October 2013 Newsletter


CPI Newsletter October 2013


Included in this issue:

  • Update from CPI Chair
  • Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration
  • Price Waterhouse Cooper Comprehensive Administrative Review Advisory Committee
  • Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force
  • Council for the Built Environment (CBE)
  • Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS)
  • Texas A&M ENG-LIFE Workshop – November 15, 2013
  • PESCA Proposal Writers Workshop
  • SRS memorandum re: Federal Government Shutdown
  • System Regulation 15.01.03 – Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research
  • Pending reports from CPI members serving on external committees
  • Limited Submission Proposal Opportunities
  • Past CPI Chairs


Update from Dr. Niall Slowey, CPI Chair

As identified in the PI survey and during the September 11, 2013 CPI closed session meeting, a priority area for the CPI this year will be the success of services provided to PIs through The Texas A&M University System Sponsored Research Services (SRS).

As Vice Chair and Chair of the CPI, Dr. Mary Bryk and I met recently with Chancellor Sharp and Executive Vice Chancellor Hamilton to discuss matters of importance to investigators, in particular the research proposal submission and project administration process. We explained why it is important that SRS function well for the benefit of the research enterprise and the TAMUS overall. We pointed out the good things that SRS is doing now to improve services as well as the problem areas. We offered constructive suggestions about ways to enable proposal submission and project administration to work more effectively.

Chancellor Sharp and Executive Vice Chancellor Hamilton listened carefully and discussed each aspect with us. They appeared to appreciate the issues and positive potential solutions. We will provide updates as appropriate to the CPI and PI community.


At the October 2nd CPI Executive Committee meeting, Interim Vice President for Research, Dr. Glen Laine brought forward an idea about potential changes to the current distribution of indirect costs (IDC) at Texas A&M University. As a result of this discussion, it is our understanding that nothing is decided or pre-determined at this time, and that decisions about future IDC distribution would be made with significant PI input and oversight.

Because there is some confusion about the current IDC distribution process, we had already invited Dr. Laine to the October 9th CPI meeting to discuss this topic. Such an understanding is important for PIs and is necessary to consider before potential future changes to IDC distribution. Covering the current IDC distribution process thoroughly is likely to take time, therefore we asked Dr. Laine to focus on this topic at the October 9th meeting.

To bring the dialogue of ideas about potential future changes to IDC distribution to the CPI membership and PI community, we have invited Dr. Laine to attend the November 13, 2013 CPI meeting for an in-depth discussion of this topic.

On behalf of the CPI, I appreciate the VPR seeking the perspectives and input of PIs during this exploratory IDC dialogue and look forward to Dr. Laine’s discussion at both next week’s CPI meeting and the November 13th meeting.

Next CPI meeting

The next CPI meeting will be on November 13, 2013 in Rudder 601 at 11:30 a.m.  The meeting will also be webcast live at ttvn.tamu.edu/webcasts on Channel 20.

Summary of Executive Committee meetings with administration

The CPI Executive Committee (EC) held its monthly coordination meeting on October 2nd with invited research administration representatives from AgriLife, HSC, Texas A&M, TEES and TTI (see agenda at goo.gl/YHszG6).

Attendees discussed updates on the research proposal submission and project administration process; items relating to the IT audit and high performance and general computing; review of the October 9th full CPI meeting agenda; suggestions for topics for future CPI meetings and mechanisms to enhance communication with the PI community.

The next CPI EC meeting will be held on November 6th. Please feel free to submit any issues for the CPI EC to consider through your elected CPI representatives (see goo.gl/BbOmyv) or send directly to cpi@tamu.edu.

Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) Comprehensive Administrative Review Advisory Committee

As announced by Chancellor Sharp, the Administrative Review for Universities and Agencies is currently underway.  The purpose of the project is to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and provide additional resources for the core missions of instruction research and service.   The consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) is assisting with the project that will include three phases.  Phase I will take place during the remainder of 2013 and focuses on Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC).  At present, two surveys are being conducted. The first survey requested information from administrative supervisors in order to understand how TAMU and TAMHSC staff and faculty direct their effort.  The second survey requested that faculty, staff, and students report on their level of satisfaction with available administrative services.  The second and third phases, scheduled for 2014, will focus on the regional universities and agencies.

Chancellor Sharp appointed an Advisory Committee who will provide feedback about the review from the perspectives of administrators, faculty, staff, and students.  Three CPI members are serving on this committee.  If you have comments regarding the surveys or review, please send them to cpi@tamu.edu.

Dr. Eva Shipp (HSC) – eshipp@srph.tamhsc.edu
Dr. Lawrence Rauchwerger (Engineering) – rwerger@cse.tamu.edu
Dr. Heather Wilkinson (COALS) – h-wilkinson@tamu.edu

Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force
The Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force has been created after some members of the faculty complained that it is not appropriate that PhD students be required to put a copyright statement on the front page of their dissertation. The first meeting of the task force took place September 9, 2013.

Jean-Luc Guermond and Sandy Tucker are the CPI representatives on the task force. The minutes of the meeting and other relevant documents can be consulted at goo.gl/UbeUvo.

