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Minutes for February 2003

Research Council Minutes
February 24, 2003

Attendees: Basil Antar, Gayle Baker, Doug Birdwell, Ray Buchanan, Jon Coddington, Billie Collier, Christine Cox, Bill Dockery, Bill Dunne, David Eastwood, Arlene Garrison, Joanne Hall, William Hamel, Ray Hamilton, Marc Hedrick, Tom Klindt, Carol Malkemus, Ron Maples, Lillian Mashburn, Buddy Moore, DeAnna Parker, Susan Smith, Elizabeth Sutherland, Suzann Thompson, Gail White, Gretchen Whitney

Opening Remarks — Birdwell

  • Development of Research Foundation is very positive. Direction has changed tremendously. Faculty can work with this smaller format and President Shumaker seems supportive of principal investigator’s research with return of some portion of F& A.
  • The University now has a Professional Development Leave Policy to become available next fall. Funding will come from academic units.
  • Committee chairs should develop spreadsheets for the panel reviews this year.

Opening Remarks — Collier

  • We have moved expeditiously to request a replacement of the Ashworth position, combining those responsibilities with receptionist duties. That position request is now at the Vice President level. Collier asked for indulgence of Council and faculty with the Office of Research and expressed appreciation to Parker for taking minutes for the Council.
  • EPSCoR – The proposal was not approved at the first submission to NSF. Garrison and her group are moving very quickly to revise and resubmit the proposal. They are in consultation with the program director, and Co-PIs George Garrison (UTSI) and Peter Bridson (University of Memphis) will be moving to address some of the reviewers’ concerns, and get a more substantive buy-in from the state. The focus will be on assembling a core of researchers throughout the state to strengthen the proposal.
  • Oak Ridge National Lab Joint R&D Program – A new joint program with ORNL for seed grants has been initiated. The University will provide $50,000 and ORNL will provide $100,000 toward one competitive award. The focus this year is computational sciences. Lee Magid who has been key in developing the initiative, recently sent out the call for proposals. Anyone with questions about applicability of a specific topic should contact Lee. The proposals are due March 25th.

Federal Relations — Mashburn

  • We do have a budget for Oak Ridge. Science and Technology in the universities came out pretty well for the 2003 budget.
  • NSF got a nice increase.
  • NIH funding will increase 16.5%, although a good portion of that is going to Homeland Security types of biological research. NIH in 2004 – there is proposal for 1.8% increase in the President’s budget.
  • In Defense we received 3% of the total Defense budget. Unfortunately, 2004 budget has been cut. For 6-1, 6-2 it is 13% less. Higher Ed people will work very hard to bring figures back up to the top 3% of the total defense budget.
  • NSF has done very well this year. Higher Ed Community will press for 12% increase that we previously asked for.
  • Several years ago we did a proposal in Arts & Sciences for the Neon program, and that is in budget again this year.
  • Energy Department where we get quite a bit of funding is flat.
  • NEH has a $25 million increase. It will be focused on a project called “We the People” and those in American History, Culture and Civics should find additional funds in that area.
  • NASA received a 4.5% increase in research for 03. The 2004 budget is to be revisited due to the crash of Columbia.
  • EPA is flat to negative for research funds at this point.
  • Homeland Security – Again, in 03 there are virtually no funds outside the NIH for University Research and probably not any real university research programs until 2005.

Reporting Line for the Office of Research – Birdwell

  • Smith moved that the Knoxville Office of Research should report directly to the Knoxville Chancellor. Coddington suggested that the process should begin by establishing a Research Office for the Knoxville Campus. Collier noted there is an Office of Research at all the campuses. The motion was amended to state: It is the Research Council’s view that the Knoxville Office of Research should report directly to the Knoxville Chancellor. Coddington stated that one of the reasons for reorganization was to deal with the duplication of effort and better use of resources. He suggested that the Council ask the University to define roles of the Chancellor and Office of Research throughout the System and assure shared governance.

The amended motion was unanimously approved.

Nominations for New Chair – Baker requested that Council members send suggestions for a new Research Council Chair to her by email. Birdwell will not be a candidate for Chair. Coddington asked if this is a Senate committee and was told that By-laws state the Research Council appoints its own committees.

Old Business – SARIF Funds

Eligibility of non-tenured, non-tenure track faculty for SARIF awards other than EPPE was discussed. These faculty have received EPPE funds. Smith moved to revise the criteria for Foreign Travel funds to include non-tenured, non-tenure track faculty. The motion carried with three dissenting votes. Eligibility criteria for other SARIF funds (Small Grants, Summer GRA’s, Grant Matching, and Infrastructure) will remain the same.

Ron Maples – Controller – Maples distributed two documents: a form for revising effort certification and a spreadsheet outlining allowable direct versus indirect costs on restricted accounts. He stated that the online effort certification has a 96% compliance rate and the Journal Voucher Form is one which would be used in the rare instances when effort certification was not completed in the required time. The second form includes Federal definitions of what can be directly charged to a grant or contract rather than included in F&A. Maples welcomed suggestions to make this more detailed.