February 2013 Newsletter

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CPI Newsletter February 2013

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Included in this issue: 

 

Preview of March 6, 2013 general CPI meeting
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At the March 6, 2013 in Rudder Tower, room 601 from 11:30 – 1:15 p.m. Dr. M. Katherine Banks, Director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M University, will provide an overview and discussion of the 25 by 25 Initiative (see http://engineering.tamu.edu/25by25). Additional agenda items may be added to the agenda at CPI Chair’s discretion. As a reminder, the remaining 2013 CPI meeting schedule is available at http://cpi.tamu.edu/meetings/2012-13.

Summary of February 6, 2013 CPI Executive Committee (EC) meeting with research administrators from Texas A&M, AgriLife Research, HSC, TEES and TTI
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The CPI Executive Committee (EC) held its monthly coordination meeting on February 6, 2013 from 11:30-1:15 p.m. at the Williams Administration Building, room 310. Research administration representatives from Texas A&M, AgriLife Research, HSC, TEES and TTI are invited to these coordination meetings. Agenda items were as follows: Update on Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) reporting requirements; review of the February 13th full CPI meeting agenda; suggestions for 2013 CPI meeting topics/discussions; agenda suggestions for March 6th EC meeting with the Texas A&M President and Provost; review of draft revised University Rule 17.01.01.M1, Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization.

Upcoming CPI EC meetings with administration
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The CPI EC will hold its next meeting with the President and Provost on March 6, 2013 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. in the President’s conference room, 10th floor Rudder. The CPI EC holds its next meeting with the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, on April 8, 2013 from 2-4 p.m. at the System headquarters at the John B. Connally Building. After this meeting, the CPI EC will report back to the full CPI membership at the monthly CPI meeting and to the PI community through the monthly newsletter.

Update on Financial Conflict of Interest
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Following the implementation of the FCOI module in Maestro, we have been in communication with Dr. Jon Mogford, TAMUS Chief Research Office (CRO) and Mr. Ray Bonilla, TAMUS General Counsel. They have assured us that the extension of FCOI to industry funding, while still on schedule for implementation, is not imminent. Meanwhile, Dr. Mogford and his staff are studying various aspects of this issue and its potential impact on the University and the System’s interactions with the private industry. Dr. Mogford has also assured us that the aforementioned implementation plan will be mindful of the PI concerns and will further be discussed with the CPI executive committee prior to its enactment as a requirement for industry sponsored projects.

Contact:
Dr. Reza Langari, rlangari@tamu.edu

Update on VPR search
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The VPR Search Committee has had multiple meetings, but B. Don Russell (chair of the VPR Search Committee) wants to emphasize that the VPR Search continues and nominations are still being welcomed and accepted. The Committee arrived at systematic procedures to review and rate nominees by using a VPR hiring matrix modeled after the NIH grant proposal review and scoring system that utilizes a 9-point rating scale (1 = exceptional; 9 = poor). Committee members have individually scored all qualified nominees on specified criteria, and then convened to collectively review and discuss which candidates to move to ‘do not consider further’, and which candidates to consider further. Next steps include examining nominees’ “proven commitment to diversity” which was noted in the most recent meeting as a criterion that needs to included and considered as part of the evaluation and scoring system. Additionally, the Committee decided next steps would be to call the top three applicants to let them know their references will be contacted soon.  The remaining top applicants will be contacted to inquire about their applications and experience.

Information about the position and how to apply can be found at http://vprsearch.tamu.edu/, and nominations can be sent to search advisory committee chair Dr. B. Don Russell at bdrussell@tamu.edu. Please note that self-nominations will be accepted.

Contact:
Dr. Jeffrey Liew, Jeffrey.liew@tamu.edu

OSRS Principal Investigator/Faculty Advisory Committee (PIFAC)
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PI input to the TAMUS Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS) is provided by the Principal Investigator Faculty Advisory Committee (PIFAC) (http://osrs.tamus.edu/about-us/leadership/pifac/). The PIFAC meets regularly with OSRS leadership to provide PI input to OSRS on research administration best-practice procedures.

During recent meetings, the PIFAC has worked with the staff of the OSRS to identify issues that exist relative to the submission of research proposals and administration of funded research projects, and then suggested ways to resolve these issues. The committee received updates about the ongoing process of hiring additional personnel at OSRS to better meet needs of investigators. The PIFAC also met with Chief Research Officer for the university system, Dr. Jon Mogford, to better understand the future approaches that will be followed for organizing and overseeing the OSRS. Finally, clarification of travel policies and required assurances associated with sponsored research was sought, and the current status of CONCUR and Maestro software as it applies to OSRS projects was considered.

