RESEARCH COUNCIL MINUTES


February 23, 1998

RESEARCH COUNCIL MINUTES

Attendees: Bill Blass, Chair, Jim Adcock, Martha Alligood, Gayle Baker, Valerie Bales, Benjamin Bates, Chris Cox, Mike Devine, David Dobbs, Pat Fisher, Kerry Henry, Zoe Hoyle, Kim Jensen, Andrew Kramer, Ron Maples, Flora Shrode, Otto Schwarz, Dwight Teeter, Phyllis Turner, Ken Walker, Carolyn Webb, Gail White, Pete Wicks, Cliff Woods

Guests: Hap McSween, Tom Broadhead

NOTE: The next Research Council meeting will held on Monday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m. in the 8th floor Board Room, Andy Holt Tower.

Opening Comments - Blass
Meeting called to order at 3:35 p.m. Blass started meeting with asking each member of RC to pay attention to any ideas you might have in ways that the RC can have a meaningful impact on the campus culture beyond the type of things we already do.

Blass wants to try and convince someone to put the APEC Report up on the web, failing that the Faculty Senate and/or Research Council will to do it. The March meeting will be devoted to the Research Councilís response to the APEC report.

Opening Comments - Devine
Devine discussed the Office of Researchís Annual Report. Last year a number of changes were made to the report from previous years óadded the expenditures figures, F&A recovery amounts, the listing of internal awards (SARIF awards and Graduate School), and patents and invention disclosures. No major changes were made from last year to this year.

Devine commented that the primary reason that the report is so late, (being the fiscal year ended June 30, 1997 and now it is February), is because of trying to extract the data out of the Sponsored Programs Database. And because of this major problem various offices within the University have been working together to try and replace the existing system with a new system to have better access to the data. Devine announced a decision to purchase a new system from MIT has just recently been made and hopefully will be in place soon, however, we will have to use both systems until all the existing financial links can be added to the new system.

Referring to the Annual Report FY 97, page 11, figure 3 tracks award data for UTK. In the past, awards have steadily increased until this year when awards dropped between $7 - $8 million. Page 14 lists the Top 50 Sponsors of Awards. The number one sponsor is Lockheed Martin, which is primarily ORNL and some other programs in the Oak Ridge Operation Office. The award amounts have steadily increased until last year, when they dropped almost $10 million. The reason for the decrease is that some programs (in 2 to 3 areas) with ORNL were eliminated due to federal budget cuts.

Devine noted the direct cost expenditures on page 13, figure 6 and F&A cost recoveries on page 15 have steadily increased over the last several years. However, he expects cost expenditures and F&A cost recoveries to drop next year, only because expenditures usually track behind awards. This will have important budgetary implications, because the $10 million in F&A cost recoveries is built into the base budget, just like state appropriations, tuition, and fees. If F&A recoveries decrease by $1 million, then we have to cut the base budget by $1 million. Due to this fact, we have been planning for F&A recoveries to drop and for this current FY we budgeted for F&A recoveries to decrease by $750,000. However, the F&A recoveries have not dropped that much for this FY, but that doesnít mean they will not drop for next FY.

Please review the annual report and let Devine know of any questions you might have about it.

Opening Comments - Walker
Summer GRA announcements were mailed February 13th with the application deadline of March 4th. A copy of announcement was in Research Council meeting packet. Please make sure the faculty in your departments are aware of this award.

Status Report on Research and Creative Activity Self-Study Committee - Hap McSween
This committee is divided into 3 teams, each with a different purpose. Team One is to evaluate the nature of our problem. The nature of our problem (using the recent NRC ratings of Ph.D. programs) being either we are not as good at research as we think we are or we have a perception problem to the outside world. The committee had hoped to try to figure out which of those two were true, but have concluded the answer is probably both. Team One is building the argument about these problems and trying to advocate some possible solutions. Team Two has been charged to come up with ideas about what needs to be done with the existing resources. Resources being the F&A moneys and other moneys that are stamped either directly or indirectly for research. This team is looking to see if we are spending these moneys wisely. Team Three is looking at if new moneys become available, how these moneys should be spent.

The committee is approaching this study from 3 different aspects. One being that UTK need to pay attention to the research enterprise, in a serious way, if we are to remain a category Research I university. The committee feels that too much of this campus is riding on the coat tails of the rest. More than 1/3 of the faculty at a Research I university needs to be doing funded research activities. The committee feels the research perception could be changed by spending money to help departments improve and develop web-sites. Web-sites are a good way to describe what kind of research is being done within the departments, therefore improving the research perception.

Another area to explore is the policies that will allow and/or promote real differential in teaching responsibilities. The committee feels UT development offices do not do much for research. UT Development Offices go after scholarships for undergraduates. We need to encourage them to support the graduate programs as well. One possibility is to redirect existing scholarship moneys to graduate education.

The real focus is on money which is just one part of research. UTK no longer documents the output of research, they seem to look only at input. Committee feels there is a need to collect information on the impact that research has and not just how much money is brought in. The committee would like to see a better reward system for the best researchers at the program, dept. and college levels. There is also a need to look at how we presently spend the F&A funds, and see if there is abetter way channel more of these funds directly back to research rather than keep so much in general fund. The general theme on the committee is to find a better way to encourage more faculty to become active in research.

This final report should be out in 4 -6 weeks.

