November 2013 Newsletter

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CPI Newsletter November 2013

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Included in this issue:

 

Update from the CPI Vice Chair on the Texas A&M System Sponsored Research Services (SRS) Principal Investigator/Faculty Advisory Committee (PIFAC)
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As reported previously in the October CPI newsletter (goo.gl/TAv5ED), a priority area identified in the PI survey and during the September 11, 2013 CPI closed session meeting was the effectiveness of services provided to PIs by The Texas A&M University System Sponsored Research Services (SRS).

To advance the discussion on SRS services, the CPI Chair and Vice Chair met with
Chancellor Sharp and Executive Vice Chancellor Hamilton on September 19th to discuss matters of importance to investigators, in particular the proposal submission and project administration process. We explained why it is important that SRS function well for the benefit of PIs, the research enterprise and the TAMUS overall. We also offered constructive suggestions to improve proposal submission and project administration. Chancellor Sharp and Executive Vice Chancellor Hamilton listened carefully and discussed each aspect with us. They appeared to appreciate the issues and were receptive to our ideas to improve SRS services.

As a result of this meeting, Executive Vice Chancellor Hamilton scheduled a meeting with members of the SRS PI/Faculty Advisory Committee (PIFAC) on Friday, November 8, 2013. The CPI Vice Chair attended as a representative of the CPI. The meeting was largely positive. There was discussion about increasing the number of employees at SRS and enhancing the training of SRS employees. A possible solution to lessen the administrative burden on PIs with respect to subcontracts between System members was also discussed. PIFAC Chair, Dr. Terry Thomas, will provide a comprehensive update at the full CPI meeting on November 13, 2013. 

Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration
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The CPI Executive Committee (EC) held its monthly coordination meeting on November 6th with invited research administration representatives from AgriLife, HSC, Texas A&M, TEES and TTI (see agenda at goo.gl/fUerp0).

It was confirmed that no decisions have been made to date regarding changes to the amount of indirect cost returns to PIs. At this time, as reported to the EC, the Office of the Provost is simply engaging in discussions with various groups across campus to discuss potential changes to the distribution of indirect costs to Principal Investigators.

The CPI Chair, Vice Chair and Executive Committee membership have expressed to the administration that reductions to the indirect costs that are returned to principal investigators would negatively impact the individual researcher’s ability to fully fund their labs and support their students and staff. The CPI will continue to advocate for maintaining the current fraction of indirect costs returned to principal investigators.

Dr. Glen Laine, Interim Vice President for Research, discussed a potential long-term strategy (already implemented by other peer institutions) to increase the federally negotiated F&A return rate (currently at 45.5%). Dr. Laine will discuss this plan more in depth and answer questions at the full November 13th CPI meeting.

The CPI EC will next meet with the President and Provost at 1:30 p.m. on November 13, following the full monthly meeting (see agenda at goo.gl/bd33CQ). Please feel free to submit any questions or issues for the CPI EC to consider through your elected CPI representatives (see goo.gl/BbOmyv) or send directly to cpi@tamu.edu.

Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force
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The Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force met for the second time October 31.

The minutes of the meeting can be found at goo.gl/26FHxF.

As CPI representatives (Jean-Luc Guermond and Sandra Tucker), we have been asked to circulate the following questionnaire and collect your comments and reactions. A final meeting will take place November 20 and recommendations will be made thereafter.

1. Should the copyright notice on the thesis/dissertation be mandatory or optional?

2. Should the University include a Contributors and Funding Sources section in the thesis or dissertation? Should this be mandatory or optional? (i.see University of Rochester Thesis Manual for additional information: http://www.rochester.edu/theses/ThesesManual.pdf, p. 6,7 and 13.)

3. Should a faculty-student agreement that outlines expectations for responsibilities and authorship for the thesis/dissertation be mandatory or optional? At what point would we encourage/require this agreement to be completed (when the faculty agrees to serve on the committee, when the proposal is submitted, other)? (i.see Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University Guidelines for Authorship as an example:http://education.msu.edu/kin/documents/bylaws/researchcollab.pdf)

4. Should there be required training for all students related to intellectual policy and or authorship? If so, for what content? At what point would the student be required to complete the training(s)? (i.see Michigan State University Responsible Conduct in Research Training: http://grad.msu.edu/rcr/)

5. Should there be language in the faculty-student agreement or some other policy which outlines when the faculty has the right to publish work related to the thesis/dissertation when the student fails to do so within a specified period of time.

6. Do existing policies, rules, and guidelines clearly state under what conditions the University owns intellectual property outside of the thesis/dissertation or are changes needed?

7. Do existing policies, rules, and guidelines explicitly state that the student owns copyright to the thesis/dissertation or are changes needed to make this clear?

The minutes of the meeting and other relevant documents can be consulted at goo.gl/UbeUvo.

