Minutes - May 16, 2007

Date of Meeting: 

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Frank Abboud, Scott Bounds, Jeffrey Denburg, Michael Flatte, Richard Hichwa, Bob Kirby, Boyd Knosp, Johna Leddy, George Malanson, Russell Noyes, Cheryl Reardon, Alan Sener, Siddharth Singh, and Scott Stuart

The Research Council reviewed and approved the minutes from the March 28, 2007, Research Council Meeting.

Reardon reviewed important University policies including policies on anti-harassment, consensual relationships involving students, violence, sexual harassment, and anti-retaliation.

In place of the 25 April 2007 Research Council meeting, members were asked to attend a presentation by David Lightfoot, National Science Foundation, Division of Behavioral, Social, and Economic Sciences on funding opportunities at the interface between human and physical sciences. The several members able to attend noted that the presentation was aimed at individuals unfamiliar with NSF and that the presentation did not explain how decisions are made on interdisciplinary efforts. One member noted that information about future funding vectors at NSF is best garnered by contacting individual program managers.

Increasing demands of the record keeping associated with grants and contracts

A member of Research Council raised questions as to how responsive the Division of Sponsored Programs will be to the changing and increasing demands of the record keeping associated with grants and contracts.

Specific issues include:

  • Timeliness and accountability are increasingly emphasized as funding agencies watch deadlines more closely.
  • Contracts and grants run under earned dollar management require month-by month accountability.
  • Grants and contracts are increasingly complex and thereby require more time to negotiate.
  • Significant additional workload is associated with the new implementation of www.grants.gov and with more complex and restrictive export controls.
  • Sponsored Programs appears overloaded by these additional administrative burdens.

Twila Reighley, Assistant VP for Research, updated the Council on efforts being implemented to facilitate the Division of Sponsored Programs, response to new and changing requirements.

Short-term strategies include:

  • Implementation of a triage system
  • More personnel assigned to contracts
  • Part time employees secured
  • Working with the College of Law to hire a new law graduate
  • Two searches underway in DSP

 Long-term strategies include:

  • Implementation of an IT system to track documents
  • Additional staff lines secured
  • Streamline the negotiation process to implement faster processing time
  • Implement cross training philosophy
  • Purchase software for export controls
  • Plan implementation of electronic routed form

DSP Staffing Levels

Reighley noted some recent loss of staff and that 35 % of the staff in DSP were hired within the last year and 50 % within the last two years. It was suggested that more staff in DSP would be appropriate.

Grant Writing Workshops

The OVPR has recently sponsored grant writing workshops that have been well received, especially by the junior faculty. The question arose as to whether any additional efforts are appropriately made by the OVPR to improve the research productivity of the junior faculty. It was noted that most support for junior faculty is at the departmental level, especially during the first three years. Several specific items were noted.

  • Continue seed grants - recent implementation of a final progress report in the form of a proposal submitted to a federal agency is useful and appropriate
  • Continue grant writing programs and workshops
  • Establish a mechanism to link undergraduate researchers with junior faculty mentors

Meeting adjourned at 2:08 PM.