Library Issues - Gayle Baker
Baker announced a pilot project called Uncover@utk.edu. UNCOVER@utk.edu provides access to journals that the Library has had to cancel due to budget cuts. This project allows faculty/staff/graduate students to order articles through this service. The url for this service is http://www.lib.utk.edu/uncover. To access you need an ID card and use the library barcode that is associated with your ID card.

Baker also discussed journal subscriptions and that $2.3 million goes toward journal subscriptions each year and $5500 towards serials (non-journals). The last couple of years there has been a 10% increase for journal subscriptions. The Library constantly reviews the use of journals and tries to get the best mix for everyone. Currently, the Library is working with representatives from each department to come up with a list of items for possible cancellation and looking for alternatives. You can find a time-line to journal cancellations on the Journal-Online News Webpage.

Also discussed were citation indexes is a way of evaluating on how many times a given paper has been cited. For example, the Library is approached a number of times, especially for individuals doing program reviews, wanting department list of their publications evaluated. Library has print versions of 3 different citation indexes. There are electronic versions available, however we only offer one version of the Chemistry Citation index, which is a subset of a commercial service index. Citation Indexes can be really expensive.

Undergraduate Research Participation - Walker and Tom Broadhead
Ken Walker asked Tom Broadhead to attend to update Research Council on the upcoming Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Exhibition (April 1st - 2nd). Broadhead reported that last year was successful with a total of 83 entries. This year the committee (Tom Broadhead, Ken Walker, and Clif Woods) have made it an inclusive event to include the fine arts. As of today, there has been 83 "intent" forms returned to participate this year. Overall there has been an increase in numbers for architecture, nursing and communications entries, while a decrease in Arts and Sciences. The committee has not received any entries from Business or Agriculture yet. Broadhead noted that the publicize is better this year with the new web-site and advertising in the Beacon. March 18th is the deadline for abstracts of projects to be submitted. The web-site is located on Honors Home Page, Office of Research page and Gayle Baker will add to RC web page. The message for the exhibit is the importance of research outside the classroom in undergraduate education. Please add this event to your calendars; April 2nd open to the public with the music performance in the University Center, Crest Room.

Graduate Student Research and Creative Activities Exhibition- Blass, Walker
Question raised should there be a Graduate Student Research and Creative Exhibition? Schwarz (Botany) commented that their department had done this in the past and required every graduate student to participate, by at least putting up poster to describe their graduate work. These exhibits were used to demonstrate the various projects during their Advisory Boardsí visit. This allows for everyone to know what is going on. Walker brought up that logistics could be a problem being that graduate research can be much more complex and so at what point could they be prepared to exhibit. Would a University - Wide venue be appropriate? Some seem to think this would be to overwhelming. Others seem to think the real virtue for an university-wide exhibit would be that the students and faculty get to see and understand what others in the university are actually doing in research and sometimes see cross connections they didnít even know existed. Kerry Henry - GSA representative, stated that this is a good idea and that the GSA have discussed this issue. She offered that GSA could help and work with the Research Council to develop such an exhibition. Alligood questioned what the purpose would be and the need to clarify what we were trying to achieve. According to Alligood students have mentioned that they do not know how to get in touch with what is going on here and they donít know who is doing what and cannot seem to find the information. This type of exhibit would provide an avenue of information for students and would increase visibility and highlight research. Blass suggested that this topic be further discussed on the forum web-page.

F&A Recoveries Allocation Survey - Devine
This email survey was done for the Research and Creative Activity Self-Study Committee. Devine used other ORAU institutions for this survey. Enclosed in the meeting packet is spreadsheet listing the results from this survey. The names of the institutions have been deleted to be kept confidential. The survey asked what each institution does in terms of what percentage of F&A recoveries are allocated to the Office of Research, the general fund, college, department and PI, with a column added for uses and/or comments. One thing that was specifically asked is whether the funds had to be restricted to support research and would their institutions allow these funds to be carried-over from one year to the next. A list of conclusions were included in the survey. Almost all the universities set aside some or all of their F&A cost recoveries. Only 5 out of 32 institutions place all of F&A recoveries into the general fund, while 5 others returned none of the F&A recoveries to the general fund. Two institutions returned ALL of F&A recoveries to either the college or department, and both institutions are Research I institutions. However at both these institutions the departments are responsible for paying for their space/rent, utilities, etc. out of these funds. UTK is unique in two respects, we are the only institution out of these 32 that do NOT require these funds to be used for research support and we do not guarantee that these funds can be carried-over. Surprisingly only a few institutions mandate that a portion of these funds go back to the PIís. Most of the institutions are like UTK in that most of the funds are returned to the college and they decide how much goes back to the department and PI. A lot of institutions return the F&A costs by how much of the full indirect cost rate they recover. Please let Mike Devine know if you have any comments regarding this

Research Web Awards - Jensen
The Research Council web page has the Research Web Awards sites listed. It was suggested that we send a email listing who has received these awards and where to find their webpages. These awards are specifically for webpages dealing with research.

Jensen also mentioned the UTK homepage "research" button only lists other web links with the individual having to decide where they think they need to go. Mike suggested that Kim discuss this issue with Zoe Hoyle. Zoe is working on getting this changed with the UTK homepage web developer and also working to update the Office of Researchís webpage. Jensen will touch base with Zoe about sending an Research Good News regarding the Research Web Awards.

Other Issues of the Council
Devine noted that the next meeting will be devoted to discussing the RCís view to the APEC report.

Adjournment: 5:10 p.m.