2015-2016 Annual Report


Committee:             Research Council                 

Report Year:          2015-2016                     

Committee Chair(s)

Ed Gillan, Department of Chemistry

Committee Members

Johna Leddy, Chemistry, Physical Sciences

Jane Paulsen (new), Psychiatry, Biological Sciences Kaikobad Irani, Internal Medicine, Biological Sciences John Nelson (new), Political Science, Social Sciences

Faryle Nothwehr, Community & Behavioral Health, Social Sciences Barbara Eckstein, English, Humanities

Claire Sponsler, English, Humanities David Cunning, Philosophy, At Large

Carolyn Colvin, Teaching & Learning, At Large Emeritus Faculty, Gary Gussin (non-voting)

Kate O’Brien (new), UI Postdoc Assoc. VP, Postdoc Lance Heady (new), Undergraduate

Nicholas Borcherding, College of Medicine, Graduate/Prof. Elizabeth Constantine, Education Administration staff member Kevin Kelly (new), Occupational & Environ. Health staff member George Hospodarsky, Physics & Astronomy, staff member

Paul Soderdahl, Library Admin, staff member

Bob Kirby, ICRU Director (ex officio, non-voting)

Committee Charge

1) Advise in the formulation, review, and application of policy and guidelines for University research and economic development and its funding both from within and without the University; 2) Advise on questions concerning the compliance of research with University policies; 3) Advise in developing methods for informing University members about research opportunities and for stimulating, evaluating, and rewarding good research; 4) Provide a forum to which faculty and students may refer questions and recommendations concerning University research policies and procedures

Current Year Meeting Dates

Fall:  Sept. 18, 2015; Oct. 23, 2015; Dec. 11, 2015

Spring:  Jan. 29, 2016; Feb. 26, 2016; March 25, 2016; May 12, 2016

Please indicate the typical frequency of meetings. If there are subcommittees, please indicate the frequency of those meetings, too.

Monthly meetings with full RC committee and OVPR&ED representatives; publications waiver subcommittee meets as needs arise (email usually). RC members serve on other committees such as: OVPR&ED awards committee, entrepreneurial leave committee, & undergraduate research committee. The subcommittees typically meet 2-3 times a semester.

Current Year Activities

  1. Populated OVPR committees and RC subcommittees with members.
  2. Provided input on composition and structure of a proposed Economic Development Advisory committee overseen by David Conrad (VP for Econ Dev.). Established a subcommittee to provide further guidance – result was to trial an ad-hoc committee from OVPR&ED with community representatives as well as directors of UI economic dev. groups and select faculty reps.


  1. Brief discussion items for full RC: F&A grant return to colleges, input on State of Research presentation info.
  2. Provided input on Provost office (Moeller) proposal for new policy on minors on campus – key results were to make sure high school researchers on campus are not adversely affected by new rules (or students in classes).
  3. Discussed impact and development of cluster initiatives with Assoc. Provost Kevin Kregel and Informatics cluster director Greg Carmichael.
  4. Engaged in discussion with Humanities Advisory Board chairs on how their mission and directives intersect with those of Research Council.
  5. Met with Pres. Harreld to discuss important issues in campus research climate he should be aware of (faculty hiring, decline in research support, potential impacts of Tier on faculty research productivity, cluster hires).
  6. Provided advice to OVPR and planning committee chairs on recent Strategic Planning activities.

Topics your committee anticipates addressing during the coming year

Discussions on federal policies and UI assistance with archiving and public access to data derived from research and creative works. Examining impact of strategic plans and budgeting on research productivity and advancement. Providing advice on mechanisms to develop interdisciplinary research at UI. One goal would be to create new RC advisory links with future faculty cluster formation as these intersect the OVPR and Provost’s offices. Perhaps the next RC Chair will want to have interested RC members provide advice on new interdisciplinary research growth though future faculty hiring initiatives?

Maybe with an ad-hoc group working with Provost’s office (Kevin Kregel)?

Other issues of concern

This charter committee is much larger than the recommended charter committee size. It has several members unique among charter committees, specifically postdoctoral researchers and emeritus faculty. While the new postdoctoral additions adds links to current research on campus, it may be time to revisit the emeritus faculty member (several faculty senate officers have asked me whether this is a necessary part of the RC faculty structure).

What should we tell applicants for this committee regarding expectations of members (anticipated workload, existence of subcommittees, etc.)?

Expect monthly meetings; be prepared to engage in critical discussions on current and future viability of research enterprise on campus – both externally and internally funded research, with and without graduate student assistance, expect to make some contributions to both research administration and research compliance discussions as needed.

The Faculty Senate Office collects agendas and minutes from the charter committees to send to the university archives. Please let us know the best way to get that information from you.

Mike Weaver, OVPR&ED collects agendas and minutes from our meetings. If subcommittees generate reports, they are typically appended to the regular meeting minutes. The meeting minutes are archived on the Research Council web site hosted by the OVPR&ED:


Recommendations, if any, to the shared governance groups.

As Research Council faculty membership evolves under the new “flexible” faculty member selection implemented last year, I would ask shared governance groups to actively recruit faculty in Engineering and Business into RC as those perspectives are typically absent from our discussions and faculty from these colleges could make strong impacts on scientific research and economic development discussions.