May CPI News and Updates

Included in this issue: 

 

  • Update from CPI Chair
  • Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration
  • Updates from Sponsored Research Services (SRS)
  • Enhancing Academics at Texas A&M
  • NIH Grant Submissions Policy Update
  • Point of Contact for SSC/Compass contracts
  • 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.

Update from CPI Chair
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The 2014-15 CPI elections for general membership and for the position of 2014 Vice Chair have been completed. Full election results can be found at goo.gl/xhDMdm.

As reported through a May 6th email memorandum to the 2014-15 elected CPI membership (see full roster here, effective September 1st), as current CPI Chair it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis (Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, College of Medicine and jointly appointed to the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences) on her election as the 2014-15 CPI Vice Chair, with the term beginning on September 1st.

I want to also thank all of the CPI members who were willing to run as nominees for the Vice Chair election and to our membership for participating in the election.

Summary of CPI EC meetings with administration
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The CPI Executive Committee (EC) met with the Interim President and Provost on April 16th and discussed potential next steps regarding changes to the distribution of F&A costs; updates on TAMU administrative changes; and an update from the CPI Chair and Vice Chair on meetings relating to SRS.

The CPI EC held its monthly coordination meeting with invited research administration representatives from AgriLife, HSC, Texas A&M, TEES and TTI on May 7th.  Dr. Glen Laine, Vice President for Research, discussed the implementation of Research Development Fund expenditures. Mr. Mark Stone, Chief Information Officer for The Texas A&M University System, provided an overview and discussion of the Deloitte Consulting, LLP information technology (IT) report. Other agenda items included potential agenda items for future CPI meetings; a follow up discussion from the previous EC meeting with members of the Board of Regents; and preparations for the 2014-15 principal investigator survey.

Updates from Sponsored Research Services (SRS)
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The new Project Module within Maestro brings significant upgrades and enhancements for post award processes.  Read more about the immediate impact on our research community at https://srs.tamus.edu/?s=SRS+updates#improvements.

SRS has assembled a contract negotiation team specifically to work with industry-sponsored projects.  Read more about this initiative at https://srs.tamus.edu/?s=SRS+updates#industry.

Adjustments have been made in the proposal submission process to reduce the administrative burden on PIs. Read more about the changes at https://srs.tamus.edu/?s=SRS+updates#proposal.

Contact:

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

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

Enhancing Academics at Texas A&M
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The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) is unique.  Its purpose is to bring world renowned scholars to Texas A&M for extended periods of up to twelve months in order to collaborate with our faculty and students.  In this way, the Institute “cuts across” all ten colleges, with their 72 departments, and the Health Science Center and significantly elevates scholarship and the academic development of our faculty and students.

TIAS complements the Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI).  TIAS attracts superstar scholars for interim appointments, while the CRI is designed to recruit and fund new superstars who will be permanent members of our faculty.

While not designed as a recruiting tool for permanent faculty, there is evidence that TIAS is also serving that purpose.   The TAMU TIMES of May 9, 2014 has announced the appointments of four new permanent hires in engineering, all members of the prestigious national or international academies.   Two of these scholars were initially brought to campus as a TIAS Faculty Fellow, and a third was recommend by a TIAS Faculty Fellow.

A TIAS Faculty Fellow from the first class, Dr. Alan Needleman, one of the most cited scholars in materials science and engineering, will join our permanent faculty in 2015.   Dr. Christodoulos A. Floudas, a TIAS Faculty Fellow from the (current) second class, will be joining our permanent faculty in chemical engineering in February 2015, as well as taking over as Director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute.  Another addition to the chemical engineering faculty, is Dr. E. N. Pistikopoulos, joining us from the Imperial College in London.   His appointment was recommended by Dr. Floudas and made possible by the CRI; he will work with Dr. Floudas on multi-scale systems engineering for energy and the environment.

