University Research Council

October 17, 2007

Meeting Summary


Council Charge

Provost Jim Maher delivered the Council charge.  He asked the Council to:

  • continue to sponsor the Multidisciplinary Small Grant Program and Central Research Development Fund.
  • work with faculty members from the humanities disciplines to increase postdoctoral funding.
  • continue to sponsor the annual Federal Agencies Trip, which enables the University’s faculty members to interact with project managers from various federal agencies.
  • create a process through which we can identify future, cutting-edge research questions and the individuals at the University who are best equipped to address them.
  • continue to invite speakers from research-related administrative units to address the Council.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is increasingly emphasized at universities.  The University of Pittsburgh organized many previously existing undergraduate research fairs so that they take place concurrently.  The University also developed a website that serves as a focal point for undergraduate research (http://www.pitt.edu/~ugr/index.html).   Undergraduate research is now highlighted in recruiting material.

Corporate Scholars Program

The Corporate Scholars Program is designed to enhance collaboration between the University and industry.  Under the program, a faculty member forms a collaborative research relationship with a company, which sponsors the work of one of its researchers in the faculty member’s lab.  The Program was initiated with start-up funding from the Heinz Endowments.

Council members discussed several other issues related to University-industry relationships.  Topics included:

  • intellectual property
  • work-for-hire
  • master agreements and agreement templates
  • faculty promotion

Report from the Office of Research

Allen DiPalma, Director of the Office of Research, discussed:

  • recent grants from the NIH and the Department of Defense;
  • the need for more accurate effort reporting
  • InfoEd, the University’s internal grants management program
  • software associated with the federal government’s grant-application site, Grants.gov.

Miscellaneous

Council members also discussed:

  • funding for graduate students
  • the Office of Technology Management
  • patent disclosures
  • Science 2007
  • Department of Energy facilities
  • DARPA
  • NSF funding in biology and mathematics and in nanotechnology