University Research Council

November 9, 2005

Meeting Summary


Conducting Cutting-Edge Research

Carey Balaban, Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, discussed methods to develop cutting-edge research projects.  These projects often integrate multiple disciplines while maintaining the rigor associated with each discipline’s research tradition.  They also usually utilize the expertise of senior faculty both to provide guidance for the project and to develop new lines of research for junior faculty.  

Some government agencies, such as DARPA, specialize in nontraditional research programs.  They use an iterative process to develop projects.  An “advanced concepts group” invites research groups to submit white papers or brief proposals, selects several groups to continue to the “proof of concept” stage, and then funds the most promising projects.  Projects are evaluated on a periodic basis by advisory group(s) and may take five to ten years to reach fruition.

Report from the Office of Research

Allen DiPalma, Director of the Office of Research, discussed standardized procedures for three of the Office’s electronic initiatives: Internal Grants Management Software (InfoEd), ERA Commons, and Grants.gov.  The Office will test InfoEd’s proposal-tracking module during December, January, and February and then release it for general use.  This module will capture all relevant pre-award and immediate post-award information.  Electronic reporting and tracking capabilities then will be developed.

Members of the Office staff are developing standardized procedures to use the functions available through the NIH ERA Commons.  Several departments are currently participating in a limited pilot project.  These procedures should be completed before the end of the year.  Office of Research staff are also developing standardized procedures to enable faculty and staff to properly utilize the Grants.gov system.  A year-long training program geared towards users of Grants.gov will be instituted early next year.

Miscellaneous

Other topics of discussion included: