The meeting was called to order by Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis, 2015-2016 CPI Chair. The agenda for the November meeting can be located at http://cpi.tamu.edu/archives/CPI_11.11.15_Agenda.pdf;

Update on the transition occurring at Sponsored Research Services by Dr. B. Don Russell, Distinguished Professor and SRS Transformational Facilitator discussed transitions are taking place every day to improve SRS and its communication with its employees, faculty and staff.  The memorandum regarding the transition can be found at:


Dr. B. Don Russell discussed that he is personally looking into all issues, problems that come about effective September 1, 2015. If you have issues, complaints or problems emails can be sent to

SRS-TransitionHotline@tamu.edu to direct these concerns or issues. It was noted that increased investment in funding and hiring will help improve the efficiency of the restructured SRS. Please note, this month there were some technical difficulties with the live video and the first part of the CPI meeting with Dr. B. Don Russell speaking was not captured. The video comes in at the very end of his talk showing the one and only slide Dr. Russell displayed to the audience (see November 11, 2015 video link below).


Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis moderated a panel discussion with the following individuals representing TAMU, HSC, COE, CVM, COS, and AgriLife: Dr. Glen Laine - Vice President for Research; Dr. Costas Georghiades - Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering and Associate Agency Director, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station; Dr. Bob Burghardt - Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Students, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Allison Rice-Ficht - Associate Vice President for Texas A&M Health Science Research; Dr. Mike Hall - Executive Associate Dean, College of Science; Dr. David Lunt - Associate Agency Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research. 

  1. What approaches/strategies is your college/unit taking to foster interdisciplinary research and education (graduate level), particularly across colleges? How could support for multi-disciplinary research be improved, or how could this type of work be incentivized?

Some examples presented were senior faculty recruitment with inter-disciplinary background and extensive engagement in leadership, core facilitates within a college open to anyone on a first-come-first serve basis, mathematic/statistician consulting with faculty across disciplines, seed grants requiring multi-discipline collaboration, and programs like the strategic plan of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and new department of materials which is multidisciplinary in nature.


  1. How does your unit manage opportunities for strategic funding that fall into the areas of bridge funding or pilot funding? What is the mechanism, strategy and funds available for distribution on bridge or similar funding in your units?

If a proposal was rated high priority for funding by the funding agency but not funded because of certain lacking information then the VPR’s office will consider working with respective colleges to provide bridge funding to the faculty to help collect the necessary information and keep their lab up and running.  In most colleges, these types of proposals are handled on a case-by-case basis. 

  1. Adequate graduate student support and excellent graduate training are of high concern to PIs in all colleges surveyed. What are the strategies used in your unit to support and improve graduate education and research? How do your plans involve interdisciplinary strategies?

Graduate students are primarily funded by faculty grants and contracts.  We are a public institution and not private, so post-docs and students are funded by faculty.   What defines excellence in graduate students is not the volume of students, but quality of students. 

  1. What is the plan to reinforce research infrastructure (i.e. how will aging equipment and facilities be supported)? And… By what mechanisms can you improve access to shared resources, instrumentation and laboratory services (animal facilities, core facilities)?

RDF (Research Development Funds) given 3 times a year ($8M) to support some of the upgrades to infrastructure.  Invest in core facilities/upgrade equipment and service so faculties do not have to out-source to other universities because they get a cheaper rate.

For the list of questions that were submitted in from CPI members and provided to the panelist can be found on the CPI website at http://cpi.tamu.edu/archives/Nov2015CPIPanelDiscussionQuestionsfor.pdf