University Research Council

February 19, 2003

Meeting Summary


REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH

Mike Crouch, Director of the Office of Research, discussed federal research allocations for the upcoming fiscal year. The research budget of the National Institutes of Health will increase by 16 percent, effectively doubling the research funds expended in 1997-1998.The research budget of the National Science Foundation will increase by 11 percent, and the research budget of the Department of Energy will increase by one percent.

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, a research program that is funded through the Department of Defense, will focus more on the health sciences than it has in the past. Application deadlines range from April through June. Links to relevant information on the Program can be found on the Office of Research web site.

The Office of Research will hold the next lecture in its Continuing Education Series on March 4, in 211 Lawrence Hall. The class is limited to approximately 32 people. The topic will be sub-awards and subcontracts.

A statement published in Science, Nature, and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discusses the relationship between research and terrorism. It asks whether research results should be published it they could be used by terrorists.

SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

Proposals to the Central Research and Development Fund, i.e., the Small Grants Program, have been submitted, and the Council now must assess them. David Brienza will evaluate proposals from the health sciences; Phyllis Coontz will evaluate proposals from the social sciences and the humanities; and Frank Tabakin will evaluate proposals from the sciences and engineering. 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Members of the faculty who complete Part 2 of their Conflict of Interest forms or have research sponsored by industry must take Module 4 of the Education and Certification Program in Research Fundamentals. The Provost’s Office sent a letter to this effect to the Provost-area schools.

INSTITUTE ON HOMELAND SECURITY

Pennsylvania’s research universities – the University of Pittsburgh, the University of PennsylvaniaCarnegie Mellon University, and Pennsylvania State University – continue to explore how to create a state-wide research center that analyzes issues related to national preparedness. The legislation that enabled the Department of Homeland Security includes provisions for at least one center for homeland security.

SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS

Copyright Policy

The copyright policy is still being revised by the Office of General Counsel. The revised draft will be presented to the Council when the Office of General Counsel completes its review.

Department of Energy

The new director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, Raymond Orbach, is redirecting the research efforts of the Department. He is encouraging more investment in basic research at the Department. It is worth exploring whether participants in the upcoming federal agencies trip can meet with him.

Proposal Workshop

The first grant-writing workshop, which will focus on the social sciences, is scheduled for early April. A second grant-writing workshop will focus on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary grants and will be held later in the spring. The Provost’s Office is currently surveying the faculty about their preferences for the workshop.

Research Expertise

No new announcements.

Social Science Funding

The upcoming federal agencies trip and proposal workshop will focus on the social sciences (see above).The subcommittee is gathering information on trends in social science research at the University.

MISCELLANEOUS

Several other issues were addressed:

  • Planning for the federal agencies trip continues. The trip will take place on March 23-24 and will focus on researchers in the social sciences.
  • NIH recently solicited proposals for projects in nanotechnology. The projects should be interdisciplinary and include the physical and health sciences and engineering.
  • The Army solicited proposals for an Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology. Three universities, one of which functions as the lead research unit, should participate in the Institute.
  • The Provost’s Office continues to explore how to encourage members of the faculty to participate in the Community of Science database.
  • The Council on Academic Computing and the Provost’s Office are sponsoring the High Performance Computing Initiative. This Initiative encourages researchers at the University to use facilities at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.