June CPI News and Updates

Included in this issue: 

August 13, 2014 CPI meeting with Congressman Bill Flores

Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration  

Updates from Sponsored Research Services (SRS)

Federal Demonstration Partnership report

Texas A&M Government Relations Update

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

2015 Schedule for Grant Writing Seminars and Workshops (GWSW)

Pending reports from CPI members serving on external committees

Limited Submission Proposal Opportunities

Principal Investigators are encouraged to contact their elected college/unit representatives to bring forward any issues for the Council to address during the monthly meetings. PIs can also contact me directly at slowey@ocaean.tamu.edu or 845-8478.

August 13, 2014 CPI meeting with Congressman Bill Flores

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The next regularly scheduled CPI meeting will be held on August 13, 2014 from 11:30-1:15 p.m. in Rudder 601 with special guest presenter, Congressman Bill Flores.

Over the last several years, the CPI Executive Committee has met regularly with the Congressman, discussing a wide range of issues that affect the Texas A&M research community and adamantly advocating for the growth of research funding at federal agencies; a reduction in the continually increasing amount of the administrative burdens placed upon researchers; and a halt to the implementation of federal guidelines and regulations at the System and agency levels that far exceed what is required by the federal government.

In all of the meetings with the Executive Committee, the Congressman has shown an openness to discuss and listen to a wide variety of issues and concerns facing researchers at Texas A&M. In preparation of the August 13th meeting, we would like to invite the PI community to submit any items of concern or questions for the Congressman. We will collate all of the questions/concerns in a categorized and anonymous method and submit them to the Congressman’s office in advance of the August 13th meeting. We will also post copies of the collated feedback on our website and in hard copy the day of the meeting for our CPI members and Guest members.

This is an opportunity to educate and inform the Congressman about how these types of decisions negatively impact researchers in his district and the overall research enterprise throughout the United States and at Texas A&M.

Please submit any questions or concerns to cpi@tamu.edu. We will continue to receive feedback through July 11th.

Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration

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The CPI EC held its monthly coordination meeting with invited research administration representatives from AgriLife, HSC, Texas A&M, TEES and TTI on June 4th.  Attendees discussed follow up action items from the EC meeting with the Board of Regents in March, specifically the drafting of prioritized items of importance to submit to their attention relative to the role of research at Texas A&M and its success. Attendees also discussed suggested items for the June CPI newsletter and agreed the June and July full CPI meetings should be canceled.

The CPI EC may choose to convene in July to discuss additional matters if appropriate and prepare for Congressman Flores’ attendance and discussion with CPI members at the August 13th Council meeting.

Updates from Sponsored Research Services (SRS)

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Maestro Hardware Upgrades planned for June 14-15 https://srs.tamus.edu/updates/#upgrade

Read about our new initiative to help improve customer service at https://srs.tamus.edu/updates/#surveys

 

Contact:

Dr. Jim Joyce, Customer Service Liaison – jrjoyce@tamus.edu, 979-458-5852

Ms. Stacey Rugh, Communications Manager – srugh@tamus.edu, 979-458-8760

Federal Demonstration Partnership report

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Terry Thomas and Wolfgang Bangerth attended the thrice-annual Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) meeting. The FDP is an organization in which grant administrators from universities, from the granting agencies, and a few faculty get together to talk about the technical details of how grants work between universities and agencies.

Two major new components to the grant process are on the horizon. Office of Management and Budget has issued "Uniform Guidance" -- a large legal framework that will supersede the individual rules funding agencies have so far used to govern how grants are made, administered and reported. While there are many ways in which Uniform Guidance will change the grant administration process, for faculty the differences will likely only be in corner cases. Likely the most relevant is that for all purchases of $3000 and over, we will need to have multiple offers or at least document competitive prices. This will also restrict the use of purchase cards on items beyond $3k. All agencies must have implementation strategies for the Uniform Guidance rules in place by the end of the year.

The second new initiative is the DATA Act that will greatly expand what universities must report on their grants. This includes every expense charged to a grant, coded to a number of categories, and this data will then be available at usaspending.gov. For example, data such as at http://tinyurl.com/nzxoe5u will contain far more detail. It has been estimated that implementing the DATA Act will cost ~$8000 per grant. In the long run, this cost will either have to affect the direct cost amount grantees receive, or reduce proposal acceptance rates in the long run.

Finally, the FDP has compiled a survey of faculty workloads that describes in great detail what faculty spend their time on. The report can be found from the "Announcements" column on the right of http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/fdp/index.htm

Contact:

Dr. Wolfgang Bangerth – Bangerth@tamu.edu, 979.845.6393

Dr. Terry Thomas – tlthomas@tamu.edu, 979.845.0184

Texas A&M Government Relations Update

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An update from the Texas A&M University, Office of Government Relations can be found at http://cpi.tamu.edu/resources/gr_update_5.2014.pdf/.

For any questions regarding this update, contact Mr. Michael O’Quinn, Vice President for Government Relations at Texas A&M University, at irishmike@tamu.edu or 979.845.2217.

