RESEARCH COORDINATING COUNCIL

Memorandum 145

November 21, 2002

 

 

Members Present:          Curtis Anderson, Alok Bhushan, Phil Blick, Steve Byers, Clark Draney, Deb Easterly, Marcia Francis for Kay Flowers, Larry Ford, Greg Green, Dianne Horrocks, Edwin House (presiding), Pamela Park, Rod Seeley, Malcolm Shields, Al Strickland, Carmen Harris for Dan Wolfley

 

Members Absent/Excused:       Sean Anderson, John Bennion, Linda Deck, Frank Harmon, Richard Inouye, Subbaram Naidu, Neill Piland, Kris Robinson, Keith Weber, Brian Williams, Paul Zelus

 

Dr. House asked the Council members to introduce themselves and state which area they represent, as some new members were not at the previous meeting.  Following introductions, Dr. House declared a quorum was present.  

 

I.       It was MSC (10y,0n) to approve Memorandum #144. 

 

II.       A.     Faculty Research Committee – John Bennion had a conflict with Curriculum Council so was not present, but submitted a written report, which Dr. House read aloud.  There were seventeen proposals received; two were disqualified for not having the required endorsements.  Budget requests for the fifteen eligible proposals totaled $67,854.64.  Nine of those had not received previous funding from the FRC.  This committee will meet on November 22 to discuss the proposals and will meet again after Thanksgiving break to decide which proposals will be awarded.

 

B.           Graduate Student Research and Scholarship Committee – Clark Draney reported that thirty-one proposals were received; three were disqualified.  This committee met earlier this week, remanded a handful of proposals back to the originators for corrections, and will meet again on December 13 to make the awards.  This committee is also reviewing their Guidelines for Proposals and may make some changes in January.

 

C.           Undergraduate Research Committee – Greg Green reported that this committee received eleven research proposals and ten proposals for travel funds prior to the November 4 deadline, with requests totaling $29,190.  Funding decisions were made on Tuesday.  The committee funded five research proposals.  The two proposals with the highest scores were funded at 100%; the other three were funded at 80%.  The total awarded for research grants was $7,944.86.  Eight travel grants were partially awarded totaling $1,780.00, for a budget total of  $9,724.86.

 

D.           Humanities/Social Sciences Research Committee – Dr. House reported that the committee has reviewed its Bylaws and the Guidelines for Proposals and one additional change still needs to be approved (see Council Business).  Seven proposals were received and two meetings will be held in early December to decide which proposals will be awarded.  Normally this committee only meets in the fall semester; however if all the funds are not awarded, another call is put out spring semester.

 

 E.     University Research Committee – This committee does not meet in the fall unless there is a policy change or change in the Bylaws or Guidelines for Proposals.  A call for proposals will be distributed spring semester.  

 

F.            Federal Initiatives – Dr. House reported that President Bush signed the Department of Defense bill.  The Idaho Accelerator Center was awarded $1.2 million in this bill for FY03.  There were twenty-five proposals in this bill and Dr. Pete Sheridan’s biological warfare project will probably be awarded somewhere between $600,000 - $1.2 million. The University is currently in the process of finding out what program offices to work with in order to receive the funds.  ISU has $3.5 million for the Idaho Accelerator Center in the Energy and Water bill on the Senate side.  The remaining eleven appropriation bills will not be complete until January, when the Republicans will have control of both the House and the Senate.

                       

G.     Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute – Dr. House informed the Council that this is a new institute being proposed and distributed the organizational chart for this.  Dr. House made the presentation to the appropriate unit of the Department of Energy on Tuesday of this week. 

