University Research Council

January 8, 2004

Meeting Summary


RESEARCH ACCOUNTING

Caroline Correa and Mark Stofko, Assistant Director and Director respectively of the Office of Research and Cost Accounting, spoke about issues related to federal funding of sponsored research.  The federal government continues to emphasize the need for financial compliance.  The University’s business practices related to sponsored project financial matters have been reviewed in order to strengthen and assure compliance.  Four areas have been emphasized: effort reporting, direct charging practices, the distinction between gifts and grants, and residual funds on sponsored awards.  Compliance is the responsibility of the entire University community, ranging from central administration, the Provost’s Office, and the Deans’ offices to the principle investigators.

REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH

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.  Existing software does not perfectly match the University’s needs, but InfoEd and COEUS provide packages that the University could use as a foundation.

Several other topics were discussed:

  • The Office continues to redesign its website.  A developmental version of the site can be found at www.pitt.edu/~ttr2.
  • The Office is advertising for a research administration coordinator at the Administrator IV level.

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

SUBCOMMITTEES

Integrated Proposal Writing

A more cohesive approach to the grant-application process is being developed.  Faculty from the sciences and engineering will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to discuss funding opportunities with federal agency representatives.  A proposal-development seminar is planned for April.

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 University continues to sponsor an annual, undergraduate educational and research program.  Approximately 50 students participate in the program each year.

Electronic Research Administration

The Office of Research will solicit input from members of the Council and the University community as it investigates available software packages.  Representatives of the Office will attend Council meetings to discuss progress in this area.

National Preparedness

The University of Pittsburgh, together with Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania, expects to apply for funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA).  HSARPA recently requested applications for Centers of Excellence in the areas of foreign animal diseases and zoonotics and post-harvest food security.

MISCELLANEOUS

Several other issues were also addressed:

  • The Conflict of Interest and Entrepreneurial Oversight Committees will be merged to create one oversight committee.
  • 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.
  • The Deans are currently reviewing the draft revisions to the copyright policy.
  • The proposal deadline for the Competitive Medical Research Fund is in the first week of February.