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

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Development of students is an important aspect of the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS). In a few months, the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) will be moving to its permanent offices in the newly refurbished Williams building.  Its location in the historic and beautiful Williams building at the main entrance to the campus off of Texas Ave. announces the long run importance of TIAS to the university’s future and to the future of its students.

TIAS brings world renowned scholars to collaborate on frontier research with faculty and students at A&M.   Mentorship and development of students is an important aspect of TIAS.  As resources permit, TIAS Faculty Fellows are typically assigned two graduate students with whom to work on research projects.   With a successful endeavor, students can expect to enjoy a publication in a top journal, as would be expected when working with a world class scholar.  Such publications are already flowing from the first two classes.  An example is the publication for A&M student T.A. Elgohary, a recipient of a TIAS graduate fellowship working with TIAS Faculty Fellow S.N. Atluri. http://tias.tamu.edu/facultyfellows/2013-2014/satya-atluri

T.A. Elgohary, L. Dong, J.L. Junkins, S.N. Atluri, “Solution of Post-Buckling & Limit Load Problems, Without Inverting the Tangent Stiffness Matrix & Without Using Arc-Length Methods”, Computer Modeling in Engineering and Sciences, Vol. 98, pp. 543-563, 2014

To be chosen for a TIAS Graduate Fellowship is an honor. Once an approved Faculty nominee has been successfully recruited to visit the institute, the relevant college nominates two or more graduate students to be reviewed for a fellowship by the TIAS Director, Dr. John L. Junkins. These fellowships can be awarded in addition to money being received by the student through other channels.  In the 2013-2014 academic year, these fellowships have paid $30,000 over a one year time period. There are no requirements accompanying the Fellowship other than to work with the TIAS Faculty Fellow and his or her departmental hosts.

When a scholar has agreed to visit A&M as a TIAS Faculty Fellow often there have been prior discussions with A&M faculty in the nominating department about research to be pursued.  The Faculty Fellow brings on-going research or ideas for investigation.   It is not uncommon for students at Texas A&M to receive their Fellowship prior to the arrival of the TIAS Faculty Fellow on campus, beginning the collaboration through the visiting scholar’s faculty host.

The opportunity to work with a world renowned researcher is a life changing event.  We have such researchers on our permanent faculty, which induce many accomplished students to choose A&M over other schools.  TIAS is further enriching the lives of A&M students with the attraction of these world renowned visiting scholars. In addition to research, while TIAS Faculty Fellows do not have regular teaching assignments, when they are on campus they commonly give seminars to graduate and undergraduate students, and some contribute lectures open to the general public. http://tias.tamu.edu/lectures.

Students in the finest universities in the world have access to the finest minds in the world.  TIAS is ensuring that A&M is among the world class universities and will remain there.

Contact:

Dr. John L. Junkins, Director, TIAS – junkins@tamu.edu, 979.845.3912

Dr. Clifford Fry, Associate Director, TIAS - cfry@tamu.edu or 979.458.5723

2015 Schedule for Grant Writing Seminars and Workshops (GWSW)

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For a second year, the Division of Research at Texas A&M University will offer Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals, a two-phase professional research development opportunity for tenured and tenure-track faculty. Coordinated through the Division’s Research Development Services, this program features consultant John D. Robertson of Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, LLC (GWSW), and was very well received by Texas A&M participants this past year. Faculty interested in writing or resubmitting proposals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are invited to attend. Dates for program will be announced later this summer. For additional information, contact Dr. Jim Izat (jizat@tamu.edu) or Dr. John Ivy (johnivy@tamu.edu) in Research Development Services (RDS).

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

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Please note, pending reports may be due to committees not having met since the last newsletter update.

  • Council for the Built Environment (Paul Hardin)
  • Council for the Strategic Budgeting and Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council (Mary Bryk)
  • Email Selection Advisory Committee (Terry Thomas)
  • EPIK-Maestro Working Group (Beverly Kuhn, Terry Thomas, Victor Ugaz)
  • Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force (Jean Luc-Guermond, Sandy Tucker)
  • Intellectual Property Constituent Committee (Wolfgang Bangerth)
  • Laboratory Safety Advisory Committee (Susanne Talcott)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Administrative Review Advisory Committee (Lawrence Rauchwerger, Eva Shipp, Heather Wilkinson)
  • SRS PI/Faculty Advisory Committee (Terry Thomas, Lawrence Rauchwerger, Niall Slowey)
  • Texas A&M University Research Administration Committee (Terry Thomas)
  • Texas A&M University Multidisciplinary Accounting Committee (Steve DiMarco)
  • Transportation Services Advisory Committee (Sandy Tucker)
  • University Research Council (Clint Allred)

See the full list of CPI members serving on external committees and committee descriptions at goo.gl/rP41nF.

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 Research Development Services in the Division of Research at vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/funding/lsp/lsp/#limited-submission-proposal-opportunities.