February 2015 CPI News and Updates

Included in this issue:   

  • Update from Dr. Mary Bryk, CPI Chair
  • CPI EC meetings with administrators
  • Strategic Planning Open Forums
  • Sigma Xi nominations due February 13th
  • Division of Research offers “Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals” workshop – February 25th
  • New Concur User Interface, ExpenseIt and Tripit reminder
  • Bulletin for Principal Investigators – Issued weekly by the Division of Research, Texas A&M University
  • Upcoming Seminars and Workshops for Texas A&M Researchers

Update from Dr. Mary Bryk, CPI Chair
To aid the CPI in bringing items to the attention of the administration, please send any broad research-related issues (and subsequent solutions) to my attention at cpi@tamu.edu or contact me directly at bryk@tamu.edu or 979.862.2294.

Michael K. Young Named as Sole Finalist for President of Texas A&M University

On behalf of the CPI membership and the over 2,100 investigators we have been elected to represent, I wish to extend my appreciation to Chancellor Sharp, the Board of Regents and the members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee (see below) for their tremendous efforts throughout the search process for the next President of Texas A&M University and on their selection of Michael K. Young as the sole finalist for the position.

Texas A&M Presidential Search Advisory Committee members are: Regent Cliff Thomas; Regent Elaine Mendoza; Dr. John Gladysz; Dr. Joanne Lupton; Dr. John Stallone; Mr. Dan Allen Hughes; Ms. Cindy Taylor; Ms. Lisa Blum and Mr. Reid Joseph.

Upon his expected appointment and arrival to campus later this spring, we look forward to the opportunity of working with Mr. Young to continue growing the research enterprise at Texas A&M to better serve and positively impact our students, faculty, staff, and ultimately the citizens of our community, state and country.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Mark Hussey who has served admirably as Interim President of Texas A&M University over the last year. Dr. Hussey has met regularly with the CPI Executive Committee during the last year.  During our meetings with Dr. Hussey, he listened to a broad range of issues affecting our constituents; received ideas and possible solutions to address those issues; and then moved forward with reasonable steps to improve the research enterprise at Texas A&M. Thank you Dr. Hussey for your service to Texas A&M and we wish you continued success as you return to your role as Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences!

On Monday, February 9, 2015, the Executive Committees of the CPI and Faculty Senate had an opportunity to meet President-Elect Young at a luncheon at the University Club.

Research Development Fund Advisory Committee

In the December 8, 2014 memo (see here) from Drs. Glen Laine, Craig Nessler, Dimitris Lagoudas and Allison Rice-Ficht regarding the Research Development Fund (RDF) and “Implementation Principles”, it was announced that an RDF Advisory Committee (RDF-AC) would be formed to help develop guidelines for the RDF funding mechanism, to receive and review proposals, and to share assessments with the RDF Management Committee.

The CPI was charged with forming the RDF-AC. At the January CPI Executive Committee (EC) meeting, the EC met with members of the RDF Management Committee, and then met in executive session to identify prospective individuals to serve on the RDF-AC. The skills that we looked for in prospective RDF-AC members are: broad understanding of research at Texas A&M University, knowledge of shared facilities and equipment, and evidence of knowledge and vision regarding future needs to enhance research infrastructure at Texas A&M University.

The members of the inaugural RDF-AC are: James Batteas (Science); Jeff Cirillo (Medicine); Christi Madsen (Engineering); Stephen Maren (Liberal Arts); Tom Meek (AGLS); Penny Riggs (AGLS); Courtney Schumacher (Geosciences); David Threadgill (CVM and Medicine); and Karen Wooley (Science). The first meeting of the RDF-AC is Friday, February 13th, when the committee is expected to elect a Chair. The RDF-AC may appoint additional members at their discretion and will be solicited to provide the PI community regular updates through this newsletter.  A website dedicated to the RDF as a resource to the PI community will be launched soon.   


On December 11th, the CPI Vice Chair sent a message to the PI community requesting information regarding Sponsored Research Services (SRS). We are still collecting this information. Please send an email with a short summary of specific problems that you have encountered working with SRS, providing enough detail (sponsor agency, amount requested or awarded, amounts returned or in jeopardy, award number, etc.) so that we can continue building a comprehensive list of issues to be addressed.

