Since, the committee was not given a charge by Faculty Council or
University administration, the committee spent the first meeting discussing
previous activities of the committee as well as potential areas of
focus for the 2005-06 academic year. Issues that were identified as
being important for faculty research development, particularly among
young faculty, included:
- Research grant proposal preparation
- Office of Sponsored Projects proposal submission process
- Negotiating human subjects and animal protection research approval
In order to facilitate discussion of these topics, the following individuals
met with the committee:
Sharon Brown, associate vice president for research.
VP Brown discussed the research grant writing program she initially
developed for the UT School of Nursing faculty and now offers
on a limited basis campus-wide. She noted that some major universities
(e.g., University of Washington) have
mandatory grant writing programs for assistant professors and that
in some instances these have resulted in increased NIH funding success
Features of such grant support programs can include the following:
- Personnel to assist faculty with all aspects of grant writing and
submission, except the sciences
- Science editor as a consultant on grant writing
- Grant writing groups
- Mock reviews of grant proposals with feedback
Mark Hayward, director, UT Population Research Center.
Professor Hayward described the role of the center as an interdisciplinary
research and training unit that strives to emphasize cross-fertilization
of disciplines across campus.
The center offers a “proposal boot camp,” that is focused
on developing grant-writing skills of faculty in the “population
sciences.” The boot camps generally occur during the summer and
involve some summer faculty support.
Professor Hayward discussed the range of services offered by the center
and its support for grant administration both pre- and post-award.
These presentations prompted additional discussion among all present,
including whether more centers are needed on campus to foster research
grant development and support as well as the role and function of centers.
The role of centers within the University organizational structure
was discussed, including the fact that most interdisciplinary research
centers (i.e., across departments and schools or colleges) typically
report to a specific dean. A uniform indirect cost return policy for
interdisciplinary centers does not exist on campus, and center directors
typically negotiate an indirect cost return rate with the dean to whom
the respective directors report. The fact that this arrangement
may change when the dean changes was discussed as well as the effect
this can have on center operations.
Although the spirit of the committee was that research grant writing
development programs and enhanced organizational structure for interdisciplinary
centers could be potentially beneficial to research and scholarship
development on campus, no specific recommendations were made by the
M. Lynn Crismon, chair