EASI Retirements: May 2024

Congratulations to Bob Dirstein, who will be retiring on May 31, 2024, after 13 years of dedicated service at U of T. Known for his unwavering dedication to improving U of T’s research systems, particularly the My Research (MR) platform, Bob has been instrumental in strengthening U of T’s position as a global research leader.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Bob’s presence will be greatly missed for the joy, laughter, and camaraderie he has brought to our workplace, including funny anecdotes, tales of cycling, and his journey into the world of square dancing.

As we bid farewell to Bob, we’ll fondly remember his commitment to excellence and his talent for fostering cohesive teams. Please join me in celebrating his remarkable career and wishing him a retirement filled with new adventures and continued happiness.

Swetlana Signarowski
Executive Director, EASI, University of Toronto

Bob Dirstein

Bob Dirstein, Project Manager/Analyst
Joined U of T: September 1995 – October 2001
Joined EASI: November 2017
Last day at EASI and Retirement: May 31, 2024

Describe your background and how you arrived at EASI
I had worked as a Grants Officer in University of Toronto Research Services in the 90s, where among other things I worked with Pamela Harris to build a system to automate the set-up of approximately 300 annual accounts for the SSHRC institutional grant.  (We just retired this system 3 years ago and folded its functionality into My Research Applications & Agreements – MRA.)

I then went to Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson) where I was Director of the Office of Research Services for a decade and after that I started my own company. One of my first clients was U of T, where I started working on the administrative research systems.  When the previous project manager, Patrick Boal, retired in 2017 I was asked if I would apply for the position. The rest is history.

What will you remember most about EASI?
My co-workers. They have been a wonderful group of people to work with and get to know. That and the scavenger hunts.

What were some of the key projects that you were most proud to work on?
I’ve really only worked on one massive project, the My Research (MR) system. For those of you not familiar with MR, it’s a system that handles all the administrative aspects of research, with the exception of Intellectual Property Management. It covers research proposal submission and internal review, non-funded agreements e.g., Material Transfer Agreements, Human and Animal Ethics protocol submission and review, research account set-up and expense review, and tracking of financial deliverables.

What will you remember most about U of T?
The friends that I’ve made here.

What do you plan to do in retirement?
Figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My only immediate goal involves cycling. I bought myself a nice carbon fibre road bike a couple of summers ago. Last summer I made a few trips to Niagara Falls with it. This summer’s goal is to make it there and back in the same day, about 350 km. Wish me luck!