Dr. Jean-Luc Guermond – guermond@math.tamu.edu
Ms. Sandy Tucker – s-tucker@library.tamu.edu

Council for the Built Environment (CBE)
The September CBE meeting considered a number of projects. Most of these were associated with building renaming, sculptures and repairs that had no bearing on research. The matters that most impacted research were: 1) approval for the repair of an awning in the loading dock area of the Psychology building so that water would not enter the vivarium;, and 2) an agreement that facilities proposed to be constructed as part of a research grant or contract would not have to be presented to the CBE as a whole, but would be handled administratively.

Dr. Paul Hardin (2013-14 voting member) – phardin@bio.tamu.edu
Dr. Emil Straube (2013-14 non-voting member) – straube@math.tamu.edu

Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS)
The Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) has begun its second year of operation and is bringing nine new eminent scholars to Texas A&M.  The nine TIAS Faculty Fellows for the 2013-14 academic year include a Nobel Laureate and members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and comparable European academies.  Additional information can be found at goo.gl/7Mzlsx.

The criteria for being a TIAS Fellow are stringent. The candidates must be active scholars at the forefront of their disciplines and have achieved national and international recognition for their historical accomplishments.  The first two classes of TIAS Fellows include two Nobel Prize winners and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific award in the U.S.

Ten colleges have actively participated in recruitment of these scholars. The fifteen Fellows recruited to date have diverse fields of expertise that represent the broad strengths and ambitions of Texas A&M.  The Fellows must be able to team effectively with existing faculty and students consistent with college strategic plans. TIAS will soon be requesting nominations from the colleges for next year's class of TIAS Fellows.

TIAS is designed to enhance the excellence and accelerate scholarship at Texas A&M. TIAS was established in harmony with the Vision 2020 Academic Master Plan to help Texas A&M move to the top tier of public universities.

Texas Eng-Life Workshop – November 15, 2013
The Texas A&M Eng-Life Workshop – At the interface of Engineering and Life Sciences – will take place on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (see flyer at goo.gl/ilnTky). Oral presentations will be held in ETB 3002 and poster presentations will be held in Zec lobby. The day will consist of 1 keynote speech; 10 short talks and the poster session.

The goal of the workshop is to promote multidisciplinary interaction and scientific communication in the field of engineering and life sciences. We encourage you and your students/post docs to present a poster at this event. Pre-registration required is required and there are no registration fees. Please visit http://biomems.tamu.edu/eng-life/ for more details and registration information.

Organizing Committee:
Dr. Arum Han (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Jane Welsh (Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, TAMIN)
Dr. Aruj Jayaraman (Chemical Engineering)
Dr. Allison Ficht (TAMHSC)

PESCA Proposal Writers Workshop
The Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities (PESCA, see goo.gl/Emc8Or), funded through the Division of Research, held the 2014 PESCA Proposal Writers Workshop on September 30, 2013 in the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building room 3147.

If you were unable to attend the workshop, links to the webcast recording and the slides used during the meeting are available at goo.gl/tiAETc.

Any questions relating to PESCA can be directed to Dr. Jim Izat, Program Coordinator at: jizat@tamu.edu.

SRS Memorandum re: Federal Government Shutdown
An October 1, 2013 memorandum from The Texas A&M University System Sponsored Research Services (SRS) relating to the federal government shutdown, can be found at goo.gl/YtmIsM.

System Regulation 15.01.03 – Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research
As reported previously, the Chancellor had revised System Regulation 15.01.03 – Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research (policies.tamus.edu/15-01-03.pdf), which went into effect August 31, 2013.  The revisions include:

1)     Lifting the October 18, 2012 suspension regarding the implementation of the FCOI requirements for privately-funded research.  The FCOI requirements will be applied to new awards received on or after August 30, 2013.  This will include, but not be limited to, continuations and task orders awarded on or after August 30, 2013.

2)     Applying the FCOI requirements to subcontracts in the following circumstances:  a) all PHS-funded research; and b) all non-PHS research in which an Investigator subcontracts a portion of the research to a covered family member or an entity in which the Investigator or a covered family member has a financial interest.

3)     Requiring Investigators to submit their Financial Disclosure Statement online via Maestro.

As a reminder, SRS accounts may be frozen if the project is out of compliance with the FCOI regulation.

Ms. Lesa Feldhousen, lfeldhousen@tamu.edu, 862-7986

Pending reports from CPI representatives serving on external committees (CPI representative)

  • Budgeting and Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council (Mary Bryk)
  • EPIK-Maestro Working Group (Beverly Kuhn, Terry Thomas, Victor Ugaz)
  • Federal Demonstration Partnership (Wolfgang Bangerth)
  • Intellectual Property Constituent Committee (Wolfgang Bangerth)
  • Laboratory Safety Advisory Committee (Susanne Talcott)
  • SRS PI/Faculty Advisory Committee (Niall Slowey)
  • Texas A&M University Research Administration Committee (Terry Thomas)
  • Transportation Services Advisory Committee (Beverly Kuhn)
  • University Research Council (Clint Allred)

Limited Submission Proposal Opportunities
Up-to-date limited submission proposal opportunities, including deadlines for required letters of intent, are available on the website of the Division of Research at vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/funding/lsp/lsp/#limited-submission-proposal-opportunities.

Past CPI Chairs
A link to the Past Chairs of the CPI is now available on the CPI website at goo.gl/bsH9jR. If you have a moment, please consider sending a note to these individuals thanking them for their service on the CPI and for representing the interests of the PI community during their time on the Council.