Research Council Meeting

Date of Meeting: 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Research Council Meeting

Friday, October 5

Members Present: Alberto Segre, Keyan Zarei, Diane Rohlman, Kevin Kelly, George Hospodarsky, Barbara Eckstein, Jennifer Fiegel, Jane Nachtman, John Nelson, Amanda Haes, Rebecca Taugher

Members Absent: Jessica Boyle, Jodi Graff, Jane Paulsen, Steven Mickelsen, Jason Rantanen, Guowei Qi

Others in Attendance: John Keller, Marie Kerbeshian, Bob Kirby, Aaron Kline, Jennifer Lassner, Ann Ricketts

Item 1:  Welcome (Segre)

  • Minutes from the August 24, 2018 meeting were approved unanimously.

Item 2:  Vice President for Research Updates (Keller)

  • Update on organizational changes:
    • Consortium to Substance Abuse moved to School of Social Work, effective 10/1/18.
    • New center, Iowa CREATES, is being developed for engineering and physical sciences.  Chris Cheatum is the director. 
    • Economic Development units (UI Research Park, BioVentures, Merge/ProtoStudios, TRI) are moving to VP for external relations/Chief Entrepreneurial Officer.
  • VP for Research airport interviews –  November 30-December 1 (Provost on same timeline; CLAS Dean on-campus interviews yet this fall)
  • Chief Entrepreneurial Officer search – two finalists interviewed last week, decision imminent.
  • Keller circulated the charge for the Shared Governance Advisory Task Force on Academic and Research Centers, Institutes, and Activities.
  • Keller circulated the Research Development Office Annual Report.
  • Next programs for Creative Matters and Science on Tap are: 
    • Ed Boyden, Professor of Neurotechnology at MIT, leads a Synthetic Neurobiology Group that develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain. Monday, October 15.
    • Science on Tap:  Margaret Beck and Matt Hill, Southwestern Archaeology at the University of Iowa, Thursday, October 25

Item 3:  Publication Wavier Subcommittee Membership (Segre)

  • Alberto Segre, Jason Rantanen, and Kevin Kelly will be the members of the committee for FY 2019. 

Item 4:  Responsible Conduct of Research (Segre, Keller)

Segre drew the Council’s attention to the following RCR information, with an emphasis on the bolded items:

a. NIH Requirements for Sponsored Research (4-8)

b. NIH Responsible Conduct of Research Training (9-10)

c. NIH Short Course (

d. NSF Requirements for Sponsored Research (11)

e. NSF Implementation Notes for Universities (12-13)

f. NSF Online Ethics Course Resources (

g. National Academies Report Summary: “Fostering Integrity in Research” (14-17)

h. University of Iowa RCR Enrollments for 2018 (18-19)

i. RCR Annual Syllabus Review Notice (20-21)

Discussion Comments

  • NSF commends training to the institution; NIH more prescriptive.
  • Leslie Revaux has assumed Marta Gomez’s role in tracking compliance with RCR.
  • John Keller presented a summary (attached) of the current state of RCR training, describing the transition from a centralized to a decentralized model. 
  • Keller noted there are now 15 course options available university-wide.  (The previous model was problematic because it required faculty to teach a 4 semester hour course off-load in another department.)
  • The decentralized model allows more tailoring to discipline. 
  • Segre questioned whether NIH guidelines are the right template for all disciplines.  He noted, for example, that algorithmic bias and data anonymization are more pressing ethical concerns for computer science students than animal subject protection.
  • Items 1-6 might on Keller’s handout might be considered core topics.  Animal welfare issues could be considered more discipline-specific.  Items 8-10 are covered in some detail by the UI Operations Manual.
  • It would be useful to devise a consistent core curriculum that allows for tailoring content to departments/disciplines. 
  • Prior to our next meeting, Council members should give some thought to what the core RCR training modules would be.
  • On-line training alone is not considered sufficient, but perhaps a combination of on-line and disciplinary-specific training could be considered.  Perhaps we could develop Ted-talk style lectures on specific topics. One could envision an on-line menu of modules from which to select.
  • It’s important to develop training with a focus on shared institutional values and consistent ethics training for our graduate students rather than merely focusing on students compensated by grant dollars. Ethics and responsible conduct of research should be part of graduate students’ professional training regardless of funding source.
  • Some interdisciplinary interaction could be useful in developing training (e.g. philosophy and English students would bring a different perspective than their science discipline peers). 
  • We need to clarify some of the data provided by Weaver. 

Action Items – captured by Segre

1. We resolved to create a survey/poll for instructors of the currently approved RCR courses on the list the GC provided. We need to draft what questions we should ask, and circulate the draft to RC. I have the following preliminary questions:

   1. What is your current typical audience (# students, departments,

      programs, etc).

   2. Do you feel all of the GC-mandated topics are relevant to your


   3. Which of the current GC-mandated topics do you feel are most

      critically important to your audience?

   4. Are there any topics you feel strongly should be added to the

      list for all students?

   5. Are there any topics you feel strongly should be added to the

      list for your students?

   6. Do you have suggestions for how UI could better offer

      instruction in RCR?

but there may be others.

2. We should ask in the survey if we can have access to their course evaluations, in particular, to the student comments from the course evaluations.

3. Several additional resources were discussed on Friday which may be of interest to the rest of RC in a broader sense:

   1. Retraction Watch

      (especially their "weekend reads" section).

   2. Social Science Replication Project home page


   3. "Data thugs" blog (Nick Brown)

      instrumental in recent Cornell Food Lab case

4. John's handout from Friday is attached.