February 24, 1997

Attendees: Bill Blass, Chair, Jim Adcock, David Bemis, Ham Bozdogan, Chris Cox, Mike Devine, David Dobbs, Dorothy Habel, Robin Hardin, Zoe Hoyle, Kim Jensen, Mike Keene, Dennie Ruth Kelley, Ron Maples, Kula Misra, Ben Oliver, Kerry Richardson, John Schultz, Ken Walker, Jodie Wehr, Gail White and Dhyana Ziegler.

NOTE: The next Research Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 31, 1997 at 3:30 p.m. in the 8th Floor Board Room, Andy Holt Tower.

Comments by Bill Blass: Blass introduced two representatives of the GSA, Robin Hardin and Kerry Richardson, as full-fledged members of the Research Council.

Comments by Mike Devine: Devine announced that the transfer of authority and responsibility of research contracts has now been delegated to the Office of Research. Contracts will now be signed by Devine. In the event that he is unavailable, Ray Hamilton and Chancellor Snyder also will have signature authority. Foreign contracts require approval by a Vice President. A UT attorney will be available for consultation on problem contracts. Walker stated that the amount for contracts for outside analyses has been increased to $1,000/day or $12,000/year; only a purchase order is required for these contracts.

Devine announced that the Chancellor will hold a convocation on planning and budgeting on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. in the Alumni Gym. An announcement will be sent to all deans, directors, and department heads. Devine encouraged RC members to attend.

Comments by Ken Walker: Walker stated that the Controller's Office and the Office of Research meet monthly with the procurement staff at LMES. They are currently working on the electronic submission of contracts. For now, this means they will work on a process via e-mail. Blass questioned the security of electronic signatures. Adcock suggested an intranet in which the principals (sans PI's) were connected. Such transmittals would be relatively secure. It would be the department's authorizing agent who would interact with the PI's. This would require a "server" and software to accomplish but would be secure and reliable and would transmit "authorization signatures" with the documents. Maples stated that there is an electronic approval system being developed by the Treasurer's Office for travel, which is 95% complete.

Comments by James Adcock: Adcock announced that computer hardware order request forms can be obtained from the CAS homepage. Adcock stated that UT can obtain computers at a mail order price less $25-$75. Oliver inquired about purchasing personal computers through CAS. Personal computers may be ordered through the UT Computer store. Adcock commented on two other agenda items: 1) the establishment of creating an enduring account for equipment renewal and 2) UT's commitment to excellence in education. He commented that science departments are in terrible shape when trying to replace equipment. There is no money in budgets to replace costly equipment. Charging a user fee was discussed as a way to collect money to be used for equipment replacement. A service center could be created but a user fee would have to be applied to all users which would make this very costly for departments. Federal regulations state that you cannot charge federal grants a user fee unless you charge the same amount to everyone. Ken Walker was previously involved in discussions concerning amortization of equipment and will contact Ray Hamilton to renew these discussions. He will report back to the RC at the next meeting.

Adcock stated all faculty must have access to computers and the Internet in order to excel and for UTK to maintain its status as the "flagship" university. Compared to Iowa, where every single school in the state is connected to the Internet, UTK is falling behind.

Annual Report: Walker announced that there were many additions (including tables on expenditures and indirect cost recoveries, invention and creation disclosures, and patents) to the Office of Research Annual Report. Devine stated that they aware of some errors in this year's report. Table 2 resulted in zeros being entered for some entities when departments merged into one (only the newly named department received the credit). Also, some department heads reported that our figures do not match their figures. The annual report shows data from July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996, if the actual award is made before or after this period it will have shown up in last year's report or will show in next year's report. Sometimes the Office of Research is not notified of an award and the books have already been closed. Walker stated that an addendum is being planned to correct a few actual errors.

Devine questioned whether Figure 9 concerning tenure-track faculty proposals and award was reflective of reality. Some faculty may have funding for 3-years and as a result may not submit a proposal during those years. The way the data is currently extracted, it appears that these faculty are not bringing in any funding. It is conceivable to obtain more reflective data but with the current database system it is extremely difficult to do. A task force has been appointed to look at the possibility of replacing the Sponsored Programs Database. Currently, information in the SP Database is downloaded as a mirror image every night and is accessible via the WWW. Blass suggested that OR contact Mike Leuze (JICS); he has done some work using web browser to access legacy databases. Any comments concerning this report should be forwarded to

FIS discussion: Jensen distributed (via e-mail) a proposal for policy regarding release of information from the FIS. Outlined are three different options: 1) permission to release all information; 2) no permission to release any information; and 3) permission to release some information (either by a preselected list of categories or by flags for suppression by category). Two issues that need to be discussed are: 1) database security and 2) how much flexibility is given to faculty on choosing categories. Blass felt that enough options needed to be presented in order to pass the Faculty Senate. It was noted that the Science Alliance uses the FIS for their award program and each of these faculty are already listed in the Community of Sciences database (a database accessible by the public). Adcock commented that he forwarded the FIS proposal to faculty in his department. The main concern was database security and that faculty would not participate unless this could be guaranteed. Likewise, Kelly forwarded the proposal to her department. Faculty wanted to know the value of the FIS, who will enter the information, and who will maintain the data. Walker suggested that a committee be formed to look into the security aspect of the database. Further discussion on the FIS proposal was put on the agenda for the next meeting.

Adjournment: 5:12 p.m.