 

ISU is trying to take the lead in the Intermountain area in the nuclear science and engineering area.  The University has had long-standing programs in nuclear engineering, and our College of Engineering was established to provide nuclear engineering programs for the state of Idaho and has a long history of that.  The Department of Physics has a long history of working on nuclear physics.  This institute is being created to put these programs together under one roof and create additional opportunities in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and education.  An Executive Board has been created to oversee the functions of the Institute.  Traditionally when a new center or institute is established, the following components are part of the development--vision, mission, goals, research plan and action plan.  The Executive Board is currently in the process of following the action plan.  Dr. House hopes the State Board of Education will approve this institute before January.  Most of the necessary resources for this institute are already available in the College of Engineering and the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC). The only new position is that of the director. The faculty listed on the organization chart are already working at ISU.  Dr. Kunze, Dean of the College of Engineering, prepared a list of ISU’s assets in nuclear science and engineering for this presentation. Dr. House reported that this totaled over $100 million.  About $80-$85 million of this is in the linear accelerators in the Idaho Accelerator Center.  The nuclear reactor and some of the other assets the College of Engineering has are also fairly expensive.  ISU is in the process of building three new buildings – one large one on the west side and two smaller buildings in the east side of the current IAC building.  The University has received $2.2 million for this and construction has begun.  It is hoped that this will continue to increase external funding for research and educational programs.  The assistance for education will include doctoral fellows, summer fellowships, and stipends for undergraduate students.

 

G.     Other – Curtis Anderson reported a  COBRE Proposal is being developed for submission to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  This is a large thematic program proposal involving faculty in both pharmacy and biology from ISU and three faculty from BSU to develop a new southern Idaho center around age-related changes in the nervous system and the brain and focuses on the development perspective and Alzheimer’s. Dr. House has made it possible for pre-proposals to be submitted to AAAS for a pre-review.  The final proposal will request over $7.5 million and is due in January.  This is to facilitate research between faculty and among faculty at both institutions.

 

III.       Council Business

 

A.     It was MS to approve the change on page 10 of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Committee Guidelines for Proposals.  Under Special Considerations, change as follows: A project involving any item listed below must include special information and supporting documents in the proposal, normally in an appendix, before funding  can be approved.  Some of these are mandated by Federal law.  Final written approval for each such project must be received by the Office of Research.  

 

Amendment to the last sentence:  Final written approval for each such project must be received by the Office of Research prior to consideration of the proposal for funding.  It was MSC (10y,0n) to approve the amended sentence.

 

It was MSC (10y,0n) to approve the entire change as amended.

 

B. Dr. Green, Chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee, informed the Council that this committee discovered that separate guidelines were needed for research and travel proposals.  Some of the requirements for the research proposals did not make sense for travel proposals. The changes are in red and blue – new items are in red and deleted items are in blue.  On page 2, the committee felt the funds should be used to fund students doing research rather than buy materials and supplies.  Since each has a faculty sponsor, committee members believed most materials and supplies should be available from another source.  On page 3, the changes include more formatting points for uniformity, renumbering, and reordering.  Part H starts the differentiation between research and travel awards.  Pages 4 and 5 address the scoring of the proposals.  Page 9 addresses the proposal being reviewed by the UgRC representative because some students were submitting proposals without this assistance.  In the section addressing the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the ending number was changed to a blank to read “200_”.  Page 11 contains cosmetic changes for research and travel proposals. The budget page was slightly modified. These guidelines will be put on the webpage and forms will be in a template that students can fill out online.   It was MSC (10y,0n) to approve the changes in the guidelines.

 

B.     Barriers to Research – Dianne Horrocks launched a discussion on this subject on Dr. House’s behalf at the previous meeting.  One member stated that it is very difficult for faculty who are teaching 10-14 hours per week to compete in the research arena with faculty at other institutions who are only teaching 2-3 hours per week.  Today Council members identified some of the barriers to research as 1) the need for more time to do research (i.e. a reduced teaching load); 2) insufficient library resources; 3) computer facilities – not enough storage on the mainframe and maintenance problems, 4) insufficient funding for Graduate Research Assistants—some consider it a problem that Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants get the same wage; 5) ISU’s nonresident fee structure is not competitive for recruiting for graduate students because more institutions are developing online courses and charging a flat fee regardless of where the student lives; 6) lack of databases for research.  One Council member said there are currently no databases in Finance at ISU and when work is co-authored, it requires professors to travel to the other institution in the summer. One of the databases for research in Finance is Compustat, which the College of Business has decided to acquire at $16,000/year.  One Council member also recommended acquiring access to the University of Washington’s library for scientific literature.

 

C. Carmen Harris encouraged all applicants for external funds to include indirect cost to help offset funding cuts.  There was no other Council business.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.