March 2015 CPI News and Updates

Included in this issue:   

  • Update from Dr. Mary Bryk, CPI Chair
  • Upcoming CPI Executive Committee meetings
  • Strategic Planning Open Forums
  • Update from the Council for the Built Environment (CBE)
  • Promoting Research Excellence – Spring Symposium Sponsored by the Division of Research
  • Dr. Sally Rockey, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH presented “Rock Talk: The NIH Extramural Nexus” at Texas A&M on February 24, 2015
  • 2nd Texas A&M ENG-LIFE Workshop – April 24, 2015, Receiving Abstracts Now
  • SAVE THE DATE: SORC – NIH Training IBC 101 – April 24, 2015
  • Texas A&M University 2015 Immigration Symposium
  • Alternative Performance Evaluation Form for Research Staff
  • Sign up for notifications about Limited Submission Proposal (LSP) opportunities
  • Governor Abbott lists research funding among emergency items
  • 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
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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.

Research Development Fund  

During recent meetings with System administrators in December 2014 and February 2015, the CPI Executive Committee discussed the possibility of the System contributing funds to the Research Development Fund (RDF) for the good of the Brazos county-based Texas A&M research enterprise. Chancellor John Sharp has decided to commit funds to the RDF from the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI).  This represents a new use of the CRI funds to support the creation and enhancement of core facilities for the Brazos county-based Texas A&M research enterprise to attract new researchers and to benefit our great existing faculty.

Research Development Fund Advisory Committee

The members of the Research Development Fund Advisory Committee (RDF-AC) who were appointed by the CPI, held their first meeting on February 13th (see membership here). Dr. Penny Riggs was selected as Chair of the committee and sent an update on February 16th to the PI community on the committee’s current activities (see here).

As noted in the update from February 16th update, the committee initiated the development of a request for applications (RFA) and guidelines for submission of RDF proposals. Once the RDF application information, procedures, and other materials are available, they will be posted on an RDF dedicated website. The URL for the website will be broadly distributed when these items are finalized. The first RDF announcement of the RFA should be expected in April.

Upcoming CPI meetings and new calendar

As reported in previous newsletters, one of the goals of the CPI is to support beneficial communication between PIs and administrators. Over the next three months, the CPI has scheduled administrators from HSC, AgriLife Research and TEES to come and discuss current research activities and new research initiatives at each of these units. To see the full CPI schedule for the next three months, go to cpi.tamu.edu/meetings/2014-15.

I am pleased to announce that a new CPI calendar has also been created that includes CPI monthly meetings and other events that may be of interest to the PI community and allows users to see events in a day, week or monthly view. See the new calendar at cpi.tamu.edu/meetings/calendar. Email suggestions to improve the calendar to cpi@tamu.edu

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

Upcoming CPI Executive Committee meetings  
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The next CPI Executive Committee coordination meeting with research administration representatives from AgriLife, HSC, Texas A&M, TEES and TTI will be on April 1, 2015. The next CPI EC meeting with Chancellor Sharp is scheduled for April 2, 2015.  Summaries of these meetings will be provided for the April newsletter.

Strategic Planning Open Forums
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On January 30, Interim President Mark Hussey announced a series of Strategic Planning Open Forums.  Two of the four forums have been held to date. The next open forum, dialog on strategies for excellence at Texas A&M, will take place Friday, March 13th, 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 and materials from the first forum have been posted on the strategic planning website [stratplan.tamu.edu] together with other relevant documents and information. The materials from the 2nd forum on February 26th are expected to be posted soon and the video is available here.

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.

Update from the Council for the Built Environment (CBE)
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CBE has created a task force for planning for major renovations and new buildings. TAMU is required to have a capital plan (http://budget.tamu.edu/capital-planning-debt-service/) which prioritizes projects to be realized; relative to when funding becomes available. Because of cost/structure changes and emerging funding opportunities, relatively frequent updates are necessary. The task force will look at revising the prioritization process and make it more strategic, so that revisions of the plan during any given year can be kept to a minimum. For details, please see the CBE minutes from the January 2015 meeting (http://cbe.tamu.edu/2015M.aspx).

Contact:

Dr. Emil Straube (voting member – 2015) – Straube@math.tamu.edu, 979.845.3721
Dr. Penny Riggs (non-voting member – 2015; voting member – 2016) - riggs@tamu.edu, 979.862.7015

Promoting Research Excellence – Spring Symposium Sponsored by the Division of Research (and win one of six Kindle Fires)
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All Texas A&M researchers and graduate students are invited to attend the Division of Research Spring Symposium on March 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Memorial Student Center. This year’s theme is “Promoting Excellence in Research,” with sessions and workshops that will deliver useful, practical information you can put to work immediately to enhance your research.

The keynote lunch address, “Why We Can’t Stay Out of the Water,” will deal with mitigating risk in scientific research. Executive Director Jim Welch from the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation will illustrate key concepts using stories from the movies.

In addition other sessions are offered:

Best Practices for Protecting Yourself and Your Research in a Connected World” with Special Agent Ronald Wooten of the Defense Security Service in San Antonio. (There will be two sessions. The morning session is restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and requires an RSVP by sending an email to outreachrcb@tamu.edu or by calling 979.458.1467. The afternoon session is open to all.)

Time for a Change? A Scientist's View of Public Interests in Animal Research and Welfare” with Dr. Allyson Bennett, an assistant professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The symposium also will feature two workshops about human subjects research. The morning workshop will focus on international research. The afternoon workshop will emphasize Internet-based research.