You can email this information directly to handrews@medicine.tamhsc.edu. If you prefer to speak with the Vice Chair directly regarding a specific issue, please call her office at 979-436-0340.

One issue that has been resolved recently had to do with PIs begin told they would have to upload all documents for large multi-PI grant proposals. We brought this issue to the attention of Mr. Leo Paterra.  He has assured us that it is the policy of SRS to upload proposal documents for large multi-PI grants.

Upcoming CPI meetings

One of the goals of the CPI is to support beneficial communication between PIs and university administrators. In the past, the CPI has invited research leaders at Texas A&M University to provide updates on research activities and new initiatives. Recently, I extended invitations to research leaders at AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and TEES asking each of them to discuss their unit’s research strategic plans, activities and new initiatives at an upcoming CPI meeting.

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Brett Giroir, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center will be our featured guest at our March 4th CPI meeting. We have other research leaders scheduled for subsequent CPI meetings.  Our spring schedule can be found at cpi.tamu.edu/meetings/2014-15.

As a reminder, meetings are webcast live at ttvn.tamu.edu/webcasts on Channel 20, and videos are stored on the “Archives” section of the CPI website

CPI EC meetings with administrators
The CPI Executive Committee met for its monthly coordination meeting on February 4th with invited research administrators from Texas A&M, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, TTI, HSC and TEES.

The Chair provided an update to the EC and guests on those individuals who agreed to serve as members of the RDF-AC, with the first meeting being held on Friday, February 13th. Attendees also discussed the Strategic Planning Open Forums (see next newsletter item for more details), the agenda for the February 11th full CPI meeting, and other business.

On February 5th, the CPI EC met with Chancellor Sharp; Mr. Billy Hamilton, Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Jon Mogford, Vice Chancellor for Research; and Mr. Tommy Williams, Vice Chancellor for Federal and State Relations.

The Chancellor provided an update on the expansion of the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI) program; the EC provided an overview of the RDF and requested matching funds from the CRI to be considered for inclusion in the Research Development Fund.

The EC discussed various items relating to SRS, specifically a recent issue where multiple PIs had been told SRS would not upload proposal documents for multi-PI proposals. The CPI Chair had met with the SRS leadership and they confirmed that SRS will upload proposal materials for multi-investigator proposals and would ensure this was communicated to SRS pre-award administrators.

Mr. Hamilton and Dr. Mogford noted that over 150 letters of intent were received in response to the Area 41 Challenge Grant Expression of Interest. The letters of intent will be reviewed and those selected will be contacted to submit full proposals. Mr. Williams provided an updated on the new legislative session. 

Strategic Planning Open Forums
On January 30, Interim President Mark Hussey announced a series of Strategic Planning Open Forums.  The first open forum, focusing on university academic goals and measures of success, will take place Tuesday, February 10, at 11:30 a.m. in Rudder 601.  Beverages and cookies will be provided.  Please feel free to bring your own brown-bag lunch.


As a starting point for discussion, a draft working document has been posted on the strategic planning website [stratplan.tamu.edu] together with other relevant documents and information.

All the strategic planning open forums will be live-streamed.  To watch the forum from a remote location, go to http://ttvn.tamus.edu/Index.php?p=Streams and click on “Channel 6 - Scheduled Live Webcasts.”  Select “Strategic Planning Open Forum, Feb 10, 11:30AM-1:30PM.” You may actively participate in the forum by submitting comments or questions to vision2020@tamu.edu.

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President warmly encourages individuals to participate fully in this planning process that will plot the direction Texas A&M University will take over the next five years.

Sigma Xi issues call for nominations due February 13th
The Texas A&M University Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, has issued a call for nominations for the 2015 Outstanding Distinguished Scientist and the 2015 Outstanding Science Communicator Awards. Nominations are due Feb. 13, 2015. Nominations should include a nomination letter, curriculum vitae, and letters of support.

Recipients will receive a plaque and a $750 cash prize at the Sigma Xi Induction and Awards Banquet in April 2015. The recipient of the Outstanding Distinguished Scientist Award will present the 2015 Distinguished Scientist Lecture, hosted by Sigma Xi.

