March 12, 2015

Date of Meeting: 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Attendance:  Ed Gillan, Patricia Gillette, Carolyn Colvin, Bob Kirby, Gary Gussin, Johna Leddy, Faryle Nothwehr, Rachel Marek, George Hospodarsky, Paul Soderdahl, Christopher Benson, Alberto Segre,

Others:  Dan Reed, Cheryl Reardon, Ann Ricketts, Jennifer Lassner

Item 1:  Welcome and Updates (Ed Gillan)

  • Meeting called to order at 3:30 pm

Item 2:  Review and Approval of Minutes from February 27, 2015

  • Minutes were reviewed, Bob Kirby will send clarifications and minor corrections regarding item 5 on the minutes.  Minutes were approved pending changes.

Item 3:  Update on OVPRED Activities

  • Rachel Marek asked for an update on OVPRED’s policies regarding using crowdfunding as a source of research funding.  Cheryl Reardon responded that UI Purchasing sent out a request for proposals to various crowdfunding platforms and has thus far only heard back from RocketHub.  There will be another RFP later.  OVPR is working on a policy with the rest of the University, but progress has been slower than expected.

Item 4:  Charter Revisions

  • Faculty Senate reviewed the suggested changes to the Research Council Charter and voiced reservations that some may not be represented under the new language
    • To bolster its commitment to non-biomedical areas. OVPR has increased its representation of arts and humanities faculty with two faculty fellows.  Also, the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board has been a productive unit for feedback to the office.  Arts advancement from the Office of the Provost has also been productive.
  • Minor change to the listed order of the disciplines to make sure that they are alphabetical
  • David Cunning thought the changes looked fine, sent comments from home
  • Council approved of final language after consideration of the above.

Item 5:  Research Development Center

  • Ann Ricketts presented a PowerPoint regarding the history and rationale for the proposed Research Development Center
  • A major reason to improve support and quality of research proposals is that federal research funding is going down with the expectation that it will eventually flatten out.  Data from UI Sponsored Programs reflects this trend.
  • The group reviewed the priming questions from the agenda.
  • Ann asked the Research Council to comment on what things would be truly impactful for faculty:
    • Dan Reed has noted in the past that UI is missing out on potential funding streams.  This office would help to identify and tap into new streams while expanding success with current sources.\
    • Center could match successful faculty with less senior faculty or researchers who haven’t been as successful in obtaining funding.  Ann noted a panel that OVPR sponsored several years ago along that line.
    • There seems to be more expertise and assistance in the health sciences.  The expectation there is that departments and non-stakeholders provide help and feedback for investigators throughout the proposal process.  This is not necessarily reflected in the culture of different research areas across campus.
    • Faculty need more time (less administrative burden) to work on creating quality proposals.  Administrative burden for small and large proposals is a common theme
    • UI needs to be more competitive for state funding (seems more money is going to ISU)
    • Graphic design support from the office would be helpful in creating more effective and eye-catching proposals.  This could be something funded by the office for outside firms or staffed in-house
    • Incentivize or make available time off from teaching while writing proposals
  • Two models to consider: (a) more proposal development support or (b) a more comprehensive office that weaves in other aspects of the process including the current Internal Funding Initiatives.  How can OVPR sharpen what we are already doing to be more impactful, and expand to provide more service?
    • Project managers could be provided during the proposal process to ensure that every requirement of the grant is being met on time.  This would be especially helpful for larger, multi-investigator proposals
    • Look at funding opportunities and target faculty at UI based on the RFP.  Work to cultivate quality proposals from the top down
    • Need more leadership.  Administrative burden scares potential faculty off
    • Need for more data on review participation by faculty.  Review panels are an excellent place to learn how projects are funded despite a lack of direct incentive to participate
    • Incentivize senior faculty to read and mentor junior faculty in proposal development.  Goes back to the cultural issue, some departments already do this (without incentive), other’s do not.  Should find ways to connect faculty in this process across departments
    • Different external review models and internal incentives.
  • OVPR staff requested that the Research Council continue to provide ideas and feedback