University Research Council

September 8, 2005

Meeting Summary

The Provost’s Charge

Provost Jim Maher delivered the Council charge.  He asked the Council to:

  • sponsor an interdisciplinary research competition that funds original research projects.
  • sponsor a series of seminars that deals with various aspects of proposal writing.
  • develop a proposal that requests financing for postdoctoral fellowships.
  • advise the Office of Research on matters related to electronic research administration.

The Provost also asked the Council to consider how the University can best harness its research resources, human and otherwise, so that it can define research questions for the nation.  He wishes to create a process through which the University can identify future, cutting-edge research questions and the individuals at the University who are best equipped to address them.

Report from the Office of Research

Allen DiPalma, Director of the Office of Research, discussed the Office’s new electronic research administration system.  The system’s first module will be launched in November.  This module will permit investigators and administrators to track proposals.  The second module will support integrated proposal writing.  It should be launched one year from now.

External research sponsors are introducing increasingly restrictive language into grants and contracts.  Office of Research staff often must address limitations on intellectual property and conflicts with University policies.  The additional effort required to resolve these issues increases the time required to process grants and contracts. 

The Office of Research will sponsor a forum on September 16 that will deal with material transfer agreements (MTAs).  The Office is concluding an increasing number of MTAs – approximately 800 MTAs have been negotiated this year.  In order to more efficiently process these agreements, Office staff has developed a checklist of compliance issues that must be addressed prior to signing an MTA.


George Klinzing, Vice Provost for Research, reviewed some of the issues that the Council addressed last year.  Topics of discussion included:

  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • National preparedness
  • Research funding
  • Export controls