The PIFAC is comprised of PIs representing the majority of TAMUS members served by OSRS; it is chaired by Dr. Terry Thomas (tlthomas@tamu.edu), the CPI representative on the PIFAC is Dr. Niall Slowey, and various TAMUS components have representatives (contact information at http://osrs.tamus.edu/about-us/leadership/pifac/). PIFAC seeks PI input so we can best represent your interests and concerns.

Contact:
Dr. Niall Slowey, slowey@ocean.tamu.edu

Intellectual Property Constituent Committee (IPCC)
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At the last CPI meeting, there was a question about the commitment of the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) towards supporting patenting efforts. This was part of a discussion during the last meeting of the Intellectual Property Constituent Committee meeting.

The answer from Brett Cornwell (director of the OTC) was that due to the pay freeze and a hiring freeze in all non-academic units, the OTC has lost about half the staff they used to have. Consequently, OTC is short on staff and experience in many areas and in particular short on their ability to respond to new patenting and licensing efforts.

OTC leadership and staff are aware of these issues. At the present time, OTC is unable to hire new staff to replace those that have left. However, the System is exploring options that could be quickly implemented to give Mr. Cornwell the ability and authority to hire new staff.

Contact:
Dr. Wolfgang Bangerth, Bangerth@math.tamu.edu

Council for Strategic Budgeting and Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council
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The charge to the Council for Strategic Budgeting (CSB) is to make recommendations to the President on all aspects of the campus budgeting environment in support of the university’s core missions of teaching, scholarship and research, and engagement, as well as to support the realization of the goals contained in Vision 2020.  Information is available at http://csb.tamu.edu/.  In December, the CSB recommended that Dr. Loftin consider a reallocation pool of $10,000,000.  The pool will be created from unallocated University Advancement Fee revenue and a 0.65% budget reduction from all academic and non-academic units.  Dr. Loftin signed the CSB recommendation in January 2013.  The Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council has identified several priority-funding areas, and is in the process of ranking these based on our strategic needs and current funding available.  The Sub-Council will make a recommendation on how to allocate the reallocation pool to the full CSB in mid-March.

Contact:
Dr. Mary Bryk, bryk@tamu.edu

Teaching Laboratory Safety Committee
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The Teaching Lab Safety Committee met on December 14, 2012.  Two issues of possible interest to PIs were discussed.  First, in the past undergraduate students were required to sign a Lab Safety Acknowledgement form on Howdy for each lab class after the beginning of the semester.  Now students will sign the Lab Safety Acknowledgement forms when they register for a lab class.  Second, the cataloguing of teaching labs that use biohazards is underway.  Colleges are reporting information about teaching laboratories that use biohazards to the Office for Research Compliance and Biosafety.  In the future, teaching labs that use biohazards will need to apply for and obtain an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) permit.  The draft plan is for the Office of Research Compliance and Biosafety to facilitate the application process and provide training to instructors, teaching assistants and students.

Contact:
Dr. Mary Bryk, bryk@tamu.edu

EPIK-Maestro Working Group
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The Maestro internal project management software has changed to enhance tracking capabilities on requests, changes, upgrades, and workflows.  The WebCenter Portal has been tested and should be released later in February.  This enhancement will allow mobile access to the Maestro site.   Currently, the project team is in the implementation phase of the negotiation module.  Not many changes have been required, but progress is being made with respect to usage.  The FCOI module has moved to production, and the initial training for COIO has been completed.  For the post-award module, the project business requirements document has been submitted to agencies for approval.  Proposal statistics in the Executive Portal have also been implemented.  The first phase of Grants.gov submission implementation has been initiated.  Meetings have been held with OSRS to begin identifying the mappings for the required forms and the Maestro platform.  Release changes are now available on the Maestro website and can be accessed so researchers can see the changes.  Releases will be scheduled for every 2 weeks.  They can be accessed under Maestro - General - About Maestro along with release notes.

