UF/IFAS International Support Team

Group picture of IIST team

Who are we?

The UF/IFAS International Support Team (IIST) is a dedicated team of professional staff providing comprehensive administrative, fiscal, procurement and compliance related support for IFAS faculty engaging in research, teaching and/or extension programs with international components. As part of the Office of the Dean for Research, our goal is to build research support infrastructure that meets UF requirements and IFAS needs, while responding to the unique challenges and considerations associated with international activities.

The IIST supports the entire lifecycle, from proposal development to agreement execution to award management and compliance review for large programs and international components of smaller grants and contracts. We also provide specialized training for faculty and staff, as well as resources to decrease the significant administrative burden associated with international activities.

At a recent UF/IFAS Chairs meeting, the IIST presented an overview of the team's function, including timely guidance for faculty involved in international activities and a summary of current projects. Click here to view the presentation slides.

Our team includes the following positions:

IIST team member Sherry Larkin Dr. Sherry Larkin is the Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Larkin oversees the IIST and provides strategic leadership to the team. She ensures that all activities are consistent with the mission of the UF/IFAS Dean for Research Office and IFAS Administration, and provides support to faculty as they manage the administrative, fiscal and compliance aspects of their international projects and programs. 
IIST team member Benita Bannis  Benita Bannis is our IIST Manager (Assistant Director), and is responsible for coordinating the team’s functions, including its proposal, award, procurement and international compliance efforts and processes. Benita is the main point of contact with faculty, IFAS Administration and all UF offices. She ensures that faculty and staff receive the specialized support and training they need, and that our system for supporting international activities continue to grow. 
IIST team member Devin Perry  Devin Perry is our Pre-award Administrator (Research Administrator III), and is responsible for assisting with faculty with proposal development, while also addressing issues related to the pre-award administration of international proposals. Devin is our liaison to the Division of Sponsored Programs and will also provide training to administrative and fiscal staff on topics pertaining to pre-award processes for international activities. 
IIST Team Member Ryan Chance  Ryan Chance is our Post-award Administrator (Research Administrator III), and is responsible for supporting IFAS faculty and staff in the post-award financial management process for international activities. Ryan is our liaison to Contracts and Grants and will assist in troubleshooting project-specific issues, as well as training faculty and staff on topics related to fiscal management of international projects, including travel planning and processing. 
IIST team member Jessica Childers  Jessica Childers is our Procurement and Compliance Administrator (Research Administrator III), and is responsible for addressing personnel, purchasing and compliance issues specific to international activities and awards. Jessica is our liaison to the Division of Research Compliance & Global Support, and will also work with the IFAS Shared Service Center to provide training on compliance issues related to international activities on all relevant topics, from understanding immigration regulations to navigating the IRB process. 

What do we do?

The IIST provides support for international projects and activities, from “cradle-to-grave”. Our centralized office provides a variety of services including:

  • Providing college-level review and approval for international agreements (including MOUs, all pre-proposal with international components).
  • Fielding questions from IFAS faculty and support staff on issues related to international projects and activities.
  • Assisting in the development of work plans and timelines.
  • Ensuring international regulations, sponsor guidelines and funding restrictions are identified and understood.
  • Troubleshooting complex fiscal, travel and procurement transactions with relevant departments and offices.
  • Reviewing activities for compliance to UF, sponsor and federal regulations.
  • Serving as the main point of contact and communication with IFAS and campus core offices to facilitate the efficient and successful submission, implementation, and completion of projects with international components.
  • Providing administrative, budget and compliance-related feedback on faculty concept notes, letters of intent/pre-proposals, internally funded activities and large multi-institutional programs.

What are our guiding principles?

UF/IFAS is dedicated to ensuring that our international activities are conducted according to UF, state, federal and appropriate international regulations. The IIST supports this mission, as our research, extension and teaching activities expand into international spaces. Our team utilizes a hands-on approach and is committed to advocating for solutions that are sensitive to IFAS’ interests and needs. As we develop our core competencies, we will continue to seek advice from - and facilitate the efforts of - the IFAS International Programs Advisory Team (IPAT).

We strive to:

  • Respond swiftly to administrative, fiscal, procurement and compliance related issues.
  • Maximize direct support for international programs by providing college-level assistance for all faculty.
  • Mitigate faculty, staff and institutional liability through relevant training and implementation of practical processes.
  • Navigate the 'red tape' and bureaucracy to reduce administrative burden on IFAS faculty.

Contact Information

IFAS International Support Team
Email: iist@ifas.ufl.edu
Location: UF/IFAS Office of the Dean for Research, G40 McCarty Hall D