Minutes - Apr 28, 2008

Date of Meeting: 

Monday, April 28, 2008


Denburg, Grassian, Hesli, Hynes, Knosp, Malanson, Cohen, Hichwa, Reardon, Ricketts, Semel, Sharpe


Dickson, Fan, Flatté, Folsom, Jung, Kirby, Leddy, Snetselaar, Subramanian, Wichman

Professor Vicki Hesli called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

Professor Hesli requested that the minutes from the last meeting be approved.  They were approved.

Responsible Conduct in Research

Professor Hesli indicated that there would be a change in the agenda.  Charlotte Talman, Chair 

of the Research Council Task Force Subcommittee, charged with developing an online training program for UI in the responsible conduct of research was scheduled to speak.  This agenda item will be addressed at the next meeting of the Research Council (May 13).

Graduate College and the OVPR

Vice President Cohen discussed a recent meeting between the Graduate College and the OVPR.  Issues that were discussed included:

  1. Desire for increased communication between the Graduate College and the OVPR.
  2. The recent letter from the Research Council to the Dean of the Graduate College concerning graduate student funding.
  3. The OVPR commitment to graduate students.


Professor Hesli mentioned the charge of the Research Council.  In addition to compliance issues, there is a subcommittee of the Research Council that meets to respond to requests for waivers of the policy.  To date, this academic year, there have been two requests. 

This generated some general discussion about the publication policy of UI, particularly in relation to clinical drug trials. 

  1. The policy, as outlined in the UI Operations Manual is that UI does not restrict publication or allow censorship.  According to Section 27.2 of University of Iowa Operations Manual: “The University of Iowa exists primarily for expanding and disseminating knowledge. Therefore, research activities which are subject to indefinite suppression, censorship, or control by a body outside the University ordinarily are not, and should not be, conducted within the University.” 
  2. Whether the policy inhibits clinical trials being done at UI.
    1. Pharmaceutical company control and publication review committees
    2. Very large multicenter grants and the coordination of data and timing of publications
    3. Reporting of negative results
  3. Is the policy outdated in some way and should it be revised in the Operations Manual?  Should precedent continue to be a primary principle upon which future decisions about publication restriction waiver requests are made?

A general consensus was that we should review our existing policies in this area as outlined in the Operations Manuel.  Vice President Cohen indicated that he would like to see how other academic institutions handle this issue.

Research Council

Vice President Cohen led a general discussion about Research Council including increasing faculty interest in participating in Research Council.  There was also discussion as to whether the Office of the Vice President for Research had responded to the recommendation from last year’s Research Council to change the composition of the Research Council. 


Vice President Cohen led a general discussion about the recent announcement by President Mason of the UI focus on sustainability and the addition of five new faculty positions to focus on this issue.

The general discussion included the Research Council’s possible role in helping to determine the focus of the sustainability hiring efforts and in discussing the procedures for making the hires.  This will be a continuing topic in Research Council.

Grant Assistance/Incentives/Indirect Cost Reimbursement

As a follow-up to the discussion with Joe Kearney at the last Research Council meeting, Professor Hesli indicated that she would like to send a memo to CLAS on suggestions from the Research Council.  Professor Hesli also reported on a meeting with Associate Vice Presidents Hichwa and Semel, the Director of the Office of Research Development, Ann Ricketts, Professor Hesli, and the Vice President Cohen. 

Ms. Ricketts provided information concerning the existing grant support that is available through some of the colleges and various departments.  Noteworthy was the offices and programs of grant-writing assistance offered by the Colleges of Nursing, Public Health, Education, and Pharmacy.

Various kinds of assistance were discussed.

  1. Concerning the reimbursement of indirect costs.  Professor Hesli reminded the Council of Professor Flatté’s previous position paper on this subject. She suggested that any new recommendations incorporate his ideas.
  2. Faculty mentoring and assistance with internal grant reviews
  3. Administrative assistance
  4. Editorial assistance
  5. Assistance with budgets, bio sketches, etc.
  6. Assistance with routing
  7. Increasing the ease that one can apply for cost sharing and increasing the pool of money available for equipment and non-equipment cost-sharing

Other discussions included:

  1. The variability of services across the colleges and within departments
  2. The variability of the needs across the colleges and within departments
  3. The variability of the existence of cultures supportive of grant-writing across the colleges and departments
  4. The importance of the role played by the Associate Dean for Research within a college.
  5. The variability of what constitutes an incentive across the colleges  -- but that all colleges need appropriate incentive programs
    1. Council members were encouraged to contact their constituents and ask what they would consider an incentive
  6. Interactions with Sponsored Programs and the possible types of grant assistance

Vice President Cohen commented on the challenges associated with recapturing and redistributing indirect costs from grants. Some funds do go back to colleges, but may not be made available for use at the discretion of the principal investigators. Vice President Cohen emphasized that the OVPR is willing to share with colleges the financial costs of college-level programs that support grant-writing.  He also emphasized that some areas, such as the social sciences, may be more in need of help than others.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.