It is difficult to overestimate how quickly TIAS is helping to elevate academics at Texas A&M.   Consider these quotes from the TAMU Times article:

“These are superstars in the academic community in engineering research, respected by their peers as members of the prestigious national academies, and the caliber of scholar that every university aggressively courts,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “The CRI seeks to find outstanding researchers who can not only produce amazing work, but also bring in some much needed funding to support that work.”

“The impact that these scholars will have on our program is far-reaching,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. “Each brings expertise in key research areas, which will attract other influential scholars and high quality students to our program. TIAS and the CRI represent exciting investments in our future that will pay enormous dividends in ways we cannot even calculate at this point,” said Banks (emphasis added)

“Their presence in the department will elevate its stature in the academic community, making the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering one of the best departments in the country, and perhaps in the world. Their presence will also attract the very best students to the campus and the intellectual conversation will be elevated to levels not seen before,” said Karim (emphasis added)

Despite these accolades, the TAMU Times article underestimates the role of Chancellor Sharp in making these appointments possible.  Chancellor Sharp provided half the funds for TIAS to operate during its first five years while it seeks a permanent endowment.  Half of these appointments were scholars who came to Texas A&M University initially as TIAS Faculty Fellows.  Chancellor Sharp’s  CRI fund help provide the resources to induce these Faculty Fellows to our permanent faculty.  Our already great engineering college provides the people and environment that helped attract these new scholars, and that college took the initiative to nominate and help recruit these scholars to be TIAS Faculty Fellows.  The Chancellor’s support and the TIAS initiative is helping elevate an already prestigious college of engineering to world class leadership status.   It is anticipated that similar stellar hires will soon result in other colleges.

The periods of visits of TIAS Faculty Fellows vary from scholar to scholar.  Some come for 3 month periods each year for four years, providing plenty of opportunity for our faculty and graduate students to benefit from their research ideas, and vice versa.  Furthermore, these extended affiliations permit time for the scholars to collaborate on dissertations, grants, journal articles, books and similar desirable outcomes.  Most of the TIAS Faculty Fellows spend their time on campus in one extended visit, but continue collaborative research initiated here.

TIAS, in coordination and collaboration with the A&M Foundation, is seeking an endowment to ensure that TIAS’s important role as a purely merit based program of the highest caliber will continue to elevate Texas A&M’s academic environment forever.   The University will benefit from perpetual renewal of academic excellence that is a consequence of attracting stellar scholars every year. The goal is to bring to Texas A&M 20 scholars per year.    In the first two years TIAS has brought in two Nobel Prize winners, a Wolf Prize winner, a recipient of the Hubbell Medal in Literature, and a recipient of the National Medal of Science.  All others are members of multiple national or international academies or winners of prestigious research competitions.

The goal of TIAS is to help elevate the status of Texas A&M University to greater world academic leadership. In only its first two years TIAS has demonstrated that the underlying approach is valid, and is already working extremely well.  Continued successful operation of TIAS distinguishes Texas A&M in a uniquely positive way from all other public universities and will have enormous positive impact on the academic excellence and reputation of Texas A&M.  TIAS is a key element of the Academic Master Plan intended to set Texas A&M on a course to realize most of the goals set out in Vision 2020.

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

NIH Grant Submissions Policy Update
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On April 17, 2014, NIH announced a change in policy on application submissions (see goo.gl/IxfCle):

“Effective immediately, for application due dates after April 16, 2014, following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate due date. The NIH will not assess the similarity of the science in the new (A0) application to any previously renewed submission when accepting an application for review. Although a new (A0) application does not allow an introduction or responses to the previous reviews, the NIH encourages applicants to refine and strengthen all application submissions.”

Contact:

Research Development Services (RDS), Division of Research (rds-dor@tamu.edu or 845-1811)

Point of Contact for SSC/Compass Contracts
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The point of contact for any questions or concerns relating to services (landscape, custodial, dining and facilities) provided through the SSC/Compass outsourcing contracts is Mr. Ralph Davila at r-davila@tamu.edu or 979-458-5500.

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