University Research Council

February 15, 2012

Meeting Summary


Internal Audit Department

John Elliot, Director of Internal Audit, discussed his office’s operations.  The Internal Audit Department’s mission is to provide independent, objective, assurance, and consulting services designed to add value and improve the University’s operations.  Internal Audit helps the University to accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.  Internal Audit assists University management and the Board of Trustees’ Audit Committee in identifying, avoiding, and mitigating risks.

The University must maintain the confidence of its Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, the public, elected officials and various other constituencies if it is to accomplish its threefold mission of teaching, research and public service.  The Internal Audit Department provides valuable support in maintaining its constituencies’ confidence by performing independent and objective reviews, and reporting to the Audit Committee and responsible administrative and academic officers on their findings so that corrective actions or enhancements can be initiated.

Brainstorming Sessions

The Provost’s Office sponsored two sessions, during which humanities and social sciences faculty members discussed how to apply for funding in related fields.  The session on humanities funding took place on January 31 and the session on social sciences funding took place on February 8.

Multidisciplinary Projects

The Provost’s Office is continuing to explore three multidisciplinary topics: quantum information science, synthetic biology, and engineered materials.  Teams meet regularly to work on the projects.  Each team will prepare a white paper as a plan for future research.

Office of Research

Allen DiPalma, Director of the Office of Research, discussed a number of items that are related to the Office’s operations:

·         An Office of Research portal is now located on my.pitt.edu.  It provides links to information that researchers and research administrators regularly use.

·         OMB’s A-21 task force is discussing how to reduce the administrative burden associated with completing the form.

·         Those ARRA grants that had been scheduled to go beyond September 30, 2013, must be completed prior to that date.

·         The salaries of secretaries and clerks are usually treated as indirect costs, not charged as direct costs, except under special circumstances.

Miscellaneous

Council members also discussed:

·         Conflict of Interest forms

·         The research internship