University Research Council

February 10, 2005

Meeting Summary

Nanotechnology Program Development

Sheila Rathke, Assistant Provost for Strategic and Program Development, discussed strategies for publicizing the University’s teaching and research efforts.  She used the field of nanotechnology as an example.  University researchers are working in areas of nanotechnology that range from basic science to technological applications.  Numerous researchers at the University conduct high-profile work in this field, but some individuals outside of the University community are unaware of these researchers’ achievements.

Ms. Rathke is helping to develop a message that will inform numerous audiences of these achievements.  Target audiences include lay individuals, local and development officials, and state and federal legislators.  The message will describe the types of nanotechnology research conducted at the University, illustrate how research at the University differs from research at other universities, and demonstrate the University’s long-term commitment to supporting this research.

The University will deliver this message at several upcoming events.  These events include:

  • The Chancellor’s “Road Show”
  • A “Virtual Groundbreaking” of the University’s nanofabrication facility
  • The Pennsylvania Nanotechnology Conference
  • Bio 2005
  • Science 2005

Federal Agency Funding

Members of the Council briefly discussed federal research funding for the upcoming fiscal year.  Funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, NASA, and the Department of Energy will decrease.  Funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation will increase slightly.  Funding for the Department of Homeland Security will increase dramatically.

Small Grant Program (CRDF)

Proposals to the Central Research Development Fund were due to the Office of Research on February 1.  The Office received 17 applications from health science fields, twelve applications from the science and engineering fields, and twenty-one applications from social science and humanities fields.  Meryl Karol will chair the committee that evaluates the health science applications, Pat Loughlin will chair the committee that evaluates the science and engineering applications, and Mike Madison will chair the committee that evaluates the social science and humanities applications.


The Subcommittee on Electronic Research Administration continues to work with the Office of Research on the new electronic proposal tracking system.  The Subcommittee on Interdisciplinary Small Grants is developing an RFP for the interdisciplinary small grants program.  The Subcommittee on Support for the Humanities is developing a proposal to the Mellon Foundation.


Several other issues were discussed:

  • The annual Washington, D.C., funding trip will take place on March 20th and 21st.
  • The Technology Commercialization Alliance will sponsor a course on entrepreneurship.
  • A grantwriting course will be held at CMU on March 9th, 10th, and11th.
  • UCSUR announced its fifth annual faculty development awards program.
  • The University will respond to a Department of Homeland Security BAA for a Center of Excellence on First Response.