For a nominee to be competitive, they should have credentials equivalent to those of previous recipients.  See sigmaxi.tamu.edu/awards for information on the awards and previous winners. Nominations may be submitted via email, campus mail, or U.S. mail to:

Sigma Xi Coordinator
Division of Research
1260 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-1260
Email: sigmaxi@tamu.edu


Please note that membership in Sigma Xi is not required for nominators or nominees. Sigma Xi is an international, chapter-based organization dedicated to nurturing the research enterprise in all fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For more information about Sigma Xi, visit sigmaxi.tamu.edu/.

Division of Research offers “Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals” workshop – February 25th
The Division of Research at Texas A&M University is pleased to announce the seminar, Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals, on Wednesday, February 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Rudder Tower, Room 601, on the College Station campus. The seminar will also be broadcast via TTVN for those not in College Station. This is the third time the Division of Research has offered this seminar at Texas A&M, and past attendee evaluations have been very positive.

All attendees will receive a copy of The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook, January 2015 edition. The seminar is free of charge, but registration is required. The registration deadline is 5:00 p.m., February 18. Important Note: Only those who register may attend the seminar since handouts are copyrighted and purchased in limited quantities.

Post-doctoral researchers may attend if space allows and should therefore register for the seminar if they wish to attend. Their names will be placed on an attendee wait list and will be notified about attendance as soon as registration closes.

For additional information and registration, see vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/PRDP/NIH-dev#Seminar.

New Concur User Interface, ExpenseIt and Tripit reminder
A new feature is being introduced to Concur users called Open Booking. It will allow Financial Management Operations to capture the data they need to increase savings with travel vendors while providing travelers the convenience of having their travel itineraries in one place, regardless of how or where they make reservations. 

To make this possible, Concur is also providing a complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro.  It’s like having a personal travel assistant while traveling.

Follow the steps below to connect Concur and TripIt accounts, and to start the TripIt Pro membership. Once up and running, continue to book travel through Concur, and plans will automatically show up as an itinerary in TripIt. Plus, other activities and reservations booked outside of Concur can be forwarded to plans@concur.com and they’ll be instantly added to the itinerary.

Open booking also makes submitting expenses simple as Open Booked itineraries will be available to generate an expense report in Concur, along with providing eReceipts from those vendors who provide eReceipts to Concur.

TripIt Pro gives users all the benefits of the free TripIt service – all travel plans in one place and access on smartphones, calendars or anywhere online – along with premium features, including:

  1. Flight Alerts – text/e-mail alerts for delays or cancellations and helpful reminders
  2. Airfare Refunds – alerts you if you’re eligible for a refund or credit on U.S. flights
  3. Alternate Flight Search – instant access to view alternate schedules and open seats
  4. Point Tracker – access all your frequent traveler points in one place
  5. VIP Perks – complimentary one-year memberships to Hertz # 1 Club Gold and Regus Business World Gold

Getting Started

  1. Login to Concur, look for TripIt on the home screen. Click the button for TripIt sign-in (for existing TripIt users) or sign-up (for users new to TripIt) to link the Concur and TripIt accounts. After completing the process, the TripIt Pro subscription will start within 24 hours. Upon activation, an e-mail confirmation from TripIt Support will be sent.
  2. To stay connected on-the-go, download TripIt for iPhone®, iPad®, Android®, BlackBerry® or Windows® Phone
  3. Start exploring the benefits of TripIt Pro by visiting tripit.com/pro and add loyalty point programs to the Point Tracker tab. TripIt Pro will start monitoring point balance and recent activity. 

Ms. Debbie Phair, d-phair@tamu.edu


Bulletin for Principal Investigators – Issued weekly by the Division of Research, Texas A&M University
The Division of Research at Texas A&M University issues a brief weekly bulletin for Principal Investigators that highlights research accomplishments and projects, funding opportunities, honors and promotions, workshops, and other items that may be of interest to the PI community.

Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to the bulletin. Click here to submit items for consideration for an upcoming bulletin.


Upcoming Seminars and Workshops for Texas A&M Researchers
The Division of Research (DOR) offers seminars and workshops throughout the year relating to professional development in research proposal planning and writing. All of these events are coordinated by Research Development Services (RDS), a DOR unit providing a wide range of support to Texas A&M researchers. The RDS calendar can be found at vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/PRDP/calendar.

If you would like to receive announcements and up-to-date information about new workshops and services through RDS, send an email to listserv@listserv.tamu.edu and in the BODY put:

SUBSCRIBE rds-info firstname lastname.


Dr. Jorja Kimball – jkimball@tamu.edu, 979.458.5794