University Research Council

December 10, 2003

Meeting Summary


Jonathan van de Geest discussed his recent trip to Lindau, Germany, during which he and other doctoral students met with several Nobel Laureates.  The trip was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities and was the 53rd event of its kind.  Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, physiology, and medicine have convened annually in Lindau to meet with students and young researchers since 1951.  The meetings rotate by discipline each year. This year's event focused on biology and medicine.  Mr. van de Geest is a student in the Bioengineering Program in the School of Engineering.


Mike Crouch, Director of the Office of Research, discussed technological updates to the Office’s administrative procedures.  He and his staff have examined existing software packages and will begin soliciting software demonstrations.  None of the software perfectly matches the University’s needs, so it will be necessary to modify the software package that the University purchases.

The tentative schedule for the next series of NCURA professional development teleconferences is:

  • Cost Sharing Management – January 21, 2004
  • Research Records Management – March 9, 2004
  • Project Management – June 15, 2004
  • Conflict of Interest Management – September 14, 2004

Several other topics were discussed:

  • The Office of Research is redesigning its website; work should be complete by January.
  • The recommended budgets for the NIH and NSF include increases of 3.2 and 5.0 percent respectively.


The Department of Homeland Security’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) is hosting a series of information sessions for industry and academia.  Ken Sochats, from the School of Information Sciences, has represented the University at these events.  These sessions serve as forums during which representatives of the DHS educate potential grantees on the organization’s procedures and members of academia and industry provide feedback to the DHS on these procedures.  HSARPA will sponsor funding to develop biological and chemical sensors and to create University-based Centers of Excellence.  The University of Pittsburgh, together with Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania, expects to apply for funding from HSARPA.


Integrated Proposal Writing

A more cohesive approach to the grant-application process is being developed.  Issues addressed included this year’s agency trip to Washington, D.C., in which faculty from the sciences and engineering will participate.

NSF Educational Programs

Bianca Bernstein, the Director of NSF’s Division of Graduate Education, will visit the University on January 15 to discuss the NSF’s educational programs.  The National Science Foundation will announce an RFP that deals with educational programs in January.

Electronic Research Administration

The Office of Research will solicit input from members of the Council and the University community more broadly as it investigates available software packages.

National Preparedness

No announcements were made.


Several other issues were also addressed:

  • The Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse will fund undergraduate and graduate student research in cybersecurity.
  • The University applied for a grant from the Kauffman Foundation that would help undergraduate and graduate students commercialize products.
  • The forms for the Central Research Development Fund will be posted on the Office of Research website soon.
  • The Center for National Preparedness will be launched within the next several months.
  • The University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon University, and several private firms continue to collaborate on efforts related to the National Energy Technology Lab.