Research Capacity

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Strategic goal: Increase individual researcher capacity and productivity

Grantsmanship program (Faculty)

To augment the Proposal Writing Institute at USU, which completed its fifth cohort this year, the grant writing seminars will continue to be offered once a year for faculty (Fall semester) and twice a year for graduate students (Fall and Spring semesters). The seminars are presented by Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops (www.grantcentral.com). These intensive eight-hour courses of instruction are focused on “writing to the review process.” Approximately 100 participant slots are open for each session. For FY2013, 59 faculty and research support staff received this training, as well as 173 graduate students and/or postdocs. RGS covers all expenses (including lunch and breaks).

Faculty Research Training workshops

Workshops held in FY2013 covered the following topics:

  • August 22: NSF – “Science: Becoming the Messenger”
  • August 24: New Faculty Research Orientation
  • September 7: NSF/IGERT – Best Practices
  • October 17: RGS – Research Workshop
  • January 31: Research Development Resources
  • April 8: Research Mentors panel
  • April 9: NSF – Best Practices Workshop (Research Week)
  • April 9: RGS – Tools and Resources (Research Week)

Annual Equipment Matching Fund

On March 18, RGS released a memo announcing the Annual Equipment Matching Fund program would enable faculty to purchase capital equipment for support of research and creative activities at USU. With input from associate deans in the colleges, this program will receive an annual allocation of $250K from the recovered F&A pool and requires a 3:1 match from applicants. Applications may be submitted by individuals, teams of USU researchers, or by departments or colleges. An internal panel comprised of deans, college associate deans for research, and RGS staff review the applications. Notification of awards occurs in May/June of each fiscal year. For FY2013, $160K in requests were submitted.

Funding Finder

Launched in April 2013, this new service tool was developed, built, and is maintained by the RGS Proposal Development division to help faculty in their search for funding opportunities. The database contains federal, private, and USU-internal funding opportunities, as well as faculty prize opportunities, and important notifications of the funding priority directions of agencies (e.g., NSF “Dear Colleague” letters). In addition to the searchable database, users can subscribe to a weekly newsletter of opportunities for faculty, post–docs, graduate students, and undergraduate students that have been posted to the Funding Finder database within the previous week. Funding Finder can be accessed at https://fundingfinder.usu.edu. Login is via an USU A–number and the user’s global/strong password.

NIH financial conflicts of interest

With the implementation of NIH’s new conflict-of-interest (COI) policy (effective August 2012), there was a greater number of USU faculty requiring updated documentation than originally anticipated. Faculty must now complete the COI documentation at the time of proposal submission, rather than afterward, which is the process at other agencies. If the required documentation is not done upfront, delays may be experienced in submitting proposals to NIH. If there are no conflicts to report, the process steps are routine; if there are conflicts, the reporting steps are very onerous. As previously reported, this has impact on all PHS grants and cooperative agreements.

DocuSign

Research Council was presented with preliminary plans to implement DocuSign as an electronic signature workflow associated with Sponsored Programs at USU.

Research Administration

Sponsored Programs staff attended COGR, NCURA, SRA, and NCMA conferences to receive training and stay up-to-date on the latest trends in research administration. In FY2014, Sponsored Programs will conduct Business Manager Forums to train and educate business managers about relevant topics in research administration.

Research and Computing

During FY2013, 896 cores of the new compute capacity were purchased cooperatively with faculty, the Department of Chemistry, the College of Science, the College of Engineering, and the VPR office. Research and Computing will continue pursuing cooperative purchases in order to maximize available resources and plans to offer short courses on topics such as using clusters.

iComply

iComply was developed by Chase Gibbons and a team of MIS students, under the supervision of the Research Integrity and Compliance division, and implemented in August 2013. iComply is a web-based tool used to streamline USU’s disclosure process for conflicts of interest (COI). This tool was created in response to new rules implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services and diminishes the administrative time required to process COI forms.

EPSCoR

The iUTAH EPSCor award (August 1, 2012), overseen by Dr. Todd Crowl (USU) as PI, continues in its second year and will enhance Utah’s statewide research infrastructure. Three statewide iUTAH teams were formed: Workforce Development, External Engagement, and Diversity Enhancement. Subsequently, the positions of Associate Director and Education Outreach Diversity (EOD) Director were created. iUTAH website and social media channels were established and the iUTAH undergraduate Research Fellows program (iFellows) was initiated (Summer 2012). EPSCoR established statewide partnerships with the following Utah institutions: Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Westminster College, Southern Utah University, Salt Lake Community College, USTAR, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Governor’s Commission on Women in Education, and Women’s Technology Council. Statewide strategic planning meetings take place on a quarterly basis and are coordinated to identify future opportunities that can be leveraged from this award.

USU Brigham City campus expansion

USU Brigham City campus expansion is moving forward following the cleanup and demolition of Phase III buildings at the site of the Brigham City Intermountain Indian School by the Division of Environmental Health and Safety.