All who attend the symposium are eligible to win one of six Kindle Fires. For more information on the sessions and speakers, including a time schedule, please visit the event page at rcb.tamu.edu/spring.

The event flyer can be found at rcb.tamu.edu/iris/RDSSpringEventFinal.jpg. Email outreachrcb@tamu.edu to RSVP. 

Dr. Sally Rockey, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH, presented “Rock Talk: The NIH Extramural Nexus” at Texas A&M University on February 24, 2015
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Interim President Mark Hussey invited the campus community to attend a February 24th presentation, “Rock Talk: The NIH Extramural Nexus” by Dr. Sally Rockey, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health.

In her talk, Dr. Rockey discussed the latest NIH funding trends, including the impact of NIH funded research and discoveries on the health of the US population. She noted an effort of the organization to distribute future extramural funding more broadly to a greater number of researchers and institutions and that Texas A&M is in a good position to take advantage of this new approach.

NIH is making progress with lawmakers to implement a recurring annual increase for allocations to the organization so external funding can be more predictable from year to year. Several other topics were discussed and can be found on Dr. Rockey’s blog “Rock Talk” at nexus.od.nih.gov/all/category/blog/ and in the February 24th presentation slides at cpi.tamu.edu/resources/rock_talk_slides_2.15/

2nd Texas A&M ENG-LIFE Workshop – April 24, 2015, Receiving Abstracts Now
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The Texas A&M research community is invited to the 2nd Texas A&M ENG-LIFE workshop on April 24th (Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center campus on Highway 47. Following the successful workshop in the fall of 2013 where more than 120 participants attended, the organizing committee (see below) hopes this event will bring together researchers from diverse disciplines, promoting multidisciplinary interaction and scientific communication in the field of engineering and life sciences. The workshop flyer can be found at cpi.tamu.edu/resources/eng_life_workshop/.

Abstracts for poster presentations are now being accepted and are due March 29th. This will be a great opportunity to showcase individual research and provide a mechanism for students and researchers in different fields to engage each another. Although there is no registration fee, registration is still required. The featured speaker will be announced soon. More information can be found at http://biomems.tamu.edu/eng-life/.   

ENG-LIFE 2015 Organizing Committee:

Dr. Arum Han – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Paul Hardin – Biology
Dr. Arul Jayaraman – Chemical Engineering
Dr. Allison C. Rice-Fitch – Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC)
Dr. Jane Welsh – Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (TAMIN)

SAVE THE DATE: SORC – NIH Training IBC 101 – April 24, 2015
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The NIH will provide a training opportunity, “IBC 101” in College Station on April 24, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. The training is open to anyone and will cover most of the information found in the NIH Guidelines. More details regarding the training will follow in the next newsletter. 

Texas A&M University 2015 Immigration Symposium
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On April 6, 2015 the International Faculty and Scholar Services will be hosting the Texas A&M University 2015 Immigration Symposium. There are two sessions in this year’s symposium that are of specific interest to principal investigators:

Exchange Visitors Program for Scholars and Student InternsThis session will provide principal investigators with a unique insight to the benefits of sponsoring J-1 exchange visitors under the Department of State Exchange Visitors Program (short/long term scholars and student interns) as well as the requirements that principal investigators and the exchange visitors need to satisfy in order to successfully host exchange visitors at Texas A&M University.   

All You Need To Know About Export Controls Knowing about Export Controls is a must for every principal investigator. This session will provide principal investigators with an overview of Export Controls, highlight issues that could be of concern, and provide principal investigators with guidance and available resources.   

Faculty and principal investigators can attend in person or virtually via Zoom. A flyer with a description of these two sessions is available at http://cpi.tamu.edu/resources/immigration-symposium/.

Registration is available at http://ifss.tamu.edu/2015/symposium/PI. All principal investigators are encouraged to attend these two important sessions.

Contact:

Mr. Mario Rojo del Busto – mrbusto@tamu.edu, 862.1719

Alternative Performance Evaluation Form for Research Staff
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An Alternative Performance Evaluation Form for research staff is now available on the Division of Research Research Titles and Staffing webpage.  If approved by your department head and dean, this form may be used in accordance with Standard Administrative Procedure 33.99.03.M0.01 to meet the requirements for position description review and acknowledgement, for creating a performance plan, and to assess employee performance. Certain information from the form must be uploaded into the PATH system by the supervisor or other user.  

Please note, University SAP 33.99.03.M0.01 requires that the performance plan be documented in the PATH system; this may be done by entering a note that a performance plan is on file rather than entering goals into the system. The SAP also requires that the evaluation be uploaded and that the overall rating be entered into PATH. A supervisor or designated other user must enter the required information into PATH; the employee must acknowledge these items in PATH, and the supervisor or other user must close the evaluation in PATH.

Contact:

Ms. Martha Tackett – tackett@tamu.edu, 845.1882

Sign up for notifications about Limited Submission Proposal opportunities
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The list of current Limited Submission Proposal (LSP) opportunities, maintained by the Division of Research, is available at https://u.tamu.edu/LSP.

To receive notifications about new LSP opportunities as soon as they are announced, email Ms. Shelly Martin at shelly.martin@tamu.edu  

Governor Abbott lists research funding among emergency items
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In his State of the State address, Governor Abbott identified higher education research funding as his second emergency item. See more at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/17/abbott-lists-5-emergency-items-session/.

Bulletin for Principal Investigators – Issued weekly by the Division of Research, Texas A&M University
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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
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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 new RDS calendar can be found at vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/calendars/events/.