University Research Council

March 26, 2009

Meeting Summary


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

George Klinzing, from the Office of the Provost, and Jeremy Somers, from the Office of Research – Health Sciences, discussed funding opportunities associated with the federal government’s stimulus package (formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).  They focused primarily upon the NIH, but also mentioned the NSF and the Department of Energy.  The primary source of information on NIH stimulus funding is located on the NIH web page devoted to the Recovery Act.  The legislation provides $8.2 billion in extramural funding to the NIH.  Discussion centered upon several grant programs:

·         NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research (RC1).  The program will provide at least $200 million in FY 2009 to 2010 to fund research on Challenge Topics, which address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

·         Research and Research Infrastructure ‘Grand Opportunities’ (RC2), also called “GO” grants.  They support large-scale research projects that accelerate critical breakthroughs, early and applied research on cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi and interdisciplinary research teams.

Much of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science funding will be invested in infrastructure and equipment at national labs and in the new Energy Frontier Research Centers program.  However, $90 million is available to support other research projects.  Much of the NSF’s Recovery Act funding will support proposals that are already in the pipeline.  The Academic Research Infrastructure program (funded at $200 million), the Science Masters program (funded at $15 million), and the Major Research Instrumentation Program (funded at$300 million) will receive new funding.

There are several University-based web pages that provide information on Recovery Act funding.  The Office of Research hosts a Stimulus Funding Web Page, which provides a comprehensive list of links to information, including

  • Dr. Klinzing’s memo on grant-application processing
  • Reporting requirements associated with Recovery Act funding
  • Community of Science listing of Recovery Act funding opportunities
  • Grants.gov listing of Recovery Act funding opportunities
  • Federal agency websites with agency-specific information

The Office of Research, Health Sciences, provides an equally comprehensive list of NIH stimulus-related funding opportunities on their web page (http://www.oorhs.pitt.edu/).  

Funding Trip

On Monday, March 23rd, the Office of the Provost sponsored a series of briefing sessions during which representatives of federal agencies and academic organizations discussed opportunities for research funding.  Twenty-one members of the University of Pittsburgh’s and nine members of Duquesne University’s education and social sciences faculty, as well as four grant administration and other staff, attended.  Representatives of NSF directorates and divisions, the NIH and other Health and Human Services agencies, and other organizations spoke.  The speakers provided information on discipline-specific research programs, agency contacts, and proposal review criteria.  They also discussed undergraduate research programs and joint research and educational programs.

Central Research Development Fund

Fifty-two faculty members submitted proposals to the Central Research Development Fund. Twenty-two proposals were from health science disciplines, fourteen proposals were from engineering and science disciplines, and sixteen proposals were from humanities and social science disciplines.

Miscellaneous

On Sunday and Monday, April 19th and 20th, faculty members will discuss funding opportunities with representatives of the European Union and its member countries.  The meetings will take place at the French embassy in Washington, D.C.