University Research Council

February 11, 2004

Meeting Summary


The Office of Research continues to update its electronic administrative procedures.  After completing this process, the Office will

  • possess a cradle-to-grave proposal development system,
  • be ready, when required, to submit proposals to agencies in electronic form,
  • possess a more efficient system to manage proposal development, and
  • be better able to capture data from diverse sources.

Researchers will be able to track their proposals and generate any necessary reports.  The Office of Research will be able to eliminate duplicate systems; replace stand-alone, independent systems; and automate feeds to financial systems.  The Office’s staff is currently examining alternative software solutions and expects to recommend a course of action within the next several months.  The system should be fully operational by July of 2005.


Mike Crouch, Director of the Office of Research, discussed several additional topics:

  • The Office has received good feedback about its new website.  The website is located at
  • The Office is advertising for a research administration coordinator at the Administrator IV level.
  • Approximately 25 departmental research administrators attended a presentation on the NSF fast-lane process.

Approximately 20 people attended the most recent professional development conference.  The schedule for the next series of NCURA professional development teleconferences is:

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


Members of the Council must evaluate proposals submitted to the Small Grants Program.  Each proposal will be included in one of groups – medicine, sciences and engineering, and the social sciences and humanities – with roughly $120,000 awarded within each group.  Awards cannot exceed $16,000.


The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have been criticized for not collaborating in a variety of areas.  A recent analysis indicates that they interact on many levels:

  • The two universities have six joint centers, one of which is the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.
  • The two universities’ faculty members submitted 172 joint proposals in the last year.
  • The two universities employ a common representative to city and regional authorities.


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 consortium is developing a proposal that, if accepted, will enable them to manage the NETL.  Approximately 40 members of the University’s faculty are involved.


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 16.  George Gopen from Duke University will lead the seminar.

NSF Educational Programs

Bianca Bernstein, the Director of NSF’s Division of Graduate Education, visited the University on January 15 to discuss the NSF’s educational programs.  She concluded that the University, its faculty, and its students could more aggressively pursue many of the grants and fellowships that are available through her division.

Electronic Research Administration

See above.

National Preparedness

The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania (i.e., the Keystone Alliance) are applying for funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  DHS recently requested applications for Centers of Excellence in the areas of foreign animal diseases and zoonotics and post-harvest food security.  Penn State and Penn led Alliance proposals on these projects.  The University of Pittsburgh will lead an Alliance proposal on a soon-to-be-released RFP for a Center of Excellence on first responders.  Pitt and CMU may collaborate on another upcoming RFP for a Center of Excellence on the psychology of terrorism.


Several other issues were addressed:

  • A National Academy of Sciences interdisciplinary research meeting
  • The High Performance Network Applications Initiative
  • The copyright policy