VPR Newsletter

In Spring 2018, I embarked on a Campus-wide ‘Listening Tour’ to gather input from our faculty. Staff and students are also key stakeholders in our unified research success! I would thus request all of you to complete the START-STOP-IMPROVE Survey to help UNTHSC realize the SEE_2020, One University vision. I will share the compiled input in the upcoming VPR newsletters.

RAD Review

Since its inception, RAD has featured outstanding speakers, exhibited quality research, and rewarded students and team members for their research achievements. Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, Director of the National Library of Medicine, gave the keynote address discussing strategies to make data will be accessible in the future. This year’s festivities concluded in May with the drawing for two Thomas Yorio Travel Awards from the first-place award winners at an appreciation luncheon for the outstanding Library Staff organizers, facilities support staff and a small army of volunteers. I promise there will be another such celebration next year, so please consider volunteering!

North Texas Regional Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The evolution of the UNTHSC IRB into a regional IRB for North Texas has practical implications for UNTHSC researchers. First IRB forms and applications have been modified to reflect the name change and may have new elements, be sure to use updated forms for all current and new IRB applications and processes like continuing review, amendments, final reports, etc. More information can be found here.

NIH and Single IRB policy:

NIH now requires that all sites participating in multi-site studies, which involve non-exempt human subjects research funded by the NIH, will use a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) to conduct the ethical review required for the protection of human subjects.
This policy only applies to domestic sites of NIH-funded multi-site studies where each site will conduct the same protocol involving human subject research. It does not apply to career development, research training or fellowship awards. The goal is to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens and systemic inefficiencies while maintaining appropriate human subject protections.
Since each situation will be distinct, please contact Dr. Brian Gladue at the UNTHSC Office of Research Compliance to discuss and plan your grant application/proposal to address this policy before you submit the application to the UNTHSC Office of Sponsored Programs for processing.

Faculty Research Support Team (FRST)

UNTHSC has a gap in sponsored project support for our faculty, despite the efforts by the Office of Sponsored Projects through Support and Training for Administrators of Research (STARs) initiatives with departmental administrative staff. We would like to take a proactive approach to enhance research and improve risk/compliance management by establishing a Faculty Research support Team (FRST) of experienced sponsored program administration professionals to work directly with faculty in schools and departments. FRST pods will have one proposal support specialist and two project support specialists, and will serve a set of schools and/or departments. FRST will help increase F&A Recovery by decreasing “money left on the table”, enhance proposal development and efficiency for accuracy & success, decrease compliance risk, especially with Time & Effort reporting, budget miscalculations, cost-sharing etc. Most importantly, FRST will not affect the current administrative staffing levels! The seven new positions will be needed to fully launch the FRST two pods. We hope this increased support for special project management will help decrease the amount of time principle investigators spend on grants administration and improve the quality, timeline of submitted proposals enhancing our research success.

Elsevier Pure Portal as a Research Expertise Database:

“The Pure Portal provides a visually appealing, easy-to-use online solution for researcher profiling and research networking capabilities, making it easier for your researchers’ unique strengths to be discovered.” We are considering Elsevier Pure as a tool to improve the face of faculty on campus and showcase their expertise in place of our current Profile system. Therefore, I would invite each of you to test a beta version compiled for a subset of our faculty at https://bimota.demo.elsevierpure.com. Please provide your feedback and impression of Elsevier Pure at https://forms.unthsc.edu/view.php?id=110896.

Research Relations:

As part of the Division of Research reorganization discussed in my last newsletter, I recruited Dr. Kathleen Borgmann to serve as a Research Relations Liaison to promote communication, collaboration and education in research. She will be working with Communications to broadcast our research achievements and is in need of your help. Please send your successes of any sort to ResearchRelations@unthsc.edu so the rest of UNTHSC and the community can celebrate with you. Celebrating Research & Innovation

Outstanding Research Division Members

Have you have experienced a DRI team member exemplifying excellence in one or more of our institutional core values? When you do, please take a moment and nominate them for recognition by me. Nominations are web-based, taken year-round and require only a minute to complete. Available here.

President Council on Research:

This Spring, the Research Council was tasked to develop and submit suggested programs, processes and guidelines to better assess and improve research productivity along with ways to deal with persistent low productivity– on an ongoing basis. Growing research is one of Chancellor Roe’s key initiatives. Currently we are experiencing the 80-20 principle, wherein ~80% of research funding is brought in by 20% of principal investigators. In February, the council reviewed FY17 data collected regarding faculty salary coverage as an important measure for our state funding investments. Our institutional total faculty have <15% salary coverage on non-state sources; whereas, the 232 faculty members who identified research as a part of their workload have <20%.  The council identified specific metrics that will help analyze research productivity and compiled prospective programs, processes and guidelines to help maximize research productivity. In the coming months, we will use the assessment metrics as a part of the upcoming faculty evaluation period to gather baseline data for research productivity metrics. Implementation of the proposed programs and processes will begin rollout with the new school year. More information can be found here.

Meet the Division:

In an effort to help you get to know us a little better, we would like to include (re)introductions to some of our staff members each newsletter. Please meet Dr. Katrina Gordon, Acceleration and Discovery Laboratory Manager. Meet the DRI

NIH Nexus

Maintaining Integrity in NIH Peer Review: Responsibilities and Consequences. Maintaining integrity- including confidentiality and security – in the peer review process is essential for exchanging scientific opinions and evaluations without fear of reprisal; protecting trade secrets or other proprietary, sensitive and/or confidential information; and providing reliable input to the agency about research projects to support. In addition, maintaining integrity in the peer review process is important for maintaining public trust in science. More information can be found in NOT-OD-18-115.

Principal Investigators, Delegate! Did you know that the eRA Commons allows principal investigators the ability to grant permission to have others at their institution help with some grants administration tasks? All you need is another Commons user with the right role. Learn how!

How should the Administrative Burden of Research with Laboratory Animals be reduced? As as the NIH continues to implement the 21st Century Cures Act, they are requesting public feedback on some proposed approaches to reduce administrative burden on investigators use of laboratory animals in biomedical research (NOT-OD-18-152 and Federal Register Notice 2018-05173). Input will be accepted electronically until June 12, 2018.

With Best Regards,
anuja ghorpade signature
Anuja Ghorpade, PhD
Vice President for Research