Contact:
Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio, a-lara@tamu.edu
Dr. Beverly Kuhn, b-kuhn@tamu.edu
Dr. Jamie Foster, jlfoster@ag.tamu.edu

OSRS notification automation
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Beginning Monday, February 11, 2013, Principal Investigators began receiving email notification that sponsored research projects are nearing their end date. These automated emails will be sent approximately 90, 60 and 30 days prior to the project's end date as recorded in Maestro, and are designed to serve as a reminder to investigators that actions such as applying for extensions, finalizing expenditures, and submitting deliverables may be necessary. The emails will contain standard project information such as: PI Name, Sponsor, Project Title, Project End Date, Current Balance and Project Administrator Contact Information.

Investigators with grants administered through TEES will continue to receive termination notifications through EPIK. Office of Sponsored Research Services, 979-862-6777, osrs.tamus.edu

Concur updates
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Airfare discounts: Effective January 1st, Concur users booking their airfare through Concur or Shorts are now receiving discounts on airfare with United and Southwest Airlines.  Both airlines will not honor these discounts if you book directly with the airline.

All United airfare tickets originated and issued in the USA that are purchased through Concur or Shorts Travel Agency will be discounted 2%.

All Business Select and Anytime Southwest airfare tickets that are purchased through Concur or Shorts Travel Agency will be discounted 2%.  Any of the “Wanna Get Away” Southwest airfare tickets that are purchased 0-7 days prior to departure that are purchased through Concur or Shorts Travel Agency will be discounted 2%.  Effective 2/1/2013, the Southwest Airline discount will increase to 3% and fully refundable tickets purchased any time before departure will have a 5% discount.

Discounts are applicable to the base fare before taxes and fees.  Travelers will still earn their frequent flyer awards if registered and the discount is given at the time that the credit card is charged.  So the account paying for the airfare receives the discount.  In most cases these discounts should cover the Concur expense report fee.  Since the airlines do not publish these discounts to everyone through the Global Distribution System, the discount will not show when you are searching for the best fare.  We will have a message in the Travel Info box in Concur reminding travel arrangers of the discounts and will continue to identify a better solution to remember to factor in discounts not shown as you compare pricing.

Lastly, the Account field on the Authorization Request (AR) header (see here) is no longer a required field. A user may submit an AR with the field blank and allow a bookkeeper/approver to populate that field if needed.  The field only needs to be populated if a department wishes to encumber the funds needed for the trip.  If an approver authorizes the request with no account populated in the field then there will be no encumbrance created in FAMIS.

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

4th Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) Symposium
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The 4th CVRI Research Symposium will be held on the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) College of Medicine campus at the Medical Education Center at Scott & White in Temple, TX on May 2-3. The theme of the 2 day symposium is collaboration and interaction of cardiovascular investigators from the HSC, Texas A&M University, Scott and White Healthcare and the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. The symposium program and abstract form can be found at http://medicine.tamhsc.edu/research/centers/cvri/symposium.html.

Save the Date: Smart Grid Workshop
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The Smart Grid Center at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station is organizing a Smart Grid Workshop on April 17, 2013. The workshop will offer insights into advanced technologies and research methodologies that are being developed by the A&M campus researchers. Registration information and event details are available at http://smartgridcenter.tamu.edu/sgc/.

Student Research Week
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Since 1994, Texas A&M has hosted its very own student research conference.  Every year, the majority of an entire week is devoted to Texas A&M's undergraduate and graduate students, allowing and encouraging students to showcase their research through both poster and oral presentations. Registration is now open!  To register, please visit the following website: http://srw.tamu.edu.

Participants Include: Presenters (undergraduate & graduate students); Judges (faculty, graduate students, field professionals); and Volunteers (anyone affiliated with Texas A&M).

Judging is a very important part of SRW.  In fact, awards given to presenters are based on scores given by the judges.  If you register to be a judge, you will likely be judging an oral session or poster(s) whose topic(s) of research is (are) familiar to you.  Oral sessions last about two hours each, and your time assignment will correspond to your availability (provided on your registration form).  There are score sheets provided for both oral and poster presentations.  This year, we would like to see more participation for presenters, judges, and volunteers.  Please encourage your students as well as your peers to present research and provide valuable insight to presenters.

Questions about judging?  Contact Rejeana Gvillo: dsl-srw-judges@studentlife.tamu.edu
Questions about volunteering?  Contact Arielle Carchidi dsl-srw-volunteer@studentlife.tamu.edu
Questions about participating?  Contact: srw@.tamu.edu