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

 

Maestro Working Group
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The Maestro Working Group last met on Thursday, November 7, 2013.  Major accomplishments achieved in the current reporting period include the an update of the award search feature, worklist screen improvements, the routing path definition process and routing path customization screen have been improved, and ensure that all environments operational within the new infrastructure.  New hardware and the upgrade to WebCenter Portal release PS7 is supposed to take place on Friday, November 15th but that may be delayed.  Development of the project module is still ongoing as well as the implementation in the regional universities.  Work continues on the WTAMU financial interface and eliminating duplicate sponsors in FAMIS and MAESTRO.  Pending changes include adding hazardous chemicals to proposal compliance list, adding investigators to proposal routing, and proposal routing changes with respect to cost sharing.  Additional new features that are now available include the following:

· On the Worklist portal, a PI can see all of the items they have in the queue for review and/or approval.  PIs and/or Administrators can create ad hoc reviewers to proposals or documents.

· The routing history has changed so that all of the paths on the path show up and show whether and administrator has skipped a step or if specific approvals are not applicable.  In the past, some steps weren't shown.

· As an approver, one can see the multiple revisions and routing path from the proposal worklist screen.

· Each user has the ability to create a default backup path user, and can search within the worklist based on this role.

Contact:

Dr. Beverly Kuhn – b-kuhn@tamu.edu
Dr. Terry Thomas – terry@bio.tamu.edu
Dr. Victor Ugaz – ugaz@tamu.edu


Council for Strategic Budgeting and Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council
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The charge to the Council for Strategic Budgeting (CSB) is to make recommendations to the President on all aspects of the campus budgeting environment in support of the university’s core missions of teaching, scholarship and research, and engagement, as well as to support the realization of the goals contained in Vision 2020.  The CSB met on October 18, 2013 to review new requests for one-time funding and new base funding.  The CSB sent nine proposals to one or both of two sub-councils, the Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council (SRSC) and the Tuition and Fees Sub-Council (TFSC) for further consideration.  The work of the SRSC is framed within the context of our university’s strategic plan, Action 2015: Education First.  The SRSC met on November 8, 2013 to initiate the process of prioritizing the new funding requests.  The SRSC will rank the requests, deliberate the details of the most highly ranked requests and make a funding recommendation to the CSB.  The CSB will consider the input of the sub-councils and make a final recommendation to the President before the University budget is to be submitted to the Board of Regents in early March 2014.

Contact:
Dr. Mary Bryk – bryk@tamu.edu

Transportation Service Advisory Committee

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The TSAC met on Wednesday, November 6, 2013.  The group discussed and endorsed proposed transit changes schedules for the Fall of 2014, specifically to routes 31, 33, 34, 35, and 36.   These proposals have been vetted through a student forum and will begin to move through the process for approval and implementation.  The purchase of 10 new buses is moving through the process and will be using the new reverse auction process developed by Purchasing.  These new buses will replace smaller vehicles and will be able to accommodate more passengers.  No specific decisions have been made regarding the construction of new garages on campus.  The next meeting is on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013.

Contact:
Dr. Beverly Kuhn – b-kuhn@tamu.edu

Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS)

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The Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) has attracted fifteen eminent scholars, known as TIAS Faculty Fellows, to Texas A&M during its first two years.  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.  Others are prominent members of national academies – usually several.  These individuals team with faculty and graduate students on the A&M campus on collaborative research.

The objective of TIAS is to help move Texas A&M into the very top tier of public universities in the nation.  Here is what one of our distinguished permanent faculty at Texas A&M has to say about TIAS:

TIAS can provide a platform for recognized academic leaders to interact with students and faculty and thereby greatly encourage creativity in research and teaching on the campus. It will serve as a focus for presenting achievements by our researchers to the outside world and for bringing in distinguished visitors who can enliven the intellectual atmosphere.”

– David Lee, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1996
Department of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science, Texas A&M University

Texas Eng-Life Workshop – November 15, 2013
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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)

Pending reports from CPI representatives serving on external committees (CPI representative)
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· Federal Demonstration Partnership (Wolfgang Bangerth)

· Intellectual Property Constituent Committee (Wolfgang Bangerth)

· Laboratory Safety Advisory Committee (Susanne Talcott)

· Texas A&M University Research Administration Committee (Terry Thomas)

· University Research Council (Clint Allred)

Texas A&M Genomics Seed Grant
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All Texas A&M, Health Science Center and AgriLife faculty are invited to participate in the Texas A&M Genomics Seed Grant (goo.gl/FgUj8q). This program is one of four funding initiatives totaling $1.3M for genomics research across The System (goo.gl/ZJwgL6). The goal of the Texas A&M Genomics Seed Grant is to provide access to next generation sequencing (NGS) technology and bioinformatics analysis to Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the Texas A&M AgriLife faculty. This will allow faculty to initiate or expand their research in human, plant and animal genomics. These resources will be provided through the Texas A&M AgriLife Genomics and Bioinformatics Service (txgen.tamu.edu).  We expected to support between 25-35 next generations sequencing projects through this RFP.

Who should apply?

* All faculty who are currently not using NGS technologies but want to see what this amazing technology is all about, or faculty of established programs who want to expand into new areas or applications.

* Discipline-wide and Interdisciplinary teams - This RFP is an opportunity to generate that primary data needed to facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations.

* Past seed grant participation does not exclude you from applying for this RFP.

Due Date: Proposals are due no later than 5:00 PM on December 16, 2013.

Contact:
Dr. Charles D. Johnson – Charlie@ag.tamu.edu, 979-862-3287

 

Limited Submission Proposal Opportunities
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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 goo.gl/138QUI.

Past CPI Chairs
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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.