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Research Policy Committee

Research Infrastructure Support
The national and international recognition and prestige of a university is significantly impacted by the university's research infrastructure; this infrastructure affects the quality and quantity of funding and the ability to attract and retain the very top faculty and students. Thus, it is imperative that The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest universities in the U.S., be a leader in cutting-edge research. With grants becoming increasingly more competitive, it is essential to provide the faculty with the necessary resources to secure and manage substantial research funding.

Recently, working together with our Research Policy Committee, Vice President Juan Sanchez agreed to provide one-half of the salary for two grant specialists, one to assist principal investigators (PIs) in the College of Pharmacy, and one to assist PIs in the College of Engineering. The Colleges of Pharmacy and Engineering will respectively provide the remaining one-half salary and office space. The grant specialists will report to the respective college in which they are working. We are very pleased with this agreement and have a goal of it being a pilot program that leads to additional grant specialists, University-wide. We encourage the Colleges of Pharmacy and Engineering to follow and monitor the efforts of these grants specialists and to report back to the Research Policy Committee.

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), under the direction of Susan Sedwick, has recently hired Grant Central to present a one-day grant-writing seminar on April 16. Space will be available for 125 participants. This is an excellent step toward providing aid to PIs in grant preparation, and we encourage broad participation in this seminar. We hope that additional grant-writing workshops will be organized, and we encourage UT colleges to work with OSP in sponsoring these.

We also recommend that OSP coordinate training and guidance to departmental and organized research unit staff members in grant policies and procedures.

Overall, we are pleased that the Office of the Vice President for Research at The University of Texas is working to increase its support of research infrastructure and ask that this effort be continued. An increased level of support will aid PIs in grant preparation and management. It will allow UT to be more competitive overall with grants, bringing additional research funding and prestige to the University, which in turn will critically impact faculty and student recruitment and retention.

Peter Riley, chair