ACES - ACOR Certification and Education Series

The ACOR Certification & Education Series (ACES) is an education and certification program developed by the Administrative Committee on Research and co-sponsored by the Office for Research Protections. The ACES program is designed to give Research Administrators at every level the necessary skills and expertise to support faculty in research. The program will provide essential tools for every step of the research support process - from proposal development to project management to compliance.

The application process for the ACES Course 2024-25 will be open on our website from June 3-21. If you are interested in applying for the course, visit our website during this time and you will find the button to click on and apply.

ACES is only open to Penn State employees (supervisor approval needed). The program is limited to 60 participants. Participants are selected primarily based on the need for their current role. 

Due to the increasing demand for ACES and our desire to keep the course available to those with the most need, we will no longer maintain a waitlist.

The virtual ACES course includes sixteen educational modules and four assessments (2 per semester). The modules will be delivered over two semesters, beginning in the fall and ending in the spring. Each semester will include two assessments. Individuals who pass all four assessments with an 80% or higher will be awarded the Penn State Certified Research Administrator certification. A graduation ceremony will be held at the end of spring semester. 

The course topics provide in-depth knowledge about the award process from pre-award to post-award for grants and contracts. Even if your position is specific to either pre- or post-award, you must complete the entire course: not just the portion most relevant to your position. 

Before applying to ACES, please note the following: 

  • Attendance for all 16 sessions is required. You are only allowed to miss one class per semester. Please check the class schedule prior to enrolling to determine your availablity. If you have other commitments that require you to miss more than one class per semester, please do not sign up for the 2024-25 session.
  • Classes are held on Friday mornings, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.. ACES will be offered remotely for the year.
  • The cost for 2024-2025 is $800. Departments/units will be billed in December.

Click the buttons below to view the 2024-25 class schedule and course descriptions.

Class Schedule

Class Descriptions

Please contact the ORP ( or  814-865-1775) for more information.