Minutes - Nov 15, 2006

Date of Meeting: 

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Vicki Grassian, Meredith Hay, Vicki Hesli, Richard Hichwa, Bob Kirby, Johna Leddy, George Malanson, Cheryl Reardon, Jay Semel, Tom Sharpe and Sarah Vigmostad.

Leddy called the meeting at 3:35 PM. 

The Research Council reviewed and approved the minutes from the October 18, 2006 Research Council Meeting. 

Federal funding vectors

Leddy opened the meeting with the open ended questions about federal funding vectors.  What is the major focus of Agencies (now, 3 years out, and long term)?  How is the University positioned to capitalize on these opportunities?

  • Semel highlighted a new NEH initiative regarding digital humanities funding.
  • Semel also mentioned that foundations that had traditionally-funded humanities are shifting award away from humanities to humanitarian causes. 
  • Hichwa highlighted the cyber infrastructure grants through NSF.  He gave one specific example of an institution that used institutional matching funds to leverage a large cyber infrastructure grant.
  • Hichwa mentioned geo-spatial funding opportunities and mentioned that “sustainable water and energy” is a primary focus of NSF.
  • Hichwa also noted that many funding agencies are focusing on grants for training of students, training new faculty in new interdisciplinary grants, and multi-disciplinary grants.
  • Malanson did some research and found that many new funding sources are focused on interdisciplinary research.  This is an opportunity for more interaction between social sciences and medical sciences. 
  • Grassian observed that centers and institutes are working closer together to submit proposals for interdisciplinary grants. 
  • Hesli spoke about the changing funding picture in the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. 
  • Undergraduate funding
  • Kirby discussed possible training grants in the Department of Defense for undergraduates.

Office of Research Development

Hay introduced a new initiative, the Office of Research Development, in the Office of the Vice President for Research.  The initial focus of the Office will be in the arts, humanities and NSF.   The co-directors will be Jay Semel, Associate VP for Research Development for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Richard Hichwa, Associate VP for Research Development for Sciences.  Ann Ricketts from the Division of Sponsored Programs will serve as the key staff member for this new office.  The main functions will be to help PI’s with proposal preparation, anticipate funding opportunities, and help coordinate larger center grants.  The Office will also manage the institutional RFP process for federal funding and foundations funding opportunities.

Provost Mike Hogan will be attending the December Research Council Meeting.   Leddy asked for questions that will be sent to him in advance.  Several research council members provided input on questions.   The topics ranged from increasing matching funds and providing release time for faculty to funding graduate students and responding to the evolving needs of research center and institutes. 

Hay Updates

  • Sharpe provided the research council information about the new incubator that will be built on Lot #1 at the Oakdale Research Park.  This building will have a combination of web lab facilities and office space.  The University is partnering with Dermercia/NGI and Ryan Companies to build the new building.  The funding for this facility will be Grow Iowa Values Funds (GIVF) with lease of the ground and building rent charged to the tenants. 
  • Chris Atchison has been named Interim Director of the University Hygienic Lab.  In late October, the University broke ground for new state-of-the-art facilities located on the Oakdale Campus.  We are moving forward on the search for a new director and will also be conducting an internal and external review of the UHL, chaired by Michael Apicella and co-chaired by Atchison.
  • We are in the process of searching for a new director for the Office of the State Archeologist.   
  • The Division of Sponsored Programs has gone through LEAN process improvement.   The objective was to improve grant proposal submission efficiency for external funds.

Meeting adjourned at 4:55 pm