Those of us who work in central research administration offices that specialize in one area of research administration tend to think of the “other research administration office” as different. But, are they really? If we are different, is that good or bad? Having worked both sides of the pre-award and post-award fence, sometimes simultaneously, I offer my own perspective on this issue. My Experience I won’t bore you with all my experiences, nor will I make you read my resume or biographical sketch. However, to help you see through my perspective, I will give you an overview of my career in research administration. I began as a post-award administrator working on a large USAID Cooperative Agreement, moved on to post-award departmental administration at a hospital, pre-award central administration at a large university and then to post-award central administration with some pre-award duties at a hospital. Currently, I am the director of a pre-award central administration office with some post-award duties (which do not include financial accounting and reporting) at a medium-sized university. Clearly, I have seen most sides of the fence, including the underside! My Perceptions Pre-Award vs. Post-Award This profession is full of stereotypes and more than its share of “us” vs. “them” conflicts. I’ve heard pre-award administrators characterize the field by saying “Pre-award administrators are the good guys and post-award administrators are the bad guys.” Post-award research administrators tend to characterize the relationship by saying, “All we ever get to do is fix problems with proposals.” Both views reflect a part of the reality of research administration. Pre-award research administrators use print and electronic resources to help faculty search for funding resources. When appropriate funding programs have been identified, pre-award administrators help faculty develop ideas for sponsored projects, interpret agency guidelines, and structure proposals according to agency and institutional requirements. Pre-award research administrators also assist faculty with compliance issues surrounding research involving human subjects, animals and hazardous materials. Faculty development is often viewed as a pre-award administrator’s responsibility, so pre-award administrators will often conduct workshops on proposal writing and related topics. Pre-award research administrators hope their efforts will result in funding for a new project or initiative. Post-award research administrators help faculty receive and use external funding. When all is going well, that is, when purchase orders are processed smoothly, the graduate student is paid promptly, and payments are received, there is little need for communication between post-award research administrators and faculty members. However, when a problem arises–perhaps the order for the equipment has not been processed, the research assistant has not been paid, or an invoice has not been submitted–the faculty member typically contacts the post-award research administrator to find out what is wrong. Post-award administrators fix problems with proposals, unsnarl bureaucratic red tape and move on to the next problem. Unfortunately, they are often associated (at least in the faculty member’s mind) with the problems they are trying to fix. After these examples, you may think you know why I switched back to being a pre-award research administrator: to be the good guy. The real reason is that I see myself as an asset to the overall research environment. I’ve seen both sides and been the good guy as well as the bad guy. I firmly believe that we can all be good guys, pre -award and post-award administrators alike. Both pre-award and post-award research administrators spend the day facilitating the process of conducting research. We can work together to establish a seamless process.