role, he worked with agencies in Washington, D.C. to streamline partnerships between faculty researchers and the government.
The group works to make research more effective and efficient by harmonizing rules and regulations, he said.
“It becomes a challenge when individuals spend more than 40 percent of their time with the paperwork of conducting research rather than saving lives or helping to improve our communities,” Nobles said.
Working at Emory will be a homecoming of sorts for Nobles, who worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the early 2000s as a public health prevention specialist.
“I’m excited to learn about the culture and the history of Emory,” Nobles said. “I’m humbled by the opportunity.”
Nobles is replacing Interim Vice President for Research Administration Todd Sherer.
Musa Ya-Sin (21C) is from Decatur, Georgia, majoring in history. Before transferring to Emory in Fall 2019, Ya-Sin attended Georgia State University. An aspiring law student, Ya-Sin enjoys video games, volunteering and cooking.