Council on Research

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

9:30 – 11:30 CC – Terrace Lounge

Members present: L. Bilello, N. Carroll, J. Castracane, I. Davidson, E. Dorch, C. Frye, V. Idone, D. Lewis, R. Perez, R. Sanders, K. Sekiya, L. Schell, and S. Wood Members absent: E. Brière, M. Stessin,

W. Weller, L. Videka

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 by Vince Idone, Chair. Vince welcomed new members Lisa Bilello, TA in Sociology and K. Sekiya, TA in Mathematics and Statistics. Both are Graduate Student Organization representatives to Council.

Minutes of September 22, 2004

The September meeting minutes were approved with the following corrections:

1. Change the statement referencing Larry Schell’s comment to "up to 16% increase".

2. Add Wendy Weller’s name to the list of attendees.

Report from the Interim Vice President for Research

In her absence, Interim Vice President Videka submitted a written report. The two items of note from the report were the Chancellor’s Awards and the implementation of the 2003-04 recommendations from the IRB Policy Review and Researcher’s Liaison Committees.

Subcommittee Reports

David Lewis reported that the Benevolent Awards Committee has been finalized and will be meeting shortly to review the 16 proposals received.

Vince Idone requested volunteers for the Conference/Journal Support Awards Review Committee, chaired by Eloise Brière. David Lewis and Vince Idone will serve on the committee.

Ian Davidson will chair the FRAP A Award Review Committee. Other committee members include Zai Liang, Sociology; James Castracane, CNSE; and, Starr Wood, School of Social Welfare.

The Centers, Institutes and Specialized Research Laboratories, and Researchers’ Liaison Committees have been finalized. The Excellence in Research Award and FRAP Evaluation Committees will be finalized later in the fall and spring, respectively.

Mission Review II Discussion

There were several points raised during the discussion of the Mission Review II draft document.

It was suggested that the University address the changing technological needs of researchers. One area of concern is whether the University has sufficient licensing to support critical, but often very costly, software packages needed by researchers.

Concern was raised that there is a paucity of post docs on campus and that the University should emphasize the need to increase post docs. It was suggested that incentives be put in place or somehow make it more beneficial to PIs to hire post docs. It was noted that, based on a cursory survey of the COR membership, the number of post docs cited in Appendix A for 2001 is likely an error.

The question was raised as to whether an increase of 7% in external funding is a realistic target. It was decided that given the growth of certain disciplines, e.g. Nanoscale Science and Engineering, an aggregate growth of 7% is appropriate.

A related discussion ensued regarding the need for faculty to do their share to increase research dollars. Starr Jones, School of Social Welfare noted initiatives that are occurring in the School to encourage research. For example, assistant professors are asked to be PIs on federal grants; the School has strong ties to the community, and when faculty are hired, it is clearly articulated that research is an expectation. In addition, it was expressed that the lost of senior faculty has a big impact on funding. It was suggested that the University should do everything possible to retain senior faculty who successfully garner research funds.

Related to the discussion on external funding is the need to encourage interdisciplinary research and associated hiring, with the ultimate goal of increasing the research grant portfolio, particularly "large" grants.

A related issue of hiring for the Life Sciences building was raised. Cheryl Frye reported that there is now a shift in the philosophy for hiring new faculty who will occupy the building. The strategy is not to place too much emphasis on hiring a "star" researcher, but rather to hire new faculty based on expertise in a core discipline and based on the ability to work collaboratively with experts from other disciplines. It is expected that the hiring of new faculty (to include senior, junior, mid-career faculty), will be accomplished over a three-year period.

Of note also was that although the interdisciplinary research is currently a major thrust, it is important to maintain a balance between interdisciplinary research and those disciplines which are historically the core strength of the University.

The University’s graduate student stipends are not competitive and therefore, impacts the recruitment efforts. It was suggested that the University encourage applications for training grants to help fund graduate students.

On page 43 of the Mission Review draft - "comparing the University’s median time to national averages" should be revised to "comparing the University’s average time to national averages".

Old Business - None

New Business - None

Meeting adjourned at 10:45

Handouts: Directory of Organized Research Units and Specialized Facilities

Interim Vice President for Research Report